Today's News: Our Take


OH BOY!

Boy George has found a role he was born to play: Himself. In late April, the '80s pop icon will take over the starring role in Taboo, the London musical based on his life. This won't be the gender bender's first stab at acting: He once appeared in an episode of The A-Team. Okay, so it will be his first stab at acting. read more

Six Feet Under: Rehashed?


American Beauty starlet Thora Birch is a fan of screenwriter Alan Ball's offbeat HBO series, Six Feet Under. Still, she does point out that his mortuary drama bears more than a little resemblance to the Oscar-winning 1999 film. Is this a case of literary d&#233j&#224 vu for Ball?

Case in point: Birch's Beauty character, Jane, and Six Feet's similarly rebellious teenager, Claire (Lauren Ambrose), could be twins. "You can see a lot of characters from American Beauty in Six Feet Under," Birch says, "but it doesn't bother me. Ricky Fitts's mother (Allison Janney read more

ANOTHER LAWSUIT!

A Chicago janitor is accusing Eddie Murphy of stealing his likeness for a character on the now-defunct comedy The PJs. According to Variety, Tally Collier is seeking $10 million in damages from Murphy and his fellow PJ producers, which includes Imagine Entertainment execs Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. read more

Ashley Judd's Secret Life


Liza Minnelli, listen up! Ashley Judd has discovered a way to keep her marriage to racecar driver Dario Franchitti private: She's refusing to talk about it!

While promoting her new thriller, High Crimes (opening Friday), the 33-year-old actress — who wed the speed demon last December in a super hush-hush ceremony — is giving the media precious few details about life in the Franchitti-Judd household. "I enjoy being married," she says. "We feel very blessed and we're having a great time."

Why all the mystery? "My husband and I have very public spheres in which we participate," Judd explains, "and we feel like we give a lot of ourselves in those areas — he obvi read more

CASE CLOSED

Kathie Lee Gifford and husband Frank have settled their libel lawsuit with the National Examiner over a February 2000 story accusing Regis's former sidekick of turning her son Cody into a "monster." The Giffords reached the out-of-court settlement about three weeks ago. The article said that Kathie Lee's "constant coddling" led Cody to behave like "a spoiled brat." (For more Kathie Lee news, see below.) read more

CRIME PAYS

CSI was the most-watched show last week, helping CBS to its 13th win this season among total viewers. The Eye network also benefited from its coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament as well as another strong performance from Survivor: Marquesas (20.5 million viewers). NBC, meanwhile, was tops in adults 18-49. read more

ON THE DOTTED LINE

Bob Costas won't be donning mouse ears after all. The famed broadcaster — who had been in talks with Disney-owned ABC — will instead take on an expanded role at HBO as part of a multi-year contract. According to The Associated Press, Costas's HBO pact covers his talk show On the Record as well as appearances on Inside the NFL. It remains unclear how all of this will affect his deal with NBC, which expires this summer. read more

SHORT CUTS

Mummy hunk Brendan Fraser and his wife, Afton, are expecting their first child in October, columnist Liz Smith reports... The Sci Fi Channel and TNT are finalizing a deal for off-network rights to all 202 episodes of The X-Files... Onetime TV judge Mills Lane, 64, remains in intensive care after suffering a stroke Monday... Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly is considering adopting a baby... Porn classic Debbie Does Dallas is being turned into a Broadway show. read more

PANIC ROOM

There were some sweaty palms at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday when Leno unexpectedly summoned the show's 100 or so employees into a conference room just prior to taping. The reason for the gathering? In honor of his 10th anniversary as Tonight Show host, Leno gave each employee $1,000 for every year they worked there. Dave, it's your turn... read more

GOODBYE ARTHUR

Dudley Moore was buried Tuesday in a low-key ceremony in Scotch Plains, N.J. Some 30 friends and family were in attendance. (MIA: Moore's famous leading ladies, Bo Derek and Liza Minnelli.) The 66-year-old actor-comedian died last Wednesday after a long battle against a rare brain disease. read more

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