Today's News: Our Take


FRIENDS IN DEED

The producers of the NBC series Friends are offering a walk-on role at a June 3 charity auction to benefit the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, reports The Associated Press. Also up for grabs are a ride in the Goodyear blimp, a romantic dinner prepared by Bill Cosby's personal chef and the original shower curtain from Psycho, autographed by Janet Leigh. read more

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR

Pop-punk trio Blink-182 will guest star on The Simpsons next season, Rolling Stone reports. The episode has Bart running away from home to live in his own apartment, with the band and pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk as his new neighbors! read more

ROSIE WRAPS

Rosie O'Donnell flung her last koosh ball today as the 40-year-old entertainer's six-year talk show career came to an end. "This is the biggest, gayest celebration since Liza's wedding," cracked guest Nathan Lane. Also stopping by to say farewell: O'Donnell's pal Christine Ebersole and her No. 1 obsession, Tom Cruise. The Mission: Impossible superstar appeared in a taped segment fulfilling O'Donnell's ultimate fantasy: cutting her lawn. read more

Colin Firth Sings in Earnest


Attempting to woo his beloved in The Importance of Being Earnest — opening Friday — Colin Firth's character serenades her. Of course, we're dying to know: Was the handsome Brit crooning with his own voice in the film?

"I'm very flattered that you even ask [if it was me]," Firth tells TV Guide Online. "If they got a professional voice in [instead], it would have sounded a lot better than that.

"I didn't really prepare very much except in my bedroom once or twice," the 41-year-old adds. "It was a fairly unprepared thing, but I think that was the spirit that was required. I was rather hoping it would all be dubbed!"

Firth has a very different opinion when it comes to the vocal performance of co-star Reese Witherspoon — whose part calls for her to utter read more

ATTENTION DEAD HEADS

The Grateful Dead is coming back to life. For the first time since the death of Jerry Garcia, the four surviving members of the band will reunite under the name The Other Ones for a two-day concert in August. "Terrapin Station — A Grateful Dead Family Reunion" will take place on Aug. 3 and 4 in East Troy, Wis. read more

EXECUTIVE SHUFFLE

Despite NBC's strong performance this season, there are big changes underway behind-the-scenes. Scott Sassa is stepping down as president of NBC's West Coast operations, but will remain on the network's payroll working on "strategic projects." Sassa's responsibilities will be assumed by NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker. read more

JENNY DELIVERS

Former MTV spitfire Jenny McCarthy gave birth to a baby boy, named Evan Joseph Asher, on Saturday in Los Angeles. This is the first child for the 29-year-old former Playboy Playmate and her husband, director John Asher. read more

SHORT CUTS

Annette Bening has signed on to star in a remake of the classic family comedy Freaky Friday... Monday's series finale of Ally McBeal averaged a decent 11.4 million viewers. read more

SNAPSHOT BACKFIRE

A Virginia photographer is suing rocker Rod Stewart for copyright infringement, The Associated Press reports. She claims the star used photos she took of him — on T-shirts and concert program books — without obtaining her consent. He's countersuing, claiming the shutterbug was paid, but then tried to extort $500,000 from him for the shots. This head-scratcher of a legal debacle also includes her mother, who Stewart says "surreptitiously" took unauthorized photos of him. read more

PROUD AS A PEACOCK

The 2001-02 television season ends tonight and NBC, buoyed by a resurgent Friends (the No. 1 show) as well as enduring hits ER (No. 3) and Law & Order (No. 5), will be crowned the No. 1 network. CBS will finish a strong second, thanks in large part to CSI (No. 2) and Everybody Loves Raymond (No. 5). The news was bad for the No. 3 network, ABC, which saw a quarter of its audience slip away. Fox, meanwhile, was No. 4 (down 4 percent), followed by UPN (up 15 percent) and the WB (up 1 percent). read more

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