Today's News: Our Take


SUNDAY Cold Case Perry Mason...

SUNDAY

Cold Case
Perry Mason doesn't have anything on Detective Lilly Rush (Kathryn Morris). Yes, sir. It seems she just has to mention a few incriminating, but not airtight, pieces of evidence to a suspect and "Bam!" after years of silence, it's time to come clean to a very intimidating Meg Ryan look-alike. This time it was that awkward loser guy who killed his buddy over petty jealousy and 3,000 bucks. Now tell me, are we supposed to figure out the "mystery" way ahead of Lilly and the gang? If so, she should toss her partners the occasional — and delicious — Scooby snack during the investigation. But if not, well, at least they have some pretty cool POV camera work.

Titanic
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MASTER AND COMMANDER AND DADA

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe and wife Danielle Spencer became the proud parents of a future gladiator over the weekend. Charles Spencer Crowe was born Sunday night in Sydney, Australia, and weighed in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces. This is the couple's first child. read more

Kelly Clarkson Against the World


Forget ambassadors of good will. The United States is sending Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol winner, to represent in a sing-off against Idol victors from 11 other countries in Fox's World Idol. (The competition airs Christmas Day at 8 pm/ET, and the winner is announced New Year's Day at 9 pm/ET.) But before she goes to face the music in the United Kingdom, we found out what Miss Independent thinks about her global showdown, her movie misfire and whether she's destined to be a Broadway Baby.

TV Guide Online: Think you've got an edge over the other Idols, having been on a world tour?
Clarkson:
There's actually a few of us that have gone to other countries, so everybody has that benefit. I have been around in the U.K. and other countries in Europe for quite some time, but in Australia, Spain and Italy, I'm just now starting. And if people do know me, they don't know me, the read more

POOR GRACE

Exiting Will & Grace co-star Harry Connick, Jr. has inked a deal with 20th Century Fox to star in and produce a big-screen musical romance titled Ben Invention. The actor-crooner will also contribute original music to the film, which follows an isolated man (Connick) who ventures into civilization in search of love. read more

MARKY MARK'S THE BOSS

HBO has given the green light to a comedy series from rapper-turned-actor-turned-producer Mark Wahlberg. Titled Entourage, the show follows the support staff of a high-profile movie star. Wahlberg serves as one of the show's exec producers. read more

KEY ENDORSEMENT

Pope John Paul II has given Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ two snaps up. "It shows how it was," he reportedly said of the flick, which depicts the crucifixion of Christ. The pontiff's approval follows similar praise from several top Vatican officials, but stands in stark contrast to the reception Passion got from some Jewish leaders, who complained the movie suggests Jews were responsible for Christ's death. read more

JACKO CHARGED

California prosecutors formally charged Michael Jackson Thursday with seven counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under age 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent (reportedly wine). The allegations — which Jacko's attorney says are being driven by "money and revenge" — involve a now-14-year-old cancer-stricken boy who Jackson allegedly invited to stay with him at his Neverland Ranch. District Attorney Tom Sneddon returned Jackson's passport to allow him to travel to London for the holidays and agreed to delay the arraignment a week to Jan. 16. On a happier note, Michael's sis Janet has been tapped to perform at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show on Feb. 1. read more

Billy Boyd: Ring Master


Even if you haven't seen any of the Lord of the Rings films — anyone? — chances are, you'll know Billy Boyd from another little flick he did this year, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. In both Master and Return of the King, the final film in the Rings trilogy, he stole scenes right out from under stars like Russell Crowe and Sir Ian McKellen. And that's just the way he likes it.

"Playing the lead is too hard," the affable actor jokes to TV Guide Online. "[It's easier to] just steal scenes. Sometimes, I think not all but a lot of lead characters are bit too straight down the middle. They have to anchor the film as they are playing [their roles]. So I'm kind of read more

Line of Fire Hires Ex-Con

TV tough guys are a dime a dozen, but Line of Fire's Brian Goodman comes with actual street cred. The 40-year-old actor plays a Mob henchman in the gritty ABC drama — Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET — and his real-life past wasn't too far from his role. Here, Goodman tells us how he went from doing prison time to primetime.


TV Guide Online: Were you a bad kid?
Goodman:
I wasn't a bad kid. Lost, confused and scared was what I was. I was unfortunately from a broken home. South Boston was a cold place, and the area I existed in was violent and I was trying to survive. I was more a scared kid than a bad kid. I was sleeping in hallways at 12 years old and making money on the street and that became all I knew. I feel I was a survivor.

TVGO: Why did you go to prison?
Goodman:
Well, I started to pay a penance for the drug trafficking I did in the '80s. I got myself addicted to cocaine and alcohol — I was nine years clean and sober De read more

JTT RULES!

Home Improvement's Jonathan Taylor Thomas is joining ABC's 8 Simple Rules... for three episodes this February as Bridget's study partner-turned-crush — like there's any other kind! read more

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