Today's News: Our Take


Martin Scorsese, Etta James, Kevin Bacon, Susan Sarandon, Kermit the Frog and the late Gilda Radner are among the entertainers to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year... NBC has replaced CBS as Donald Trump's beauty pageant partner, which means the Peacock Network will now broadcast the Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA competitions. read more


Two men accused of attempting to blackmail Oscar-winner Russell Crowe were acquitted Monday in an Australian court. Judge John Williams said prosecutors failed to prove the duo demanded money from Crowe in return for destroying a video showing the Gladiator star brawling outside a bar. read more


Quick, get Halle Berry some more Kleenex: Angela Bassett says she turned down Berry's Oscar-winning role in Monster's Ball because she didn't want to play a stereotype. "It's about character, darling," she tells Newsweek. "I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film. I couldn't do that because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality... It's about putting something out there you can be proud of 10 years later. I mean, Meryl Streep won Oscars without all that." Natch, Bassett insists her comments were not intended as a diss to Berry — not that we were reading between the lines or anything. read more


David Letterman is headed to ABC — albeit for one night only. According to the The New York Times, the Late Show host has agreed to a sit-down interview with Ted Koppel to air the week of July 8 on ABC's new profile-oriented spinoff, Nightline: Up Close. Koppel asked Letterman for the interview back in March, after the whole "Will Dave replace Ted on ABC?" brouhaha was resolved — with Letterman staying put on CBS. "Dave is no show-business weasel," says Late Show exec producer Rob Burnett. "He promised Ted, and he's going to do it." read more


How did Dick Clark celebrate the recent renewal of his syndicated chat show The Other Half? He purchased a 12-acre Malibu home for close to $15 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The oceanfront property has been described as "one of the best building sites in Malibu." read more


Former NYPD Blue Emmy winner Kim Delaney wasn't out of work for long. The actress — whose freshman legal drama, Philly, was axed last month by ABC — is joining the cast of CSI: Miami, CBS's upcoming CSI spinoff. Miami teams her with fellow Blue alum David Caruso. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Delaney will play a senior crime scene investigator at the Miami-Dade police department. In the wake of Philly's cancellation, there were rumors that Delaney might head back to Blue next season. However, executive producer Steven Bochco quickly s read more


Beloved advice columnist Ann Landers died Saturday of cancer at the age of 83. Landers, whose real name was Esther Lederer, did not want her column to go on in her absence. "She owned the copyright and she did not wish for the name to continue," her daughter, Margo Howard, told The Associated Press. "She felt it was very much associated with her." As a result, her final column will run July 27. read more


Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg probably wish they could have prevented this from happening: The duo's new futuristic thriller Minority Report didn't have the slam-dunk opening weekend victory many had predicted. The Oscar-worthy film grossed $36.9 million, barely edging out the debut of Disney's animated pic Lilo & Stitch ($35.8 million). In fact, Disney execs remain confident that when final numbers are tabulated later today, L&S will come out on top. Still, Cruise and Spielberg may have the last laugh: Strong word of mouth on Report indicates that the pic may have a long, successful run this summer. The same can't be said for Scooby-Doo. In its second weekend of release, the read more


At the weekend press junket for Men in Black II, Tommy Lee Jones gave TV Guide Online the scoop on his next project: He's in talks to star in an upcoming Warner Bros. comedy titled Cheer Up. "The premise is a squad of high school cheerleaders witness a gangland killing and have to be put into a witness protection program, overseen by an aging FBI agent," he explains. "It doesn't take very long for the girls to go on the lam, running from the mob, and they have to be supervised. It's a funny idea." Jones — who would play the FBI agent-turned-chaperone — says producers are still looking for a director. read more

The Sept. 11 Parallel "Nobody Noticed"

We know the ratings for Fox's short-lived X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen were bad, but this is ridiculous. Six months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — March 4, 2001, to be exact — Gunmen premiered with an episode featuring a terrorist plot to fly a commercial airliner into the World Trade Center. The climactic sequence actually shows the plane heading into one of the Twin Towers, but at the last minute, it's pulled upward and just misses the building.

Shockingly, this horrifying bit of foreshadowing was never widely reported until Thursday, when industry newsletter The Myers Report broke the story. How is it that virtually no one remembered this post 9/11? "I know! That's what I've been wondering," marvels Frank Spotni read more

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