Today's News: Our Take


You'd have sworn somebody died. Last night, when American Idol frontrunner Tamyra Gray was eliminated from the search for a superstar — and comeback kid Nikki McKibbin was given another reprieve — the studio audience booed, and the judges practically boo-hooed. "It's like I'm seeing Muhammed Ali get knocked down for the first time," said Paula Abdul, obviously stricken. Of course, she might just have been in a funk because, despite Gray's ouster, she herself emerged as the evening's real loser. During the finalists' medley of her hits, she had to be dragged on stage, then stayed so far from the mike, it might as well have been Simon Cowell. Paging Mariah Carey... read more


Recently in Las Vegas, Michael Jackson was spotted at a Siegfried and Roy show with three kids. In addition to son Prince Michael, 5, and daughter Paris, 4, the pop star had an infant boy he called his "third child," People reports. Confusingly, he referred to the child as Prince Michael II. Is Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe the baby's mama? "Anything's possible," a source told the mag. "They still have a relationship." read more


"I'm falling apart more than she is, and people say to me, 'Ozzy, you've got to be strong for Sharon.' I'm not Superman, you know." — Ozzy Osbourne on his reaction to his wife's cancer diagnosis in a two-part interview with Fox News. The first part airs tonight on The Pulse (9 pm/ET). read more


Tuesday's performance edition of American Idol attracted a series high 15.3 million viewers — 3 million more than the previous week. Among young adults, the reality phenom gave Fox its best ratings for any telecast since May sweeps. read more


NBC is developing an hourlong drama series that delves into the world of the Secret Service... ER's Mekhi Phifer has been cast opposite ex-Dark Angel babe Jessica Alba in Universal's coming-of-age drama Honey. Production begins Sept. 9 in Toronto... Bob Barker — who recently underwent prostate surgery — returned to work Tuesday on The Price Is Right. read more


This isn't going to make the folks at US Weekly very happy: Current US cover girl Britney Spears has given rival mag People an exclusive interview to deny reports that she has suffered a meltdown. The 20-year-old pop princess — who recently announced that she's taking a six-month break — insists she needs time off to "rejuvenate and to just play." Regarding her much-speculated-about split with Justin Timberlake, she says: "First Justin broke up with me, and then I broke up with him. The two of us were always on the same page." She adds that they "recently tried to get back together," but "right now in my life, it's not right." But he's so dreamy! read more


Actor Danny Huston, the 40-year-old son of late Hollywood director John Huston, has been cast as the lead on ABC's upcoming revival of Dragnet. Law & Order creator Dick Wolf is producing the update, which is expected to debut at midseason. Speaking of L&O, Universal Studios Home Video will release Law & Order: The First Season on DVD Oct. 15. Also due in October: Baretta: Season One, starring real-life accused murderer Robert Blake. read more


60 Minutes regular Lesley Stahl has been named anchor of 48 Hours Investigates, CBS announced today. She replaces Dan Rather, who is focusing his time on 60 Minutes II and the CBS Evening News. In addition to 48 Hours (which kicks off its new season on Sept. 27), Stahl will continue her full-time duties at 60 Minutes. read more

Curses! The WB Mouths Off Again!

Felicity may be dead and buried, but one of the show's favorite swear words lives on at the WB. During the premiere episode of the network's new fall drama Everwood — which airs Sept. 16 at 9 pm/ET — a pivotal father-son confrontation turns ugly when Gregory Smith's teenage alter ego calls TV pop Treat Williams "a dick." For a show being billed as the perfect Monday night companion to 7th Heaven, the expletive is sure to have some viewers — read: parents — reaching for their Dial.

"Within the context of the episode, we determined that it was appropriate to use," WB spokesman Paul McGuire tells TV Guide Online, ac read more

The Sexy Side of Eriq La Salle

After eight years as abrasive Dr. Peter Benton, Eriq La Salle discharged himself from ER to concentrate on making movies — and he's not looking back. While the 40-year-old actor-writer-producer-director confesses he misses that multi-million dollar paycheck, the quadruple threat says he has no plans to pull a Sherry Stringfield.

"My character didn't die, but I have no interest in returning to the show," he firmly tells TV Guide Online. "I thought about it long and hard when I made the choice [to leave]. I'm doing what I believe I'm supposed to be doing."

Currently, that entails running his own production company (Humble Journey Films) and getting the word out about his feature-directing debut, Crazy As Hell (opening Sept. 27). It's a different kind of grind than TV work, he acknow read more

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