Today's News: Our Take


Rivers on the Red Carpet: Sorry!


"If you've tuned in for intelligent conversation and life-altering interviews, you're in the wrong place." So confessed Joan Rivers at the outset of E! Entertainment Television's Academy Awards pre-show, which she co-hosted, as usual, with the poster child for nepotism at any level, daughter Melissa.

Just prior to that, ahem, "revelation," Joan — infamous for the numbingly inane banter and flubbed facts omnipresent in her red carpet reviews — offered an "apology" for the less-than-Pulitzer-caliber reporting which has long elicited barbs from critics. That was followed up with Melissa's own act of contrition: She said she was sorry "in advance" for her mom's offensive behavior.

And, to be sure, both Riverses worked hard to fill that celebrity-free first half hour with blue humor. After Joan mangled what surely would have been a world-class joke about irritable bowel syndrome, Melissa (forever milking motherhood) groaned about having to change both he read more

ROSIE RECANTS

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has dropped its $350,000 lawsuit against talk-show hostess Rosie O'Donnell. The animal-rights group filed a defamation suit last year after O'Donnell joked on-air that the Gap's leather pants were approved by PETA. But on Thursday's show, O'Donnell finally extracted her foot from her mouth, telling her viewers that "PETA feels no one needs to wear any leather apparel at all." read more

HOT AIR

Master illusionist David Copperfield is being sued for around $15,000 by Cathy Daly, a crew member injured during a stunt rehearsal. Daly claims that a wind machine flung her body 10 feet in the air while a man-made tornado was being stirred up for the Copperfield! Tornado of Fire special, which airs live April 3 on CBS. read more

TIGER FULL OF SPIRIT

It was a good weekend for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In addition to its four Oscar statuettes, the martial arts love story bagged three more trophies Saturday at the 16th Annual Independent Spirit Awards, which honor outstanding achievements in independent filmmaking. Besides being dubbed best picture, Tiger also earned plaudits for director Ang Lee and supporting actress Zhang Ziyi. Meanwhile, Ellen Burstyn was named best lead actress for Requiem for a Dream; Javier Bardem, best lead actor for Before Night Falls; and Willem Dafoe, best supporting actor for Shadow of the Vampire. And though You Can Count on Me was shut out of the winner's circle by Oscar, the Laura Linney drama picked up Spirit Awards for best screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan) and best first feature (for Lonergan and producers John Hart and Jeffrey Sharp). read more

HEART GETS BREAK AT THE BOX OFFICE

Two films that just opened came to life at the box office over the weekend, while another new release was pronounced DOA. The Sigourney Weaver/Jennifer Love Hewitt comedy Heartbreakers — featuring the actresses as a mother-daughter team of con artists — debuted at No. 1 with a respectable $12.3 million gross. The African-American relationship dramedy The Brothers took second place with $10.7 million. Rounding out the top five were the Steven Seagal/DMX action flick Exit Wounds (dropping from No. 1 to No. 3 with $9.2 million), Enemy at the Gates (No. 4 with $8.4 million) and Oscar winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (No. 5 with $4.7 million). At the same time, everyone associated with the dismally reviewed Chris Klein/Heather Graham incest debacle Say It Isn't So no doubt was saying exactly that when the weekend returns came in: The pic entered the chart at No. 10 with a pathetic $3.1 millio read more

OSCAR SPREADS THE WEALTH

At the 73rd Annual Academy Awards, held last night in Los Angeles, the kilt and sword epic Gladiator may have walked off with the coveted best picture Oscar (and best actor for its star, Russell Crowe), but the absence of a Titanic-sized sweep meant that several pictures could claim big-winner status. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon flew away with four trophies, including best foreign language film, cinematography, original score and art direction. Yet, in one of the evening's big surprises, that film's helmer, Ang Lee, was denied the best director statuette — despite his having been honored by the Directors Guild. Instead, double nominee Steven Soderbergh triumphed for his work on Traffic. The drug-war drama also netted three other prizes, for supporting actor Benicio Del Toro, adapted screenplay and film editing. As expected, Julia Roberts was a best actress victor for Erin Brockovich, but Almost Famous' read more

SAD SALE

Internet auctioneer eBay has sold the jeep that John F. Kennedy Jr. drove to the airport on the night of his fatal 1999 plane crash. An anonymous Kennedy aficionado from Shreveport, La., snagged the green Wrangler Sahara for $57,100. The rather morbid purchase includes a copy of the title with Kennedy's name and old Manhattan address on it, and a photo of him sitting in the driver's seat. read more

EARTH DAZZLES RAZZIES

Battlefield Earth was a big winner Saturday at the 21st Annual Golden Raspberry Awards — honoring the worst in film during 2000. The sci-fi bomb was given seven Razzies, including worst picture, worst lead actor (John Travolta), worst supporting actress (Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston) and worst supporting actor (Barry Pepper). Worst actress went to Madonna, who adopted a bizarre accent that not even Meryl Streep had ever tried (with good reason) in The Next Best Thing, and the worst remake or sequel prize was handed to Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. read more

BABY BOOM

Christopher Titus — star of Fox's dark, autobiographical family sitcom Titus — and wife Erin are expecting their first child on August 24. The show's female lead, Emmy winner Cynthia Watros, and husband Curt Gilliland also are in a family way. The actress is pregnant with twins. — Michael Ausiello and Daniel R. Coleridge read more

Experimenting on The Invisible Man


For couch potatoes looking to dictate a series's future, tonight's episode of the Sci Fi Channel's freshman hit The Invisible Man (returning to the 8 pm/ET slot where it originally materialized) is made to order. At the conclusion, viewers can vote on the outcome (at SciFi.com), and next week see their wish carried out. Just don't get used to the new level of remote control — if only for the sake of Vincent Ventresca, who plays Darien, the visibility-impaired title character.

"I have trouble memorizing lines in the first place," he half-jokingly tells TV Guide Online, "and all of a sudden, we had to learn two variations of some scenes. It was brutal!"

On the plus side, little of Ventresca's dialogue is that genre staple known as techno-babble. "Fortunately, there's The Keeper," he says, referring to the comely doctor who often holds Darien's fate in her hands. "She's got dialogue that would send me runnin read more

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