Today's News: Our Take


CARTOON KUDOS

The acclaimed Japanese animated film Spirited Away was the big winner at Saturday's Annie Awards, picking up trophies for best feature film, writing, music and direction. DreamWorks's similarly-titled (but far inferior) Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron also fared well, receiving awards for character design, effects animation, production design and storyboarding. read more

AUDIENCES GET RECRUITED

Colin Farrell's got another excuse to party this morning! His spy thriller The Recruit, co-starring Al Pacino, opened in first place at the box office over the weekend with $16.5 million. Final Destination 2 debuted in second place with $16.2 million, followed by the new motorcycle flick Biker Boyz (No. 3 with $10.1 million). Rounding out the top five: Kangaroo Jack (No. 4 with $9 million) and Darkness Falls (No. 5 with $7.5 million). Sorry folks, but it's hard to get excited about any of these films. read more

Fastlane's Girl-on-Girl Encore


Viewers may have gotten a kick out of Tiffani Thiessen and Jaime Pressly's sapphic hot-tub smooch on the Jan. 17 Fastlane, but filming the same-sex sequence was no picnic for the former Saved by the Bell goody two-shoes. "It was freakin' freezing in the jacuzzi because they didn't heat it," Thiessen tells TV Guide Online. "That was the only thing that was really difficult about it. It was so cold."

Well, the ex-90210 hellraiser can warm herself with the knowledge that her suffering was not in vain. The heavily-promoted lip-lock gave the show a considerable ratings bump in its new Fridays-at-8 pm/ET time slot. Not surprisingly, Thiessen though read more

Kingpin the Heir to Tony Soprano's Throne?


Sopranos fans who sample the premiere of NBC's Kingpin (Sunday at 10 pm/ET) expecting the crime-family serial to be a Latin-flavored rehash of HBO's Mob hit can just fughedaboudit. Although the new drama features onetime Sopranos guest star Yancey Arias in the lead role of ambivalent drug czar Miguel Cadena, and is directed by frequent Sopranos helmer Allen Coulter, its twice-told tale owes no greater debt to Big Pussy than it does to the Bard.

"We all love The Sopranos, but Kingpin is more like The Godfather meets Traffic with a little bit of Shakespeare added," Arias suggests to TV Guide Online. "It's a different show altogether.

"When you first met Tony Soprano read more

Meet Alias's New Bad Girl


Alias fans weren't the only folks shocked by last Sunday's post-Super Bowl episode, which climaxed with the murder of Sydney's (Jennifer Garner) sweet roommate Francie (Merrin Dungey) at the hands of her never-before-seen evil double. Not even Dungey's closest friends knew the actress would soon transform into a femme fatale. Since October, she's been suffering under a vow of silence about the plot twist, and now she's dying to tell us all about it!

"J.J. [Abrams, the show's creator] said he'd send my character to Disney World, never to return, if I said anything," she tells TV Guide Online. "I've been holding this secret and living [like] Sydney Bristow... No o read more

OOPSIE!

The mystery behind Meryl Streep's shocking SAG Awards snub has been solved. The actress, an anticipated double nominee for her lead work in The Hours and her supporting turn in Adaptation, was the victim of a clerical error. Apparently, a low-level Sony employee submitted Streep in the wrong category — lead instead of supporting — for Adaptation. As a result, the votes most likely got split between the two films. Personally, I think Streep is paying the price for smelling like a camel at the Golden Globes. read more

SHORT CUTS

Dubya's State of the Union address Tuesday was seen by 62 million viewers, making it the most-watched since Bill Clinton's first address in 1993... Magic Johnson will produce and occasionally appear in an MTV reality show titled Who's Got Game, which documents the lives of 12 street basketball players competing for a $100,000 prize. read more

SPECIAL DELIVERY

German supermodel Claudia Schiffer gave birth to a baby boy by Caesarian section on Thursday in London. This is the first child for Schiffer and hubby, film producer Matthew Vaughn. read more

LUCK OF THE IRISH

Britney Spears is in official meltdown mode. The 21-year-old former Mouseketeer showed up on the arm of Irish gigolo Colin Farrell, 26, at Tuesday's Hollywood premiere of The Recruit. Later at the after-party, the duo — who reportedly met last week when Spears stalked, er, visited Farrell on the set of his movie S.W.A.T. — were seen kissing and snuggling. Maybe Spears was turned on by the quote Farrell recently gave to W magazine, in which he boasted, "I come to town and [bleep] everything I can." Or, maybe this one he gave to Playboy: "I have never been with a prostitute that I haven't been completely polite to." Um, Ms. Spears, can you confirm this? read more

TRASH PICK-UP

Courtney Love, call your agents: HBO is developing a drama series set in a trailer park. The title? Trailerpark. The inspiration? Russell Banks's collection of short stories of the same name. The goal? To find the next Sopranos. read more

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