Today's News: Our Take


Game Over OK, I totally dig Grand...

Game Over
OK, I totally dig Grand Theft Auto, yet I hated Tron. So you can understand why I was torn over this CGI-animated sitcom about the secret lives of video-game characters. But I gotta tell you, I was slightly amused. Patrick Warburton was born to play people with bigger egos than abilities, so he's the perfect fit for the car-racing head of the Crashenburn's cyber-household, but what's with an 8 pm show running jokes involving exposed johnsons and crass references to testicles? What's next, a bad touch from Donkey Kong? UPN would be wise to clean it up a bit and amp the sly gamer gags before this thing starts making Spike TV look high-brow.

American Idol
Finally! After, what, 100 weeks, the top 12 are finally in place, so now the real show can begin. Am I overjoyed with the Wild Card winners? Sort of. Lovelovelove Randy for sparing Jennifer Hudson and the viewer fave Jon Peter Lewis read more

GO EAST

Fans of The O.C. who, like us, are way more torn up about Anna's exit than Seth is, can take heart — her portrayer, Samaire Armstrong, isn't disappearing, she's merely moving from Orange County to the Big Apple. The scene-stealing pixie has been cast as an actress-nanny in ABC's pilot for Gramercy Park, which is described as The Help, only good. Take that, Cohen! read more

MOB SCENE

Sopranos fans chose not to take sides against the family Sunday night as HBO's mob drama kicked off its fifth season with 12.1 million viewers. It was the third most-watched Sopranos episode ever, behind last season's debut (13.4 million) and finale (12.5 million). The show whacked all of its network competition among adults 18-49, although it finished behind Law & Order: Criminal Intent among total viewers. In other ratings news, reality was all the rage last week as American Idol, Survivor: All-Stars and The Apprentice all landed in Nielsen's top five. read more

CLOTHES CALL

Oprah Winfrey is finally getting recognized for one of her favorite things — fashion. For the first time, Winfrey has made Vanity Fair's annual international best-dressed list. Also making the top 10: Cate Blanchett, Sofia Coppola and Kate Moss. The top men, meanwhile, included George Clooney, Jude Law, CNN's Anderson Cooper and soccer stud David Beckham. Noticeably missing: Peter Jackson. read more

ODD COUPLE

Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez are teaming up to star in American Darlings, a period drama about a female swing band that joins forces with a group of black and Hispanic musicians, Variety reports. In related news, Lopez has signed a development deal with Fox TV Studios. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the former Bennifer star will give Fox first crack at all television projects developed by her Nuyorican Prods. read more

Meet Whoopi's Un-Handyman


British stand-up comic Omid Djalili feels perfectly natural in his role as Nasim, an Iranian hotel manager and handyman on Whoopi. That's ironic, since in real life, this 38-year-old father of three is the antithesis of Bob Vila. Translation: He's a total clutz!

"When they said I was playing a handyman, I thought, 'Oh God,'" Whoopi Goldberg's sidekick tells TV Guide Online. "My wife thinks it is the biggest joke. I can barely change a bulb. I changed a bulb once in 1998.

"I understand that women find it very attractive if [men can] do that," he adds with a chuckle. "So I'm actually trying to learn how to change fuses and put the right things in the plugs and that kind of thing. The people on the show don't know that I'm doing this, but I'm trying read more

Ben Affleck Slams Media


Life in the spotlight isn't easy for Ben Affleck, who vents his frustration with the press in Jersey Girl (opening March 26). He plays a music-industry publicity flack frustrated by balancing fatherhood with work who breaks down during a press conference, telling off a room full of music reporters. Firing back at the press felt cathartic for the 31-year-old Oscar winner, whose breakup with J.Lo has sold lots of tabloid rags this year.

"It wasn't too tough to film," Affleck laughs. "When we were shooting, it was at the pinnacle — actually [what] I thought was the pinnacle — of the madness. I felt like I had the inside track on the character.

"For the most part, in my experience, people in the press happen to be bright, interesting, smart, thoughtful, professional people with standards," he adds diplomatically. "It is a few-bad-apples th read more

END QUOTE

"I ain't into f-----s. I don't like gay people around me, because I'm not comfortable with what their thoughts are. I'm not prejudiced... Women who like women, that's cool. I could actually get into that." — Rapper 50 Cent at his most eloquent in an interview with Playboy magazine. read more

IDOL STUNT

American Idol has recruited Ruuuuuben Studdard to help pad tonight's live, hourlong wild-card-results show. Mr. Velvet Teddy Bear will perform his latest hit, "Sorry 2004." (The rest of the hour will be filled with another one of Leah Labelle's trademark meltdowns and Matthew Metzger's teeth.) Clay Aiken, meanwhile, will stop by during next week's results show to sing. read more

FAREWELL, ELDIN

Boxer-turned-actor Robert Pastorelli, best known for his role as Murphy Brown's dawdling house painter, Eldin, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills home on Monday of a suspected accidental overdose. "While we are awaiting the results of the autopsy, we are aware that he had been injecting vitamin B12, prescribed by his physician," read a statement from the actor's PR firm. Post-Murphy, Pastorelli starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom Double Rush. He recently completed filming a role in Be Cool, the forthcoming sequel to Get Shorty. read more

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