Today's News: Our Take


SEX STILL SELLS

Viewers are still hot for Sex. Sunday's kickoff of Sex and the City's sixth and final season aroused 7.3 million viewers, making it the show's fourth highest-rated episode ever. That's roughly on par with last summer's fifth-season premiere, which drew 7.9 million viewers. read more

NOTHING'S FOR FREE

Turns out, that "free" Rolling Stones concert we told you about yesterday has turned into a benefit. Fans will now have to shell out $16 (U.S.) to catch the Stones headline an all-day concert in Toronto on July 30. The outdoor event, aimed at reviving the city's tourism industry in the wake of the SARS mess, will also feature performances by Justin Timberlake, AC/DC and the Isley Brothers. In related news, action star Jackie Chan has agreed to appear in a Hong Kong tourism ad to help repair the city's image post-SARS. read more

SHORT CUTS

U.S. publisher Scholastic has ordered another 800,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, bringing the total in print to 9.3 million... Chris Tucker is in talks to reprise his role as Detective James Carter in Rush Hour 3, Variety reports... Comedy Central cut 20 percent of its workforce Tuesday (roughly 80 staffers) as the cable channel's operations are folded into MTV Networks. read more

SPIKE VS. SPIKE UPDATE

Spike Lee's fight to prevent Viacom from renaming its TNN cable network Spike TV will go to trial sans jury on Aug. 18. Meanwhile, the filmmaker was ordered to post $2.5 million bond to cover Viacom's damages in the event he loses the case. He has until Monday to come up with the cash. read more

SHRINK WRAPS

Kelsey Grammer confirms that Frasier will be signing off for good next May after 11 years. "This is the last season," the Emmy winner tells TV Guide Online. Grammer may want to share that bit of information with NBC, which has yet to herald an end to its long running comedy the way it has Friends. "[Frasier] will be on this coming season, and beyond that, we don't know," says a Peacock rep. Counters Grammer: "Right now, we're writing as though it's the end. We've laid out our plotlines for all 24 shows, and we're pretty happy with the way that arc is shaping up. So, something would have to happen fairly soon [in order for us to change course]." Like, say, cash? read more

TOBEY'S AA-OK

His name is Spider-Man, and he has a problem. Tobey Maguire, 28, reveals in Playboy's August issue that he's a card-carrying member of Alcoholics Anonymous. "It has totally changed my life," he says. "AA is no-frills spirituality. There are no hokey traditions. It's so simple." read more

HBO TACKLES 9/11

Glenn Close and Maggie Gyllenhaal have signed on to star in Strip Search, an HBO original movie that explores crime and punishment in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Variety reports. Sidney Lumet is on board to direct the project. read more

TORONTOPALOOZA

The Rolling Stones will headline a concert on July 30 in Toronto aimed at giving the city an economic boost in the wake of the SARS mess, Billboard reports. In addition to the Stones, the all-day outdoor show will feature 10 to 15 supporting acts. read more

Where in the World is Colby Donaldson?


Survivor producer Mark Burnett is thisclose to hooking a big fish for next winter's all-star Survivor: Colby Donaldson. The Australian Outback dreamboat confirms that CBS is reserving a tiki torch in his name.

"If the scheduling works out, I want to do it," says the 29-year-old cowboy, who, after his 2001 stint Down Under, relocated to Hollywood to pursue acting (and appeared in the 2002 PAX movie Another Pretty Face). Is Donaldson worried that a return to reality will jeopardize his career as a serious thesp? (His bud, Survivor host Jeff Probst, advised him not to return for that very reason.) "Could it be a risk? Sure," Donaldson muses. "But I wanted to compete on Survivor long before I [started] pursuing acting. I think it would be an awesome opportunity to go back and play an amazing game and have a wonderful experience all over again."

Meanwhil read more

TOUR DE FORCE

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band have added six new U.S. dates to their worldwide tour, including a Sept. 6 show at Boston's famed Fenway Park — the first time in history the venue will be used for a major concert. Among the other stops added to the tour: Chicago's Comiskey Park on Aug. 13, Detroit's Comerica Park on Sept. 21 and Milwaukee's Miller Park on Sept. 27. Tickets go on sale Saturday. read more

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