Today's News: Our Take


BY GEORGE, HE'S BACK WITH SONY

George Michael is climbing back into bed with Sony, signing a new worldwide record deal with the very company he fought to free himself from in the early 1990s. The singer is currently putting the finishing touches on Patience, his first album of original material in seven years. read more

SHORT CUTS

UPN is developing a half-hour comedy based on Cameron Tuttle's bestselling Bad Girl's Guide series... Paramount Home Entertainment will release the first season of Star Trek: Voyager on DVD Feb. 24 as a five-disc collector's set... The History Channel has inked a deal with HBO to air the 10-part World War II drama Band of Brothers in the second quarter of 2004... Finding Nemo has sold 15 million DVDs since its release two weeks ago, making it the top-selling DVD of all time... Mickey Mouse turns 75 today. Oh, rats. I forgot to send him a card. read more

SITTING IDOL NO MORE

Fox has announced that the next edition of American Idol will kick off on Jan. 20. In other network scheduling news, the WB is moving its sophomore comedy What I Like About You back to Friday nights following Reba. read more

END QUOTE

"I feel embarrassed and humiliated, especially because my parents and the people who love me have been hurt. I was in an intimate relationship and never, ever thought that these things would become public." Paris Hilton discussing the sex-tape scandal in a statement to The Associated Press. read more

LIZA STRIKES BACK!

Liza Minnelli has hit her estranged hubby with the legal equivalent of a hotel lamp. The actress/singer/alleged husband beater is counter-suing David Gest for at least $2 million, claiming that he stole from her and insulted her publicly during their short-lived union. The accusations follow the $10 million lawsuit Gest filed last month, in which he alleged that Minnelli physically abused him while drunk. read more

HE'S A NEW MAN

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh returned to the airwaves Monday after what he described as "five intense weeks" of rehab for an addiction to painkillers. "There is a whole lot of stuff I can tell you that I can't tell you yet," he said. "There's even more honesty to come." Let me guess: Courtney Love is his sponsor. read more

STAR TREATMENT

Britney Spears — whose new album In the Zone hits stores today — received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday. "I'm seriously speechless right now," Spears told the crowd of nearly 2,000 fans. "This is something that I've dreamt about since I was a little girl. I can't believe I'm actually here with all of you amazing fans. Hello?" Hi!! Pleased to meet... Oops — I thought she was saying hello to me. I'm so embarrassed right now. read more

SIBLING REUNION

Mad About You alum Paul Reiser is producing a biopic/mockumentary on the Smothers Brothers. According to Variety, Tom and Dick Smothers have agreed to play themselves in the two-hour telepic, which will be shopped to the networks later this week. read more

DOES SHE LIKE TUNA?

Congratulations are in order — MTV has given birth to its first Newlyweds clone! The music network has greenlit a reality show that will chronicle the behind-the-scenes preparations leading up to Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro's wedding, which took place Sunday in Las Vegas. (Sounds like a classy affair.) Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave debuts in January. read more

THIS CAN'T BE GOOD

Investigators dangling a search warrant swarmed Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch today as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. The purpose of the search was not disclosed, but Court TV reports that that a 13-year-old boy has brought allegations against the 45-year-old pop star. It was a decade ago that Jackson faced a child-molestation investigation; that case was eventually settled out of court. Ironically, the news comes on the same day Jackson's greatest hits collection, Number Ones, arrives in stores. What's more, CBS is scheduled to air a special on the Gloved One next Wednesday. A network rep says it's "premature to speculate" whether today's events will alter their plans. Worse case scenario, they can just foist the special on Showtime. read more

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