Today's News: Our Take


REMEMBERED

Carl Anderson — who played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway and the big screen — has died. The actor/singer was 58. He'd been fighting leukemia for the past year. read more

SHORT CUTS

Lifetime has renewed Wild Card for a second season... ABC has ordered additional episodes of My Wife and Kids, According to Jim, Hope & Faith, 8 Simple Rules and Less Than Perfect, taking all five shows past the traditional 22-episode season... In what has to come as a major blow to Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters has landed an exclusive interview with Shrek. The green ogre will appear on Walters' Oscar special Sunday night. read more

PASSION CASHING IN

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ grossed a stunning $15 million to $20 million in its first day of release Wednesday, on par with the debuts of such blockbusters as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Independence Day. Insiders now say the film's five-day total could surpass $60 million. Meanwhile, a Kansas woman reportedly died of a heart attack while viewing Passion's crucifixion scene. There's no evidence, however, that her death was related to what she was seeing on screen. read more

IAN'S HER GUY!

Meredith Phillips picked Ian over Matthew on last night's finale of The Bachelorette. McKee thanked her with a proposal, which she accepted. I have nothing witty to say about this because I was busy watching The O.C. Speaking of which, how much do we love Luke and Julie as a couple? read more

HOWARD SPURNED

Howard Stern is the latest entertainer to get nipped by Boobygate. Clear Channel Communications pulled the shock jock's syndicated show off its six stations Wednesday, saying the program did not meet the company's newly revised programming standards. Specifically, CCC cited Stern's "vulgar, offensive and insulting" interview on Tuesday with Paris Hilton's X-rated costar, Rick Solomon. The move also comes a day before Clear Channel CEO John Hogan is to appear before a House subcommittee on broadcast indecency. Execs from ABC, Fox and NBC are also expected to attend the hearing. read more

AUTOPILOT SEASON

Chloe Sevigny has been tapped to play one of a polygamist's three wives in HBO's drama pilot Big Love... NYPD Blue's Garcelle Beauvais and Melrose Place grad Laura Leighton have been cast in ABC's Eyes pilot, which is set inside a high-powered risk-management corporation... Designing Women's Jean Smart will star opposite John Goodman in CBS' comedy pilot Center of the Universe. read more

PASSION CASHING IN

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ grossed a stunning $15 million to $20 million in its first day of release Wednesday, on par with the debuts of such blockbusters as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Independence Day. Insiders now say the film's five-day total could surpass $60 million. Meanwhile, a Kansas woman reportedly died of a heart attack while viewing Passion's crucifixion scene. There's no evidence, however, that her death was related to what she was seeing on screen. read more

Buffy's Baby Sis Grows Up


Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer remember Michelle Trachtenberg as Sarah Michelle Gellar's whiny kid sister, Dawn Summers. That's why, for those who've seen Eurotrip — which ain't many, since it kinda tanked last weekend — her role may come as quite a stunner. You see, the petite 18-year-old actress is sick of her wholesome "Dawny" label. So she's thrilled to show off her acting range, not to mention her taut figure in a itsy, bitsy bikini.

"I basically wanted a project that showcased the fact that I was 18," Trachtenberg tells TV Guide Online. "I wanted a role that was age appropriate, [so] people would realize that I'm not the annoying little sister. I never was, really, but they made me be annoying, darn it!"

Though the TV girlie-girl h read more

SHORT CUTS

Lifetime has renewed Wild Card for a second season... ABC has ordered additional episodes of My Wife and Kids, According to Jim, Hope & Faith, 8 Simple Rules and Less Than Perfect, taking all five shows past the traditional 22-episode season... In what has to come as a major blow to Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters has landed an exclusive interview with Shrek. The green ogre will appear on Walters' Oscar special Sunday night. read more

WEDDING BELLS

On Thursday's Good Morning America, Rosie O'Donnell announced she'll marry her partner, Kelli Carpenter, in San Francisco ASAP. More than 3,000 same-sex couples have obtained marriage licenses in Frisco since Feb. 12. Rosie said Dubya's "vile and hateful" call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage helped inspire her to take the plunge. That, and the fact she and Kelly were denied the right of spousal privilege during her Rosie magazine trial. "Everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record," Rosie told GMA. "After the trial, I am now and will forever be a total proponent of gay marriage." read more

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