Today's News: Our Take


TV Mobster: Gotta Sing!


Most Mob bosses would sooner slit their throats than break into song. But now that NBC's edgy miniseries Kingpin has put its lead tough guy, Yancey Arias, on Hollywood's Most Wanted list, he hopes to use his raised profile to cut in on the movie-musical movement that has filmgoers humming all the way to the popcorn stand.

"I'd love to do a remake of West Side Story in which a Latino is [the traditionally white-bread] Tony," says the native New Yorker, a veteran of Broadway's The Wild Party, with Toni Collette and Eartha Kitt. "That would be quite an event, making it with a different racial background."

The six-ye read more

LeAnn Rimes Plays Her American Idol


Singer LeAnn Rimes is a devotress of country music's great ladies, like Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette. On March 30, she'll guest star on NBC's American Dreams as another one of her childhood idols, Connie Francis. Natch, she'll sing "Where the Boys Are." We've got goosebumps already!

"I've been singing that song since I was a little girl," the 20-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "At this opry in Dallas, there was a '50s and '60s night once a month, and I remember singing it at 7 years old. Every month, I'd have to sing it again because people would always want me to sing that song! So it was kinda funny when American Dreams sent me over different [options for] people to play on the show, and I saw that Connie Francis song. I t read more

Wanda Not "Syked" About the Oscars


Forget going for the gold; when it comes to the Academy Awards, comedian Wanda Sykes prefers to go for broke. That's why the funny lady, a pivotal part of the 2002 telecast's writing team, won't be returning to add punch to host Steve Martin's lines at this year's 75th annual ceremony. In her estimation, the kind of humor that really draws a crowd is the sort that also draws blood.

"The Oscars are very networky," she groans to TV Guide Online. "I loved working with [former emcee] Whoopi Goldberg, but everyone's a little too sensitive for me. I like a little edge."

And how. The onetime Chris Rock Show regular can say with great authority that, at the movie biz's black-tie back-slap, a little goe read more

Idol's Party Animal Speaks!

American Idol finalist Corey Clark — the dude Simon lambasted for partying the night before a pivotal qualifying round — has no plans to tame his wild image should he ultimately be crowned the champ. At the very least, he tells TV Guide Online, "I'm definitely going to be a little more fun than [AI's inaugural winner] Kelly Clarkson." (Justin, are you going to let him diss your woman like that?) We have to wonder whether the 22-year-old Nashville native was busy raising the roof the day Fox asked him to fill out its online profile, because he left half the form blank! What gives? "I didn't leave it [empty]," he insists. "I was never asked those questions." Well, we can fix that...
TV Guide Online: If you don't make it on American Idol, what will you do?
Corey Clark:
I will continue to try and record a demo.

TVGO: What are your goals in li read more

Jamie Kennedy's Malibu Dreams


When TV Guide Online rings up Jamie Kennedy on the set of WB's The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, he puts us on speaker phone. Ugh, how L.A.! Turns out, the prankster's not rude, just stuck in the makeup chair getting ready for one of his oddball hidden-camera gags.

"I'm dead serious," he says, "I'm getting made up. I can't pick up the phone! I'm getting liquid latex put all over my hands to make them look wrinkled. We're playing a joke on this family where I'm a wealthy 85-year-old, and I ask if they'll let me marry their daughter. We're looking to see if they'll say yes and take his money or not!"

Such practical jokes are typical on JKX — airing Thursdays at 9:30 pm/ET — whose growing fan base includes the likes of Oprah Winfrey. "Oprah loves it!" he says. "I've been on h read more

7th Heaven Starlet's Road Rage


As wholesome bride-to-be Lucy on 7th Heaven, Beverley Mitchell mainly busies herself with girlie stuff. But she goes where the boys are in Disney Channel's upcoming TV movie, Right on Track (airing March 21 at 8 pm/ET).

"It's based on a true story about a girl named Erica Enders," Mitchell tells TV Guide Online. "She's from Houston, and she broke into the world of drag racing as the first female junior drag racer. She just went in there and kicked all the boys' butts, and they were kinda p---ed off!

"It's her story of how she had to overcome a male-dominated sport," the 22-year-old actress continues. "She was just named NHRA — which means National Hot Rod Association — Rookie of the Year. For her freshman year of drag racing, that's quite an incredible feat, when you're up against thousands and thous read more

Will This Idol Go to War?


You've seen American Idol semifinalist Joshua Gracin salute Simon onstage, so you know he's a Marine. But what happens if the U.S. declares war on Iraq, and the 22-year-old lance corporal is called into active duty?

As Gracin explains to TV Guide Online: "What the producers said is that if I happen to be called to duty during this show, then next season for American Idol 3, I would be able to come right back and pick up in the same position I left off at."

Why, that's mighty patriotic of 'em. But is he hoping Uncle Sam's call doesn't come in? "My mindset is, I'm ready — 100 percent ready to go at any time," the Oceanside, Calif., native says. "I'm a Marine first; that's what I signed up for. I knew that when I tried out for AI2 that it could happen. So, I'm totally 100 percent ready to go if I get called."

What does he think the odds are? "I have no idea," Gracin shrugs. "It depends on what happens [in I read more

WILL IT IMPROVE HER WARDROBE?

"Dirrty" girl Christina Aguilera has been chosen the new face of Versace. Good, because Donatella's rawhide complexion was beginning to give me nightmares. read more

Trista's Ex-Bachelorette Beau Speaks!

Don't feel too sorry for Charlie Maher. The 28-year-old Hermosa Beach, Calif., hottie may have gotten crushed by Trista Rehn on ABC's The Bachelorette last month, but the financial analyst's heart has gone on. "I've been dating a girl for several months now," he tells TV Guide Online. "We're finally able to be out in public, and that's a big relief for both of us." Turns out, that's not the only thing Maher is looking to get off his chest...

TV Guide Online: I heard you were approached to be the next Bachelor. True?
Charlie Maher:
We had had some talks, but it really wasn't for me. I'm not sure I want to put my family through that or expose myself to that again. I'm the type of guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve in matters of the heart, and with the structure of the show, there might be 15 women left and you have to act like you're interested in all of them — when in actuality, I'm probably interested in two or three of them. S read more

Seven Silly Questions for Robert Gant

How's life for Robert Gant — who plays Ben, Michael's hunky boyfriend on Queer as Folk — since he publicly came out last summer? "Not to sound like Pollyanna," the actor tells TV Guide Online, "but it's pretty terrific. I have a lot more energy to live my life; it takes so much to hide and conceal." With Folk's third season in full swing, we asked this outspoken 34-year-old the very silliest (and spiciest!) questions we could get away with.

TV Guide Online: Who's done the most damage to the gay rights movement in recent years: Anne Heche, Rosie O'Donnell or Richard Simmons?
Gant:
read more

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