Today's News: Our Take


WELL, DUH!

Three years after Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace hit theaters, Ewan McGregor (aka Obi-Wan Kenobi) is finally confirming what we all knew: The film was a big ol' turkey. "I thought it was ... kind of flat," McGregor said in an interview released by UK film company FilmFour. "I think there is much more humor and there is much more color in [Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones]." read more

EMERGENCY!

Embattled scribe Megan McTavish has stepped down from her post as headwriter of ABC's struggling sudser General Hospital. She will be replaced by former GH-Santa Barbara-Sunset Beach writers Charles Pratt Jr. and Bob Guza. In other GH news, Steve Burton is reprising his role as Jason Morgan. read more

GIRL FIGHT SETTLED

Assault charges against 23-year-old Girlfight actress Michelle Rodriguez were dropped late last week after roommate Louise Ann Ward decided to forgive and forget. Ward accused Rodriguez of attacking her on March 16 in their Jersey City, N.J., apartment. read more

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Martin Scorsese's long-awaited, big budget epic Gangs of New York will open this Christmas. The pic — which was originally slated to hit theaters last Christmas — stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. Meanwhile, Gangs's running time — once more than three hours — has been trimmed to two hours and 40 minutes. read more

FAMED TV PRODUCER DIES

Roy Huggins, the writer-producer behind such TV classics as Maverick and The Fugitive, died of natural causes on Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87. read more

WE SAW THIS COMING

ABC has found a new name for its low-rated comedy Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central): Canceled After Two Episodes. In its place, the network is bringing back The Job for three weeks. In other TV news, Fox has renewed Mad TV for two more seasons. read more

THERE'S NOTHING TO FEAR BUT... TRAVELLING?

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey — who recently turned down a White House invitation to visit Afghanistan — has postponed a trip to South Africa over safety concerns. "My instinct says things aren't right in parts of the world," she told South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper. Winfrey was headed to South Africa to promote the launch of her magazine, O. read more

FEMALE FORCE

Girl power ruled at the box office over the weekend as two female-driven flicks took the top spots. The Jodie Foster thriller Panic Room remained No. 1 for the second consecutive weekend, grossing another $18.5 million. It edged out the new Ashley Judd military drama High Crimes, which brought in $15 million. Rounding out the top five was Ice Age (No. 3 with $14.3 million), The Rookie (No. 4 with $11.7 million) and National Lampoon's Van Wilder (No. 5 with $7.5 million). Tim Allen's new farce Big Trouble, meanwhile, made litt read more

STERN DENIAL

What does Rosie O'Donnell think of this week's National Enquirer story alleging that her girlfriend Kelly Carpenter is having a baby for her? "Deny, deny, deny," the chat queen's publicist, Lois Smith, tells TV Guide Online. "These people don't have anything to do but sit around and make up things?" Rosie does seem busy enough these days, what with campaigning for gay adoption in Florida. "Not only that," Smith says, "she has three children. And I wouldn't be surprised to see her come home with another one. Rosie and babies... forget it, they're just meant for each other. But this is absolutely not true." read more

Morgan Freeman: Ashley Addict?


When Ashley Judd speaks, Morgan Freeman listens. Freeman agreed to play a disgraced military attorney in the new thriller High Crimes (opening today) simply because, well, his favorite leading lady asked him if he would.

Explains the 64-year-old three-time Oscar nominee: "She called me and said, 'Do you want to do this?' And I said, 'Are you in it?' And she said, 'Yeah.' So, I said, 'Yeah!'"

High Crimes marks Freeman's second collaboration with Judd; he first starred opposite the Southern belle in 1997's Kiss the Girls. And if the Shawshank Redemption thesp has his way, a third will be right around the corner. "I just feel it's going t read more

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