Today's News: Our Take

Seven Silly Questions for Broadway's Urban Cowboy

Urban Cowboy may have gotten bull-whipped by critics when it opened (and dang near closed) on Broadway last month, but 24-year-old scene-wrangler Matt Cavenaugh seems to have escaped the ambush relatively unscathed. Yessirree, the buzz on the theater scene is that even though Cowboy is a turkey, John Travolta's successor in the musical adaptation of his 1980 film is a star on the rise. Nonetheless, challenges remain on the horizon. Eventually, the Arkansas native will have to convince folks that, contrary to what all those risqué publicity stills suggest, he's more than just a purdy face and washboard abs. And right now, Gotham's new It boy must stare down our Seven Silly Questions about... um, his purdy face and washboard abs.
TV Guide Online: Ads for Urban Cowboy show you riding a mechanical bull with a half-opene read more


The mother of talk radio loudmouth Dr. Laura Schlessinger died of natural causes, not murder, the Los Angeles coroner's office confirms. Police initially suspected homicide because items in 77-year-old Yolanda Schlessinger's house were strewn about when officers found her body last December. read more


Newlyweds Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer have purchased a waterfront penthouse apartment in Sydney for $8.5 million... Warner Bros. is releasing four Barbra Streisand films — Up the Sandbox, What's Up, Doc?, The Main Event and Nuts — on DVD July 1... In honor of Mother's Day, Cartoon Network will air a seven-hour tribute to Wilma Flintstone on Sunday, May 11 beginning at 12 pm/ ET. read more


NBC is developing a TV movie about the dramatic rescue of 19-year-old POW Jessica Lynch. The network hopes to have the pic on the air by next fall, whether it's good or not. read more


Despite a 67 percent sales decline, Linkin Park's Meteora held on to the No. 1 position on Billboard's album chart for a second-consecutive week. The band's sophomore CD sold another 265,000 copies. White Stripes' new Elephant disc debuted at No. 6 with sales of 126,000 copies, edging out The Very Best of Cher, which entered the chart at No. 7 with with 122,000 copies. In related news, Cher's farewell special on NBC Tuesday night attracted 16.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched music special this season. read more


Earlier this week, published reports said that David Letterman's cue card guy Tony Mendez (known to viewers as "Big Ink") quit CBS's Late Show for personal reasons. Well, the dude apparently changed his mind, because now we hear that he's staying. Apparently, someone reminded him that he gets paid to hold poster board. read more


American Idol viewers' love for Rickey Smith was anything but endless. The 23-year-old student teacher got the boot on last night's show, narrowing the field to just seven finalists. Surprisingly, Kimberly Caldwell, who once again ranked among the bottom three, didn't have an emotional breakdown following the announcement. Meanwhile, if you have questions for Rickey — who will be sitting down with TV Guide Online in the next few days — send them via the link at the bottom of this page. Extra consideration will be given to folks whose questions end with kind words about me. read more


Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon's anti-war stance has led the Baseball Hall of Fame to cancel a 15th anniversary celebration of Bull Durham, an event which was to feature the outspoken thesps. Hall president Dale Petroskey, a former White House assistant press secretary under Ronald Reagan, sent the couple a letter saying their remarks "ultimately could put our troops in even more danger." He then asked them for an autograph. read more


An LAPD officer has been accused of using law enforcement computers to access confidential records of stars such as Sean Penn, Sharon Stone and Halle Berry. According to the Los Angeles Times, the city paid $387,500 last month to settle a lawsuit which alleged that officer Kelly Chrisman obtained top-secret celeb scoop and then sold it to the tabs. read more


Betting that viewers have not gotten their fill of Michael Jackson, Fox will kick off May sweeps on April 24 with Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies, a two-hour special in which the scandal-prone baby dangler will give "unprecedented access to thousands of hours of never-before-seen footage." The special will also feature an exclusive interview with Jackson, to be accompanied by a laugh track. read more

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