Today's News: Our Take


MCCONAUGHEY, DRAGON SLAYER

Matthew McConaughey will battle dragons in the film Reign of Fire, for Disney's Spyglass Entertainment arm. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor will star as the head of an American militia sent to England to battle a brood of dragons that establish dominance over the planet. American Psycho's Christian Bale will co-star as a young Brit who teams with McConaughey. Shooting begins February in the UK. read more

UMA'S TOILET TRAINING

Uma Thurman has bathroom issues. The Oscar-nominated Pulp Fiction actress tells November's Harper's Bazaar that "when you're in a relationship, it's better to be with somebody who has an affair than with somebody who doesn't flush the toilet." Later in the interview Thurman added, "I'm talking humorously about the challenges of relationships. I don't want people to think I'm saying that about my beloved husband [Ethan Hawke]." If you say so, Uma. read more

WHITNEY AND BOBBY IN CONCERT

Move over Siegfried and Roy... there's a new act in town. USA Today reports that Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown will perform together at Las Vegas's Aladdin Theater on Nov. 10. The dysfunctional husband-wife team will perform separately and together. Ticket prices will range from $100 to $300. read more

XENA'S BIG BREAK

Just a day after the news broke that Xena: Warrior Princess had been cancelled, series star Lucy Lawless already plotted her next move. "I'm looking forward to sleeping in," Lawless announced this morning while guest-hosting on Live With Regis. "I think I would like an open-ended holiday." read more

SHORT CUTS

Pop star Christina Aguilera is suing her manager, Steven E. Kurtz, accusing him of having "improper, undue and inappropriate influence" over her personal and professional activities, the Los Angeles Times reports.... Frasier's Kelsey Grammer will play himself in a Thanksgiving-themed episode of the UPN comedy Girlfriends, to air Nov. 20. The sitcom star is one of the show's executive producers. — Michael Ausiello read more

ABC FIRES FOOD FUMBLER

ABC News has pink-slipped the producer in charge of the botched John Stossel 20/20 story on organic foods — but not for the role he played in the controversial report. According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Fitzpatrick — who had been suspended for 30 days without pay for the debacle — was fired for having produced a story for HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel during his time off. Fitzpatrick's contract does not allow him to work for a non-ABC outlet without the network's approval. read more

STERN CRIES FOUL

The King of all Media wants the press to back off. Howard Stern confirmed on his radio show that he is dating actress Beth Ostrosky but complained that the media frenzy surrounding the romance has caused him problems at home. "[The media] are relentless in the pursuit of my personal life, so I had to pick up the phone and call my kids," said Stern, who recently divorced wife Allison after 20 years of marriage. They have three daughters together. "I'm trying to straighten things out with my wife and kids," he added, "and this makes everything complicated." Ostrosky played a sexy volleyball player whom Ben Stiller lusts after in the 1996 comedy Flirting With Disaster. read more

GEORGE MICHAEL, THE PIANO MAN

His secret is out! Pop star George Michael was revealed as the mystery buyer of John Lennon's piano, shelling out $2.1 million. According to Reuters, Michael went after the rock and roll totem because he wanted it to remain in Britain. The auction was held on Tuesday at Hard Rock Cafe branches in London and New York. read more

Sparks: Straight as Folk


Former Talk Soup funnyman Hal Sparks has a message to all you single gals out there: He's not a gay man; he just plays one on TV. As one of the stars of Showtime's upcoming man-on-man action series, Queer as Folk, the currently unattached actor admits he worried his role on the show might lead to some confusion in his personal life.

"Yeah, that was a concern," Sparks tells TV Guide Online. "But it turns out that women feel the same way about two guys together as guys feel about two girls together... so lucky me!" Besides, he says, "I never had much problem approaching women I like, so I'm not worried."

Sparks is, however, concerned that American audiences may not embrace the sexually explicit Queer (debuting Dec. 3) the same way British audiences did the original. "I worry whether people are going to miss the point because they're so hung up on the sex," he sighs. "What if they get so freaked out and so up in arms that they don't see that these c read more

City of Angels Star Trashes TV


Despite starring roles in the CBS hospital drama City of Angels and the soon-to-be-released, big-screen romantic comedy Loving Jezebel, Hill Harper is not at all happy with the state of TV and movies today.

"I feel television has died," the actor tells TV Guide Online. "It's such a make-the-doughnuts mentality. It's about finding 48 minutes of material so you can have 12 minutes of good commercials. If they thought they could get good commercials out of 10 people being naked and spinning on their heads in the middle of an island, that's what they'll do."

Harper says there are some exceptions to the rule, including City of Angels, The Sopranos, The Practice and The West Wing. "But there are more Nash Bridges and Diagnosis Murders than there are West Wing," he complains.

If he were a TV programmer, Harper says he'd take more risks. "It doesn't take a lot of money to take risk," he says. "It just read more

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