Today's News: Our Take


GAY PAYS

Attention Big Q shoppers: Showtime has renewed Queer as Folk for a second season. That means they'll film 20 more new episodes of the spicy gay soap, which not only co-stars Sharon Gless and ex-Talk Soup host Hal Sparks as a bizarre mother/son duo, but has fast become the cable net's highest-rated series. read more

IT'S A BOY

The Practice's Camryn Manheim gave birth to a son, Milo Jacob, on Tuesday at 4 pm. "Mother and son are resting comfortably," says her publicist, Carri McClure. As previously reported, the actress does not intend to reveal the identity of her baby's father. read more

HUH?

As previously hinted, Bob Newhart has been cast opposite "Thong Song" rapper Sisq&#243 in an upcoming NBC sitcom. The as-yet-untitled comedy has a show-within-a-show premise: Sisq&#243 will play a blue-collar Baltimore man who gets fame and his own TV series after performing a heroic act. Newhart is to portray the TV icon who takes the newbie under his wing. read more

TERMINATED

Despite much bluster about running against Democratic incumbent Gray Davis for California governor in 2004, Arnold Schwarzenegger has ruled it out, the Los Angeles Times reports. "The timing's not right," says a spokesperson for the staunchly Republican actor. "If there were a time in the future when he did not have commitments and felt he could do more good for the country in an official capacity, he would make a determination to run at that time. At this time, he can't and he's not." read more

THE VERDICT IS IN

A Texas jury decided that late oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall did not promise half his $1.6 billion fortune to his much-younger wife, ex-Playboy poser Anna Nicole Smith, Reuters reports. Declared juror Celia Mayfield: "I just think she was a gold digger who wanted his money. She didn't treat him right." Those who think the widow's "just misunderstood" shouldn't fret too much — Smith still has the $475 million awarded her by a U.S. bankruptcy judge in California. read more

Grammer Disses Seinfeld, Yada Yada...


If a classic television series is defined as one that withstands the test of time, then according to Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, his Emmy-winning NBC sitcom more than earns that title. However, the actor — who leaps to the big screen Friday in the crime thriller 15 Minutes — doesn't hold another popular Peacock comedy in such high regard.

"I find when I watch a Seinfeld [episode] in reruns, I don't find it as funny as I did the first time I watched it," Grammer says. "Whereas with Frasier, I tend to watch them and they hold up."

Viewers, of course, may disagree with that assessment. After five years in syndication, Seinfeld repeats rank second only in the ratings to old Friends — and ahead of a third-place Frasier. "Maybe we weren't quite as broadly appealing as Seinfeld was in its juvenile approach to t read more

Bring It On Star: Gimme a... Break!


In the lavishly choreographed opening sequence of last year's surprise high school hit Bring It On (now available as a rental), Lindsay Sloane looked like she had been raised by the Laker Girls on a steady diet of Busby Berkeley musicals and Paula Abdul videos. But in reality, the actress can scarcely think about her experience playing Big Red, the catty cheerleading captain who relinquishes her pom poms to Kirsten Dunst, without getting sore — literally.

"Cheerleading uses muscles you never even knew you had," she tells TV Guide Online, almost groaning. "And the worst part was having to smile on top of it all... having to look like I knew what I was doing and was enjoying myself when I was actually terrified and trying to remember every dance step."

Thankfully, Sloane has had an easier time with her regular role on the WB's unexpectedly satisfying Beverly Hills, 90210 spoof, read more

O NO

Real-life tragedy may again delay the release of Dimension Films's O, Variety reports. The Shakespeare-inspired basketball drama — which stars Martin Sheen and teen dreams Julia Stiles and Josh Harnett and ends with four characters being brutally killed — wrapped filming back in summer 1999, but was kept on the shelf in the wake of the Columbine High School shootings. It's likely that Monday's high school shootings near San Diego will force the studio to postpone the movie's scheduled April 27 release. read more

KIDNAPPERS TARGET RUSSELL CROWE

Oscar-nominated Gladiator star Russell Crowe has become the target of a kidnapping plot, the FBI confirmed Tuesday. No details were given, but Crowe has been interviewed by agents from the bureau and his publicist said that the actor "has taken the necessary security precautions." It's not clear when Crowe was informed of the plot, but Entertainment Tonight reports that he attended the Jan. 21 Golden Globe ceremony flanked by tuxedo-clad FBI agents. What's more, Scotland Yard police reportedly were on hand to protect him last week during the London premiere of Proof of Life — in which Crowe ironically plays a hostage negotiator. read more

SKIN DEEP

A sharp-eyed — and shocked — Nickelodeon viewer recently glimpsed actor John Ritter's genitals in an old Three's Company rerun, MSNBC reports. "[His character] Jack was dressed in blue boxers and plopped down on the bed [and] exposed some things that probably shouldn't be seen on television," reveals the viewer, who called Nick to bring the indiscretion to their attention. "They were shocked and said, 'Gosh you were right.' They were taken off-guard because this has probably aired hundreds of times since the '80s." Confirms a network spokesman: "Yes, his scrotum falls out of his shorts." He also says the blooper will be "excised" from the episode for future airings — no word from Ritter on whether that might hurt. read more

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