Today's News: Our Take


'N Sync's hormonal fans will finally get a chance to feel Justin, JC, Lance, Joey and Chris on their lips. According to the Los Angeles Times, the band is releasing a line of lip balms, with each member getting his own fruity flavor! Famous Fixins Inc. will distribute the product, which is expected to be in stores by February. In other bubblegum pop news, The Backstreet Boys will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28. read more


Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow is sleeping a little easier these days. Dante Soiu, 49, an Ohio man who sent the actress sexually explicit letters and packages and twice turned up outside her parents' Los Angeles residence, was convicted of stalking her on Thursday, Reuters reports. During Paltrow's emotionally charged testimony, she reportedly said that she was having nightmares and feared Soiu would sexually assault her. read more


Al Pacino is in negotiations to play a Big Apple flack in the film People I Know, Variety reports... NBC is bringing back its successful summer series Mysterious Ways on Jan. 1 at 8 pm/ET... Shock-jock Howard Stern headed off on a three-week vacation today having signed a new contract with Viacom Inc.'s Infinity Broadcasting Corp for five more years. — Michael Ausiello read more


ABC is hoping more money will change everything for its declining game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Beginning with the Jan. 4 edition, producers will tack on an extra $10,000 for each show in which no contestant wins the $1 million prize. As a result, the first telecast of the new year will kick off with a grand prize of $1.71 million — the extra $710,000 representing the 71 shows since the last millionaire was crowned July 11. read more

Traffic Star Trashes Teen Pics

While Ashton Kutcher makes his leap to the big screen in Dude, Where's My Car? (opening Friday), his That '70s Show co-star, Topher Grace, says he wants no part of dopey teen pics.

"I'm kind of hard on teen movies," Grace tells TV Guide Online. "I don't like a lot of them, because [they're] from older executives guessing what their kids want to see. If my dad decided the kind of movie I'd want to see, I can guarantee you I wouldn't like it."

Grace — who makes his theatrical debut as a prep school drug addict in the new Michael Douglas film, Traffic (opening in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 27, followed by a wide release on Jan. 5) — says he actually turned down several teen comedy scripts prior to taking the role in the Steven Soderbergh-directed drama.

"I remember saying to Steven that I wanted to do a one-eighty from what I am on TV," says Grace, who plays it read more


Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon is in talks to star in Rialto, an indie drama set against the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, Variety reports... The Beatles 27-song compilation, 1, has reclaimed the No. 1 spot on the album charts, bumping the Backstreet Boys's latest, Black & Blue, to No. 2... ABC has ordered six episodes of The Beast, a new drama series about an edgy cable news service starring Frank Langella, Variety reports... Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will star in an untitled comedy series for the Fox Family Channel to debut next summer. — Michael Ausiello read more

Sarah Jessica: Blush with Success

Sarah Jessica Parker is coming clean about several very intimate encounters she has had with viewers of her saucy HBO comedy, Sex and the City. So intimate, in fact, that she's embarrassed to admit some of the things fans of the series have revealed to her on the streets of Manhattan.

"[The show's] about New York, [so] they feel it's their show and they feel entitled to tell you the things that they need to tell you," she says. "They show me stuff they've bought — personal things — and that's really weird."

Parker, who's decidedly more modest than the best-selling sex author she plays on City, becomes red-faced when asked to elaborate on those "personal things" at a recent press junket for her new movie, State and Main (opening wide Jan. 12). It's one thing to talk about sex toys and other bedroom hijinks as a character on a TV show, but it's apparently quite another to do so in front of a room full of reporters. "It's no read more


Talk show host Rosie O'Donnell will join the new Broadway musical Seussical as the Cat in the Hat for four weeks beginning Jan. 16. O'Donnell — who made the announcement on her show Wednesday — will sub for vacationing Cat David Shiner. "Rosie wanted to do the role," Lynn Ahrens, who co-wrote the Dr. Seuss-inspired musical, told The Associated Press. "She obviously can't do eight shows a week or commit to a year. We adore her, and she loves the show. It's the kind of role a personality can come into and do for a short time." Broadway's No. 1 fan — last seen on the Great White Way as Betty Rizzo in Grease — will do six performances a week, while Shiner's understudy, Bryan Batt, will portray the Cat during the Saturday and Sunday matinees. O'Donnell will donate her salary to charity. read more

David Caruso Poised for Comeback?

David Caruso, whose career crashed and burned after he deserted NYPD Blue in 1994 for the big screen, has one word to describe how he felt about getting a plum supporting part in Proof of Life — "grateful."

"This is the first major movie I've done in five years," marvels the actor, who in 1997 attempted a small-screen comeback with the short-lived CBS drama, Michael Hayes. "Taylor Hackford, who last directed me in An Officer and a Gentleman, really went to bat for me. I don't know whether this is going to get me some offers again, but I hope so."

Shrugging off the memories of the media assault he faced when he left the hit ABC cop drama after little more than a year to pursue a film career, Caruso insists he sees himself as a trailblazer for other TV stars, like ER alum George Clooney. "When I jumped ship, there was no p read more


Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker confirms that she has been approached to appear in the hit off-Broadway play The Vagina Monologues. However, she's waiting to see the show before making a final decision. "I'll know more [then]," she says. read more

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