Today's News: Our Take


The Minnesota Department of Transportation has named a dozen of its drainage ponds after characters on Fox's The Simpsons. The move was seen as a creative way to keep track of the state's several hundred ponds at highway interchanges. Among the names being used: Apu, Clancy Wiggum, Maggie, Itchy, Lenny, Quimby and, natch, Bart. read more


Mary Tyler Moore has been cast in the upcoming TNT movie Miss Lettie and Me. In the film — which is based on Katherine Patterson's short story Poor Little Innocent Lamb — Moore will play an embittered woman whose 9-year-old niece shows up for an extended visit. read more


MTV's first lady Sharon Osbourne says her cancer has spread beyond her colon and she plans to start a three-month course of chemotherapy later this month. Osbourne, 49, tells People magazine that her prognosis is "very, very good," but adds that husband Ozzy was "hysterical" when he first heard. "It was not the best news," she said. "You think nothing will ever happen to you. You're invincible. Then after you get over the shock and panic you realize how lucky you are to be alive... That's where I am right now. I simply have to take care of this thing." Osbourne will allow MTV to incorporate footage of her cancer treatment into the second season of The Osbournes. "People will see me having chemo. It'll be interesting," she says. "We need to get a different vibe going. I think I'll bring some music, introduce myself, maybe we can sing some songs and cheer read more


Fox is close to sealing a deal for a second edition of its hit reality series American Idol: The Search for a Superstar, Variety reports. The second installment — which would once again feature cranky Simon Cowell (and possibly fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson too) — would debut in early 2003. read more


Late Night host Conan O'Brien is thisclose to signing a deal to host the 54th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, to be telecast live Sept. 22 on NBC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. O'Brien would follow in the footsteps of Ellen DeGeneres, who earned praise for her hosting duties during last year's oft-postponed, post-Sept. 11 ceremony. For complete coverage of the 2002 Emmy nominations, click here. read more

Harrison Ford Sees Red

During the Cold War, Hollywood echoed America's constant suspicion of the U.S.S.R. by endowing just about every movie villain with a Russian accent. So it's no wonder Soviet navy veterans were wary when Harrison Ford approached them to discuss the true tale behind his submarine thriller K-19: The Widowmaker. Indeed, they had their doubts about an American icon playing a Red hero.

"In Moscow, I think [the Russians] were confused about what our intentions were," says Ford, who plays rigid Capt. Alexei Vostrikov in the film (opening tomorrow). "But we held pretty strictly to the Russian point of view. [We] didn't comment on the political system or the nature of Russians in the way that I think most people would have expected in an American film."

Ford — who was 19 in 1961, when the movie's ev read more


Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from husband Billy Bob Thornton, Extra reports. Citing irreconcilable differences, Jolie is asking for all her jewelry and personal effects as well as her earnings since the day they separated. Jolie told Us Weekly's Aug. 5 issue that she and Thornton have spent four months living apart and haven't seen one another since June 3. The Tomb Raider star is also seeking sole custody of their son, claiming Thornton left home just 11 days after they adopted baby Maddox from Cambodia. "I don't want to attack him publicly," she told the mag. "I'm angry. I'm sad... It was a real deep connection, a deep marriage... It's clear to me that our priorities shifted overnight." read more

Geena Davis: Mousy Mommy

Long ago, when Geena Davis was doing bit parts in Tootsie and TV's Knight Rider, she dreamed she'd make it big in Hollywood. Well, 20 years and one Oscar later, Davis is content to play the mommy in Stuart Little 2 — opening tomorrow — and in real life, too.

"As far as acting goes, I don't feel enormously ambitious anymore," the 46-year-old Davis confesses. "I do feel like I've had incredible good fortune in that I've played some really unique and interesting characters... but I don't feel like I need to conquer the world anymore in that area. I think if I was gonna go nuts about passionately pursuing something, it would probably be something else."

read more


When it comes to Emmy recognition, HBO's mortuary drama Six Feet Under is no stiff: The quirky soap scored a field-best 23 nominations this morning, including outstanding drama series. In that category it will compete with The West Wing, CSI, Law & Order and 24. On the comedy side, Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City, Friends, Will & Grace and HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm will duke it out for best series. Speaking of Friends, the cast's read more


ABC seems to be acknowledging what we've all known for some time: The Practice stunk last season. At the TCA press tour, the network's entertainment president Susan Lyne told reporters that the show's creator and executive producer David E. Kelley will take a more hands-on role this coming season. In other ABC news, NYPD Blue — which unlike The Practice, experienced a creative resurgence last year — will launch its 10th season on Sept. 24 with its 200th episode. A one-hour retrospective will air at 9 pm/ET, leading into the season premiere at 10 pm/ET. read more

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