Today's News: Our Take


Christopher Titus's Next Move


"I had the rare distinction of having a show that was too edgy for Fox." That's actor-comedian Christopher Titus, lamenting the unexpected death of his dark family comedy Titus. Axed in May after three seasons, the semi-autobiographical sitcom airs its five remaining originals over the next month — beginning with back-to-back episodes Monday (8 pm/ET).

Titus' demise ends a tumultuous partnership between the stand-up comic and Fox, one which involved personality conflicts and frequent clashes over content. "I will admit, at times, I'm very stubborn creatively," says Titus, whose show took an un-PC approach to everything from Alzheimer's disease to child abuse. "I was always, 'Let's push the envelope.' And I have a big mouth, [which] probably didn't help."

Still, Titus seemed worth the headache. Despite a 19 percent rating read more

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER?

Liza Minnelli and new husband, David Gest, outlined plans for their upcoming VH1 reality show on Thursday — and it sounds just stupid enough to work. Liza and David — set to premiere in October — will focus on the weekly celebrity dinner parties they host at their Manhattan penthouse. In addition to lots of singing, talking and eating, the series will show Minnelli — yikes! — cooking. (She reportedly makes a mean pot roast.) Among the possible dinner guests: Mary J. Blige, Alan Jackson, Dr. Dre, Al Green and Barry White. read more

Destiny's Child Star on Blaxploitation


On stage, Beyoncé Knowles exudes an ultra-confident performing persona. You need nerve to sing torrid tunes like "Bootylicious"! Still, the 20-year-old Destiny's Child star was quaking in her platforms when she first met Mike Myers to discuss her casting in Austin Powers in Goldmember. Thank goodness she brought her mom along!

"[Mike Myers] was very shy, and I'm very shy when I first meet people," admits Knowles, who plays Foxxy Cleopatra. "I didn't know if I should shake his hand or hug him. We looked crazy because we were so awkward!

"Finally," she recalls, "we shook hands and sat down, and he told me he was nervous. I thought, 'Why are you nervous? I'm terrified!' I didn't say anything. I just let my mom talk... She got me through it."

Knowles also thanks her mother for helping her research Foxxy — a read more

SHE'S STILL POPULAR

Popular alum Leslie Bibb is joining the cast of NBC's ER next season, playing medical student Erin Harkins. She's slated to appear in at least five episodes. read more

CUSTODY DECISION

Robert Blake's daughter Delinah Blake won permanent custody Thursday of her father's two-year-old girl with Bonny Lee Bakley — the woman he is accused of killing. Blake was arrested April 18 and charged with Bakley's murder. He remains jailed pending trial. read more

SHORT CUTS

Film rights to Michael Crichton's next novel, the political thriller Prey, have been snapped up by 20th Century Fox for close to $5 million... Seinfeld's Jason Alexander will guest star on an episode of UPN's new version of The Twilight Zone, which premieres Sept. 18 (9-10 pm/ET). read more

Rob Lowe: Replaceable You

Oh, Rob Lowe — what are you thinking? It hasn't been that long since a certain X-rated videotape nearly eclipsed all the hard work you did in 1980s flicks like About Last Night... and Class, and now you're leaving your comeback role of the White House's deputy communications director Sam Seaborn on The West Wing. Are you nuts?

"It's going to be a big [transition]," the president himself, Martin Sheen, tells TV Guide Online. "It's a very difficult show to do because it's all acting. We talk a lot, and it's dependent on each other. I don't know how we're going to fill that void.

"But," he adds, "Aaron Sorkin [the series creator] is a read more

GOOD NEWS FOR BEN AFFLECK

There will be no reconciliation between Jennifer Lopez and husband Cris Judd. After less than a year of marriage, Lopez officially filed for divorce Thursday from the dancer, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple's attorneys released the following statement: "Jennifer Lopez and Cris Judd have announced they have resolved all issues arising out of their marriage. The resolution was extremely amicable... The two will remain friends." That seems unlikely considering how quickly J.Lo has moved on. According to the New York Post, the singer-actress "kissed and cuddled" alleged new flame Ben Affleck Wednesday at her surprise 32nd birthday party in Manhattan. read more

CASTING COUP

Saturday Night Live has tapped Sen. John McCain to host the second episode of the show's upcoming 28th season, airing Oct. 12. "I'm a little nervous," he tells Variety. "Some say there's a fine line between political theater and theater. But it's going to be fun." The former presidential candidate will be joined by musical guest Faith Hill. read more

IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME...

A Los Angeles-based producer is suing Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, claiming they stole his idea for their MTV phenom The Osbournes. According to The Hollywood Reporter, plaintiff Gary Binkow says he met repeatedly with the couple and execs at Miramax TV in 1999-2000 to discuss "a real-life docu-sitcom" about the rocker and his clan. He's seeking unspecified damages for breach of contract and fraud. MTV has yet to comment. read more

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