Today's News: Our Take


MILLIONAIRE'S BIG PLANS

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire executive producer Michael Davies says he's planning a "tax-free" installment of the popular prime-time game show that could air as early as January, according to Jam! Showbiz. Also in the works: a second Celebrity Tournament slated for the November sweeps period, a tournament of former Millionaire champs and a possible multimillionaire edition with a prize worth as much as $10 million. read more

GOVERNMENT FIGHTS VIOLENCE

The movie, video game and music industries aggressively market violent and mature products to minors, according to a study to be released today by the Federal Trade Commission. Most of the R-rated films and M-rated video games examined included promotional efforts targeting underage audiences, says the FTC, which is seeking more effective self-regulation by the entertainment industry and enforcement of rating codes by retailers and theaters. — Michael Ausiello and Rich Brown read more

CBS QUELLS BIG BROTHER COUP?

It looks like the six remaining contestants on CBS's Big Brother might back off from their threatened walkout during this Wednesday's live broadcast. The show's producers on Saturday held an emergency meeting with house guest Jamie and appear to have succeeded in convincing she and her fellow houseguests to rethink their plan to leave the house en masse, according to Jam! Showbiz. Big Brother is scheduled to end Sept. 30 with one $500,000 prize for the person who survives ouster votes by fellow players and TV viewers. read more

WATCHER REIGNS OVER BETTY

The Watcher, starring Keanu Reeves as a serial killer, beat the dark comedy Nurse Betty at the box office over the weekend. The Watcher grossed an estimated $9.1 million. The higher-profile Nurse Betty, which garnered mostly favorable reviews, opened at No. 2 with $7.3 million — it stars Renée Zellweger as an obsessed soap fan who stalks Greg Kinnear. After two weeks on top, the cheerleading flick Bring It On was bumped to third place with $6.5 million. The Cell and Space Cowboys rounded out the lacklsuter moviegoing weekend, with grosses of $3.5 million and $3.3 million, respectively. Meanwhile, The Way of the Gun, starring Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis, debuted at No. 9 with $2.2 million. read more

THE EMMYS WING IT

NBC's The West Wing won big Sunday night at the 52nd Annual Prime-Time Emmy Awards. The political drama won nine trophies, the biggest single-year tally in Emmy history, including Outstanding Drama Series, Supporting Actress (Allison Janney) and Supporting Actor (Richard Schiff). The Peacock Network won top comedy honors as well for Will & Grace. The show's scene-stealing supporting duo, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes, also won. Michael J. Fox was named Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his final year on Spin City and Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton won for lead comedy actress. The Sopranos avoided a record-breaking shutout with James Gandolfini's win as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Sela Ward, meanwhile, won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for ABC's Once and Again.

[For a complete wrap-up, see today's read more

Joan & Melissa: The Mouths That Bored


Melissa Rivers is expecting a child, a fact that Joan — her mother and fellow co-host — announced in her trademark squawk at the onset of E! Entertainment Television's Emmy Award Pre-Show. Alas, if you were expecting big stars as you tuned into the sartorial survey, it may have seemed like a nine-month wait as well.

In fact, it wasn't until the middle of the program's lazy first hour that E!'s mother-daughter team dug their claws into a flesh-and-blood Emmy nominee, Everybody Loves Raymond's Peter Boyle. Prior to that big catch, viewers had to bide their time with Shelley Morrison (who plays Will & Grace fourth banana Rosario), Rudy Boesch from Survivor (whose wife all but acknowledged that his 15 minutes were winding down), and some guy named Curtis, a Big Brother contestant who won his admission on the house-based reality series.

But then Emma Thompson showed up, followed read more

2000 Emmys a Laughing Matter


Although the 52nd annual Emmy Awards telecast started off with a predictable (but raunchily funny) Survivor spoof, the ceremony itself was shocking: It didn't feel like 13 weeks on Pulau Tiga (and, in fact, ran over by just two minutes).

A lot of the credit should go to host Garry Shandling, who relied heavily, and very successfully, upon the insecure, sexually ambiguous Hollywood-insider persona that he perfected on his HBO sitcom The Larry Sanders Show. Whether furthering his flirtation with David Duchovny (playing himself as an overly familiar bathroom attendant in one of a series of "behind-the-scenes" skits) or going off-script and inviting the trophy girl to introduce the next presenter, the funnyman seemed utterly in his element, more like he was presiding wittily over a gathering of business associates for whom he has only grudging respect than anchoring a stuffy black-tie event.

Case in point: Paying Ray Romano a read more

PRINZE'S BIG PURCHASE

Matinee idol Freddie Prinze Jr. has purchased a home in California's San Fernando Valley for $3 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The five-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot home was built in the 1930s and features a guest house and a pool. No word on whether the 24-year-old She's All That thesp will be sharing the new pad with his main squeeze, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar. read more

HECHE SPEAKS OUT

Anne Heche broke her silence on Friday regarding her split from Ellen DeGeneres. The actress, appearing at the Beverly Hills Hilton to accept a Lucy award for directing a segment of HBO's If These Walls Could Talk 2, initially stumbled over her former partner's name, Reuters reports. "It means so much to me to be able to have Sharon Stone and Ellen DeGen..." Heche said, before placing her hands over her face and adding, "Shake it out, baby!" With Stone — who co-starred in the Walls segment with DeGeneres — appearing by her side, Heche pulled herself together and continued: "No matter what you've heard. I love Ellen DeGeneres. She is a genius.... She is a marvelous woman so dear to my life and I love her." The couple announced their breakup Aug. 19, the same weekend Heche was admiited into a Fresno, CA, hospital after wandering to a stranger's home in a disoriented state. Prior to accepting the Lucy award, Heche told Inside Edit read more

Zellweger Warms Up to Men


Renée Zellweger wasn't always a big fan of her Nurse Betty director, Neil LaBute. The Jerry Maguire actress admits that after seeing his first feature, 1997's In the Company of Men, she felt nothing but disdain for the misogynist.

"I was livid," Zellweger says of Men, about two yuppies who get their kicks by dating and dumping women. "I was pissed off that somebody would make a film about this, that these characters were hateful as they were, that they were so cruel."

However, after cooling her jets, the future star of Bridget Jones' Diary suddenly had a change of heart. "About halfway home I understood: Well, that's what the point was," Zellweger recalls. "He was telling a story with a lot of irony and honesty, and the intention was to make you feel like that about the situation."

Zellweger, most recently seen opposite real-life beau Jim Carrey in the box-office disappointment Me, Myself and Irene read more

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