Today's News: Our Take


TAKE A BOW

Madonna's much-hyped kiddie book The English Roses has topped the New York Times's bestseller list for children's books. It sold 57,369 copies in its first full week in stores, ranking No. 5 overall. read more

SHOW OF SUPPORT

U.S. troops in Iraq were treated to a surprise performance Thursday by the Bruce Willis-fronted rock band The Accelerator. It's unclear if the show boosted or lowered morale, but I'm looking into it. read more

REMEMBERED

Celebrated author and society bon vivant George Plimpton died Thursday night in his Manhattan home of unknown causes. He was 76. Most famous for his football book Paper Lion, he was a friend in his lifetime to many athletes, political bigwigs and famous literati, such as Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth and John Updike. Plimpton was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters last year. read more

WEDNESDAY RATINGS

West Wing fans are giving NBC's troubled political drama a second chance. Wednesday's season premiere attracted 18.1 million viewers and improved 32 percent over last May's finale among adults 18-49. ABC's latest Bachelor also got off to a strong start with 12.4 million viewers. read more

CRIS CROSS

Either aspiring actor/choreographer Cris Judd has a sense of humor about rumors that his marriage to J.Lo ended because a third party cut in, or I'm just reaching to put a juicy spin on this. Regardless, the I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! champ will appear on the Oct. 13 episode of UPN's Eve as a salsa instructor who tangoes into Shelly (Eve) and JT's (Jason George) relationship. read more

THEY'RE HERE, THEY'RE QUEER

NBC-owned Bravo is thisclose to finalizing a deal to renew Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for a second season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bravo may order as many as 40 episodes of the makeover hit. The new pact would also include a hefty raise for the Fab Five, who currently pocket just $3,000 per episode. Incidentally, news of the renewal comes amid buzz that the public may be tiring of Queer Eye. Tuesday's episode took a hit in the Nielsens, attracting 2.4 million viewers — down from 2.8 million the week before. read more

CAST AWAY

When Gilmore Girls star Milo Ventimiglia returns to Stars Hollow later this season, his character, Jess, may have a surprise waiting for him: his mother. Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino tells me she's "toying" with the idea of introducing Jess's never-before-seen mom (and Luke's sister) during February sweeps. "That would be a nice chance to get a really cool actress," Sherman-Palladino says. "Someone a little loony." Paging Sean Young... read more

GOODBYE, WHITEY

Former child star Stanley Fafara (Leave It to Beaver) has died of complications from hernia-related surgery. He was 53. Back in the 1950s, Fafara gained TV fame as Whitey, a tow-headed pal of Beaver Cleaver (Jerry Mathers). Sadly, he never made an acting comeback after Beaver ended, instead falling into a life of drug abuse, alcoholism and petty crime. However, he was reportedly sober for about eight years at the time of his death. read more

MUSIC WORLD MOURNS

Eighties rocker Robert Palmer, whose hits included "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible," died Friday in Paris of a heart attack. He was 54. Palmer is likely best remembered for his iconic "Addicted to Love" video, which featured a bevy of lookalike models strumming guitars in the background. It became one of MTV's most popular videos of all time. Palmer later teamed with members of Duran Duran to form the "super group" known as Power Station. read more

DOWNSIZING

Chris O'Donnell has apparently taken a liking to this TV thing. The upcoming Practice guest star has signed a seven-figure deal with CBS to star in either a comedy or a drama project for the network. read more

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