Today's News: Our Take


LIZZIE RETURNS!

Hilary Duff has traded in a mouse for a frog. The teen sensation, who in May walked away from the Lizzie McGuire franchise when Disney failed to show her the money, is headlining two hourlong specials on the WB, the first of which will air in September. Titled Hilary Duff's Birthday Celebration (she turns 16 on Sept. 28), the star-studded event also ties in with the release of Duff's first solo CD, Metamorphosis. Speaking of Duff, the actress-singer showed up at the WB's TCA party last night in Hollywood on the arm of ex-Dawson's Creek hunk (and upcoming star of the network's drama One Tree Hill) Chad Michael Murray. However, they both told me they were "just friends." Lies! More lies! To see a pic of the happy couple, read more

WHY'D SHE DO THAT?

Sharon Osbourne met the press Sunday at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood to tout her upcoming syndicated talk show, but reporters were more interested in asking why the heck she agreed to do another season of MTV's The Osbournes. "It's about squeezing out every moment that I possibly can in my life," said Ozzy's better half, who confirmed that she is currently cancer-free. "When somebody says to you, 'You've got a 33 percent [chance] of survival,' you rethink your life." Sharon also conceded that The Osbournes was partially to blame for son Jack's drug problems, because he "had money... and he had people around him that wanted to be near him because he was on a TV show." For my minute-by-minute account of press tour, click here. read more

CURSE LIFTED

Turns out Hollywood can make a successful pirate movie. Disney's theme park ride-turned-film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl captured the No. 1 spot at the box office over the weekend with $46.4 million — a sum that exceeded industry expectations. Since opening Wednesday, the pic has taken in $70.4 million. Also opening to better-than-expected grosses: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which captured the No. 2 spot with $23.3 million. The strong bow caught many by surprise considering the pic garnered some of the worst reviews since Madonna found herself Swept Away. Meanwhile, last week's top flick, Terminator 3, fell to No. 3 with nearly $20 million. read more

MEADOW MARRIES

Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler married her manager AJ DiScala Friday in Brooklyn, N.Y. Among the "family" members in attendance: Edie Falco, Aida Turturro and Robert Iler. No word on why TV pop James Gandolfini was MIA, but I bet it was moolah-related. read more

WEIGHT JUST A SECOND...

Expect to see less of Gilmore Girls scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy this fall. The actress has shed more than 75 lbs. — and she ain't done yet. "I still have some more to go," she shared last night at the WB's TCA bash. Ironically, viewers may not know what they're missing: Since McCarthy's Gilmore alter ego Sookie is preggers, the actress's tummy will be padded for the first half of the season! Now that's some cruel fate. read more

OH, BROTHER

There's been another crisis in the Big Brother house. CBS removed 33-year-old contestant Scott Weintraub from the show Saturday after he threw a tantrum. He later apologized, and blamed his anger mismanagement on a past outbreak of genital warts. That's not a joke, people. Really. read more

JANE D'OH!

Tarzan and Jane are splitting up — at least the title of their show is. The WB announced at the TCA press tour that its upcoming loincloth drama will be called, simply, Tarzan. "[Tarzan and Jane] was too narrow and too limiting," explained Jordan Levin, the network's entertainment president. "[Tarzan] represents a much broader scope for the series." They should just call this thing Travis's Six-Pack and be done with it. read more

IDOL AMBITIONS

Hey, kids! Aspire to croon like Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard? Auditions for American Idol 3 — which debuts in January 2004 — will get underway next month in L.A., Houston, Atlanta and New York City. For full details, visit idolonfox.com. read more

FAREWELL

The music world lost two of its greats over the weekend. Legendary jazz pioneer Benny Carter died on Saturday at age 95, and Buena Vista Social Club frontman Compay Segundo died early Monday at age 95. read more

Orlando Bloom Battles Pirates


Actor Orlando Bloom, 26, never tires of putting on elaborate costumes for films. The dreamy, dark-haired Brit sported long, blond locks as a badass elf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, military garb for Black Hawk Down, and swashbuckling attire for his current movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

"I can't believe most of the opportunities that I've had," Bloom gushes. "I've sort of lived most of those boyhood, childish, backyard dreams [by playing] an elf and a bush ranger in [next year's Heath Ledger film] Ned Kelly, and a boxer in [the upcoming] The Calcium Kid and now, a pirate.

"It's all a bit much," he grins, "but I suppose I'm goi read more

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