Today's News: Our Take


A GOOD CAUSE

The filmmaker who won the $2,500 high-definition TV set for delivering the shortest Oscar acceptance speech is giving the prize away. Michael Dudok de Wit — who picked up an Academy Award Sunday for best animated short (Father and Daughter) — tells TV Guide Online that he's donating the television to the Los Angeles children's home Hollygrove. "It just felt right," he admits. "I just won an Oscar for my short film — I can't be happier than that. So I'm delighted that someone can make use of the television." Incidentally, Hollygrove is the orphanage that Marilyn Monroe once called home. read more

TEMPTATION TUSSLE

Temptation Island contestants Ytossie Patterson and Taheed Watson are suing the show's producers, alleging defamation and an "intentional infliction of emotional distress." The couple — who were booted off the show when Fox discovered they had a child together — claim that prior to taping they told producers they were parents. read more

WHOOPIE DIDDY DO!

That's P. Diddy to you. Sean "Puffy" Combs — recently acquitted on gun-possession and bribery charges — is changing his name to P. Diddy. "No more Puff Daddy — the first week in June we're gonna have a name change ceremony," Combs told MTV News. "I'm not doing it as serious as Prince, [but] I just want something fresh... I'm rockin' with P. Diddy now." Combs occasionally used P. Diddy in producing credits. read more

A STONE'S THROW

Sharon Stone's basic instinct apparently told her that this guy was trouble. The actress has obtained a restraining order against a 32-year-old mentally ill man who allegedly threatened her and her family. The suspect is being held in a mental hospital and is due in court April 17. read more

BUFFY THE ANIMATED SLAYER

A cartoon version of the WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer is being developed at Fox Kids Network and could debut as early as February 2002, USA Today reports. The new series — created and executive produced by Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon — will find the Scooby gang back in high school. "When making the primetime version, the cast aged so quickly, they got out of high school so fast, that [Joss] never got a chance to do more high school stories," explains Fox Kids exec Maureen Smith. It's unclear whether Buffy's live-action cast will supply the voices for their cartoon counterparts. read more

PRESIDENT MIKE BRADY

Look out Dubya, the Brady's are coming! A third Brady Bunch movie is in the works that revolves around patriarch Mike Brady's run for president, Variety reports. However, unlike the first two Brady pics, The Brady Bunch in the White House will air as a TV movie on Fox. Gary Cole and Shelley Long are being courted to reprise their roles as Mike and Carol Brady in the film, which reportedly will have the same irreverent tone as 1995's The Brady Bunch Movie and its 1996 follow-up, A Very Brady Sequel. read more

SHORT CUTS

Fresh from winning four Oscars, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon heads to home video and DVD on June 5... MTV News has snagged Sean "Puffy" Combs's first sit-down TV interview since his acquittal on gun possession and bribery charges. Portions of the interview will air during today's Total Request Live (4 pm/ET) and later on the hip-hop show DFX (5:30 pm/ET)... ABC is developing a biopic on late Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner, according to The Hollywood Reporter. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge read more

No Backlash for CNBC's "Money Honey"


CNBC's Wall Street sensation Maria Bartiromo — aka the "Money Honey" — is pleased to report that beleaguered investors are not taking their market frustrations out on her. "I'm the messenger," she tells TV Guide Online. "People realize it's not my fault."

Actually, the trailblazing journalist (she's the first person, female or male, to broadcast live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange) has seen her popularity rise as the Dow and Nasdaq have plummeted. To wit, her program Market Week with Maria Bartiromo — which celebrates its one-year anniversary Friday with a one-hour special — is CNBC's fastest-growing show. "It's been an unbelievable year," marvels Bartiromo, who admits that all the economic upheaval has made her job that much more thrilling. "Just following the minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour daily fluctuations of the market has been very exciting."

Bartiromo — who the National Review once call read more

Comic Does a Job on Survivor


Lenny Clarke, who portrays The Job copper Frank Harrigan, is fed up with TV's current reality craze. "Survivor — I'd like to see wild animals in the Outback eat every one of them," he quips.

Clarke got used to trading zingers with The Job's co-creator and star, Denis Leary, during their days as stand-up comics in Boston. When it came time to cast Frank — a surly cop with a heart as golden as his detective shield — Leary immediately thought of Clarke, his pal of nearly 20 years. But is Leary anything like Mike McNeil, the boozing, pill-popping womanizer he portrays?

"Dennis is known for being a rough, chain smoking wise-guy," Clark tells TV Guide Online. "But I have to tell you that you couldn't ask for a better friend. And one of the reasons he chose TV is that he could be close to his family. He adores his wife and kids."

Speaking of motivations, Clarke seems to understand his character's very well. "Frank," he laug read more

MUST-NOT-SEE TV

With the XFL in the mix, ratings feathers remain ruffled at NBC, with the Peacock network slipping to fourth place overall last week in both total viewers and adults for the first time this season. Although ABC came out on top due to Sunday's historically low-rated Academy Awards telecast, Survivor-fueled CBS and Fox posted gains compared to this time last year. And while UPN and the WB were in a virtual dead-heat, ratings-starved UPN dipped by a considerable 961,000 viewers from last year. read more

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