Today's News: Our Take


Forest Whitaker: Don't Panic!


Forest Whitaker knew Panic Room would be a great movie, but only as long as David Fincher (Fight Club) directed the suspenser. "In his hands, I thought it would be really amazing," he tells TV Guide Online. "In somebody else's hands, it would feel more like a play because it all happens in a house."

The 40-year-old actor/director says he jumped at the chance to play Burnham, a conflicted security pro who breaks into Jodie Foster's home for cash. The duo then engage in a psychological face-off when she seals herself inside the very room where the stash is hidden!

Whitaker explains that Fincher's involvement elevated read more

JUST A LITTLE WIN

A judge has tossed out Fox News's lawsuit against the agent for Paula Zahn, who bolted Fox for CNN in September. Fox claimed Zahn's camp began negotiating prematurely with CNN, but Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman ruled that the "just a little sexy" anchor was "free to negotiate with rival networks at any time, so long as she gave Fox the opportunity to decide whether or not to match any offers obtained." Fox plans to appeal. read more

A MATTER OF RESCHEDULING

Nightline's five-part series exploring the lives of gay and lesbian people — originally slated to air last September but postponed due to the terrorist attacks — has been rescheduled for April 8-12. The special — which bears the controversial title "A Matter of Choice?" — will conclude with a live, 90-minute town hall meeting anchored by Ted Koppel. read more

MR. TELEVISION DIES

Legendary comedian Milton Berle, known affectionately as "Mr. Television," died Wednesday of colon cancer. He was 93. "What a remarkable man, what a remarkable career," Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores, said in a statement. "Eighty-eight years in show business, a brilliant comedian, an accomplished actor, a lifelong friend." read more

Clockstoppers Star to Bring It On


Jesse Bradford is mostly recognized for his role as Kirsten Dunst's adorable love interest in Bring It On. But the star of the time-warping adventure flick Clockstoppers — opening Friday — doesn't mind being known as the cheerleader's boyfriend.

"It doesn't bug me," Bradford tells TV Guide Online. "For me to resent Bring It On in any way would be kind of stupid. I'm glad when people call me that because it gets me work."

"You've got to be the guy from something," the 22-year-old actor acknowledges. "Until Tom Hanks became Tom Hanks, he was the guy from Bosom Buddies. You can probab read more

GOTTA LOVE LIVE TV!

The folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals outfoxed ABC's security detail this morning. On today's Good Morning America, a pair of PETA activists interrupted Diane Sawyer's live interview with Steve Martin. They were protesting GMA's continued association with Animal Adventures host Jack Hanna, who PETA claims is no friend of animals. "We've been corresponding with Good Morning America for months and they're obviously ignoring our concerns," PETA spokesperson Kristie Phelps tells TV Guide Online. "They're putting ratings ahead of ethics." Responds an ABC rep: "With a live morning show, you never know what's going to happen. Everyone's entitled to make their opinions known, but disrupting a live interview is not the best way to go about it." read more

SHORT CUTS

Eva Mendes, who played Denzel Washington's lover in Training Day, is in talks to reunite with the Oscar winner in the MGM thriller Out of Time... Actor-director Ed Burns and model Christy Turlington have called off their engagement, US Weekly reports. read more

Top Gun Gets Real


Picture it: Tom Cruise in aviator glasses, grinning confidently as he hops into his jet, a guitar solo rockin' in the background — the image is burned into our minds as the epitome of the American fighter pilot. Almost 16 years after Top Gun's enormously successful release, however, director Tony Scott says it's far from the movie he originally wanted to make.

"I was fighting with [producers] Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, saying I wanted to do it in the bowels of an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean — Top Gun/Apocalypse Now," says Scott, who spent three weeks living on the Miramar naval read more

TUESDAY RATINGS

The debut of ABC's new Sally Field drama The Court got off to a decent start Tuesday night. The Supreme Court saga ranked second at 10 pm — 18 percent below CBS's Judging Amy. NBC's Watching Ellie, meanwhile, continues its ratings nosedive. In its fifth airing, the comedy hit a series low. read more

THEY HAVE A VERDICT

A former Jerry Springer Show guest was convicted Tuesday of killing his ex-wife hours after they were featured on the show. A Florida jury found Ralf Panitz, 42, guilty of second-degree murder in the July 2000 murder of Nancy Campbell-Panitz, 52. Prosecutors argued that Panitz killed Campbell-Panitz because he was angry that she had won a court order to kick him out of her house. read more

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