Today's News: Our Take


New Alias Baddie: Mom's the Word


Since villains as treacherous as Alias secret-agent woman Sydney Bristow's mother, Laura, are hard to come by in the real world, we can all rest a little easier. The ABC sleeper's producers, on the other hand, can't afford a moment's shut-eye. Since they teased the character's introduction in the season finale, they now are faced with the formidable task of filling the role — no mean feat, considering that the double-dealing spy babe, also known as Irina Derevko, is hot enough to have enticed Sydney's dad, Jack, into marriage and cold enough to have iced good guy Michael Vaughn's father. "We are on the verge of casting it," series creator J.J. Abrams tells TV Guide Online. "It's very exciting!" But, before the powers that be settle on an actress, perhaps they should break into our top-secret files and peruse the list of contenders we think might kick read more

Patrick Stewart's Texas Pride


At 62, Patrick Stewart shows no sign of retiring anytime soon. Indeed, there'll be no Wilfred Brimley-esque oatmeal and life insurance commercials for this die-hard! Still sexy and virile, the Star Trek star tackles new challenges in TNT's King of Texas — airing Sunday at 8 pm/ET — which he co-produced with TV movie guru Robert Halmi Sr. (Dinotopia).

Based on Shakespeare's King Lear, the telepic's top-notch cast includes Marcia Gay Harden and Lauren Holly as the gold-digging daughters. "In many cases, we got our first choice for actors in these roles," Stewart tells TV Guide Online. "It' read more

Cosby Show's Rudy: "I'm a Diva!"


Keshia Knight-Pulliam — who played precocious Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984-92 — is all grown up. Now 23, she's returning to Hollywood after a decade-long hiatus. "I took a purposeful break just to concentrate on school and basically have a 'normal' life," she tells TV Guide Online. "It was always the plan to continue acting after graduating from college."

Pulliam says Bill Cosby's sitcom literally shaped her destiny — she chose to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. after guest-starring on Cosby spin-off A Different World as a child. "Their fictional Hillman College was molded after Spelman and Morehouse, which are historically black colleges," she recalls. "The first time we taped there, I was just so impressed by all these intelligent read more

SHORT CUTS

Jamie Foxx will play former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry in the upcoming HBO biopic Livin' for the City: The Marion Barry Story... The Tony-winning Broadway musical Contact will close on Sept. 1... After 12 years, Brian Henson, son of late Muppet creator Jim Henson, is stepping down as chairman of the Jim Henson Co. to focus on "directing and producing movies and television." read more

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED RIVERS

Joan Rivers finally has what she's always wanted: daughter Melissa all to herself. Missy's husband John Endicott has filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. The couple — who wed in 1998 — have a one-year-old son, Edgar. read more

SHE'S GETTING HELP

Diana Ross has voluntarily checked herself into Promises drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Malibu, Calif., "to clear up some personal issues before she starts on a summer tour in both the U.S. and abroad," her rep confirms in a statement. "She wants to be in great shape because she is someone who feels a sense of responsibility to her family and fans." read more

GET THE EAR PLUGS OUT

Kelly Osbourne is following in her papa's footsteps. Ozzy Osbourne's 17-year-old daughter will sing her cover of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" at the MTV Movie Awards, which tapes Saturday and airs Thursday at 9 pm/ET. read more

UNFAITHFUL REDUX

Oscar winner Halle Berry is in negotiations to star in the infidelity drama Need. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Berry would play a Big Apple shrink who discovers that one of her patients is having an affair with her husband. Marisa Tomei is in talks to star as the Other Woman. read more

LEADERS OF THE PACK

The underrated cast of Friends won't be playing second fiddle in this year's Emmy race. For the first time, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer have decided to submit their names for consideration in the best lead actor and actress slots, Variety reports. Until now, the group had always entered themselves in the supporting actor categories. Of course, they picked a good year to make the leap: Buoyed by a creative resurgence, Friends read more

HE'S BACK!

It's official: Harrison Ford will dust off his legendary fedora for a fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. According to Variety, filmmaker Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) is in talks to write the script and Paramount is hoping to release the highly-anticipated pic in July 2005. read more

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