Today's News: Our Take


Beyoncé Knowles has been tapped to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII on Feb. 1. read more


College football fans clearly didn't view Sunday's Sugar Bowl as a national championship game. The showdown between Louisiana State and Oklahoma averaged a preliminary 14.4 rating/22 share — off 23 percent from last year's Ohio State-Miami matchup. ABC fared better with Thursday's Rose Bowl. Nearly 24 million people watched USC crush Michigan, making it the most-watched Rose Bowl in six years. According to my calculations, that makes USC the clear No. 1. Fight on!!!! (In the spirit of full disclosure, yes, I am a USC alum.) read more


Don't feel like shelling out $500 to see Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane in The Producers? No worries. You'll soon be able to catch the duo in their signature roles for just $10. According to Variety, Broderick and Lane have inked a seven-figure deal to headline a film adaptation for Universal Pictures. Shooting is expected to get underway in 2005. The project brings The Producers full circle, since the stage show itself is an adaptation of Mel Brooks' 1968 big-screen comedy. Still, if you'd rather see Broderick and Lane in the live version, well, you're too late. Their second Broadway run — which concludes on April 4 — is reportedly sold out. read more


Whacked Sopranos alum Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy) has been reincarnated as a radio DJ. Beginning today, Pastore will take to the airwaves in Westchester, N.Y., as host of a weekly show on WVOX — that's 1460 on the AM dial. Turns out it was an offer the former mobster could have refused; Pastore reportedly took the job for free. read more


The Directors Guild of America announced the nominees for its 56th annual DGA Awards, and the finalists for outstanding directorial achievement in a film are Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), Clint Eastwood (Mystic River), Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) and Peter Weir (Master and Commander). The winner will be announced Feb. 7. read more


Fox has ordered five episodes of The Jury, a drama series that examines the legal process through the eyes of jurors. There's no verdict on when the show will air, but a mid-season debut is possible. read more


British-born TV and film director Brian Gibson has died at 59 from a rare form of cancer. In his career, the Emmy winner has helmed a wide range of movies, including The Juror, What's Love Got To Do With It? and The Josephine Baker Story. read more


The Producers Guild of America announced its nominees for best picture of the year, and they are Cold Mountain, The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Master and Commander, Mystic River and Seabiscuit. On the TV side, Alias, CSI, Six Feet Under, 24 and The West Wing (huh?) will compete for best drama series, while Everybody Loves Raymond, Malcolm in the Middle, read more


Rush Limbaugh's lawyers have persuaded a Florida judge to keep his medical records sealed for yet another 15 days. As previously reported, prosecutors are hoping to probe the paperwork for criminal evidence of Limbaugh's prescription drug abuse. The radio talker's attorneys argue that's a violation of his right to privacy and want the records to be permanently sealed. read more


Singer-songwriter Ray Davies of British rock band The Kinks is recovering from a gunshot wound. On Sunday night, he was vacationing in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where a street mugger stole the purse of his unidentified female companion. Davies chased the fleeing Jerome Barra, 25, who then allegedly shot him in the leg. Barra has been arrested and charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery, while another suspect is still being sought. Fortunately, Davies wasn't seriously hurt and "should be up and about in a day or so," according to his manager. read more

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