Today's News: Our Take


Two weeks ago, Liza Minnelli checked back into the Caron Center in rural Pennsylvania for an eight-week "self help" program. Her publicist calls Minnelli's stay there routine, insisting the singer-actress "is obliged" to get treatment "eight weeks every year." (As long as she's married to David Gest, that is.) read more


Breakfast Club star Anthony Michael Hall is being sued by the insurer of The Dead Zone, his Stephen King-inspired TV series about a psychic school teacher. Chubb Insurance of Canada claims the 34-year-old actor owes them $900,000 because he missed work back in 2001, when he was hospitalized for "bipolar affective disorder depression with psychotic features." In court papers, Chubb says he failed to disclose his mental illness on insurance forms filled out by Zone's cast. read more


Though expected to appeal to readers of all ages, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — in stores June 21 — will have two British covers: one for grown ups, one for kids. The adult cover depicts a somber black and white phoenix. The kid's cover of the fifth Potter novel shows an orange and red bird rising from the flames. read more


Madonna made headlines on Oscar weekend — but not the kind she would have liked. The aspiring actress's stink bomb of a film, Swept Away, was the big "winner" at the 23rd annual Razzie awards, which recognize the year's lamest cinema efforts. The movie picked up five trophies, including worst film, worst performance by an actress (Madonna), worst remake, worst screen couple (Madonna and co-star Adriano Giannini) and worst director (Madge's hubby Guy Ritchie.) Adding insult to injury, the singer — who shared worst actress honors with pop tart Britney Spears for Crossroads — was also singled out as worst supporting actress for her cameo in Die Another Day. And what can only be described as an egregious oversight, Jennifer Lopez went home empty handed for her role in Enough. Jenny was robbed! read more


Todd Haynes's 1950s melodrama Far From Heaven won a field-best five trophies at Saturday's Independent Spirit Awards, including best picture, best actress (Julianne Moore), best director (Haynes), best supporting actor (Dennis Quaid) and cinematography. Antwone Fisher's breakout star Derek Luke won best actor and Emily Mortimer was named best supporting actress for Lovely & Amazing. read more


The 75th Annual Academy Awards went on as scheduled Sunday night, and war politics and jazz were in the air. As expected, Chicago danced off with a field-best six trophies, including best picture and best supporting actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones. In two major upsets, Roman Polanski scored best director kudos for The Pianist and the film's star, Adrien Brody, walked off with best actor honors. Elsewhere, a tearful Nicole Kidman (love her) won best actress for The Hours and Chris Cooper won supporting actor honors for Adaptation. Several celebs used their time at the dais to speak out against the war, most notably filmmaker Michael Moore, whose over-the-top anti-Bush tirade drew mostly boos from the audience. (Someone needs to simmer down now!) Oh yeah, and Eminem won for best original song. So from now on, it's "Oscar winner Slim Shady" to you. For a complete list of winners, click read more


Wondering why Gwyneth Paltrow hasn't been out in force plugging her new flight attendant farce View From the Top, which opens today? I'm betting it's because she knows the film, which is getting its wings clipped by critics, is a stinker. "It was a darker comedy when we started, which is what really drew me to it," she told me last fall, "and it's been sort of commercialized along the way." read more


Bringing Down the House was the No. 1 film at the box office for the third-consecutive weekend. The Steve Martin-Queen Latifah comedy grossed another $16.2 million for a three-week total of $83.4 million. Horror flick Dreamcatcher, which opened at No. 2 with $15.3 million, fared much better than fellow newcomers View from the Top (No. 4 with $7.6 million), Piglet's Big Movie (No. 7 with $6.1 million) and the Cuba Gooding Jr. farce Boat Trip (No. 10 with $3.7 million). Note to Cuba: Bitch-slap your agent, and then fire him. read more

Idol Controversy: Was Vanessa Robbed?

Damn those American Idol writers! If it weren't for that diva-esque banter they encouraged Vanessa Olivarez to recite last week — in which she slammed pretty-boy host Ryan Seacrest — the 21-year-old Atlantan might still be in the running for the title. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Fortunately, the pretty-sassy-in-pink hair colorist hasn't sprouted a Julia DeMato-sized chip on her shoulder in the wake of her shocking defeat. "I think it can be a positive thing," she tells TV Guide Online of her ouster. "I'm turning it around. I always try and look at the positive in everything." Spoken like a girl who just had dinner with rocker Melissa Etheridge. For more on that, as well as Olivarez's take on who should succeed Kelly Clarkson as Idol champ, dig in...

TV Guide Online: Do you think the script read more

Seven Silly Questions for Chris Isaak

Some celebs just don't know what to make of our Seven Silly Questions. Take Chris Isaak. The singer-actor-josher, who broke away from Showtime's Chris Isaak Show to shoot a guest spot on NBC's on-the-move Ed (airing tomorrow at 9 pm/ET), struggled to get into the spirit of our witty game. But just when the quid pro quo was officially goin' nowhere, baby did a good good thing: He threw caution to the wind and got forever blue.
TV Guide Online: Since Stanley Kubrick wanted "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing" in Eyes Wide Shut, did you negotiate a deal for usage in exchange for your not having to stay awake through the movie?
Chris Isaak:
(long pause) What's your next question?

TVGO: When you made read more

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