Today's News: Our Take


Decked out in full Regis attire, Texas governor and presidential candidate George W. Bush made an appearance on Live with Regis this morning and went toe-to-toe with Philbin and guest co-host Susan Hawk of Survivor. Asked whether he tuned in to the CBS reality smash, Bush replied: "I did, coming down the stretch in particular. I was anxious to see who was going to survive, like me." Hawk then quipped: "Just watch your last speech," referring to her legendary snake/rat tongue-lashing. What does Bush think of the tapioca-lovin' loudmouth truck driver? "I like her spirit," he said. Indeed he did. At one point, Bush appeared to be flirting with the former castaway, trading pony stories while Philbin attempted to get his attention. Other tidbits: The last movie Dubya saw was Saving Private Ryan, but "it was a rental. I haven't been to a movie house in a long time." Not since, well, they were called movie houses. In other Live news, ratings fo read more


What would Cindy and Jim Walsh think? Former Beverly Hills, 90210 studmuffin Jason Priestley had Fox sensors scrambling yesterday when he blurted out the granddaddy of cuss words during a live interview on Fox News Channel. Priestley — who was promoting his documentary on the rock group Barenaked Ladies — accused the media of printing lies about him "so they can sell f---ing papers." The New York Daily News quotes a Fox source as saying Priestley seemed out of sorts prior to the interview and there "was a conversation of whether to put him on the air." The actor's rep blamed his behavior on jet-lag. read more


Warner Bros. is moving forward with its next Batman flick, officially signing indie director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem For A Dream) to helm the fifth installment, Variety reports. Titled Batman: Year One, the film will chronicle "Bruce Wayne's first year as Batman, including the self-doubts and blunders he had to overcome in order to emerge as a full-blown crimefighter." There's no word on who will assume the title role, previously played by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney. Brad Pitt recently met with Aronofsky, inciting a flurry of speculation that he was in the running. Pitt's handlers, however, denied the rumors. read more


Simon & Schuster offshoot Scribner is thisclose to shelling out big bucks for Anne Heche's memoirs, Variety reports. The 31-year-old ex-partner of Ellen DeGeneres reportedly has submitted a proposal for a tome that would delve into her traumatic childhood. Heche's father — a fundamentalist Baptist — died of AIDS when she was 14. Three years later, her brother was killed in a car accident. It's not clear whether the book will include juicy details about her break-ups with Steve Martin and DeGeneres, or her recent "spell" that landed her in a Fresno, CA hospital. read more


Real-life country couple Amy Grant and Vince Gill are expecting a child in March... Nicolas Cage has become the latest celeb to make a donation to striking SAG actors. The Oscar winner wrote a check for $200,000, besting the $100,000 contributions made by fellow thesps Kevin Spacey and Harrison Ford... Jared Leto will star opposite Nicole Kidman in the David Fincher-directed thriller The Panic Room... Mel Gibson will direct Robert Downey Jr. in a Los Angeles stage production of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Variety reports. A search is underway for a theater and performances will begin in January. — Michael Ausiello read more


Emmy winner Michael J. Fox will return to ABC's Spin City on Oct. 18 — although only his voice will be heard. Castmember Michael Boatman tells next week's Entertainment Weekly that Fox "checks in" with his former colleagues in the episode. He adds that the actor may appear "in one or two more episodes in which there will be more interaction with the rest of the cast." Charlie Sheen steps in this season for Fox, who left to battle Parkinson's disease. read more


Barbara Walters has signed a new five-year contract with ABC News for a reported $12 million a year. As part of the pact, Walters will continue anchoring 20/20 Friday and will appear on The View — the morning gabfest she co-owns — three times a week. The deal also calls for her to host two primetime specials a year (down from four), one of which will be her annual Academy Awards tie-in. "Barbara Walters is one of the most accomplished journalists ever to work in television news," says ABC News president David Westin. "Barbara has made extraordinary contributions to the national discourse as well as to ABC News and we look forward to this next chapter in her storied career." read more


By George he's got it... the boot, that is. George Boswell, the 41-year-old roofer from Rockford, Ill., was banished from the Big Brother house on last night's live broadcast. Dressed like Julius Caesar, the guy dubbed "Chicken Man" received 51 percent of the vote, followed by fellow nominees Jamie (32 percent), Eddie (14 percent) and Curtis (3 percent). Hunk-with-the-heart-of-gold Josh now appears to be the frontrunner to take home the $500,000 grand prize. The winner — picked by voters — will be revealed in the series's finale on Sept. 29. read more

Madeline Kahn: After the Laughter

Madeline Kahn knew how to play it for laughs in movies (Blazing Saddles) and on TV (Cosby), but those close to the late actress remember her as a very serious-minded person who suffered from a troubled relationship with her mom.

"Madeline thought of herself as having had a very difficult childhood and there were a lot of feelings left over from that childhood," says close friend Gail Jacobs on an upcoming Lifetime Intimate Portrait on the star (Oct. 2, 7 pm/ET). "She was very wise about certain things but she was extremely vulnerable, extremely fragile. Madeline was always concerned about the money that she had to earn to keep things going for her mother and to keep her mother happy."

A wannabe performer, Paula Kahn agreed to an interview with Lifetime and confessed that she had a hard time accepting the successful star as her daughter. "I always saw her as another actress," she says of Madeline, who died of ovarian cancer last year read more

Lawrence Plays the Name Game

Former teen idol Joseph Lawrence is growing tired of the media obsessing about his decision to pull a Deborah Gibson and now go by Joseph, as opposed to just Joey. In fact, contrary to reports, the 24-year-old ex-Blossom star insists that his moniker actually hasn't changed.

"Joseph's my name," Lawrence tells TV Guide Online. "I was born that... it's on my birth certificate. It was Joseph before it was Joey and they just changed it when I was a kid because they thought [since] I was playing characters named Joey, it might be better for recognition purposes."

So why go back to the original spelling now? "I'm named after my dad and I always said that's what I want to see up on the big screen," says the star of Urban Legends: The Final Cut, a sequel to the 1998 film, opening Friday. "I basically am just using my name. People can call me whatever they want, I could care less. read more

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