Today's News: Our Take


HE PITCHES, TOO?

Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O'Neal has pitched a one-hour basketball drama to the major networks, Variety reports. Says one surprised exec: "It was a much more impressive pitch than your traditional pitch by a sports figure." The Kazaam star would serve as the show's executive producer and make occasional guest appearances as his schedule permits. read more

FAREWELL

Acting vet Rod Steiger, who won an Oscar for playing a bigoted police chief opposite Sidney Poitier in the 1967 film In the Heat of the Night, died Tuesday of pneumonia and kidney failure. He was 77. Steiger's resume also included memorable roles in On the Waterfront, The Pawnbroker and Doctor Zhivago. read more

QUANTUM PHYSICS

Quantum Leap fans, brace yourselves: Sci Fi Channel is remaking the NBC series into a two-hour movie, which may serve as a launch pad for a new series. Sci Fi president Bonnie Hammer says a female leaper may take over Scott Bakula's role. read more

MUST-SEE MOVIE

Warner Bros. will release The Matrix Reloaded on May 15 2003 — a Thursday. It's the first time the studio has released a movie on a Thursday. (I have a hunch most of America will be at home watching the second-to-last episode of Friends, but that's just me.) The second Matrix sequel, The Matrix Revolutions, opens later that year. read more

DON'T MESS WITH ALI

Will Smith has applied for a temporary restraining order against a former caretaker who allegedly made threats against the Men in Black II star, his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and their children. According to Entertainment Tonight, Smith fired Mike Cooley — who looked after the actor's property — last year. read more

SHORT CUTS

'N Sync's Joey Fatone joins the cast of the Broadway musical Rent on Aug. 5... Madonna will make a cameo appearance as a fencing instructor in the upcoming James Bond movie, Die Another Day... Ex-Survivor cutie Elisabeth Filarski wed former Boston College quarterback Tim Hasselbeck on Saturday in Cranston, R.I... Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw have donated $12 million to a community equestrian club in Los Angeles to prevent land used by horseback riders from being sold to developers... Mariah Carey's father, Alfred, died of cancer July 4 at his New York home. read more

DIAGNOSED

The mystery surrounding Sharon Osbourne's cancer diagnosis is over: The star of MTV's The Osbournes underwent surgery last week for colon cancer. The 49-year-old matriarch is expected to make a full recovery, as the cancer was caught in the very early stages. "[She's] in good spirits and doing well," says her rep. Husband Ozzy — who postponed the first two dates of Ozzfest 2002 to be by his wife's side — resumes the tour Wednesday night in Scranton, Pa. read more

Six Feet Under's Surprise Sex Symbol


He has neither Brad Pitt's washboard abs nor Vin Diesel's bulging biceps. But since Six Feet Under cast Ed O'Ross as Nikolai, the thorny Russian florist in whose arms Ruth Fisher has bloomed, the veteran character actor has become Hollywood's new babe magnet.

"It's amazing to see how many women are being turned on to me," the native of Pittsburgh, Pa., tells TV Guide Online, chuckling. "I beat 'em off with sticks and brooms and clubs, that's what I do. Then I let 'em in the house."

The single guy's on-screen canoodling isn't just improving his love life, either. He says that he and leading lady Frances Conroy are doing it, so to speak, read more

Men in Black Brings Back Twister


Ray Bans and black suits aren't the only things regaining their cool quotient thanks to Men in Black II. Retro party game Twister — which makes a memorable cameo in the hit sequel — is also enjoying a bit of a comeback. In the scene, Rosario Dawson challenges a bunch of girl-crazy, worm-like extraterrestrials to a match on the iconic polka-dot mat.

And although Dawson admits to being a bit of a Twister pro in real-life, shooting the sequence gave the 23-year-old star of Josie and the Pussycats little to twist and shout about. "Butt work is really difficult," laments the actress, who had to maintain the same position for hours on (her) end. "It was really uncomfortable... but I had a really good time."

Unlike the majority of MiB II, this particular scene did not feature computer-g read more

THE FIRST STEP...

His name is David Hasselhoff, and he's got a drinking problem. The former Baywatch mogul has checked himself into the Betty Ford Center for treatment of alcoholism. "He realized his social drinking had increased more than he was comfortable with and he decided to do something about it," said publicist Richard Hoffman. Hasselhoff — who turns 50 next week — entered the facility on June 26. read more

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