Today's News: Our Take


COUNTRY KUDOS

Tuesday was country crooner Toby Keith's lucky day. He leads this year's nominations for the Country Music Association Awards with seven nods, including best entertainer, male vocalist, and album of the year for Unleashed. Johnny Cash snagged four CMA nods — two for his cover of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt." Brooks &#038 Dunn and Brad Paisley also received four each. And despite all their Dubya drama this year, the Dixie Chicks still got two nods, including best album for Home. read more

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Here's some more "TV News" scoop from the current issue of TV Guide magazine: Former Kid in the Hall Mark McKinney is joining Fox's Wanda at Large this season as Wanda's station manager/boss. He replaces Jason Kravits, who left to do something other than appear in the sitcom. read more

Thirteen Starlet's Life of Scandal


Move over Matt and Ben. A newer newbie has written herself into a plum part in a critically acclaimed film. And talk about a modern-day Cinderella story...

Once upon a time, 13-year-old Nikki Reed was busy living out her misspent youth with a vengeance. Then, Daddy's ex-girlfriend — production designer Catherine Hardwicke — encouraged her to put her wild child experiences down on paper. Together, they co-wrote the script for Fox Searchlight's Thirteen. Hardwicke got behind the camera to direct, and though she'd never acted before, Reed landed a huge co-starring role.

Hollywood's prodigy du jour insists she never actually expected Thirteen to be made. "We wrote it so that we could improve my acting. Cather read more

O.C. IS A-O.K.

Fox's The O.C. continues to pick up steam in the ratings. The prime-time soap's third episode attracted 8 million, its largest audience to date. read more

QUEER BOOK DEAL

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Fab Five have landed a $1 million deal with Random House to publish an illustrated makeover book, the New York Post reports. The how-to tome — which will hit bookstores in February — will contain "edgy yet practical advice" from Carson Kressley, Ted Allen, Thom Filicia and Kyan Douglas. There's no word what fifth wheel Jai Rodriguez will contribute, but sources say it will be completely useless. read more

Race Losers Speak Out!


Chip and Reichen may receive all the glory (and the million-dollar prize), but finishing The Amazing Race within the top three is a reward in and of itself. Of course, Jon and Kelly and David and Jeff may disagree with that statement. Here, the four also-rans enjoy their moment in the TV Guide Online spotlight.

TV Guide Online: Are you all happy with the way your teams were portrayed on the show?
Kelly:
It was dead on!

TVGO: It didn't bother you or Jon that you were kind of the villains of the series?
Jon:
I don't necessarily think we were villains; I think we were the comic relief. David and Jeff and Chip and Reichen aren't funny at all. (Laughs).
Kelly: You know what it was? Jon and I were ourselves and that got us in a lot of trouble. We crack on people we like and we crack on people we don't like. You can't click with everybody, but we clicked with 99 percent of the te read more

NEW SCREAM QUEEN

Former 7th Heaven star Jessica Biel has been cast in Blade: Trinity, the third installment of the big-screen vampire saga. The actress — who stars in the upcoming remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre — will play the daughter of Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), according to The Hollywood Reporter. read more

NOW FEAR THIS

Time to stock up on those barf bags: NBC has reached a deal with Endemol USA to keep Fear Factor on the air for an additional three years, through May 2007. read more

HE'S GOT MAD LEGAL TROUBLE, YO

Litigious folks everywhere have called open season on Sean "P. Diddy" Combs! A Queens, N.Y. woman is suing him, alleging that a bouncer at his Manhattan restaurant threw her to the ground and dragged her on the pavement, in order to break up a physical dispute she was having with a friend. Earlier this month, two men also sued the rapper, claiming his security roughed them up unnecessarily. "This lady is in for a rude awakening," his lawyer told The New York Post, "because unlike other superstars, Puffy fights these lawsuits." Puffy? P. Diddy? See? Even his own mouthpiece still doesn't know what to call the guy. read more

HE'S BACK

It's official: Everybody at Everybody Loves Raymond is rich and happy again — including Brad Garrett. The disgruntled Emmy winner has resolved his salary dispute with CBS and is slated to return to work today. Garrett — who has been on strike since the start of the new season — accepted CBS's $250,000 per-episode offer; he had been earning roughly $166,000 an episode. Additionally, he'll get a small ownership stake in the show, also offered to co-stars Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts. Garrett will now be written back into the show's second episode; his Robert character will be absent from the season premiere. read more

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