Today's News: Our Take

Shania Twain Revs Up for Special

Shania Twain capitalizes on her ongoing identity crisis in her new CD Up!, a double-disc set that features the same 19 songs done performed in both country and pop styles. However, fans shouldn't expect such double standards on tonight's NBC concert special Shania Up! Live in Chicago (8 pm ET).

"I have a large band, there are nine musicians, and in a sense we sort of do a mix," Twain tells TV Guide Online. "I have three fiddle players, so even though during one song we are [performing] more on the side of the [pop] version, we'll still have the fiddles playing the part that was played on the [country] version and vice versa.

"So, the live versions in a lot of cases are [unique]," continues the 37-year-old songstress. "It is kind of interesting. I sort of treat 'live' like it's own beast in a way. It's a completely separate entity."

And it's one Twain will embrace in a big way again beginning Sept. 25, when the singer kicks off her read more

Case Worker Deems Cold Uncommon

Being cast in a TV series is a big deal for any Hollywood hopeful, but being cast in a TV series by überproducer Jerry Bruckheimer? That's like winning the lottery while sipping Dom Perignon on the way to the Oscars. So, naturally, Cold Case detective Kathryn Morris couldn't think too much about her good fortune; otherwise, she just might have dropped dead from excitement herself!

"In my career, I've tried to just think about what I would like to do with my day," she says simply. "Fortunately, I've had some amazing opportunities to work with some of the best people in the business, and [in this instance], I thought it was more important that I focus on what I wanted to do for the next one-to-10 years of my life as an actress and try to forget that Jerry did read more


Chris Rock has signed on to star in Sick Day, a Universal comedy about an underachiever who phones in sick from work and becomes involved in a series of destructive misunderstandings. Contrary to speculation, the film was not inspired by the situation currently playing out at Everybody Loves Raymond. read more


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Monday that Hank Azaria will receive an Emmy for his voice-over work on The Simpsons. read more


Actor Gary Cole — aka Mike Brady in the Brady Bunch films — has been elected the new Vice President on NBC's The West Wing. He'll make his debut in this season's third episode. read more


All the publicity surrounding the Justin Timberlake-Cameron Diaz romance may finally be getting to Britney Spears. According to eyewitnesses at Ben Affleck's all-star birthday party in Hollywood on Saturday, Spears was seen leaving the bash with actor Jared Leto — Diaz's ex! This is so fifth grade — and it's fantastic! read more


The plot thickened Monday on the set of Everybody Loves Raymond. While Patricia Heaton returned to work after calling in sick last week, her on-screen in-laws — Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts — were suspiciously MIA. Officially, their absence was health-related. Unofficially, there's talk they — like co-star Brad Garrett (who has refused to show up for work unless CBS shows him the money) — may be angling for a pay hike as well. All told, it's time Les Moonves set Plan B into motion and fired everyone. For the latest on Raymondgate, watch tonight's Extra, which, barring any massive, history-making blackouts, will feature another read more

Like Nip/Tuck? Thank Jenny Jones!

It's virtually inconceivable to think that fans of FX's daring and, ahem, incisive new plastic-surgery drama, Nip/Tuck (airing Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET), owe a debt to sleaze queen Jenny Jones. But, series creator Ryan Murphy assures us, it's true. "I've always been incredibly drawn to before-and-after stories," confesses the exec, who also produced the WB's high-school comedy, Popular. "I'm the first person to watch any Oprah or Jenny Jones where there is a makeover.

"I love that stuff," he adds with a chuckle.

Of course, Murphy would never call the cringe-inducing operations performed on Nip/Tuck a laughing matter the way he has the high jinks on his former series. "In Popular, I [addressed the issue of self image] in a much more blithe way," he suggests. (No kidding — one character carried around a container of e read more


Late rapper Tupac Shakur is being honored with yet another posthumous album. According to Billboard, Death Row Records will release 2Pac Nu-Mixx Klazzics on Oct. 7. The first single — a remixed version of "Life Goes On" — will hit the airwaves on Sept. 9. read more


Former Freaks and Geeks star Linda Cardellini (love her) has been cast on ER as Nurse Samantha Taggart, "a free-spirited single mother." She'll debut in this season's fifth episode, and there's talk of a romance with Goran Visnjic's Dr. Luka Kovac. But isn't there always? read more

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