Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Entertainer Milton Berle, 92, has a small tumor in his colon, but will not undergo surgery and is doing well, Variety columnist Army Archerd reports... Singer Gladys Knight married corporate consultant William McDowell on April 12, MCA Records confirms... Walt Disney Pictures has paid eight-figures for Signs, the latest supernatural thriller from Sixth Sense brainchild M. Night Shyamalan, Variety reports. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge read more

EMINEM IN THE BUFF

Eminem is taking it all off! Ever ready to make a splash, the controversial rapper will pose nude for the UK edition of Cosmopolitan, Reuters reports. "He will be appearing naked in a sealed section in the June issue," a Cosmo spokeswoman teased. Cheeky Eminem — who will be pictured with a stick of dynamite covering his manhood — drops trou along with 16 other, mainly British celebs in the mag, which goes on sale May 17. read more

RATINGS ROUND-UP

Despite three strong performances from The Weakest Link, NBC still couldn't top the Survivor network, CBS, which won the ratings crown among total viewers for the week ending April 22. Link — which was just picked up for another 13 episodes — did help the Peacock win the critical 18-49 demo. Meanwhile, ABC's dismally rated Holly Hunter TV movie, When Billie Beat Bobby — coupled with a weaker What About Joan — landed the network in third place, followed by Fox, UPN and the WB. The top five shows of the week were: Survivor: The Australian Outback, ER, CSI, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Sunday) and The Practice. read more

DESK DUTY

Former NYPD Blue actress Andrea Thompson — who left the ABC drama last year to be a local TV news reporter in Albuquerque, N.M. — is joining CNN Headline News in June as an anchor. "I was dead serious about this news stuff," she tells USA Today. We believe you, we believe you... read more

BRANDO A NO GO

Illness has forced Marlon Brando, 77, to bow out of his $2 million cameo role in Keenen Ivory Wayans's Scary Movie 2. "Unfortunately, due to his health issues and unavailability, we must now recast his role," said Dimension Films spokeswoman Elizabeth Clark. "We wish Mr. Brando a speedy recovery." The actor — who Variety reported last week had developed a case of pneumonia — was to play a priest performing an exorcism in the film's opening scenes. read more

ALLY DROPS DOWNEY

Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley won't be giving Robert Downey Jr. a third chance. In the wake of Downey's latest arrest, Kelley has fired the troubled actor from the Fox dramedy and will rewrite the show's two-part season finale to exclude his character. "Robert is a unique talent and a very special person, and we wish him the best and hope for a full recovery," read a statement from David E. Kelley Productions. "We are wrapping up the stories on the final few episodes of Ally McBeal for the season without him." Downey was arrested early Tuesday morning in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City for allegedly taking an unknown "stimulant." The Oscar-nominated Chaplin star — who was on foot at the time — was given a urine test and released to his parole officer. "Robert Downey Jr. has voluntarily checked himself into an undisclosed rehabilitation facility," says his spokesperson, Alan Nierob read more

THE HOMESTRETCH

Oddsmakers in Las Vegas are betting on Colby to triumph as the $1 million winner on Survivor: The Australian Outback. In fact, Bally's race and sports operations director John Avello gives the Texan stud 2-1 odds. "Colby has brains and brawn," Avello tells TV Guide Online. "He's the favorite, but he'd better keep winning Immunity Challenges." Sweetheart Elisabeth follows at 5-2, while chef Keith comes in at 7-2 and snarky Tina trails miserably at 4-1. Wagers Avello: "Tina's my long shot because a few weeks ago during a Tribal Council, she made some comment like, 'The people here right now are the best and deserve to be here.' And she got some nasty looks from Jerri and Alicia. Now remember, they will be voting [in the jury] at the very end — so I see Tina as an outsider, even if she makes the final two." Speaking of Jerri, the aspiring actress will play herself in an episode of read more

Art Won't Imitate Life on Titus


Christopher Titus makes a living satirizing his life on his self-titled Fox sitcom, Titus. So, it would seem natural that he would incorporate into the hit comedy the latest development in his off-screen existence: Impending fatherhood.

However, the comic-turned-actor — whose first child (a daughter) with wife Erin is due in August — tells TV Guide Online that when it comes to the small screen, infants are no laughing matter. "If babies weren't such series killers, we would do it," confesses Titus. "That's a new story. A baby is a whole new chapter in your life, and we have so many stories to tell in this one... maybe at the end of the series run we might bring in a baby."

Ironically, Cynthia Watros — who plays Titus's reel ladylove on Titus — is also preggers. (The Emmy winner will deliver twins in August.) Still, even that miraculous coincidence wasn't en read more

Driven's Sexy Speed Demon


An athletic Ivy League grad, Kip Pardue — who scored as a hunky high-school quarterback in last year's Remember the Titans — now hits the racing circuit in Sylvester Stallone's Driven (opening Friday). While his sports prowess served him well on the film, the actor never realized what an iron gut it takes to be a racecar driver.

"Playing football my whole life," he says, "[I know] what it's like to step out on the field with 30,000 people there... what it's like to hit someone as hard as you can. [But] I have no idea what it's like to go to work every day and have the risk of dying — these guys could die like that!"

Though he's totally at home on movie sets these days, Pardue — who majored in economics at Yale — initially planned for a career on Wall Street. Of course, everything changed once he caught the acting bug. "I don't know if there is a word big enough to acknowledge [what's happened]," he chuckles. "It doesn't s read more

Kids' Choice: Tom Cruise


What separates Nickelodeon's 14th annual Kids' Choice Awards from the myriad of other kudofests? "I think what sums it up is right here on the red carpet to my left — a cow doing interviews," cracked MTV host Carson Daly, referring to a reporter donning a bovine suit. "You don't see a cow at the Grammys."

Something else you don't typically see at music's biggest night: Tom Cruise. The Mission: Impossible actor was host Rosie O'Donnell's Super Secret Surprise Guest on Saturday's live telecast — in which 15 million young people voted for their faves in music, movies, TV and sports. Cruise picked up Wannabe honors — the newest Choice award given to an entertainer kids most want to be. (Clearly they never saw Eyes Wide Shut.)

"There's two things that my mother instilled in me when I was growing up: Work hard and be kind to others," Cruise told the audience of screaming kids packed into Santa Monica's Barker Hangar (aka Space S read more

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