Today's News: Our Take


Barbara Walters is finally getting around to replacing Lisa Ling on The View. Beginning in early September, Walters and her View crew will kick off two months of on-air tryouts featuring up to 20 contenders. Up first: Real World alum Rachel Campos, who was a finalist for Ling's slot the first time around. read more

Which Sex Symbol's Bound for the City?

We'd bet our monogrammed handcuffs that when Sex and the City climaxes in early 2004, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) will shag off into the sunset with her elusive longtime lover, Mr. Big (Chris Noth). Nonetheless, the HBO hitcom is determined to try to keep us guessing by introducing our bed-hopping heroine to a new lust interest, to be played by not just an A-lister, but an A-plus-lister. (And no, it's not David Duchovny; turns out, the X-Files grad will only be passing through next month.) "Why would we bring in a major name," argues executive producer Michael Patrick King, "if [Big] was already [the clear winner]?" Um, did we mention that they'd like to keep us gu read more

Nothing for Joaquin Phoenix

Either Joaquin Phoenix is a Zen Buddhist master or he really dislikes talking to the press. TV Guide Online asked the Signs star — who's out promoting Buffalo Soldiers (opening tomorrow) — what he does when he isn't busy filming one of his intense performances. His response? "Nothing."

Um, could he elaborate? "My forte is nothing," he grins, adding he does suffer some work withdrawal away from movie sets. "When you're making a movie, you feel such an immense amount of pressure every single day to get things perfect. And, in some ways, that's addictive. Often, I go through this period of usually a month after I finish a movie [where] I'm going, 'What the f--- do I do now?' I always have that experience, like the first days of summer vacation, where you wake up and go, 'Oh my God, I'm late for school!'"

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Producers of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines changed the name of a character in the film from Scott Peterson to Scott Mason as a result of the high-profile Laci Peterson case. Scott Peterson stands accused of murdering his wife and their unborn child. In the film, Scott Mason is engaged to a woman who is kidnapped. read more


Following in the footsteps of Destiny's Child, Ashanti and Kelly Osbourne, American Idol champ Kelly Clarkson has signed on as the new spokeswoman for Candie's footwear. read more


On last night's Fame finale, viewers officially forgave pint-sized pop-star wannabe Harlemm Lee for fibbing about his age and named him the winner of the talent contest. Runner-up Shannon Bex scored, too; after predicting that the Britney look-alike would emerge victorious, judge Johnny Wright offered her the same record deal that he owed Lee. Meanwhile, we continued sulking because our fave — Alex Boyd, the mod Sinatra — was sent packing weeks ago. read more


Steven Eckholdt, who most recently starred opposite Nia Vardalos in CBS's My Big Fat Greek Life, has landed a much steadier gig: The actor is joining the cast of NBC's The West Wing as the husband of President Jed Bartlet's eldest daughter (played by X-Files alum Annabeth Gish). read more


It's official: NBC announced at today's Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood that it has signed a deal with Matt LeBlanc to headline a Friends spinoff, to debut in September 2004. Joey will likely take over the Thursday/8 pm timeslot soon to be vacated by Friends. LeBlanc's lucrative new pact also includes a two-picture movie deal with Warner Bros., the studio behind Friends and its spinoff. Also announced at press tour: NBC plans a dishy behind-the-scenes movie on Charlie's Angels, which aired on ABC from 1976-1981. The Peacock skewered another Alphabet classic, Three's Company, with a tell-all telepic back in May. (For TV Guide critic Matt Roush's reaction to Joey, click here.) read more


Paul McCartney has taken out a full-page ad in today's Louisville Courier-Journal urging KFC to improve the treatment of the 750 million chickens it raises (and kills) annually in "factory farms." Says the former Beatle: "These remarkable animals are deserving of at least a little kindness." KFC's response to Sir Paul? "Let It Be." read more


Tennis great Serena Williams is causing a racket on the small screen. Williams will play a reformed gang member on parole in an Oct. 1 episode of the Showtime drama Street Time. The show's producers created the role specifically for her, so she better not screw it up. read more

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