Today's News: Our Take


Here's the real value of an Oscar nod: Renée Zellweger — who received her first Academy Award nomination this year for Bridget Jones's Diary — has traded in her $1.8 million Hollywood Hills pad for a $6.8 million Bel-Air mansion, the Los Angeles Times reports. And the 33-year-old onetime Olive Garden greeter got herself a bargain: The 6,400-square-foot, 1930s-era estate was originally listed for $8.9 million! Her new home boasts seven bedrooms, eight baths, a master suite and a guest house. read more


Sean Penn will star in The Assassination of Richard Nixon, a fact-based feature about a desperate salesman's attempts to make his mark on history, Variety reports. Shooting starts in April. read more


President Bush will give an exclusive interview to CBS's 60 Minutes II to air on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Correspondent Scott Pelley will conduct the interview, which will compete with NBC's Concert for America. read more


Is Britney Spears self-destructing before our very eyes? The pop diva ended her world tour on a sour note Sunday night when she reportedly cut short her final show in Mexico City. In the middle of singing her fifth song — oddly enough, "Stronger" — Spears apologized, saying, "I'm sorry Mexico. I love you. Bye," Mexico City's Milenio newspaper reports. Minutes later, fans allegedly began hurling Spears-related merchandise and chanting "fraud, fraud." All this comes just days after the 20-year-old was caught flipping the bird to a crowd gathered at an airport in Toluca, about 40 miles from Mexico City. She later insisted that the gesture was meant for the intrusive paparazzi — not her Mexican fans. "I'm human too," she later said. "I get mad like everyone else." read more


Liza Minnelli and new husband, David Gest, outlined plans for their upcoming VH1 reality show on Thursday — and it sounds just stupid enough to work. Liza and David — set to premiere in October — will focus on the weekly celebrity dinner parties they host at their Manhattan penthouse. In addition to lots of singing, talking and eating, the series will show Minnelli — yikes! — cooking. (She reportedly makes a mean pot roast.) Among the possible dinner guests: Mary J. Blige, Alan Jackson, Dr. Dre, Al Green and Barry White. read more

Christopher Titus's Next Move

"I had the rare distinction of having a show that was too edgy for Fox." That's actor-comedian Christopher Titus, lamenting the unexpected death of his dark family comedy Titus. Axed in May after three seasons, the semi-autobiographical sitcom airs its five remaining originals over the next month — beginning with back-to-back episodes Monday (8 pm/ET).

Titus' demise ends a tumultuous partnership between the stand-up comic and Fox, one which involved personality conflicts and frequent clashes over content. "I will admit, at times, I'm very stubborn creatively," says Titus, whose show took an un-PC approach to everything from Alzheimer's disease to child abuse. "I was always, 'Let's push the envelope.' And I have a big mouth, [which] probably didn't help."

Still, Titus seemed worth the headache. Despite a 19 percent rating read more

Destiny's Child Star on Blaxploitation

On stage, Beyoncé Knowles exudes an ultra-confident performing persona. You need nerve to sing torrid tunes like "Bootylicious"! Still, the 20-year-old Destiny's Child star was quaking in her platforms when she first met Mike Myers to discuss her casting in Austin Powers in Goldmember. Thank goodness she brought her mom along!

"[Mike Myers] was very shy, and I'm very shy when I first meet people," admits Knowles, who plays Foxxy Cleopatra. "I didn't know if I should shake his hand or hug him. We looked crazy because we were so awkward!

"Finally," she recalls, "we shook hands and sat down, and he told me he was nervous. I thought, 'Why are you nervous? I'm terrified!' I didn't say anything. I just let my mom talk... She got me through it."

Knowles also thanks her mother for helping her research Foxxy — a read more

Rob Lowe: Replaceable You

Oh, Rob Lowe — what are you thinking? It hasn't been that long since a certain X-rated videotape nearly eclipsed all the hard work you did in 1980s flicks like About Last Night... and Class, and now you're leaving your comeback role of the White House's deputy communications director Sam Seaborn on The West Wing. Are you nuts?

"It's going to be a big [transition]," the president himself, Martin Sheen, tells TV Guide Online. "It's a very difficult show to do because it's all acting. We talk a lot, and it's dependent on each other. I don't know how we're going to fill that void.

"But," he adds, "Aaron Sorkin [the series creator] is a read more


Popular alum Leslie Bibb is joining the cast of NBC's ER next season, playing medical student Erin Harkins. She's slated to appear in at least five episodes. read more


Saturday Night Live has tapped Sen. John McCain to host the second episode of the show's upcoming 28th season, airing Oct. 12. "I'm a little nervous," he tells Variety. "Some say there's a fine line between political theater and theater. But it's going to be fun." The former presidential candidate will be joined by musical guest Faith Hill. read more

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