Today's News: Our Take


Clay Aiken is proving to be the most successful loser in history. The American Idol runner-up's debut CD, Measure of a Man, entered Billboard's album chart at No. 1 with sales of 613,000 copies. By comparison, Idol's inaugural champ, Kelly Clarkson, moved 297,000 units during her album's first week in stores last April. Now, the pressure's on Aiken's Idol sidekick Ruben Studdard, whose Soulful CD drops Nov. 25. read more


Jim Carrey has inked a deal to star in a big-screen remake of the Six Million Dollar Man, Variety reports. Todd Phillips (Old School) will direct. In other movie news, Sandra Bullock has committed to star in and produce a sequel to one of the worst films I have ever seen — Miss Congeniality. read more


Elton John is following in Celine Dion's footsteps and setting up shop in Sin City. The Rocket Man has signed a deal to perform 75 shows over a three-year period at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. His show — titled "The Red Piano" — kicks off Feb. 13. read more


Singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, who earned an Oscar nod for "Miss Misery," one of several songs he contributed to the soundtrack for Good Will Hunting, died Tuesday of an apparent suicide, MTV reports. He was 34. Smith's body, marked with a single knife wound, was found in his Los Angeles apartment by a friend. Smith battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout his career, and often addressed such themes in his music. read more


Speaking of sweeps stunts, NBC will air a special 90-minute Fear Factor beginning at 8 pm/ET on Nov. 4 — the first Tuesday of November sweeps. (Whoopi, Happy Family and Good Morning, Miami are taking the night off.) Fear will go head-to-head with ABC's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, which returns that same night with a special hour-long episode focusing on the death of John Ritter's character. In other Ritter news, the first season of Three's Company will be released on DVD Nov. 11. read more


Miami-based record producer Terrence "T-Robb" Robinson is suing Beyonc&#233 Knowles, her father and fellow members of Destiny's Child for $200 million, claiming they stole his music for the hit song "Survivor." At a news conference Tuesday, Robinson said the song would have made him "one of the biggest, most sought-after producers" in the biz. read more


Madonna is trying to bring American Life back from the dead. On Nov. 25, the pop singer will release Remixed & Revisited, a seven-song disc featuring remixes of tracks from her poor-selling American Life CD, as well as the previously unreleased song "Your Honesty." read more

TUNA 101

Jessica Simpson got a crash course in tuna fish Monday when the endearing dimwit attended a staff meeting at Chicken of the Sea's San Diego headquarters. (Simpson admitted on a recent episode of her MTV hit Newlyweds that she thought Chicken of the Sea was actually made of chicken. Cue laugh track.) "We wanted to bring her down and make sure she understood the difference," says company exec Don George, who kept mum on rumors that Simpson is still trying to find her way out of the building. read more


David Gest slapped Liza Minnelli with a $10 million lawsuit Tuesday, claiming his estranged wife repeatedly beat him during alcohol-fueled rages — causing neurological damage and headaches (not to mention one scary mug). Gest — who says he must take 11 prescription medications a day to manage the pain — alleges that Minnelli took on superhuman strength when she was drunk, making it difficult to for him to defend himself in the absence of kryptonite. The couple separated in July, just 16 months after their star-studded nuptials. Minnelli's camp had no comment on the suit. read more


Big-screen character actor Jack Elam, best known for his roles in Westerns such as Rawhide and Wichita, died Monday at his home in Ashland, Ore., of an unspecified illness. He was 84. read more

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