Today's News: Our Take


FREE MAN

Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, jailed in December for alleged parole violations, was released from the slammer on Tuesday after a California prison board gave him credit for 61 days in custody. The Death Row Records founder was ordered to perform 200 hours of anti-gang community service. read more

DEAD MAN TALKING

In his first jailhouse interview, accused murderer Robert Blake insists he is — surprise! — an innocent man. The former Baretta star — whose exclusive chat with Barbara Walters airs tonight on 20/20 (10 pm/ET) — says that he doesn't fear spending the rest of his life behind bars because he is already "a dead man." Blake faces a preliminary hearing today that will determine whether he must stand trial. read more

ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET... RENEW!

In what ABC is calling an "unprecedented move," the network has jumped the gun on the new fall season and renewed seven of its current series for another year. The returning shows include: 8 Simple Rules... , According to Jim, Alias, George Lopez, Less Than Perfect, Life with Bonnie and My Wife and Kids. NYPD Blue already received a pick-up last year. read more

SAFE BET

The network bidding war over Heather Locklear has ended, and NBC has emerged the victor. The in-demand actress has signed with the Peacock Network to play a divorced mother of two kids in a sitcom tentatively titled Once Around the Park. Heather, if you're reading this, I'm a big fan. I even liked you on Going Places. read more

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD

Alton Williams, one of the stars of MTV's The Real World: Las Vegas, was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with assault and resisting arrest after he took a swing at a bar manager during a North Carolina fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Court TV's TheSmokingGun.com reports. The 23-year-old was accompanied to the squad car by girlfriend and fellow RW castmate Irulan. That's, like, so romantic. read more

Buffy Geek Gets His Own Show!

Tom Lenk, better known as Andrew on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is scared. Not because deadpanning the best lines in each episode, like this admonishment to Buffy — "Where the hell have you been? This funnel cake is kicking my ass" — greatly increases the odds he'll be typecast as a comedic actor. And not because he realizes he has just crooned the lyrics of the original Star Trek theme song to someone (read: me) who will undoubtedly play the tape for her coworkers. Tom Lenk is scared because Buffy fans may not be prepared for tonight's chilling episode, in which Andrew films a "Buffy-mentary" and confronts his past as a member of the Evil Trio. "It's very bizarre in that most of the show is me," he says. "I don't know if America is ready for that much Tom Lenk." Set your phasers to stun. We're going in.
TV Guide Online: Joss Wh read more

Meet TV's Movie Makeover Queen!

Mia Butler loves a good makeover. Not only does the host of TBS's Movie & a Makeover list Pretty Woman and Maid in Manhattan ("I'm going to see it 10 more times!") as her all-time favorite Cinderella stories, but she's also looking for a little makeover magic of her own. "I'm always asking my producers if I can have one, and they keep telling me no," Butler says with a laugh. For now, the Atlanta native and former host of BET's entertainment news program NY/LA will have to be content helping others tackle everything from fashion faux pas to decorating disasters in between showings of movies about — you guessed it — makeovers. "I don't care how good your look is," says the twentysomething. "Unless you're Halle Berry or read more

WE SAW THIS COMING...

MSNBC has pulled the plug on Phil Donahue's low-rated talk show after six months on the air. His final show runs Friday night. "We're proud of the program and we're disappointed that the show was not able to attract the viewership we had hoped for and expected," said MSNBC president Erik Sorenson. "We thank Phil and his staff for their dedication, commitment and passion." read more

ALL HER CHILDREN

Live spitfire Kelly Ripa gave birth to her third child, son Joaquin Consuelos, on Monday in New York. The former All My Children star broke the news this morning when she called into Live with Regis & Kelly. "We are the proud parents of a healthy baby boy," she told Regis. "We can't wait to bring Joaquin home to meet all of our friends and family." Ripa and hubby Mark Consuelos also have a 5-year-old son, Michael, and a 1-year-old daughter, Lola. read more

WE WERE DUPED AGAIN, FOLKS

During last night's excruciatingly tedious Joe Millionaire "aftermath" episode, Evan and Zora came face-to-face for the first time since taping the finale last November. And judging by their rather icy interplay, absence clearly didn't make their hearts grow fonder. Still, the couple — who decided to split their $1 million prize money — said they plan to pursue a relationship. Er, then again, that's not what Zora said on this morning's Live with Regis &#038 Kelly, where the substitute teacher revealed she thought Evan had better chemistry with some of her female rivals — then pointed out that he and she live on opposite coasts, but will "hopefully stay friends." read more

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