Today's News: Our Take


DAVE'S BIG SCORE

After months of on-air begging, David Letterman has finally worn down Paris Hilton. The Simple Life diva has agreed to appear on Monday's Late Show, CBS confirms. "They have a lot in common," notes Late Show exec producer Rob Burnett. "She's the heir to the Hilton Hotel fortune and he's the heir to the Stadium Motor Lodge fortune." read more

RETURN, THE CARTOONS HAVE

A new batch of Star Wars cartoons will debut on Cartoon Network early next year. The 12-minute episodes, which will pick up where the Clone Wars cartoon series left off, are slated to air on five consecutive nights beginning March 21 — two months before Episode III hits theaters. read more

THE VERDICT IS IN

Only 4 million viewers showed up for Jury duty on Fox Tuesday night. The courtroom drama's two-hour premiere lagged behind the NBA finals on ABC, Last Comic Standing on NBC and Summerland on WB. read more

SCOOTER NOT INCLUDED

Mattel has acquired the rights to create an American Idol-themed Barbie doll, Variety reports. Due in stores next winter, the plastic beauty will come with numerous stage accessories and a quality Paula Abdul calls "refreshing." read more

OOPS!

Britney Spears underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday after injuring herself during a video shoot in Manhattan. The 22-year-old lip-synching superstar was doing choreography for her "Outrageous" video when her bum left knee gave out. An MRI scan later found floating cartilage and a dollop of silicone in her knee. There's no word on how this will impact the second leg of her Onyx Hotel Tour, slated to resume June 22 in Hartford, Conn. read more

WILL POWER

Dolly Parton's 1974 single "I Will Always Love You" has topped Country Music Television's list of the 100 greatest love songs. The song enjoyed a rebirth 18 years after its debut, when Whitney Houston's version went to No. 1 on the pop charts. And it was all downhill from there. read more

ELECTION NEWS

Showtime has tapped talk-show host Montel Williams to emcee American Candidate. Debuting Aug. 1, the 10-episode reality series will follow mock-presidential hopefuls as they "campaign" for the Oval Office. The winner gets $200,000 and 15 minutes alone with Monica Lewinsky. In other news, George Lopez has been invited back to host the 2004 Latin Grammys, airing Sept. 1 on CBS. read more

MEKKA LEKKA MARVELOUS!

All 45 episodes of the late, great Pee Wee's Playhouse — plus six "lost" shows — will arrive on DVD this fall. A collector's set will include commentary and bonus material from star Paul Reubens. read more

WELCOME TO THE AIRPORT, BITCH!

A politician in Orange County, Calif., wants to change the name of the local airport from John Wayne Airport to The O.C. Airport, after the Fox smash. Supervisor Chris Norby sees it as an opportunity to capitalize on the county's growing recognition and make it a more appealing destination for tourists. And if that doesn't entice travelers, there's talk of renaming the entire county The Caribbean. read more

SAD DAY IN HOLLYWOOD

Music legend Ray Charles passed away this morning at 11:35 am/PT due to complications from liver disease. The 73-year-old was surrounded by family members and his manager at his Beverly Hills home. In his life, Charles overcame obstacles such as childhood poverty, blindness and heroin addiction to pioneer the soul sound — and win 12 Grammys along the way. read more

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