Today's News: Our Take


AMERICAN WORKHORSE

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest is officially the busiest guy in showbiz. Seacrest — whose daytime talk show launches next month — will replace radio icon Casey Kasem as host of American Top 40 beginning Jan. 10. Kasem, meanwhile, isn't going into retirement just yet. He'll continue hosting American Top 20 for adult contemporary stations around the country. read more

LIKE SANDS THROUGH THE HOURGLASS...

In an unprecedented deal, ABC-owned SoapNet has acquired rerun rights to NBC's Days of Our Lives. Beginning March 15, same-day Days repeats will air weeknights at 7 pm/ET, leading into SoapNet's block of ABC dramas. Maybe this will finally pave the way for the network to acquire Santa Barbara, the best daytime drama in suds history! read more

SHORT CUTS

CNBC has set a Jan. 26 debut for Dennis Miller's new primetime talk show... Showtime has announced that the upcoming third season of The Chris Isaak Show (debuting Jan. 8) will be its last... The second night of the Sci Fi Channel miniseries Battlestar Galactica attracted 4.5 million viewers, making it Sci Fi's highest-rated program of the year. read more

60 Minutes II Wow. Now I know...

60 Minutes II
Wow. Now I know why this little franchise has been around for, like, 100 years. It's a newspaper for lazy people. And just as unsettling. That piece on the cancers afflicting employees at IBM broke my heart. So many lives could have been spared if only the bigwigs had heeded the warnings about the chemicals they used. It's sickening and I am with every one of the civil-action participants. You sue their asses off, people. It won't undo the damage — but it might stop any more from being inflicted.

Billboard Music Awards
These things are so not about the awards, especially since this big old pat-on-the-back-fest is based on record sales anyway. No, they're about fashion and freaks. And we got a load of both when Celine Dion showed up to present 50 Cent with Artist of the Year. Honey, get help! You're starting to look like '70s porn icon Seka, OK? Sting receiving the Century Award all but read more

FACING THE MUSIC

Country crooner Glen Campbell pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony aggravated assault charges stemming from a hit-and-run collision on Nov. 24. He also faces charges of extreme drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident. He's due back in court on Jan. 15. read more

GO RUDY, GO RUDY...

Paris Hilton proved no match for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Tuesday night. The perennial holiday classic easily beat the third episode of Hilton's The Simple Life among total viewers (13.7 million to 10.8 million). The moral of this story? Rudolph rocks! read more

ASHTON FALLS IN LOVE

Ashton Kutcher is in final talks to make the Disney comedy A Lot Like Love his next big-screen venture. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that '70s Show star would play the other half of a twentysomething couple who find each other at the wrong time. Kutcher is currently auditioning potential leading ladies — under the watchful eye of Demi, no doubt. read more

Sean Astin: Happy Hobbit


Sean Astin is a drifter who chats with God in Jeremiah, his post-apocalyptic Showtime series co-starring Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. It's perfect casting for the actor/director who, after all, had already spent years toiling in the New Zealand fields of the Lord — the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that is! In fact, the filming took so long, Astin — who plays Frodo's hobbit aide-de-camp Samwise Gamgee — says he had his own "spiritual epiphanies." (As any self-respecting fan knows, the final chapter of the fantasy series, The Return of the King, opens Dec. 17.)

Given his post-Rings weight loss of 40 pounds, Astin hopes for more leading roles. Still, he calls his tubby hobbit "the single best supporting read more

Colin Firth Plays Dress Up


In the new film Girl With a Pearl Earring (opening Dec. 12), Colin Firth wears '60s-style fashions — the 1660s, that is — for his role as Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. You may recall that in Love Actually, he looked shabby chic — here, he's just plain shabby! Apart from wardrobe, though, he says there's very little difference between making modern films and period pieces.

"I don't pay much attention to what the period is," the 43-year-old British actor says. "I find that a story is a story, and that the when of when it's set is a convention that's been provided just to tell a story in a particular way."

In fact, Firth is not even sure what defines a film as a period piece — much to his mother's dismay. "I don't know when 'period' starts," he admits. "I did a read more

Johnny Depp's Secret Admirer


Since it stands to reason that the PYTs of Fox's The O.C. top most of America's most-wanted boy- and girlfriends lists, you'd think that the cast could get anyone and everyone they fancy. But it ain't necessarily so, Rachel Bilson sadly informs TV Guide Online. "My crushes are kind of like out of reach... unless you can tell Johnny Depp to forget the girlfriend and the kid!"

Consider the Pirates of the Caribbean star's booty officially called, Rachel! In the meantime, the 22-year-old cutie can content herself with the knowledge that, wish though she may to be meeting Gilbert Grape, she already has a beau of her own. "I am involved at the moment," she confides. "And he's not in [show] business, which is a blessing."

"He thinks [my job is] kind of cool," she adds, amused. read more

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