Today's News: Our Take

Lopez Responds to Diva Charge

Pop star/actress Jennifer Lopez believes that a diva doesn't necessarily have to be a woman. Still, the Golden Globe-nominated Selena star says it's high time Webster's came up with a word for a male prima donna.

"[Diva] is definitely something that's associated with women, and I guess they should have a man's term for it," says Lopez, whose own rumored antics have led some to slap her with the diva label. "But, we can just use diva for them too."

For her part, Lopez — who next appears opposite Matthew McConaughey in the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner — explains that there are two very distinct types of divas. "A diva [can be] an icon whose had a long, prosperous career and has proven herself over and over," she says. "[Someone] who is a legend in her own time, like Tina Turner or Barbra Streisand. And then it's used in a negative way [to describe] somebody who's demanding and overbearing and obnoxious."

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Look out Vonda Shepard. Reuters reports that Ally McBeal's newest legal eagle, Robert Downey Jr., will sing two songs on the show's new holiday-themed CD, A Very Ally Christmas, due in stores Tuesday. The actor — who signed on to do 10 episodes of the David E. Kelley drama after being released from prison last August — will belt out a cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" and collaborate with Shepard on a duet of "White Christmas." read more


Real-life lovebirds Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar are in serious talks to star in the live-action Scooby Doo update. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Prinze would play scarf-wearing leader Fred and Gellar would appear as clumsy babe Daphne. Filming is expected to begin in February in Australia. Raja Gosnell (Never Been Kissed, Big Momma's House) will direct. read more


Johnny Depp has inked a deal to play 16th-century poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe in the $20 million film, Marlowe, The Hollywood Reporter says... The trade paper also reports that Chris Rock is being wooed to star in the Miramax flick Mr. Etiquette, the story of a New York tour guide who tries to win back his girlfriend by embarking on a crusade to transform the city’s rude residents into respectful citizens... The WB has picked up its sci-fi soap Roswell for the rest of the season, Variety reports. — Michael Ausiello read more


Talk show host and outspoken Democrat Rosie O'Donnell is expected to air a political speech by good bud Barbra Streisand supporting Al Gore on today's show, despite initial objections from syndicator Warner Bros. Sources told Reuters that O'Donnell threatened not to renew her contract if the studio blocked the airing of the Streisand speech, which was delivered at a Gore fundraiser. O'Donnell reportedly offered to run the pro-Gore endorsement after Friday's 20/20 — featuring an interview with Streisand conducted by Barbara Walters — edited out some of the singer's political views. read more


Someone tell Bill Murray it's safe to come out of hiding now. The big screen remake of Charlie's Angels — starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Murray — karate-chopped its way to the top of the box office over the weekend, grossing an estimated $40.5 million. The film's blockbuster opening pushed Meet the Parents out of the No. 1 spot, a position it held for the last four weeks. The Robert De Niro comedy slipped to No. 2 with $13.1 million. Robert Redford's feel-good golf drama The Legend of Bagger Vance — which received lukewarm reviews from critics — opened at No. 3 with a somewhat disappointing $12 million. Rounding out the top five were Remember the Titans at No. 4 ($7 million) and the Battlefield Earth of the fall, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, at No. 5 ($5.3 million). The horror-ble sequel saw its audience erode by 60 percent from last weekend. Now that's read more


Whitney Houston is breathing easier after Hawaiian prosecutors said they would dismiss her marijuana possession charge in three months, provided she meets certain conditions. Last January, security at Keahole Kona International Airport found a half an ounce of weed in Houston's purse. The troubled singer was facing 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine. read more


From the "some people just don't learn" department: Japan-based Pine Com International is turning Ron Hubbard's sci-fi novel Battlefield Earth into a syndicated animated series to debut as early as spring 2002, the New York Post reports. It's unclear what effect this will have on John Travolta's "planned" Battlefield Earth sequel. read more


French Stewart is apparently staying put on planet Earth. The 3rd Rock From the Sun star and his wife, actress Katherine LaNasa, have plopped down $2 million for a four-bedroom Hollywood Hills home, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 3,000 square feet pad comes with a media room, sauna, pool and a spa. LaNasa will appear opposite Vicki Lewis and A.J. Langer in the upcoming NBC comedy, Three Sisters. The paper also reports that Oscar winner Nicolas Cage has purchased approximately 400 acres of land in Malibu canyon for roughly $10 million. read more

Censored Hype

Believe it or not, the WB's lewd and crude sketch comedy, Hype, does have its boundaries. The show — which has featured everything from a faux President Clinton humping Monica Lewinsky's image on a park bench to a skit of Tom Green pulling his engagement ring to Drew Barrymore out of his butt — has been forbidden from uttering a certain five-letter word.

"I can't say 'penis,'" series star Shayma Tash tells TV Guide Online. "They won't let me. I did the 'Hype Report' and I wanted to say, 'Good evening. I'm Shayma Tash, and I have a penis... at home... in my sock drawer... waiting for me.' And they won't let me say 'penis' to the camera and I'm upset. Dr. Ruth can say 'penis.'

"They let me say, 'Good evening. I'm Shayma Tash and I'm the best sex I've ever had,' and, 'Sometimes, I don't feel fresh,'" she continues. "S read more

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