Today's News: Our Take


MORE KUDOS

With five nods, R&B singer Ashanti led the list of nominees for the eighth annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards. The late Aaliyah received four and Alicia Keys three nods. The event takes place Aug. 24. read more

FOUNTAIN FLOWING

Darren Aronofsky's sci-fi epic The Fountain has finally gotten the green light from Warner Bros. According to Variety, the $70 million film — starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Ellen Burstyn — will begin production in late October. Budget overruns and Blanchett's pregnancy reportedly forced the studio to temporarily pull the plug last summer. read more

SCRUBBING UP

Heather Locklear is in talks to make two appearances on NBC's Scrubs next season, Entertainment Tonight reports. She would play a pharmaceutical rep. read more

EVERYBODY WILL HATE RAYMOND

First Friends and now this: Everybody Loves Raymond's upcoming seventh season could be its last. CBS's contract for the sitcom (and star Ray Romano) expires in May, and Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal tells Variety that he doesn't want to overstay his welcome. "You don't want to get repetitive, and I've never seen a show get better after seven seasons," he says. "You mine for gold as long as you can, but when we're out of stories, the show is over." A decision is expected in early 2003. Our prediction: Raymond will be back. read more

PARTING WORDS

Rob Lowe is speaking out about his decision to quit NBC's The West Wing next season. Basically, the former Brat Packer says he grew tired of playing third fiddle on the Emmy-winning drama. "As much as it hurts to admit it, it has been increasingly clear, for quite a while, that there was no longer a place for Sam Seaborn on The West Wing," he said in a statement. "However, Warner Bros. has allowed me an opportunity to leave the show as I arrived... grateful for it, happy to have been on it and proud of it." Meanwhile, co-star Martin Sheen tells TV Guide Online: "Frankly, we're all heartbroken and a bit concerned because we've become so close. I've known [Rob] since he was a boy. I think it's the best work he's ever done, and he's elevated his image to the public to a great level. read more

CHILD FEUD

Ex-Destiny's Child divas LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson have settled their lawsuit against the group's current members. The duo — who quit DC in 2000 — claimed the 2001 single "Survivor" violated a previous agreement with Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland not to talk trash about each other. (Sample lyric: "You thought that I'd be stressed without you/ But I'm chillin'/ You thought I wouldn't sell without you/ Sold 9 million.") Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. read more

STUFF SELLS

The Dave Matthews Band's latest disc, Busted Stuff, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart with 622,000 copies sold. Nelly's Nellyville dropped to No. 2 with sales of 305,000. read more

GOOD NEWS FOR BEN AFFLECK

There will be no reconciliation between Jennifer Lopez and husband Cris Judd. Lopez officially filed for divorce today from the dancer, Extra reports. The couple's attorneys released the following statement: "Jennifer Lopez and Cris Judd have announced they have resolved all issues arising out of their marriage. The resolution was extremely amicable... The two will remain friends." That seems unlikely considering how quickly J.Lo has moved on. According to the New York Post, the singer-actress "kissed and cuddled" alleged new flame Ben Affleck Wednesday at her surprise 32nd birthday party in Manhattan. read more

HE'S ANGRY

Rev. Al Sharpton is suing HBO for $1 billion, charging that he was defamed by the cable network's airing of a 1983 FBI surveillance tape that shows him discussing a drug deal. The footage aired Tuesday night on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. read more

SOLEMN ANNIVERSARY

NBC will commemorate the first anniversary of Sept. 11 with "Concert for America," a two-hour musical and performing arts tribute hosted by Tom Brokaw. First Lady Laura Bush will be on hand for the event, which will air Sept. 11. read more

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