Today's News: Our Take


The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King grossed a record $8 million from midnight screenings Wednesday. The previous early-bird record holder was The Matrix Reloaded, which brought in $5 million during Wednesday-night previews last summer before word got out that it sucked. read more


California prosecutors formally charged Michael Jackson with seven counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under age 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. The allegations 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. read more


Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is going legit. The rap mogul will make his Broadway debut this spring in a revival of A Raisin in the Sun. In other theater news, Richard Dreyfuss has been cast in the London production of The Producers, which is scheduled to open on Nov. 9, 2004. He'll play rapscallion Broadway producer Max, um... Nathan Lane's role. read more


Jason Priestley has signed on for seven episodes of Fox's struggling drama Tru Calling. The 90210 grad will play Jack Harper, a new forensic attendant who will work alongside Tru (Eliza Dushku). He'll debut during February sweeps. read more


When it comes to honoring the best in television, the Golden Globes are so on the ball. (Emmy, prepare to take notes... ) Case in point: The Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc. awarded HBO's Angels in America — possibly the most acclaimed TV production ever — a field-best seven nominations, including best miniseries/movie, best actor for Al Pacino and best actress for Meryl Streep. (One gripe: While four of the epic's supporting players were recognized, Angels's real star, Justin Kirk, was not.) The Globes also singled out such cultish hits as Nip/Tuck, Arrested Development and The Office, not to mention breakout performers like Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn and Monk's Bitty Schram. Now, if only the HFPA would start appreciating the brilliance of Scrubs. (All right, two gripes.) For a complete list of nominees, click read more

That '70s Show You know, when...

That '70s Show
You know, when I was growing up, Christmas episodes were about Alf helping a sick kid and Michael getting Hope a tree, even though he was Jewish. Not Ashton Kutcher trying to get Shannon Elizabeth naked (which never seemed to be a problem before). Though if a fuzzy, cat-eating alien could make my season bright back then, I guess it's not so much a stretch that the worst actress on the planet could play a librarian now. At least she makes the rest of the cast look Emmy-worthy.

The Simple Life
Oh my god, Nicole Richie and I finally have something in common! We both suffer from C.A.D., the crippling charge-account disease that forces one to shop wherever possible. Honey, I feel your pain and totally get using that cattle-auctioneer's feed-store tab to buy Janet a bird-feeder for Mother's Day. Here's a tip from my roomie: When the stores are all closed, there's always QVC! As for Paris's swipe read more

Survivor Sandra's Surprise Win

Earning the title of Sole Survivor is no mean feat. Doing so without having a single vote cast against you during any Tribal Council is even more impressive. But Survivor: Pearl Islands winner Sandra Diaz-Twine made it all look like a piece of cake. Still, she was pretty surprised by her landslide six-to-one victory over Boy Scout troop leader Lill in Sunday's finale.

"It was crazy because I didn't expect it," Diaz-Twine tells TV Guide Online. "I didn't worry about the money. I thought, 'I'm going to get $100,000 [for the runner-up's prize]. I can pay my bills and buy a car, and by then, I'll be at zip.' And then, for [Survivor] to give me the GMC Envoy too, that was great. Now, I don't even have to buy a car. I can't wait to roll!

"Even with the [jury's] line of questioning and comments," she enthuses, "I still thought, 'Just because they jump all over Lill doesn't mean they won't give her their vote.' I had said in one episo read more

Jake Vs. Six Million Dollar Man

Two generations of scientifically engineered superheroes collide tonight when Lee Majors guest stars on the UPN action series Jake 2.0 (9 pm/ET). The former Six Million Dollar Man plays secret agent Dick Fox, who is lured out of retirement to help Jake (Christopher Gorham) track down a dangerous KGB operative. So why can't Jake — who possesses super-speed, super-strength and a handy telepathic connection to electronic devices — accomplish this mission alone? Apparently Fox has a history with the enemy agent, which makes him the man for the job. But according to Majors, there might be a deeper reason for his involvement. "The episode leaves you wondering if Fox also had special powers once," he says. "And it leaves the door open for me to return." Right, but here's the real question: Could Jake take Steve Austin in a fight? Here's how the two stack up against each other, in the words of the actors who play them.

"S read more

Wild Child to KO The O.C.

In tonight's episode of Fox's The O.C. (airing at 9 pm/ET, not that we really need to tell you that!), the Cohen clan suffers a shock. Does Ryan smile? Does Sandy pluck? Does Seth shut up? Nope. Kirsten's incorrigible kid sister swings into town. "Hailey is a rebellious wild child," her portrayer, Amanda Righetti, tells TV Guide Online. "She's a freeloader living off Dad's money."

In other words, she's Paris Hilton! "Yeah, I guess you could sort of view her like that," the actress reluctantly agrees. "She kind of does her own thing [and makes a habit of] involving herself with people she shouldn't be involved with."

Sounds like our kinda gal. So, although Righetti is only scheduled to appear on the hit soap through the end of next month, there's every chance that she'll be back again. She certainly deserves a break! A year ago, she headlined the Fox pilot No Place Like Home (from the creators of Party of Five read more


Robin Williams entertained American and Australian troops at the Baghdad International Airport on Tuesday during a U.S. military show that also featured actress Shannon Tweed, wrestler Kurt Angle and stock car driver Mike Wallace. "I'm looking at a group of heavily armed people here," Williams joked. "I'm telling myself, 'If you're not funny, it's a problem.'" read more

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