Today's News: Our Take


EMMYS NOT YOUNG AT HEART

Nominations for the 28th annual Daytime Emmy Awards were announced this morning in New York, and CBS's resurgent soap As the World Turns netted an earth-shattering 25 nominations, including outstanding drama series and lead actress for Martha Byrne. (Byrne tackled a dual role this year and is already pegged the favorite to win.) All My Children, also up for best soap, followed close behind with 21 nods. After being snubbed last year, Susan Lucci (Erica) made the cut this time around — likely on the strength of the acclaimed plot in which her TV daughter Bianca (played by fellow Emmy nominee Eden Riegel) came out of the closet. In an unusual twist, Lucci will face off against two of her AMC co-stars in the lead actress slot: Julia Barr (Brooke) and Marcy Walker (Liza). The ATWT and AMC juggernaut came at the expense of two Emmy stalwarts: CBS's top-rated The Young and the Restless and ABC's in decline G read more

OSCAR-WINNER EMINEM?

Producer Brian Grazer (The Nutty Professor, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas) told Access Hollywood that he has recruited rapper Eminem to star in a film similar to Prince's 1984 semiautobiographical pic Purple Rain. "It's a hip movie, loosely based on Eminem's life, growing up in Detroit — an edgy story of his life," Grazer said. read more

SPORTS KNIGHT

Actor&#150race car enthusiast Jason Priestley has been added to ABC's Indy Racing League broadcast team, the network announced today. The former star of Beverly Hills, 90210 will join anchor Bob Jenkins, analyst Larry Rice, and pit reporters Jack Arute and Vince Welch in covering all seven events this season. "We are pleased to welcome Jason to our ABC Sports auto racing family," said John Filippelli, senior vice president of production for ABC Sports. "In addition to his outstanding acting career, Jason has demonstrated a great deal of talent as a race driver. His knowledge of the sport will add color and excitement to our coverage of Indy Racing and the Indianapolis 500." The inaugural race of the 2001 season — the Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 — takes place on March 18. read more

GARTH HOOKS PILOT

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 citizen Jennie Garth is in final talks to star as a 25-year-old Ivy League grad-cum-private-eye in Spy Girl, an hourlong fact-based drama pilot for NBC, Variety reports. Meanwhile, onetime Melrose Place tenant and Ally McBeal legal eagle Courtney Thorne-Smith will play Jim Belushi's wife in the actor's upcoming ABC comedy pilot. read more

SPEEDY SPICE

Ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell had her driving privileges suspended after English authorities caught her going twice the speed limit. According to Reuters, the artist formerly known as Ginger Spice was handed a six-week ban and ordered to pay a 400 pound ($580) fine. The 28-year-old singer recently pleaded guilty to driving 60 mph in a 30 mph zone last October. read more

The Brothers's Keeper


In the African-American coming-of-age dramedy The Brothers (opening March 23), Angel vamp Julie Benz represents the great white hope — operative word: white — of comedian Bill Bellamy. "His character decides to go out with a white woman because he thinks they'll be different than black women," she tells TV Guide Online, chuckling. "Boy, is he wrong! The karate instructor that I play is really cool and easy-going, but don't cross her. That's all I can say."

Although in the movie and on Angel, the femme fatale wields fists of fury, she's no Michelle Yeoh — and probably never will be. "I signed up for karate once, but I only went to three classes," she admits. "I have a big ego, and you had to bow to people who were higher belts than you [in other words, more experienced martial artists].

"When this little kid from the class before mine came up to me and went, 'I have a hi read more

A WILL OF HER OWN

Kathie Lee Gifford — who seduces David Spade in an episode of Just Shoot Me slated for May sweeps — tells TV Guide Online that her ultimate dream is to drop in on another NBC sitcom: Will &#038 Grace. "I think it's hysterically funny," says the star of the E! movie Spinning Out of Control (premiering Sunday at 9 pm/ET). "I'd love to go on that show. That would be great fun." read more

SHORT CUTS

Country crooners Amy Grant and Vince Gill welcomed a baby girl on Monday. The little filly, whose name has not yet been announced, weighed in at 7 lbs, 9 oz... Jenny McCarthy is in talks to play a sexy 1960s crime fighting P.I. in the Fox pilot Honey Vicarro, Variety reports... Also according to the trade paper, ABC is developing a film about the life of Mae West to possibly star Dolly Parton... Sunday night ratings for the second episode of Fox's X-Files spin-off The Lone Gunmen sunk a dismal 35 percent from last week's premiere. — Daniel R. Coleridge with Michael Ausiello read more

STONE SUIT QUASHED

A Louisiana judge has dismissed the lawsuit brought against Natural Born Killers director Oliver Stone by the family of a store clerk paralyzed in a shooting, The Associated Press reports. The suit was filed after the clerk's assailants, Sarah Edmondson and boyfriend Ben Darras, claimed they were inspired by the 1994 film, which features Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson as a couple on a crime spree. read more

CASE CLOSED

The defense made a three-hour closing argument in the gun-possession and bribery trial of Sean "Puffy" Combs on Monday. "The evidence against Mr. Combs is so weak," insisted his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, who argued that witnesses who claimed they'd seen his client with a gun gave conflicting testimony. Brafman told the jury: "They want you to conclude [Combs's guilt] on the basis of two pimps from the street, a deadbeat dad and two people... that gave conflicting stories. [Their] testimony... has no logic, no merit and does not make sense." read more

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