Today's News: Our Take


PHASE TWO

Actor/race-car enthusiast Jason Priestley was released from an Indianapolis hospital on Saturday, two weeks after he sustained serious injuries in a crash at the Kentucky Speedway. The 32-year-old former Beverly Hills, 90210 star — who broke a vertebra and both feet — was transferred to an undisclosed physical rehabilitation center. He is expected to recover fully. read more

Idol Host's Secret Past Exposed!


Before he was tapped as Ryan Seacrest's second banana on American Idol, Brian Dunkleman was just another struggling actor waiting for Hollywood to hand him his big break. In other words, the 30-year-old doesn't need Simon Cowell to tell him how nasty and dehumanizing the entertainment biz can be.

"Three months ago, I went to a commercial audition for a fast food chain — let's just say it rhymes with 'Surger Ding,'" he recalls TV Guide Online. "There was a sign saying, 'Everyone will be clucking like a chicken.' And there were other actors actually practicing. I looked at them and thought, 'Do any of you people have souls?'"

Dunkleman made a beeline for the exit and never looked back. Nowadays, he's too busy to let casting directors humiliate him. "I have no time to go on any auditions," he says. "I'm actually turning stuff down now, which is fantastic! I did stand-up the ot read more

SIMONE REVEALED

Though you won't see her name in the credits of new film Simone, model Rachel Roberts can finally confirm that she indeed is the primary actress playing the title role — with a few computer enhancements — according to The Associated Press. Under a gag order imposed by New Line Cinema, Roberts was forced to work under a pseudonym and pretend she was a stand-in for the non-existent digitized actress. read more

USA ON TOP

Thanks to original series like Monk and The Dead Zone, USA Network took the No. 1 spot among cable networks in all key demos. And in a show of good taste by viewers, not one primetime wrestling show made it into the top 10 of individually ranked cable programs over the summer. read more

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

Former morning television host Bryant Gumbel got a bit of a surprise when his 24-year-old son Bradley was arrested for purse snatching. But according to Gumbel family lawyers, the police apprehended the wrong man. The Manhattan District Attorney's office apparently agrees, since they have chosen not to prosecute. Phew! read more

WILLY WONKA AND GRACE

Funnyman Gene Wilder will guest star on Will & Grace as Will's boss at the law firm. (As the plotline has it, you've never seen the head honcho before because he works out of "the London office.") Look for Wilder's episode to air during November Sweeps. read more

New Bionic Woman on the Assembly Line

They have the technology... they can rebuild her... and now they are! USA Network's script doctors are busy in the operating room stitching together an update of the The Bionic Woman, ABC's campy 1976-78 Six Million Dollar Man spinoff about a tennis player-turned-secret agent who's part human, part machine and all babe. But what modern-day actress could possibly overload our circuits like Lindsay Wagner, who was the original series' artificially-girl-powered heroine, Jaime Sommers? If you ask us — and USA certainly should — any of these contenders compute.

Anna Kournikova: While she's known as much for her curves as her serves, the courts pin-up would still give a whiff of believability to Jaime's pre-op "love" life. Plus, she could break into a whole new, ahem, racket by tackling the lead in a read more

OVER AND OUT

New York shock jocks Opie and Anthony have signed off for the last time after causing a scandal earlier this week. Radio station WNEW chose to cancel the show Thursday after the FCC began an investigation into allegations that the duo broadcast a couple having sex in New York's famed St. Patrick's Cathedral. read more

SHORT CUTS

A&E's low-rated series Nero Wolfe has been canceled... Speculation is running rampant that Vin Diesel will get an ego boost this weekend — not that he needs it — with his film XXX poised to take the top spot for the third week in a row... Irish rocker Caroline Corr married longtime beau Frank Woods on Thursday evening... Morgan Freeman has signed on to play opposite Owen Wilson in his new film The Big Bounce. read more

NOT HIM AGAIN!

Former Vice President Dan Quayle is dragging out the old family values again. Known for harping on Murphy Brown's single mom status, he recently told Travel and Leisure Golf magazine that he also has a bone to pick with Friends. "I don't think that should be portrayed on television as a good thing," he said regarding Jennifer Aniston's Rachel having a baby out of wedlock. "It's tough on the mother and it's tough on the child — the chance of that child ending up in poverty is quite high." And we thought the biggest Friends dilemma was if Rachel would pick Ross or Joey. read more

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