Today's News: Our Take


Ruben Studdard's sweat glands are about to get another major workout. The owners of clothing maker 205 Flava Inc. claim they secretly paid the velvet teddy bear $10,000 to wear the company's 205 jerseys on American Idol — a violation of show rules. The accusation came in response to a lawsuit filed by Studdard last week in which he accused Flava owners Willie and Frederick Jenkins of wrongly profiting from his image. At a press conference Monday, lawyers for the pair showed copies of $10,000 in checks made out to Studdard's brother, Kevin Studdard, and his manager, Ron Edwards. Studdard refused comment, but his lawyer, Byron Perkins, told The Associated Press that "the public will hear from us soon." read more


Britney Spears is in talks to exec produce her own syndicated talk show — although the pop tart would not serve as host and would make only sporadic appearances. According to MTV, the format would likely use elements from news-magazine programs as well as traditional talk shows. Furthermore, insiders predict that like Spears's late restaurant Nyla, this project will be a big dud. read more


On the Today show Tuesday morning, NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol confirmed that he shelled out $50,000 at a charity auction Monday to learn who Carly Simon was singing about in her 1972 hit, "You're So Vain." In related news, rumor has it newly bankrupt boxer Mike Tyson wants to reveal to the highest bidder what he was thinking when he married Robin Givens. read more


Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick will reclaim their starring roles in The Producers on Broadway for three months beginning in January, the New York Post reports. Oddsmakers predict tickets for all 90 performances will be sold out by noon today. read more


Just hours after entering the California governor race, Larry Flynt has come face-to-face with his first political scandal — and it's a doozy! A former Larry Flynt Publications Inc., employee is suing the Hustler exec for sexual harassment, claiming she found sex toys in the company dishwasher. Elizabeth Rene Raymond says she was fired after she complained. read more


Former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss broke down on the witness stand Tuesday as she explained to a jury how ex-fianc&#233, actor Tom Sizemore (Black Hawk Down), abused her during their relationship. In 2001, she testified, Sizemore hit her so badly they couldn't go to the premiere of his film Black Hawk Down. Sizemore has pleaded innocent to 16 misdemeanor counts of hitting, harassing and threatening Fleiss. He faces up to 13 years in prison if convicted of all the charges. Sizemore's attorney, Michael Fitzgerald, insists Fleiss is lying. read more


Relative newcomer Glenn Howerton, one of the stars of Fox's short-lived That '80s Show, has been cast as a new medical intern on ER. The role is recurring. read more


Raquel Welch has separated from her fourth hubby, Richard Palmer. The couple tied the knot in 1999... Singers James Brown and Loretta Lynn, actress Carol Burnett, director Mike Nichols and violinist Itzhak Perlman have been chosen to receive the 2003 Kennedy Center Honors. read more

Blood-Curdling Freddy vs. Jason Secrets!

Veteran scream queen Katharine Isabelle would sooner slit her own throat than reveal the ending of the long-awaited slash-o-rama Freddy vs. Jason (in theaters August 15). "I can't!" the actress tells TV Guide Online with a laugh. "[The producers will] sue me!" But that doesn't mean the co-star of Disturbing Behavior and Bones isn't willing to rattle a few skeletons in the closets of her creepshow colleagues.

For starters, the 21-year-old insists that the scissorhanded villain of A Nightmare on Elm Street (and its umpteen subpar sequels) is really a big softy. "Robert Englund left me a huge bouquet of flowers in my trailer and gave me an 8x10 picture of [himself as] Freddy with the claw that says, 'For K read more

Tracey Takes on Ruby Again

The first thing Tracey Ullman's fans will notice in her new one-hour HBO special is that she's lost a bit of character. Make that about two dozen characters. No swarthy Middle Eastern hacks or doughnut-loving Asian women this time around. In fact, the mistress of disguise takes on only three personalities in Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales (airing Saturday at 8 pm/ET), which follows Ruby Romaine, Hollywood's favorite gossipmonger and veteran cosmetician, as she struggles to gain readmittance to Local 706 of the Hair and Makeup Guild. And apparently, that suits 43-year-old Ullman just fine.

TV Guide: Ruby's rude, crude and lewd — not exactly a role model. Why bring her back?
Tracey Ullman:
She's a horrible sort of alcoholic bigot, but she's funny. I just like being Ruby. [When I played her on Tracey Takes On] I used to get the most mail about her, letters that said, "We ha read more

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