Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Meg Ryan and Steven Soderbergh will lead the nine-member jury at next month's Cannes Film Festival... The Today show will kick off its outdoor summer concert series Friday with a performance by Fleetwood Mac. read more

WILL &#038 GRACE &#038 CASH

The four stars of Will &#038 Grace are finalizing a new deal that will keep them cracking gay jokes on the NBC comedy through the 2004-05 season, the sitcom's seventh. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes are due for hefty salary increases under the new pact. As for Rosario, the network has agreed to cover her transportation expenses. read more

YEP, THEY'RE MAKING IT OFFICIAL

Melissa Etheridge, 41, will marry Popular's Tammy Lynn Michaels, 28, at year's end, the rocker's rep confirms. Rumor has it that the newly-christened Spike TV is in negotiations to air the couple's wedding night live. read more

MANPOWER

The National Network (TNN) is undergoing yet another name change. Beginning June 16, the cable channel formerly known as The Nashville Network will be retitled Spike TV, a move meant to signal its focus on male viewers. The network — which has seen its ratings sag this past year — will be adding segments based on Men's Health and Stuff magazines, as well as shows about cars, sports and lesbian sex. read more

CHANGE IS GOOD

CNN is moving American Morning anchor Paula Zahn to prime time, where she'll helm a new 7-9 pm/ET program titled American Evening. Crossfire, which had been airing from 7-8 pm/ET, shifts to 4:30 pm/ET. Meanwhile, Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr came thisclose to cracking a smile yesterday. I swear. read more

FRIENDS, LOVERS AND CO-WORKERS

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt are mixing business with pleasure. The happy couple are in talks to produce a dark comedy together, with Aniston reportedly attached to star. The Friends Emmy winner would play a politician's wife who's confronted by the 10-year-old son she gave up for adoption. read more

ON THE MEND

Rodney Dangerfield — who underwent brain surgery last week as a prelude to a heart valve replacement — has been taken off a respirator. According to reports, the 81-year-old comedian's first request for doctors was to watch The Jerry Springer Show. His rumored second request? To get a tape of All My Children's April 22 episode. read more

Sheryl Crow Plays Hard to Get


Chris Isaak has had little trouble populating his eponymous Showtime series with big-name guests. For the show's upcoming third season, debuting in October, the wicked gamer has recruited Oakland A's pitcher Barry Zito, and pop stars Michelle Branch and Gloria Estefan. However, one celeb on his most-wanted list is proving a rather tough get: Sheryl Crow.

"She's booked until the year 2040," Isaak says of the singer, adding, "She has a disorder. It's a sickness called work disorder. I work more than anybody, and Sheryl Crow is trying to work more than me — and it's making me sick.

"Because of her disorder, she can't even take an evening off," he continues, in full-tilt deadpan mod read more

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Single Fantasy


For a mom of two with nearly 16 years of marriage under her belt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus sure is convincing as a desperately single, struggling jazz singer on Watching Ellie (returning to NBC tonight at 9:30 pm/ET). What makes the Seinfeld alumna revel in her role so?

"I guess it allows me to tap into my fantasy life," says Louis-Dreyfus, whose husband Brad Hall is exec producer of Ellie. "It's been quite some time since I've been single. It's a god-blessed gas!

"From a comedic point of view, it's great to be a needy, insecure, maybe slightly angry person," she adds. "It lends itself to a lot of humor."

Having worked through nine 24-episode seasons of Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfu read more

REMEMBERING DAVID BLOOM

Some of the biggest names in news are expected to turn out Wednesday for a memorial mass in honor of NBC newsman David Bloom at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Bloom died April 6 while covering the war in Iraq. A private family service was held over the weekend. read more

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