Today's News: Our Take


MAKING MOVIE MAGIC

Basketball legend and failed talk-show host Magic Johnson is preparing a Friday opening for his new nine-screen movie multiplex in Harlem, NY. Johnson and Loews Cineplex Entertainment are already partnered in theaters in Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta and Cleveland. Let's hope he has better luck than funnyman Jerry Lewis, whose self-named chain of movie theaters went under several years ago. read more

DARVA TAKES IT OFF!

Darva Conger, who lost her nursing job after appearing on Fox's Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire, told NBC's Today she has agreed to pose nude for Playboy because she's broke. "What was I expected to do, stay at home and watch as they foreclosed on my house?" she said. read more

PERFECT STORM AUCTION

Lady Grace, the sister vessel to the Andrea Gail used in the filming of The Perfect Storm, is going up for auction on eBay. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the boat will benefit The Gloucester Fund, which serves the communities affected by the real-life storm that inspired the new George Clooney pic. — Rich Brown read more

USA LOSES WWF

A Delaware judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by USA Networks to keep its top-rated World Wrestling Federation telecasts from moving to Viacom/CBS-owned TNN when USA's contract expires this September. The court decided that USA could not possibly match Viacom-CBS's offer to further expand Vince McMahon's already huge wrestling empire with broadcast network specials and other promotional efforts. read more

MORE STERN AHEAD?

Syndicated radio host Howard Stern still hasn't accepted a rumored $100 million offer to renew his contract past November, but the shock jock has just agreed to a three-year extension with Toronto's Q-107 if he decides to keep doing his morning show. "Our contract has nothing to do with the other," station program director Pat Cardinal assured The Toronto Sun. read more

X-FILES SECRETS REVEALED

David Duchovny will appear in the first two episodes of The X-Files's upcoming eighth season and then vanish until late in the year, according to series supporting player William B. Davis (the Cigarette-Smoking Man) on Scifi Wire. Meanwhile, the show's producers are reportedly searching for an actor to play a male ex-cop in his 30s or 40s as the new partner for Gillian Anderson's Agent Scully. read more

X-RATED SOPRANOS

Fans of The Sopranos take note: The Sopornos 2, a sequel to last year's X-rated spoof of the popular HBO mob drama, is about to begin shooting in Los Angeles. Jewel D'Nyle, Tabitha Stevens and Bridgette Kerkove are slated to star in the VCA Pictures production. read more

Meloni's Gay Kiss


A kiss is just a kiss, says Chris Meloni of his on-screen lip action with another man in the gritty HBO prison drama Oz.

"There was some trepidation at first," the actor tells Out. "I mean guys have stubble and stuff, and after I was 5 I didn't even want to hold hands with my father or kiss him on the cheek. But finally it was like, f--- it, let's do it."

In fact, Meloni says he was happy to relive the tender lip lock when he and Oz co-star Lee Tergesen presented at a GLAAD awards ceremony. "Lee and I made out onstage. The script called for it, and I do what I'm told. I kind of thought we brought the house down ? hopefully not too far down."

Meloni also says Oz isn't his first encounter with homosexuality. In college he had a gay admirer. "It was the first time a guy had ever said 'You've got a great body' to me. The next thing you know, he's asking me if I like gladiator movies." Meloni also adds, "I was a bouncer, a bartender read more

Baywatch Star Works Up a Sweat


Former soap hunk Jason Brooks says working on Days of Our Lives was like a day at the beach compared to playing lifeguard team leader Sean Monroe on Baywatch Hawaii.

"Working out for this role became not so much an aesthetic issue but one of survival," Brooks tells TV Guide Online. "This is by far the most demanding job that I've ever had. The ocean conditions can be dangerous and arduous. If you're not properly prepared you can hurt someone."

Then again, we can't feel too sorry for Brooks. Next season, his Baywatch character is expected to get caught in a love triangle with returning love interest Jenna (played by his former Days co-star Krista Allen) and a new character played by Playboy Playmate Brandi Roderick. "I'm not sure what's going on," he says of next season's romantic plot lines. "I'm the last to know anything."

But he does know that we can expect to see some retooling of the series under the hel read more

Flakes Flock Biggs


Ever since Jason Biggs got intimate with an apple-filled treat in American Pie, women don't strike up a conversation with the baby-faced up-and-comer by asking "What's your sign?" when he goes out in public. Some of the come-on lines he's heard are flaky and downright pie-eyed.

"A girl came up to me in a crowded bar and actually said, 'I'd love to be your apple pie tonight,' " he tells Maxim. His response? "Frankly, I was too stunned. I wish I'd said something cool back to her, like 'Well, OK, you got any ice cream?' "

Biggs takes the jokes about baked goods ? plain or à la mode ? in stride, however, no matter how stale they get. "I'll be at a restaurant and some guy will totally crack himself up by saying, 'Hey, did you order the pie for dessert?' They expect me to convulse with laughter, like 'Wow, no one's ever said that before.' At the same time I understand, because he can tell his buddies, 'I met the American Pie read more

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