Today's News: Our Take


GOOD NEWS, SAD NEWS

The partner of opera star Luciano Pavarotti, who was expecting twins, gave birth to a daughter Monday in Rome. Sadly, the second baby — a boy — died. This was the first child for Nicoletta Mantovani, 33, but the fourth for 67-year-old Pavarotti, who has three children from a previous marriage. read more

STUNT CASTING ALERT!

The Eye is staging some February sweeps casting stunts. Cheers alums Kelsey Grammer and Ted Danson will enjoy a reunion of sorts when Grammer visits Becker on Feb. 16. Meanwhile, Tyne Daly reunites with Cagney & Lacey co-star Sharon Gless, who guests on Judging Amy's Feb. 11 episode. Rosie O'Donnell also visits Amy as a family court judge on Feb. 25. read more

EDIE FALCO ALERT!

You can fuhgetabout seeing new episodes of The Sopranos anytime soon. Production on the show's upcoming fifth (and likely final) season, scheduled to begin in March, has been delayed so that James Gandolfini can shoot the DreamWorks comedy Surviving Christmas opposite Ben Affleck. As a result, HBO's mob drama probably won't return until January 2004. read more

WELL, IT'S NOT THE GRAMMYS

The American Music Awards got dissed big-time last night as some of the kudofest's biggest winners — Eminem, the Dixie Chicks and Creed — were MIA. One exception was Ashanti, who was on hand to accept trophies for favorite new pop/rock and R&B artist. Backstage, the singer said she was "happy to be here, happy to be nominated. It's a very prestigious award." Well, viewers didn't seem to agree: Ratings for this year's show were down 20 percent compared to 2002. Meanwhile, nominations for Britain's top music award, the Brits, came out Monday, and Eminem will compete against Bruce Springsteen, Moby, Beck and Nelly for best international male solo artist. Best female solo artist nods went to Missy Elliott, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and Pink. Winners will be announced Feb. 20. read more

END QUOTE

"I have never been so excited to have people walk all over me for the rest of my life." — Hours star Nicole Kidman on receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday. read more

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Diana Ross's most hotly anticipated on-camera performance in decades debuts this Friday. Despite protests from Ross's attorneys, a judge today ordered the release of a police videotape shot during the 58-year-old singer's Dec. 30 DUI arrest. However, when the tape comes out Friday, it will be sans audio. The video was shot while police questioned Ross and gave her a field sobriety test. read more

ANISTON UPDATE

Alright, here's the scoop on why Jennifer Aniston was sporting a cane at Sunday's People's Choice Awards. Apparently, the Friends star broke a toe on her right foot when she collided with a piece of furniture. Ouch! read more

Question: What is the name of ...

Question: What is the name of the Charmed episode where Piper is made to think she's in a mental hospital and everything about her life (and everybody in it) is a fantasy? We've been watching the show daily on TNT and keep hoping it will be on, but it hasn't and I'm not even sure what season it's from. Thank you! — Karen, Horicon, Wis.

Televisionary: The episode in question is "Brain Drain" and it was originally broadcast on Nov. 8, 2001 (Season Four). Keep an eye on our listings to catch it next time it's on.

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VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

Reality may have taken a bite out of The West Wing's ratings this season, but NBC still has faith in the Emmy-winning White House drama. The Peacock network is thisclose to securing a three-year deal to renew the show, a pact that would keep Martin Sheen in office until 2006. According to USA Today, the new deal would call for NBC to shell out about $6 million an episode — triple what the Peacock pays now. However, Variety estimates the new fee to be $4 million to $5 million an episode. read more

CONTEMPLATE YOUR NAVAL

CBS is planning a JAG spinoff about naval crime investigators, it was announced Monday at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood. Joked CBS chief Leslie Moonves: "For those who say we aren't introducing a new CSI this year... Maybe we are!" But no worries, Catherine Bell fans — JAG's current cast will remain intact. In other CBS news, Touched by an Angel will end its nine-year run with a two-hour finale in May, and it appears as if the network's controversial reality series The Real Beverly Hillbillies is on hold. read more

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