Today's News: Our Take


Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is expecting her third child, due in early '05. But in a message posted on her website, Rowling assured fans that the pregnancy would not affect the release of the next Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. "Book 6 remains well on track," she said. "Fingers crossed, of course, I don't foresee any baby-related interruptions or delays." read more


Rapper Ja Rule has been charged with assault in Toronto, Canada. The 28-year-old turned himself in to police Monday in relation to a mysterious incident at a nightclub last month. A Canuck judge released Ja Rule on $7,575 bail and ordered a publication ban on the details of the case. read more


Ken Jennings' record-breaking Jeopardy winning streak has come to an end — for a few weeks, anyway. Jennings scored his 38th consecutive victory on the show's season finale Friday, bringing his total to $1,321,660. Mr. Smarty Pants will pick up where he left off on Sept. 6, when Jeopardy returns for its 21st season. (Reruns will air for the next six weeks.) In the meantime, viewers will spend that extra half-hour a day doing this. Oooh, I know this! What is, "Reading AARP Magazine?" read more


The fairy-tale romance between Simple Life siren Paris Hilton and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter has come to an end. After seven months of very-public canoodling, Hilton's rep confirmed the breakup on Friday, saying her client is "busy focusing on her career." Carter, meanwhile, issued a statement saying he wanted "to be free to date other people." He added he went out partying with his pals on Thursday night, "immediately after the breakup took place. This is the prime of my life. I'm back in the studio with the guys and about to go on tour." Translation: He's beyond devastated. read more


Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines gave birth to a baby boy, Beckett Finn Pasdar, on July 14. This is the second child for Maines and actor-hubby Adrian Pasdar. read more


The Phantom of the Opera is the latest Broadway show to make the trek to Las Vegas. Clear Channel will stage a 90-minute, $35-million version of the Tony-winning musical, set to open in the spring of 2006 at the Venetian hotel-casino. The production will reportedly feature more eye-popping special effects, including an onstage lake, an exploding chandelier and more stuff you'll pay through the nose for. read more


Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall — you know, the one who killed the Sex movie — will headline an update of Brian Clark's play Whose Life Is It Anyway? at London's Duke of York's Theatre beginning Jan. 25. read more


Lucasfilm announced the name of its third and final Star Wars prequel over the weekend: Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. The film — which arrives in May 2005 — had been going by the working title, Star Wars: Episode III — Let's Make This One Good, People. read more


It's official: Catwoman's a dog. The much-maligned $80-million Batman spin-off starring Razzie shoo-in Halle Berry, opened in third place over the weekend with just $17 million. (Let's pause here to remember Sharon Stone's once-promising career.) Moving on, Matt Damon's Bourne Supremacy fared far better, debuting at No. 1 with $53.5 million. And after a month in theaters, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 added another $5 million to its war chest for a total of $103.4 million. It's the first doc ever to cross the $100-million mark. read more


Mary-Kate Olsen was released from a rehab facility Friday following six weeks of treatment for anorexia. "She is feeling very well," says her rep, "and is looking forward to rejoining her family and friends, and preparing for her freshman year at New York University." read more

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