Today's News: Our Take


WATCH OUT FOR SPLINTERS

South Park scribes Trey Parker and Matt Stone are developing a big-screen comedy for Paramount that will feature an all-marionette cast, Variety reports. Described as a spoof of action films, Team America centers around a prototypical action hero who leads the charge to fight the world's evil forces. "We hate those actors who take themselves so seriously and think they are a productive and important part of society," Parker says. "The subtle joke here is that all actors are puppets." read more

DINNER'S READY

Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac are attached to star in The Dinner Party, Columbia Pictures' remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. In this version, Mac's character has trouble coming to terms with his daughter's decision to marry a white guy (Kutcher). Shooting is expected to begin next spring. read more

JUST LIKE BOBA FETT!

Alias creator J.J. Abrams is developing a new drama for ABC that revolves around bounty hunters. Alias sidekick Greg Grunberg, who also starred in Abrams's late, great WB drama Felicity, has been tapped to play the male lead. read more

HE'LL BE BACK

Blamed for California's $38.2 billion budget deficit, Gov. Gray Davis faces a recall election — meaning he'd be ousted from office — and Arnold Schwarzenegger is said to be eyeing his job! "I'm staying out of it right now," the Terminator 3 star teased Good Morning America. "I'm thinking about the movie right now." Meanwhile, Alex &#038 Emma director Rob Reiner has also indicated interest in a future gubernatorial bid, but like California's other top Democrats, he's currently supporting Davis. read more

SEX STILL SELLS

Viewers are still hot for Sex. Sunday's kickoff of Sex and the City's sixth and final season aroused 7.3 million viewers, making it the show's fourth highest-rated episode ever. That's roughly on par with last summer's fifth-season premiere, which drew 7.9 million viewers. read more

JACK IS GONNA BE SO JEALOUS

Will & Grace star Debra Messing has landed her first lead role in a feature film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress has been cast opposite Dermot Mulroney in the romantic comedy Something Borrowed. She'll play a young woman who hires a male escort (Mulroney) to make her ex-fianc&#233 jealous. read more

NOTHING'S FOR FREE

Turns out, that "free" Rolling Stones concert we told you about yesterday has turned into a benefit. Fans will now have to shell out $16 (U.S.) to catch the Stones headline an all-day concert in Toronto on July 30. The outdoor event, aimed at reviving the city's tourism industry in the wake of the SARS mess, will also feature performances by Justin Timberlake, AC/DC and the Isley Brothers. In related news, action star Jackie Chan has agreed to appear in a Hong Kong tourism ad to help repair the city's image post-SARS. read more

SHORT CUTS

U.S. publisher Scholastic has ordered another 800,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, bringing the total in print to 9.3 million... Chris Tucker is in talks to reprise his role as Detective James Carter in Rush Hour 3, Variety reports... Comedy Central cut 20 percent of its workforce Tuesday (roughly 80 staffers) as the cable channel's operations are folded into MTV Networks. read more

FATONE 'NGAGED!

Another 'N Syncer is off the market. Joey Fatone announced on CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn that he is engaged to longtime girlfriend Kelly. The couple — who have a 2-year-old daughter together — have been dating for 10 years. Fatone popped the question on June 18 at his home in Orlando, Fla. Rumor has it, bandmate Justin Timberlake is now feeling the pressure to finally make things official with galpal Cameron Diaz. Stay tuned... read more

ET PHONES COJOCARU

It looks like fashion diva Steven Cojocaru is parting company with his friends at Access Hollywood. Cojocaru, who has become AH's go-to red carpet guy at awards shows, has inked a development deal with Paramount Domestic TV that includes a possible series and a correspondent gig on rival newsmag Entertainment Tonight. Matt Lauer, however, can breathe easy. Cojocaru will continue with his weekly Today show appearances. read more

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