Today's News: Our Take


DOUBLE DUTY

60 Minutes regular Lesley Stahl has been named anchor of 48 Hours Investigates, CBS announced today. She replaces Dan Rather, who is focusing his time on 60 Minutes II and the CBS Evening News. In addition to 48 Hours (which kicks off its new season on Sept. 27), Stahl will continue her full-time duties at 60 Minutes. read more

VIEWERS IDOLIZE IDOL

Last night's performance edition of American Idol attracted a series high 15.1 million viewers. Meanwhile, Fox has posted exclusive excerpts from the official American Idol book on its website. The book lands in stores Aug. 27. read more

THE SLICK WILLY SHOW

Rumors that former president Bill Clinton is poised to enter the talk show fray just won't die. The latest scuttlebutt has Bubba in preliminary talks with syndication powerhouse King World about a possible yakfest to air on CBS-owned stations. The daytime show would be a cross between Oprah and Nightline, but insiders say if Clinton wants to get on the air in time for a fall 2003 launch, he has to make up his mind pronto. Last May, Clinton met with NBC about headlining a possible talk show, but the Peacock ultimately passed on the project. Money may have been a factor: Reports surfaced that he demanded $50 million upfront. Who does he think he is, Vin Diesel? read more

Simon Rex, Destiny's Child


Had destiny not smiled upon Simon Rex during his late-1990s run as MTV eye candy, he easily could have suffered a fate worse than death — becoming the next Downtown Julie Brown. But before he fully committed himself to a career as a small-screen personality, he received a call that would forever alter the course of his life.

"Gus Van Sant requested to meet me for Good Will Hunting," the 28-year-old San Francisco native tells TV Guide Online. Although the onetime skin-flick star didn't get cast, he did get ideas. "I said to myself, 'Okay, I can stay [and keep introducing videos] or I could go down this [other] road, because this looks like it might happen. So I went down the other road."

In no time, thanks to roles on WB's Felicity read more

LAME DUCK?

Paul Simon will replace Paul McCartney at this year's 25th annual Kennedy Center honors. McCartney announced last week that "a personal scheduling conflict" would prevent him from attending the Dec. 8 event. The former Beatle will instead be honored next year. And before you go labeling Simon as nothing more than a runner-up, The Kennedy Center says the singer-songwriter was already on a trustees list of future honorees. read more

SMALL SCREEN BIGGIES

Carol Burnett Show mainstays Tim Conway and Harvey Korman will be among those inducted this fall into the Television Hall of Fame. The list of honorees also includes late director John Frankenheimer, designer Bob Mackie, All in the Family star Jean Stapleton and Maude director-producer Bud Yorkin. The ceremony takes place Nov. 6 in Beverly Hills. read more

THEY'RE LAYING OUT THE WELCOME MATT

Matt Damon will guest star on another episode of Will & Grace this season, exec producer Max Mutchnick confirms to TV Guide Online. Damon will reprise his role as Owen, a sketchy straight guy who faked homosexuality to beat out Jack for a spot in a gay chorus. No word on when the episode will air, but we have a hunch it'll be during a sweeps month. read more

Sopranos Alum: Real-Life Wiseguy?


While many Italian-Americans try to fight Mafia stereotypes, Sopranos alum Vincent Pastore has learned to have fun with his goomba image. In fact, he seems to encourage the assumption that there's a little "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero in his real life. And since he seemed so natural as a shady process server in his latest film — Serving Sara (opening Friday) — we just had to ask: Has he ever been served a summons himself?

"Don't you think so?" he sarcastically retorts. "I had a previous life before I became an actor! Of course I have [been served]." He won't tell us why the courts required the pleasure of his company, but he hints that it was back when he used to run night clubs.

We'll bet Pastore's hard-boiled New Yawk attitude made quite an impression down in Dallas, Texas, where he read more

DO THEY ACCEPT VISA?

The Russian space agency has given 'N Sync's Lance Bass, 23, until Friday to come up with the $20 million necessary to take an Oct. 28 trip to the international space station. The singer's camp says paperwork problems are delaying the payment. read more

UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY

Lawyers for Robert De Niro are preparing to file a $1 million lawsuit against Celebrity Vibe photo agency, claiming it sold unauthorized pics of De Niro and fellow thesp Sean Penn at a private birthday party last year in Manhattan. De Niro and Penn share the same birthday — Aug. 17. Celebrity Vibe co-owner Jeffrey Boyard insists, "Our photographer was invited." read more

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