Today's News: Our Take


RURAL FOLKS HAVE FEELINGS TOO!

An Appalachian advocacy group is blasting CBS's upcoming reality show The Real Beverly Hillbillies. The Kentucky-based Center for Rural Strategies took out ads in several major newspapers Tuesday criticizing the series for mocking "low-income rural folks." The show — which places a rural family in a Beverly Hills mansion — is slated to debut sometime in the spring or summer. read more

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

After starring in a string of shlocky flicks (Maid in Manhattan! Enough!), Jennifer Lopez is getting serious about her film career. The actress-singer is in final talks to headline the big-screen drama An Unfinished Life, to be directed by Cider House Rules helmer Lasse Hallstrom. J.Lo would play a young single mother who is forced to move in with her estranged father-in-law. read more

HBO PRACTICES ABSTINENCE

After six years of foreplay, Sex and the City is about to climax. HBO announced Tuesday that the Emmy-winning comedy's upcoming two-part sixth season will be its last. Twenty more episodes of Sex will be shot, twelve of which will begin airing in June, with the remaining eight running in early 2004. In other HBO news, the network has renewed The Wire for a second season and production on the third season of Six Feet Under is currently underway. Additionally, HBO will premiere its new David Milch-produced Western Deadwood in 2004. read more

SAD FAREWELL

Guitarist Kevin MacMichael — the '80s rocker who co-founded Cutting Crew with singer Nick Van Eede — has died of lung cancer at 51. They're best known for their Grammy-nominated hit single "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" back in 1987. And a damn fine song it was. read more

FASHION GRUMP STRIKES AGAIN

Fussy fashionista Mr. Blackwell has unleashed his "Worst Dressed List" for 2002, and his latest critical spitefest makes Joan Rivers look downright sweet. He calls Meg Ryan a "swap-meet fashion wreck." Scantily-clad celebs also take a hard hit this year: Shakira is labeled "overwrought and underdressed" in "Madonna's old clothes," while Christina Aguilera's "bimbo bombs wouldn't cover a gnat." And as for Kelly Osbourne, she's pegged a "fright-wigged baby doll" in "Ozzy's hand-me-downs." Well, &!$# you! read more

SHORT CUTS

Nielsen estimates that 18.6 million viewers watched the premiere of Fox's limited-run reality series Joe Millionaire on Monday. It was the network's best Monday night performance since 1995... Susan Sarandon has reportedly expressed interest in playing Bette Davis in an upcoming A&E biopic about the screen icon... Gary Oldman is in talks to play wizard Sirius Black in the third Harry Potter flick, Prisoner of Azkaban... Madonna has agreed to serve as a presenter at the 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards, airing Jan. 19 on NBC. read more

YOU SAY TOMATO...

Avril Lavigne committed a major gaffe at Tuesday's Grammy nominations announcement. While reading off the nominees for best male rock vocal performance, the 18-year-old Canadian crooner mispronounced David Bowie's name. Instead of calling the veteran rocker Bowie (like doughy), she referred to him as Bowie (like Howie). "I knew that was going to happen," Lavigne later told The Associated Press. "I knew I was going to pronounce someone's name wrong." Raphael Saadiq we could understand, but David Bowie?!?! For a list of the major nominees, click here. read more

Ray Liotta: Gunning for an Oscar?


Just like co-star Jason Patric, Ray Liotta's treading familiar ground as a police detective in the the dark crime drama Narc (in select theaters). But though Copland and Unlawful Entry taught him how to hold a gun and talk like a man of the law, Liotta notes that gruff and damaged Detective Henry Oak demanded a completely different, more nuanced performance. And judging by the high marks he's getting from critics — and the Oscar buzz reverberating throughout Hollywood — the 47-year-old actor more than rose to the challenge.

"This is a much more real human being," he says of his Narc alter ego, who is searching for the perp who murderered his partner. "With my other cop roles, one was a drug addict, in Copland read more

Run DMC Star's Comeback


This fall, the hip-hop world was rocked by the fatal shooting of Run DMC member Jam Master Jay. In the tragedy's wake, bandmate Daryl "DMC" McDaniels stays strong by holding onto his fond memories of the pioneering rap group's work.

"Run DMC was always about love," he tells TV Guide Online. "We weren't really the greatest rappers in the world, but everybody gave us love and we always gave it back. It was 70 percent love and 30 percent talent with us! We only did what the people wanted us to do."

With the release of her Under Construction album, his pal Missy Elliott has lit a fire under the grieving rapper. "That s--- is so deep and real," he says of the hip-hop bad girl's latest work. "I told Missy that's a perfect 10 album. I think that might be album of the year. People don't really make albums like that no more. That s--- inspired me to keep rapping!"

McDaniels is p read more

Farscape: Sci Fi's Murder by Numbers?


Since the Sci Fi Channel announced that the 11 new episodes of Farscape that begin airing Friday (at 8 pm/ET) will be the cult hit's last, the critics have spoken, the producers have spoken, and Lord knows, the fans have spoken. (Although Jim Henson Co. is developing a Farscape feature and anime project at starburst speed, and looking into syndication options, alienated viewers are nonetheless calling for a boycott of the cable network that shot down their favorite space opera.) In fact, just about the only entity that hasn't put in its two-cents' worth is Sci Fi... until now, that is. "We really tried to take the high road," says the cabler's president, Bonnie Hammer. "Instead of going out there and in any way belittling our partners, we kind of remained quiet." However, at last she is ready to break her silence and, in an exclusive interview with TV Guide Online, explain why the intergalactic castawa read more

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