Today's News: Our Take


THE MOORE THE TERRIER

Outspoken Bowling for Columbine filmmaker Michael Moore — whose anti-Dubya tirade at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony led my grandmother to conclude, "That man is not playing with a full deck" — has apparently decided to make a career out of bashing the Bushes. In an interview with Variety, Moore reveals that his next documentary, Fahrenheit 911, will trace "what has happened to the country since Sept. 11, and how the Bush administration used this tragic event to push its agenda." Moore — who will be a guest on tonight's Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO, 11:30 pm/ET) — says the film will also explore the murky relationship between George Bush Sr. and the family of Osama bin Laden. read more

NOT TRENYCE, TOO!

Maybe they should rename the show American Most Wanted. American Idol finalist Trenyce is the latest contestant on the Fox reality show to get "outed" by Court TV's TheSmokingGun.com. According to the site, the 22-year-old Memphis crooner — whose real name is Lashundra Cobbins — was busted in October 1999 on a felony shoplifting charge, for which she was placed the following year in a pre-trial diversion program by a Criminal Court judge. Idol producers were reportedly aware that Trenyce pulled a Winona Ryder, and therefore, she's in no danger of getting tossed off the show. Somewhere, Frenchie Davis is consulting her legal team. read more

WANDA LIVIN' LARGE

Bolstered by its American Idol lead-in, Fox's new sitcom Wanda at Large got off to a big start Wednesday. The show averaged 14.3 million viewers, the network's best comedy premiere since Malcolm in the Middle launched in 2000. read more

Chris Rock for President?


Just because Head of State (opening tomorrow) is an escapist comedy, don't underestimate the political savvy of its star, co-writer and first-time director Chris Rock. The idea to poke fun at the presidential campaign process has been germinating in his mind since long before his Saturday Night Live days, back when he was just your typical, New York Daily News-readin' tyke.

"My dad drove a newspaper truck when I was a kid," Rock explains to TV Guide Online. "So, I just read the paper a lot, as a young, 6-year-old boy. I knew all about Watergate.

"The first time I got this idea [for the movie] was [when] Geraldine Ferraro [ran for vice president in 1984]," continues the 37-year-old comedian, who plays an alderman tapped to run for commander-in-chief when the original candidate is killed in a plane crash. "The whole scenario of 'Hmm, we're gonna probably read more

SPEAKING OF IDOL...

After two weeks of close calls, diva-in-training Julia DeMato finally got the hook on American Idol last night — and believe it or not, I kind of felt bad for the prickly 24-year-old. Of course, no one took the cosmetologist's ouster harder than poor Kimberly Caldwell. The talent-show vet — who was among the bottom three vote-getters — sobbed uncontrollably after learning of DeMato's fate. I've got two words for Tammy Faye's long-lost daughter: waterproof mascara! read more

JUST SHOOT IT

Word has it that NBC has finally put Just Shoot Me out of its misery, although a network rep maintains that the six-year-old sitcom "has not been canceled." Well, that's regrettable. read more

Backstage Drama on Trading Spaces


Ty Pennington — the hot handyman from TLC's Trading Spaces — calls himself "a blend of Martha Stewart and MacGyver." But it's not easy. Sometimes the show's tight time constraints, limited funds and diva-ish designers make Ty wanna drive a nail through his skull!

"We all have our little clash of personalities," the 37-year-old admits to TV Guide Online. "It's like Real World meets This Old House. It's kind of fun because you never know what's going to happen."

Who's been the toughest to work with? "I'm not going to mention any names," he teases. "But there are definitely some [projects] I have been involved in that I didn't even know if I wanted my name associated with. There have been several projects where I'm like, 'This is wrong. Not only does it look wrong, it doesn't even work, and there are safety issues.' We put two automobiles in a kid's room for Chrissake!"

Pennington will share his how-to dos and read more

THE TRADITION CONTINUES

ABC has rescheduled Barbara Walters's annual Oscar special, featuring interviews with Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Renée Zellweger, for Tuesday at 10 pm/ET. According to published reports, Walters and Moore share a same-sex smooch on the show. (No word if there was any tongue action.) The network, meanwhile, has postponed its one-hour reunion special Tim Allen Presents: A User's Guide to Home Improvement from April 1 until later this season. The delay is due to the ongoing war coverage. read more

TANGLED WEB

Sony is delaying the release of Spider-Man 2 from May 7, 2004, to July 2, 2004. The postponement has nothing to do with star Tobey Maguire's bad back, however. According to reports, the sequel got bumped after filming of Maguire's horse-racing drama Seabiscuit ran into February — a month after Spider-Man 2 hoped to begin production. Universal, meanwhile, wasted no time occupying the early May vacancy. The studio is moving its big-budget monster epic Van Helsing into the coveted May 7 slot. In the film, Hugh Jackman plays a vampire hunter who battles such classic creatures as Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolfman and Michael Moore. read more

SHORT CUTS

Viacom has inked a deal to launch a 24-hour, Chinese version of MTV in a million households in the southern province of Guangdong, China, next month... The Rolling Stones have postponed two concerts this weekend in Hong Kong as a result of the deadly pneumonia outbreak in Southeast Asia. read more

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