Today's News: Our Take


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton joined Nelson Mandela to open the first annual Tribeca Film Festival Wednesday in New York. Event organizers — which includes longtime Tribeca resident Robert De Niro — hope the five-day festival will provide an economic and psychological boost for lower Manhattan post-Sept. 11. read more


Bob Costas will remain NBC's go-to Olympics guy at least through 2006. The venerable talking head has signed a new contract with the Peacock network worth roughly $1 million a year, The Associated Press reports. In addition to his Olympic duties, Costas will cover Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup horse racing, and U.S. Open and Ryder Cup golf telecasts. He also recently signed a two-year extension with HBO, where he will become host of Inside the NFL. read more


Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley died of an accidental heroin and cocaine overdose, the just-released coroner's report reveals. Staley was found dead in his Seattle home last month. He was 34. read more


An eight-foot statue of Mary Tyler Moore has been erected in downtown Minneapolis, Minn., where her classic 1970s sitcom was set. At yesterday's unveiling, the 64-year-old actress thanked the 2000-strong crowd for coming out in cold weather, winking: "I guess I can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile." Tonight, TV Land gives its own props to The Mary Tyler Moore Show by airing a mini-marathon from 8-11 pm/ET. read more


"[Mother's Day is] a commercial rip-off, to tell the truth, a chance to sell my perfume and other things that ladies like... I think maybe half of my children will be here; they're spread all over the world, and I never know if they're coming." — Mother-of-four Elizabeth Taylor in an interview with The Associated Press. read more


Last week's highly-rated ER crossover has paid off for Third Watch. NBC has renewed the Monday night drama for a fourth season. read more


Dan Rather better watch his back. According to TV Guide's Max Robins, NBC newsman Brian Williams wants Rather's job as anchor of the CBS Evening News. For the complete story, click here. read more


Simon & Schuster will pay Ozzy Osbourne and his dysfunctional clan $3 million for two upcoming books — a paperback companion to their MTV reality smash and a hardcover family memoir. The Osbournes tie-in will hit stores in November and the memoir will be out in spring 2003. read more

Mark Harmon's West Wing Love!

Last week on NBC's The West Wing, gutsy press-secretary C.J. (Allison Janney) criticized Saudi Arabian extremists for letting schoolgirls die needlessly. As the provocative plot had it, students weren't freed from a burning school building because their attire wasn't modest enough to be seen in public! Enter guest star Mark Harmon as C.J.'s Secret Service bodyguard.

"The basic gist of the storyline is C.J. is under a very real and credible death threat," Harmon explains. "Overnight her life changes in that Simon, a presidential-level Secret Service agent — a team leader off the president's detail — is in her life 24 hours a day. And she doesn't like it. So I'm in her life... and these are two very smart people, both used to doing things their own way."

It's an old s read more

Survivor Role Reversal

Survivor: Marquesas's latest casualty, Tammy Leitner, has had plenty of experience dealing with media frenzies. As an award-winning crime reporter, the 29-year-old Arizona resident has covered everything from the arrest of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano to Hillary Clinton's Senate run. But now it's Leitner who's making news, and she's the first to admit, it's a whole different story. "It's weird being on the other side, being the focus of the story rather than writing [it]," she tells TV Guide Online. "But I think this can only help me in my journalism career, because you really get to see what it's like to be battered with questions and put through the ringer." Sounds to us like someone's been getting off easy...
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