Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

A New York surgeon is suing rapper 50 Cent claiming he owes more than $32,000 for treatment of gunshot wounds nearly three years ago... Wal-Mart is pulling men's magazines Maxim, Stuff and FHM from its stores, claiming customers were uncomfortable with the racy covers. read more

Idol Chatter with Trenyce

In late March, when it was revealed that American Idol finalist Trenyce, like so many of her competitors, had a rap sheet, we naturally assumed that her fate had been sealed: She would be forever known as the poor man's Tamyra Gray. But a funny thing happened on Trenyce's way to obscurity. In the weeks that followed, the artist formerly known as Lashundra Cobbins gave one arresting performance after another. ("She's so friggin good, there ought to be a law!" we can well imagine her fellow singers complaining.) By the time she was eliminated last week, the Memphis belle proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is a diva in her own right. The kid belongs on an album cover, yo, not a mug shot. Still, we're pretty sure that a crime has been committed. How else could we explain why it was the rising star who called TV Guide Online Tuesday afternoon for an exit interview and not Joshua Gracin?
TV Guide Online: read more

CLEARED

London police cleared Pete Townshend of kiddie porn charges today, but warned the Who guitarist not to access a website containing indecent images of children. Townshend was arrested in January as part of an FBI-led crackdown on Internet child pornography. At the time, the rocker said he believed he had been sexually abused as a young boy, and accessed the site as research for his autobiography. After a four-month investigation, London's Metropolitan Police concluded that the rocker "was not in possession of any downloaded child abuse images." read more

KOTTER STAR ARRESTED

Welcome Back, Kotter star Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs — he played Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington — was arrested Sunday in Venice Beach, Calif., for investigation of misdemeanor domestic battery. The former child star, who is now 49, allegedly pushed a woman to the ground during an argument. He was released late Monday on $20,000 bond. read more

CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

Leonardo DiCaprio was questioned last Thursday in a $45 million lawsuit stemming from a five-year-old case that claims he ordered friends to rough up actress Elizabeth Berkley's ex-boyfriend, screenwriter Roger Wilson. The March 4, 1998, incident — which Wilson claims left him with a broken larynx, among other injuries — took place outside the trendy Asia de Cuba restaurant in midtown Manhattan. DiCaprio's lawyer said he expects the charges to be dismissed against the actor. read more

ON THE SIDELINES

Turner Sports has tapped pop stud Justin Timberlake to serve as a special correspondent. Among the TNT events the 'N Syncer will cover: the NBA playoffs, NASCAR races and the PGA championship. read more

COMING UP NECKS...

Vampires are returning to the Great White Way — but thankfully, Michael Crawford is not leading the charge. Elton John and longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin are teaming up to bring The Vampire Lestat to Broadway. The musical, based on the character from Anne Rice's novels, is slated to open in 2005. At a press conference Tuesday, John said the show will "not be a rock opera" like Crawford's short-lived Dance of the Vampires. "It has to be classically written." read more

THE STORY THAT WON'T DIE

A country-music station in Colorado has suspended two disc jockeys for playing Dixie Chicks music in violation of a ban imposed after lead singer Natalie Maines dissed President Bush. KKCS DJs and free speech supporters Dave Moore and Jeff Singer will be out for a couple of days. read more

MAC ATTACKS

Buoyed by another first-place finish from CSI, CBS ranked as the most-watched network last week — the first full week of May sweeps. NBC, meanwhile, narrowly beat Fox among advertiser-friendly adults 18-to-49. Still, Fox had plenty to celebrate. Thanks to its strong American Idol lead-in, Bernie Mac attracted 13.8 million viewers — its largest audience to date. America, you have good taste. read more

CAUSE OF DEATH

An autopsy has confirmed that Gimme a Break! actress Nell Carter died Jan. 23 of natural causes. She was 54. read more

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