Today's News: Our Take


Hospitalized singer Luther Vandross has awoken from a coma caused by his April 16 stroke. "Late last week, he had what we would consider a first real breakthrough," his rep told USA Today. "He's much more alert, much more responsive neurologically. He was able to respond 'yes' or 'no' by nodding his head," although a tracheotomy tube prevents him from talking. It's amazing timing, since his new album Dance with My Father and his "best of" compilation, The Essential Luther Vandross, are to be released Tuesday. Go Luther! read more


Soledad O'Brien is a leading candidate to fill that co-host slot on CNN's American Morning recently vacated by Paula Zahn. O'Brien's current deal as co-anchor of NBC's Weekend Today expires at the end of this month. Network sources say she's paid "north of $300,000" — a move to CNN would likely double that paycheck. For the full scoop, read the Robins Report. read more


While Sex and the City's man-eater Samantha Jones wouldn't think twice about becoming a presidential mistress, things were a little more tame when her portrayer Kim Cattrall met Bill Clinton yesterday. The sexually charged duo were spotted chatting aboard the USS Mason during a Tommy Hilfiger party. Perhaps Cattrall was recommending her book, Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm, to the ladies' man. read more


Sharon Stone has been tapped to play Hillary Clinton in A&#038E's upcoming biopic about the former first lady and current senator of New York. The cable flick is being fast-tracked due to the buzz over Clinton's memoir, Living History. However, A&#038E will base their story on the book Hillary's Choice by Gail Sheehy, which chronicles Clinton's days in the White House and her reaction to her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky. read more


Sylvester Stallone is writing, directing and starring in a new flick called Rampart Scandal about police corruption in L.A., reports Variety... Recent NBC retiree Jane Pauley may be getting her own talk show come fall 2004, reports the New York Post... Good Morning America correspondent Lara Spencer will host the new season of PBS's Antiques Roadshow in January. read more

Fox Starlet's Blonde Ambition

On Tuesday night, Fox's Keen Eddie — the tale of an NYPD-turned-Scotland Yard detective — debuted to humble ratings. The show stars Mark Valley (Pasadena, Days of Our Lives) as Eddie Arlette, with blonde Brit Sienna Miller as his feisty flatmate, Fiona Bickerton. We couldn't help but notice the irony of her past guest spot on The American Embassy — Fox's first unsuccessful attempt at a quirky American-in-London show.

"I was the receptionist in the hairdresser's!" the 20-year-old recalls of her AE moment. "I was called 'Babe in Hairdresser' in the credits. I've also done a couple of low-budget English films and a drama for the BBC in London, but Keen Eddie is distinct i read more


Martha Stewart was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in New York and resigned as chairwoman and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. TV's unhappy homemaker was charged on nine counts related to her ImClone scandal, including securities fraud, obstruction of justice and making false statements. She and Peter Bacanovic, her former Merrill Lynch stockbroker, plead not guilty to the charges and were released without bail. Hoping to win support from the public, Stewart posted an open letter explaining her situation at and in USA Today. In it she says, "I want you to know that I am innocent — and that I will fight to clear my name." read more


American Juniors had a strong debut on Fox Tuesday, averaging 11.7 million viewers and garnering the best marks for a series premiere this summer. Beauty was the name of the game on NBC and UPN. The Miss Universe pageant scored 10.9 million viewers for the Peacock network, while America's Top Model was in vogue with 4.1 million viewers. By the way, in case you're curious: That guy who accosted Miss Universe Amelia Vega on stage has been identified as an, um, "overzealous" journalist from her home country, the Dominican Republic. read more


Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington has been hospitalized in L.A. since Friday night while doctors try to diagnose the cause of his severe back and abdominal pains. The band is putting their tour on hold until he recovers... Judy Davis is in talks to star as Nancy Reagan in an upcoming biopic about the former first lady and her family. Click here for more details... Adam Sandler is close to signing on to play the cab driver whom Tom Cruise takes hostage in Collateral, according to The Hollywood Reporter. read more

No More Drama: Emmy Contenders Revealed!

In this last of TV Guide Online's series of helpful memos to members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, critic Matt Roush, Michael Ausiello and our bumper crop of professional couch potatoes pick the best of the tube's top dramas. Of course, we're not saying the Academy must nominate the shows we suggest. Us? No way. We wouldn't dream of doing a thing like that. As if! All we're implying is, if there is any justice whatsoever in the world, when the actual nods are announced on July 3, we'll find the Academy has given these programs the props they're due. And the contenders oughta be:

24: By now, even as cool as the one-day-per-season gimmick is, we're over it. What we aren't — and can't get — over is the mind-blowing consistency with which this show surprises us. In a year in which the show's filthy-rich baddies sought to start WWIII, the only thing we could be sure of week in a read more

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