Today's News: Our Take


BUSTED

A Los Angeles shutterbug who took topless pics of Cameron Diaz before she became a big star was charged Wednesday with trying to extort $3.3 million from the actress. John Rutter is accused of forging Diaz's name on the release; he faces up to six years behind bars if convicted. Does this mean we can't see the nudie pics? read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

What was the worst part of Thursday's blackout? Sleeping in a pool of your own sweat? Nah. The lack of cell service? No way. Missing the penultimate episode of Amazing Race? Check. Well, it's with great excitement that I announce that CBS will rebroadcast the installment on Saturday at 9 pm/ET! Hooray! read more

IT'S OVER

Actress Sadie Frost announced Thursday that she has started divorce proceedings from hubby Jude Law. "I have come very reluctantly to the decision that my marriage to Jude is over," she said in a statement. The couple, who were married in 1997, have three children. read more

FEELING CLAUSTROPHOBIC

HBO is divorcing itself from Marriage, Steven Bochco's much-talked-about upcoming drama series set almost entirely in the bedroom of one couple's New York City apartment. After viewing the pilot, the network "had serious reservations about whether it could be sustained as a series," an HBO rep tells Variety. Bochco, meanwhile, is developing a new cop drama for ABC — a possible successor to NYPD Blue, which is entering its 11th (and possibly final) season this fall. read more

NEW SUIT

Alec Baldwin's onetime business partner is suing him for fraud and breach of contract, claiming the 45-year-old hairy-chested thesp owes her $125,000 of his earnings from the recent TNT movie Second Nature. Corrinne Mann says she developed the TV movie with Baldwin and is entitled to half of the fees he collected from the project. read more

SHORT CUTS

NBC has inked a deal with mystery writer James Patterson for three more TV movie adaptations, including 2nd Chance and 3rd Degree — the follow-ups to last season's highly-rated 1st to Die flick... All the publicity surrounding that Fox News Channel lawsuit has propelled Al Franken's upcoming book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, to No. 1 on Amazon. read more

DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE

In sort-of-related news, production on Roseanne Barr's upcoming ABC Family series Domestic Goddess is being pushed back so the show's star can undergo a hysterectomy next week. The development of Goddess serves as the basis for the current ABC reality series The Real Roseanne Show, which was D.O.A. last week. read more

I SPY A... D'UH!

Alias fans, you may want to sit down for this: Jennifer Garner is dating her leading man Michael Vartan! The official confirmation — which came as a complete shock to no one — was issued by Garner's spokeswoman, who told Us Weekly that the pair "were friends and they recently started dating." Garner split from her hubby, ex-Felicity star Scott Foley, last April, but according to Us, she and Vartan didn't start dating until Alias resumed production two weeks ago. It's not a lie if you believe it. read more

THE DOCTOR IS IN

ER's top doc Noah Wyle may be taking some time off this fall, but his commitment to NBC's long-running hospital drama is hardly wavering. Wyle has extended his ER contract for another year, through the 2004-05 season. The new pact also calls for the actor to direct two episodes of the show. read more

DARKNESS FALLS

The massive blackout that gripped the Eastern U.S. on Thursday wreaked havoc on New York's entertainment scene (not to mention the food in my fridge), shutting down Broadway, cancelling sporting events and concerts, emptying movie theaters and causing several Gotham-based TV shows (including The Daily Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien) to go dark. (Making matters worse, everyone in this city smells really bad today.) However, it was business as usual for film and TV productions that relied on generators for power — The Sopranos and The Stepford Wives among them. read more

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