Today's News: Our Take


RACHEL FIGHTS BACK

Everybody's favorite Friend Jennifer Aniston — who is suing two magazines for publishing photos of her sunbathing topless — will have her day in court next week, although it will be sans a jury. U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew said he would conduct a court trial and render a verdict himself because Aniston's lawyers failed to demand a jury when the lawsuit was filed in 2000. The 33-year-old actress is expected to testify at the trial, which gets underway July 2 in Los Angeles. read more

NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER

The long-rumored sequel to 1987's Dirty Dancing is finally getting its groove on. Miramax and Artisan Entertainment have hired indie filmmaker Guy Ferland to direct the follow-up, titled Havana Nights. The film — which has yet to be cast — revolves around a 17-year old girl who moves with her family to Cuba and falls for a local dancer. No word if Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey will make cameos — possibly as the forbidden lovers' grandparents? read more

DREAM TEAM

Actor-singer-hottie Marc Anthony is in talks to star as salsa legend Hector Lavoe in an upcoming feature film about the late singer's life, Variety reports. Jennifer Lopez will produce and co-star in the pic. read more

MORE LEGAL STUFF

Pop diva Elton John's bid to reopen his $21 million lawsuit against former accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers was rejected Monday by Britain's Court of Appeal. John insists the company failed to keep track of his finances. read more

Question: During the late ...

Question: During the late '50s or early '60s there was a daytime magician show on for kids. The magician's assistant was Nonnie Darnell (I'm not sure about the spelling). I can find no evidence that this person ever existed but I did hear a reference to her on an episode of Night Court. Do you have any idea where I can find some info on her? Thank you. — Susan C., Irvington, N.Y.

Televisionary: That was no mere assistant, Susan, that was his wife! Magician Mark Wilson and wife/partner Nani Darnell amazed kids with their Saturday-morning show The Magic Land of Allakazam beginning in 1960. The show ran on CBS for two years and then — poof! — appeared on ABC for another two. You can catch up on all the couple's latest doings and purchase tapes of the show on their site.

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VAULT MAN COMETH

Geraldo Rivera has been tapped as the lead investigative reporter on Fox's upcoming primetime newsmagazine The Pulse, which kicks off a nine-week run on July 11 (9 pm/ET). Rivera will juggle Pulse with his Fox News Channel program War Zone with Geraldo Rivera. read more

LIFE AFTER ANN

The Ann Landers advice column — penned by the late Esther Lederer — will be replaced by two columns: one written by her daughter Margo Howard and one by two of her editors. However, the two new columns will not fall under the Ann Landers banner, as per Lederer's wishes. Lederer died of cancer on Saturday at age 83. read more

TED GRILLS DAVE

David Letterman is headed to ABC — albeit for one night only. According to the The New York Times, the Late Show host has agreed to a sit-down interview with Ted Koppel to air the week of July 8 on ABC's new profile-oriented spinoff, Nightline: Up Close. Koppel asked Letterman for the interview back in March, after the whole "Will Dave replace Ted on ABC?" brouhaha was resolved — with Letterman staying put on CBS. "Dave is no show-business weasel," says Late Show exec producer Rob Burnett. "He promised Ted, and he's going to do it." In return, Koppel will drop by Late Show on July 12. read more

Question: We are trying to ...

Question: We are trying to find out the name of the sitcom that had a character named Monroe in it. I think it was in an apartment setting, but I can find nothing on it. Could you please help? — Sue W., Muskegon, Mich.

Televisionary: That I could, Sue. You're thinking of ABC's Too Close For Comfort, which starred late Mary Tyler Moore Show veteran Ted Knight as San Francisco cartoonist Henry Rush. Henry and wife Muriel (Nancy Dussault), lived in a two-apartment townhouse — right over a pad occupied by the couple's two young daughters (hence the title). Based on the British series Keep It in the Family, Too Close debuted in November 1980 and stayed on the network until September 1983. It r read more

MINORITY RULES

Lilo & Stitch's dream of opening in first place at the box office was crushed late Monday when final figures showed Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report maintaining a slim lead over the Disney flick. With all the cash counted, Report grossed $35.7 million, just a hair ahead of L&S's $35.3 million take. read more

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