Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper and Joss Stone will join previously announced headliners Patti Labelle and Jessica Simpson on stage April 18 in Las Vegas for VH1 Divas... Norah Jones' Feels like Home enjoyed a fifth week atop Billboard's album chart with sales of 183,000 copies. read more

MODEL MYSTERY

Sephora shoppers are doing a double-take at the cosmetics retailer's Spring 2004 catalog, whose cover girl is a dead ringer for Yoanna House — one of the three remaining finalists on UPN's America's Next Top Model. Since Model's grand prize includes a Sephora campaign, we had to ask: Did Sephora accidentally reveal the identity of next week's big winner? A UPN spokeswoman declined to comment, but Sephora's PR rep insists the model in question is "not Yoanna." However, when the flack refused to ID the model, we called Sephora's 800 number and a friendly (and soon-to-be-unemployed) customer-service rep told us the lookalike's name is Cassia. Mystery solved. I think. read more

SCENE STEALER

It's official: As first reported last week by TV Guide magazine, Gary Sinise has signed on to headline CSI: New York, CBS confirms. The deal closed on Wednesday, Sinise's 49th birthday. His present? A cool $150,000 per episode. Although New York doesn't debut until the fall, Sinise will first appear in a May sweeps episode of CSI: Miami. read more

Baywatch Babe a Bush-Whacker


Admit it: You read a headline that includes the words Baywatch and babe, and immediately, you get ideas. Red swimsuit. Dangerous curves. Empty head. But only two of those notions are applicable where Alexandra Paul is concerned. The civic-minded sex symbol did jail time for protesting the war in Iraq, champions the rights of animals as well as gay men and lesbians, and, in this election year, is Dubya's worst nightmare.

"When you're on a show like Baywatch, people often don't see any other side to you," she tells TV Guide Online. "But every Wednesday night, I register voters, and every Thursday night, I protest... Well, it was the war, but now it's the Bush administration. I'm an anybody-but-Bush person [in the showdown to come]. I'll support 100 percent anybody the Democratic party chooses to run against him."

Now that you've got a better handle on the beautiful mind that sits atop Paul's heavenly body, perhaps you'll be as surp read more

DESPERATE PLEA?

Convicted felon Martha Stewart is reportedly asking 100 of her closest supporters (her frightened servants) to write to the federal judge who will determine her sentence on June 17. "Please include your opinion of my character, my work ethic, my integrity and my probity," Stewart allegedly wrote to friends, adding that they should include "any memorable experiences" — incidents that didn't involve her yelling at them — "you have had with me." read more

LEAH LABUHBYE

More than 18 million American Idol voters didn't keep Leah LaBelle hanging on very long. The 17-year-old tone-deaf Seattle native became the first Top 12 finalist to get the hook on last night's show. Speaking of Idol, Tuesday's performance edition — which featured LaBelle's horrendous cover of "You Keep Me Hanging On" — attracted a staggering 26.7 million viewers, giving Fox its biggest Tuesday ever. read more

DAILY NEWS

Jon Stewart has inked a new four-year deal with Comedy Central to remain as host of The Daily Show at least through the 2008 presidential elections. "A lot of people like to get out when their show's still going well," Stewart said. "This gives me the opportunity to beat this thing into the ground." read more

BENGIS

Ben Affleck will sit in for a vacationing Kelly Ripa on Monday's Live with Regis and Kelly. During the show, which was pre-taped, Affleck will compete in a "Reege-off" with Saturday Night Live's Darrell Hammond to see who does the best Philbin impression. read more

Silent Bob Speaks Out!


Filmmaker Kevin Smith is no stranger to religious scandal. His 1999 film Dogma — featuring two fallen angels and a happy-go-lucky Jesus — had the entire Catholic League up in arms. But unlike Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, which spun a little controversy into record-breaking box-office returns, Dogma barely caused a blip — and Smith has a theory why.

"I wish we put a bloody Christ in our movie instead of the Buddy Christ," he jokes to TV Guide Online. "We would have cleaned up, [too]. Who knew?

"We had death threats and 300,000 pieces of hate mail," Smith continues, "and Bill Donahue on the news every night heading up the Catholic League, rallying against our movie and calling for Disney to drop it — essentially, pitting Mickey Mouse against Jesus Christ." (In the end, Disney-owned Miramax caved and Lion's Gate released the film.)

Smith fears controversy will also hurt his lat read more

WONDERS NEVER CEASE

Wonderfalls exec producer Tim Minear is takin' it to the Web to drum up a bigger audience for his acclaimed (yet low-rated) Fox dramedy. In an open letter making its way around the Internet, Minear asks fans to spread the word about the show. "I believe you're a huge untapped resource," he writes. "I know that every one of you is connected to many others that I can't reach. If you can give a hand here, you might be keeping us afloat long enough for us to catch the tide." For the full text of the letter visit: www.TimMinear.net read more

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