Today's News: Our Take


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

The Bachelorette You know, there...

The Bachelorette
You know, there are some things that block out the sun when it comes to TV viewing and, for me, it's these Bachelor/Bachelorette finales. Nothing else matters, much less my integrity. Tears flow, phone calls are ignored, fists are shaken at old loves for being such monstrous disappointments. Hell, I can even look past the drawn-out visits to Meredith's family, the multiple flashbacks and the unending teasers for "the most dramatic rose ceremony ever." Because, in the end, the drama of figuring out who is about to get their heart broken becomes all-consuming. Granted, we got to see both Matthew and Ian winning over the folks, canoodling with Mer and being just so damn fantastic. This was a tough one. Unlike, say Trista, who got off easy with Ryan, since Charlie was obviously too cheesy for the on-air wedding you know she already had edited in her head. In the end, though, our girl Meredi read more

CBS Host's Secret Revealed

Today and tomorrow on CBS' The Early Show, cohost Hannah Storm anchors a very personal story. For the first time on camera, she reveals a facial birthmark she's hidden under makeup for decades. The birthmark, known as a port wine stain, led to several painful childhood operations. These included tattooing — which left "a white splotch over red" — dermabrasion and laser surgery. Here, Storm shares her struggle with TV Guide Online.

TV Guide Online: Why are you talking about your birthmark?
Hannah Storm:
I mentioned I had a birthmark in a magazine piece, and I was contacted by the Sturge-Weber Foundation. They said they would appreciate my bringing attention to the fact there are medical conditions associated with birthmarks. I had no idea! One in 10 kids in the United States is born with a birthmark — and even pediatricians don't understand there are associated medical conditions.

TVGO: What kind of conditions?
Storm:
If read more

P-DAY HAS ARRIVED

Following months of hype, curiosity and controversy, Mel Gibson's provocative religious opus, The Passion of the Christ, makes its debut in U.S. theaters today. The film is garnering mostly positive reviews from critics, including our own Maitland McDonagh, who describes it as "never dull — no mean feat, given that it spends two hours telling a story whose end is widely known." Unspooling on a blockbuster-worthy 4,600 screens, Passion could bring in as much as $50 million over the next five days, insiders predict. And a quick heads-up: If you're planning to see the film, just make sure you stick around through the end credits. Word is the outtakes are hysterical. read more

IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT

Actor Barry Pepper has been tapped to play the title role in ESPN's upcoming original movie, 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story. This is Pepper's second stint channeling a legendary sports figure. He starred as Yankees slugger Roger Maris in HBO's acclaimed baseball film, 61*. read more

The O.C.: Health Hazard?


Samaire Armstrong would never advocate giving up The O.C. (which, coincidentally, she does tonight at 9 ET on Fox). However, she does recommend tuning in without acting out. Although her character, bootylicious brainiac Anna, is as levelheaded as they come, not all of the prime-time sudser's pretty young things are models of the role variety.

"After the episode where Marissa OD'd on drugs, [the network ran] the whole 'If you're having suicidal thoughts, please call this number' [PSA],'" she recalls for TV Guide Online, "and we actually got a call from the head of the association saying that their calls had increased by 20 or 30 percent — which is a good and bad thing. It's like, does that mean that people who watch our show have a tendency to commit suicide, or are we really helping people?"

All kidding aside, the read more

SEX UPDATE

Final ratings are in for Sex and the City's series finale on Sunday, and Nielsen says 10.6 million viewers — not the 13 million figure we reported here yesterday — watched the 45-minute swan song. Still, it marked the largest audience in Sex's six-year history. read more

END QUOTE

"I don't condone the behavior that I've had over the past year. I don't think there's an excuse. I just think sometimes you have wild spells, and you learn from that. But the things that I did weren't very cool." Britney Spears discussing her quickie marriage and other assorted missteps in Seventeen magazine. read more

NO SHOW

Ashley Judd has pulled out of Broadway's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to undergo surgery on her foot. Judd tore a ligament after falling hard during a Feb. 17 performance, which begs the question: Did anyone bother to check costar Ned Beatty's alibi? read more

JESUS JUICE ANYONE?

Michael Jackson and ex-wife Debbie Rowe have hired a mediator to reportedly handle custody issues involving their two children, Prince Michael, 7, and Paris, 5. Jackson and Rowe divorced in 1999. read more

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