Today's News: Our Take


LEGAL WOES

Breakfast Club star Anthony Michael Hall is being sued by the insurer of The Dead Zone, his Stephen King-inspired TV series about a psychic school teacher. Chubb Insurance of Canada claims the 34-year-old actor owes them $900,000 because he missed work back in 2001, when he was hospitalized for "bipolar affective disorder depression with psychotic features." In court papers, Chubb says he failed to disclose his mental illness on insurance forms filled out by Zone's cast. read more

ENOUGH DRAMA ALREADY

Two weeks ago, Liza Minnelli checked back into the Caron Center in rural Pennsylvania for an eight-week "self help" program. Her publicist calls Minnelli's stay there routine, insisting the singer-actress "is obliged" to get treatment "eight weeks every year." (As long as she's married to David Gest, that is.) read more

HEAVEN SENT

Todd Haynes's 1950s melodrama Far From Heaven won a field-best five trophies at Saturday's Independent Spirit Awards, including best picture, best actress (Julianne Moore), best director (Haynes), best supporting actor (Dennis Quaid) and cinematography. Antwone Fisher's breakout star Derek Luke won best actor and Emily Mortimer was named best supporting actress for Lovely & Amazing. read more

BAD VIEW

Wondering why Gwyneth Paltrow hasn't been out in force plugging her new flight attendant farce View From the Top, which opens today? I'm betting it's because she knows the film, which is getting its wings clipped by critics, is a stinker. "It was a darker comedy when we started, which is what really drew me to it," she told me last fall, "and it's been sort of commercialized along the way." read more

HOUSE RULES

Bringing Down the House was the No. 1 film at the box office for the third-consecutive weekend. The Steve Martin-Queen Latifah comedy grossed another $16.2 million for a three-week total of $83.4 million. Horror flick Dreamcatcher, which opened at No. 2 with $15.3 million, fared much better than fellow newcomers View from the Top (No. 4 with $7.6 million), Piglet's Big Movie (No. 7 with $6.1 million) and the Cuba Gooding Jr. farce Boat Trip (No. 10 with $3.7 million). Note to Cuba: Bitch-slap your agent, and then fire him. read more

NEW FLIGHT PLAN

Superman has encountered more turbulence. Brett Ratner has dropped out as director allegedly because Warner Bros. failed to approve his choice to play the Man of Steel, Guiding Light hunk Matthew Bomer. "The difficulty of casting the role of Superman has contributed to my decision," says Ratner. "I appreciate the efforts of Warner Bros. and the entire production team during this process." Ratner will now begin work on Rush Hour 3. read more

Idol Controversy: Was Vanessa Robbed?

Damn those American Idol writers! If it weren't for that diva-esque banter they encouraged Vanessa Olivarez to recite last week — in which she slammed pretty-boy host Ryan Seacrest — the 21-year-old Atlantan might still be in the running for the title. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Fortunately, the pretty-sassy-in-pink hair colorist hasn't sprouted a Julia DeMato-sized chip on her shoulder in the wake of her shocking defeat. "I think it can be a positive thing," she tells TV Guide Online of her ouster. "I'm turning it around. I always try and look at the positive in everything." Spoken like a girl who just had dinner with rocker Melissa Etheridge. For more on that, as well as Olivarez's take on who should succeed Kelly Clarkson as Idol champ, dig in...

TV Guide Online: Do you think the script read more

MORE OSCAR NEWS

Another casualty of war: Barbara Walters's annual pre-Oscars special. ABC announced Wednesday that it was postponing the traditional chatfest as a result of the war in Iraq. No decision has been made on what will replace the show, which was to feature interviews with Nicolas Cage, Renée Zellweger and Julianne Moore. E!, meanwhile, says that Joan and Melissa Rivers will carry on with their Oscar pre-show, although what form the program will take is uncertain. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict it will be tasteless. read more

Seven Silly Questions for Chris Isaak

Some celebs just don't know what to make of our Seven Silly Questions. Take Chris Isaak. The singer-actor-josher, who broke away from Showtime's Chris Isaak Show to shoot a guest spot on NBC's on-the-move Ed (airing tomorrow at 9 pm/ET), struggled to get into the spirit of our witty game. But just when the quid pro quo was officially goin' nowhere, baby did a good good thing: He threw caution to the wind and got forever blue.
TV Guide Online: Since Stanley Kubrick wanted "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing" in Eyes Wide Shut, did you negotiate a deal for usage in exchange for your not having to stay awake through the movie?
Chris Isaak:
(long pause) What's your next question?

TVGO: When you made read more

SHORT CUTS

Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps (Friday After Next) are in talks to play Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton in Paramount's upcoming feature remake of The Honeymooners... Media bigwig Barry Diller has resigned as co-chief executive of cash-strapped Vivendi Universal Entertainment. What's that? You don't care? I figured as much. read more

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