Today's News: Our Take


Apparently, David E. Kelley's basic instincts were telling him to introduce some major starpower onto The Practice next season. Sharon Stone is reportedly in talks to join ABC's retooled legal drama in the fall for three or four episodes, with the possibility for more. Stone's casting — as well as James Spader's earlier this month — represent the first steps at restaffing the long-running series. Last month, seven regulars, including Dylan McDermott, were axed for creative and economic reasons. So, either Stone is working for scale, or Kelley greatly exaggerated The Practice's budget woes. Either way, Lara Flynn Boyle is probably livid read more


Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is sending a strong message to the world: Don't mess with her boy wizard. Rowling and publishing giant Scholastic have slapped the New York Daily News with a $100 million lawsuit for prematurely publishing excerpts from her latest Potter book Order of the Phoenix. In related news, Rowling tells NBC's Katie Couric that she sobbed uncontrollably when she made the decision to kill off a major character in the hotly-anticipated fifth novel, which arrives in stores midnight Friday. "It was awful to write," she says. "It was absolutely awful." But then she checked her savings account balance online and felt a whole lot better. read more


The media world is buzzing with talk of former Vice President Al Gore's plans to start a liberal cable news channel. Apparently hoping to help Democrats counter conservative voices in TV and radio, he's been meeting with possible financial backers, according to No word on what role Gore — who's opted against running for president in 2004 — would play in such a venture. read more


The WB's troubled Gilmore Girls spinoff centered around Milo Ventimiglia's brooding character, Jess, has been killed by the network. The drama was slated to debut at midseason, but Variety reports that the show — set entirely on location in Venice, Calif. — would have been too costly to produce. But as faithful readers of my TV News column in TV Guide magazine know, there may be more to this story. Stay tuned... read more

Harrison Ford: King of Comedy?

"Hilarious" is probably not the first adjective that springs to mind when one thinks of Harrison Ford. "Heroic," yes, "cool," almost definitely, but "hilarious"? A look back at his past credits, though, reveals that this action icon is no stranger to comedy — a fact he's more than happy to emphasize.

"I have done comedies from the very beginning of my career," Ford says. "I've always considered the Indiana Jones movies to be comedies. In Star Wars, I had a comedic role to play. And then I've done a lot of romantic comedies, like Sabrina and Six Days, Seven Nights, which by their nature are somewhat less funny than this movie is."

"This movie" is read more


Minnie Driver has joined the cast of Joel Schumacher's big screen adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. She'll play opera diva Carlotta... Sen. Hillary Clinton's appearance on CBS's Late Show Monday helped David Letterman score a rare ratings victory over Jay Leno... Nicole Kidman is in talks to become the new international face of Chanel. read more

Soul Kudos for James Brown

Everybody knows the Godfather of Soul. Since the 1950s, he has released more than 80 albums, had 17 No. 1 R&#038B hits and been honored more times than Gandhi. At the 3rd Annual BET Awards (airing June 24 at 9 pm/ET), he'll add another feather to his cap: BET's Lifetime Achievement award. So what's James Brown, now 70, doing talking to a misguided reporter who just loves him for singing "Living in America" in Rocky IV? We're still trying to figure that one out.

TV Guide Online: Mr. Brown, if you're the Godfather of Soul, who are your godchildren?
(Laughs) Well, first I've got to name Hammer. I'm sorry he quit. I wish he'd come back. And you gotta get a word from Prince and read more


Turns out, Michael Chiklis — who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance as rogue cop Vic Mackey on The Shield — may have just been playing himself on the FX drama all along! Chiklis is being sued by his former managers for $1 million for breach of contract and fraud. Evolution Entertainment claims Chiklis owes the company commissions from his Shield gig. The suit also describes the actor as an egomaniac who once tried to get his on-screen wife fired. Chiklis's camp declined to comment, except to say that the personal attacks on "Michael's character... are absurd." read more


Simon and Garfunkel may reunite this fall for a national arena tour, Billboard reports. The duo — who gave a rare performance at the Grammys in February — last toured together in 1994. read more


Supermodel Rachel Hunter has filed for divorce from rocker-hubby Rod Stewart after 13 years of marriage. She cites irreconcilable differences. Oddly enough, the couple have been separated since 1998, so an obvious question would be: What the heck took so long? read more

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