Today's News: Our Take


SURVIVOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Survivor: Pearl Islands doesn't debut until Sept. 18, but TheSmokingGun.com just couldn't wait to expose the sordid secrets of this season's castaways. Oddly enough, her CBS press bio has already preemptively mentioned 24-year-old Christa Hastie's past arrest on a misdemeanor charge of "disrupting an officer's ability to perform his duties." (Translation: She once squatted on the hood of her car while it was being towed away.) But TSG has dug up some old Internet newsgroup postings from Hastie — and fellow contestant Ryan Shoulders, 23 — in which both made inquiries about scoring illegal drugs, like acid and methamphetamines. Oh yeah, and L.A. cops arrested Jon Dalton, 29, last February for DUI and driving without insurance. Hey kids, a big round of applause for your new role models! read more

MOVE OVER, RONALD

You know the economy is in the toilet when Justin Timberlake takes a job at McDonald's. Actually, the pop star's not flipping burgers — he's been hired to star in a global advertising campaign. Terms of his undoubtedly lucrative contract are undisclosed, but we do know he'll sing in TV commercials worldwide, and McDonald's will sponsor his upcoming 35-country tour. read more

STORMY WEATHER APPROACHING

Janet Jackson has signed on to portray Lena Horne in ABC's upcoming musical-biopic on the singer-actress, Variety reports. Michael's sis is expected to record new takes on Horne's classic songs, including her signature tune "Stormy Weather." Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — the folks behind Chicago — will produce the two-hour TV-movie. read more

CASHIN' IN

Book publisher Alfred A. Knopf has signed ex-P.O.W. Jessica Lynch to a $1 million book deal. She'll co-author I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story — the tale of her capture and rescue in Iraq — with Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. The book is due out in November. read more

BIG DEAL

Final details are being hammered out, but it looks like NBC has won the bidding war for Vivendi Universal's media assets. If the proposed merger is completed, the new and improved Peacock will take on a major movie studio, three cable channels, a television studio and several theme parks. read more

SHORT CUTS

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will wrap up their 2002-03 world tour with two shows at New York's Shea Stadium on Oct. 1 and 3... In honor of its 20th anniversary, Brian De Palma's 1983 gangster classic Scarface will be re-released in theaters on Sept. 19. read more

SAVE THE DATE

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez will tie the knot on Sept. 14 in Santa Barbara, Calif., — at least that's what the New York Daily News is reporting. The couple's divorce, meanwhile, will take place on Sept. 22 in Los Angeles Superior Court. read more

ROAD RAGE

Good help is hard to find lately, especially for hip-hop artists with security staff. Johnny Bonner, a limo driver from Mobile, Ala., is suing 50 Cent, claiming the rapper's bodyguards roughed him up on the night of a concert in March. Allegedly, the driver had trouble following 50's motorcade back to his hotel, and suggested an alternate route to some bodyguards he was ferrying. They strongly disagreed, Bonner claims, and forcibly took over the wheel of his vehicle, causing him "bruised ribs, fear and emotional distress." The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, but suffice it to say Bonner wants more than, um, 50 Cents. Gimme a break folks, it's 7:10 in the freakin' morning. That's the best I can do. read more

BOY MEETS WES

James's gaydar didn't steer him wrong on last night's finale of Bravo's gay dating show Boy Meets Boy. The 32-year-old benefits administrator wisely chose gay Wes over straight infiltrator Franklin — who was only posing as gay to win $25,000. Instead, James gets the $25,000 and a trip to New Zealand with Wes. James's galpal Andra, meanwhile, wins a one-way ticket to the loony bin. read more

NOT SO FAB

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's original "culture expert" is suing the show's producers for breach of contract. According to the New York Post, Blair Boone — who was fired after two episodes and replaced with Jai Rodriguez — claims that he should have been paid $105,000 for a year's worth of shows. Speaking of Queer Eye, was I the only one bored by last night's episode? read more

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