Today's News: Our Take

Mrs. Melissa Etheridge Speaks!

Isn't it ironic? Girl-on-girl action never fails to get a rise out of viewers, yet being a lesbian can send a starlet's career spiraling downward. Luckily, the new Mrs. Melissa Etheridge, Tammy Lynn Michaels, doesn't give a damn; the former Popular vixen has her priorities in order. "This industry is fickle," she tells TV Guide Online. "What's most important is who's going to be there with you at the end of the day when people stop taking pictures."

Hallelujah! However, the 28-year-old actress, who recently played a homosexual teenage spy in the spoof D.E.B.S., didn't always have a beautiful mind to match her pretty face; she came by her level head the hard way. "I had a single mother, and coming from a small Catholic town in the '80s... that did not fly well," the Indiana native remembers. "Back then, it was like the scarlet letter... so I know what it's like to be the black sheep of the town. That's why I tend to root for the under read more


Turns out, not only is God one of us, he's a Nielsen voter too! The premiere of CBS's spiritual drama Joan of Arcadia pulled in 13.2 million viewers Friday night, trouncing the heavily hyped debut of Alicia Silverstone's NBC romance Miss Match (7.9 million viewers). The rest of CBS's new Friday lineup — which includes the relocated JAG and the new Joe Pantoliano drama The Handler — also fared well, averaging 13.8 and 12.6 million viewers respectively. ABC's Kelly Ripa-Faith Ford family farce Hope & Faith, meanwhile, got off to a strong start with 11.5 million viewers. read more


If we were betting folks, we'd say that the No. 1 reason to tune in to tonight's Temptation Island 3 finale (at 8 ET on Fox) is to wager our life savings that piggy Michael gets sent packin' by his adorable girlfriend, Melissa. Upon being reunited, "I saw the look on her face and knew what the outcome would be," he hints to TV Guide Online's Ben Katner. Drat — too bad we're not betting folks. For an exclusive interview with Mr. Potty-Mouth, keep an eye on our Insider section later this week. read more


Kelly Ripa celebrated her show's promising Nielsens by reenacting Hope & Faith's climactic food fight on today's Live. Sadly, the All My Children grad proved too eager for her own good, shooting a wad of ketchup directly into poor Reege's left eye. read more

Hotel's Dave Dishes the Dirt

From the moment that unlikely Paradise Hotel guest Dave peeled off his shirt and cheerfully announced, "I have man-boobs!" we couldn't help but love the guy. Sure, he was about as reliable an ally as the French, but come on — in a sea of washboard stomachs and bulging biceps, he was like us (and how often have you ever seen a real person on reality TV?). What's more, the pro-level schemer's unrequited adoration of brainy Barbie Charla made us groan in empathy. So, as the first of what we can only hope will be many seasons of Fox's summer skank-o-rama comes to an end (in a two-hour finale, airing Wednesday night at 8 ET), we rang up the big lug to give credit where it is due.

TV Guide Online: Dave, on behalf of the pectorally challenged everywhere, I salute you!
Thank you, but I wouldn't necessarily say I'm pectorally challenged. I'm just more normal.

TVGO: Looking back, how would you characterize your Pa read more


The 10th (and final) season premiere of Friends beat Survivor in the ratings on Thursday, but NBC's flagship comedy was down a whopping 29 percent year-to-year. (Hey, Jeff Zucker: That's what happens when you prematurely announce that Matt LeBlanc is getting his own spinoff.) read more


Liza Minnelli has made her first big career move sans estranged husband/manager/all-around scary man David Gest. The actress-singer has signed on to play a rich widowed socialite in two episodes of Fox's sublime Royal Tenenbaums-esque satire Arrested Development, which premieres on Nov. 2. read more


The Rock flexed his box-office biceps over the weekend, as the wrestler-turned-actor's new action comedy The Rundown debuted at No. 1 with $18.5 million. Diane Lane's romance Under the Tuscan Sun opened in second place with a surprisingly strong $9.41 million, edging out last weekend's top flick Underworld (No. 3 with $9.4 million). Further down the chart, Drew Barrymore and Ben Stiller's new black comedy Duplex was (as expected) a big ol' money pit. The film grossed a weak $4.6 million for sixth place. read more


Academy Award-winning filmmaker Elia Kazan, who directed some of the most influential movies of all time, including On the Waterfront, East of Eden and A Streetcar Named Desire, died Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 94. A cause of death was not given. Kazan was also a giant of the theater world, having earned the best director Tony three times. Despite the acclaim, Kazan was assailed for naming names during the Communist witchhunt in the 1950s. Those old wounds were reopened in 1999 when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences decided to bestow upon Kazan an honorary Oscar. At the ceremony, some audience members — including Nick Nolte and Ed Harris — refused to applaud when his name was announced. read more


Veteran entertainer Donald O'Connor, whose show-stopping "Make 'Em Laugh" production number in 1952's Singin' in the Rain deftly combined comedy and acrobatics, died Saturday of heart failure. He was 78. O'Connor was also known for starring in the wildly popular Francis the Talking Mule comedies of the 1950s. According to his family, among O'Connor's last words were: "I'd like to thank the Academy for my lifetime achievement award that I will eventually get." read more

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