Today's News: Our Take


SCORE ONE FOR ABC

A judge ruled on Monday that ABC can move forward with a new reality series that strands celebrities in the middle of nowhere, despite protests from CBS that it was too similar to Survivor. I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! will air live from Australia for 15 consecutive nights next month. read more

TOWNSHEND ARRESTED

Who guitarist Pete Townshend was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children after police conducted a search of his London home and office. However, the 57-year-old rocker has not been charged with a crime. Under British law, suspects can be arrested first and charged later. Over the weekend, Townshend admitted that he paid to access a child porn site, but said he only did so for purposes of research. "To fight against pedophilia, you have to know what's out there," he said. "If I did anything illegal, I did it purely for research. I am not a pedophile." read more

EDIE FALCO ALERT!

You can fuhgetabout seeing new episodes of The Sopranos anytime soon. Production on the show's upcoming fifth (and likely final) season, scheduled to begin in March, has been delayed so that James Gandolfini can shoot the DreamWorks comedy Surviving Christmas opposite Ben Affleck. As a result, HBO's mob drama probably won't return until January 2004. read more

WELL, IT'S NOT THE GRAMMYS

The American Music Awards got dissed big-time last night as some of the kudofest's biggest winners — Eminem, the Dixie Chicks and Creed — were MIA. One exception was Ashanti, who was on hand to accept trophies for favorite new pop/rock and R&B artist. Backstage, the singer said she was "happy to be here, happy to be nominated. It's a very prestigious award." Well, viewers didn't seem to agree: Ratings for this year's show were down 20 percent compared to 2002. Meanwhile, nominations for Britain's top music award, the Brits, came out Monday, and Eminem will compete against Bruce Springsteen, Moby, Beck and Nelly for best international male solo artist. Best female solo artist nods went to Missy Elliott, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and Pink. Winners will be announced Feb. 20. read more

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Diana Ross's most hotly anticipated on-camera performance in decades debuts this Friday. Despite protests from Ross's attorneys, a judge today ordered the release of a police videotape shot during the 58-year-old singer's Dec. 30 DUI arrest. However, when the tape comes out Friday, it will be sans audio. The video was shot while police questioned Ross and gave her a field sobriety test. read more

ANISTON UPDATE

Alright, here's the scoop on why Jennifer Aniston was sporting a cane at Sunday's People's Choice Awards. Apparently, the Friends star broke a toe on her right foot when she collided with a piece of furniture. Ouch! read more

END QUOTE

"I have never been so excited to have people walk all over me for the rest of my life." — Hours star Nicole Kidman on receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday. read more

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

Reality may have taken a bite out of The West Wing's ratings this season, but NBC still has faith in the Emmy-winning White House drama. The Peacock network is thisclose to securing a three-year deal to renew the show, a pact that would keep Martin Sheen in office until 2006. According to USA Today, the new deal would call for NBC to shell out about $6 million an episode — triple what the Peacock pays now. However, Variety estimates the new fee to be $4 million to $5 million an episode. read more

GOOD NEWS, SAD NEWS

The partner of opera star Luciano Pavarotti, who was expecting twins, gave birth to a daughter Monday in Rome. Sadly, the second baby — a boy — died. This was the first child for Nicoletta Mantovani, 33, but the fourth for 67-year-old Pavarotti, who has three children from a previous marriage. read more

STUNT CASTING ALERT!

The Eye is staging some February sweeps casting stunts. Cheers alums Kelsey Grammer and Ted Danson will enjoy a reunion of sorts when Grammer visits Becker on Feb. 16. Meanwhile, Tyne Daly reunites with Cagney & Lacey co-star Sharon Gless, who guests on Judging Amy's Feb. 11 episode. Rosie O'Donnell also visits Amy as a family court judge on Feb. 25. read more

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