Ramin Setoodeh

Stories by Ramin Setoodeh

  • Reality Comes to 'Project Runway'

    An HIV-positive 'Project Runway' contestant suddenly leaves the show when he contracts a staph infection. In an exclusive interview, he gives NEWSWEEK the inside story.
  • Patti LaBelle, with Hot Sauce

    Patti LaBelle is a "coach" on "Clash of the Choirs," a reality show where celebrities assemble their own choirs and viewers pick the best one. (This is why the writers' strike must end.) She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Helio Takes His Victory Lap Dance

    He was the dark horse who fox-trotted his way to victory. Brazilian race-car driver Helio Castroneves was crowned winner of "Dancing With the Stars" last week. He spoke with Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Newsmakers: James McAvoy

    In "Atonement," James McAvoy steals Keira Knightley's heart, and he'll probably take yours, too. He spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Disney's $4b 'Princess' Brand

    Your daughter has a royal crush. So do Barbie and Dora. If Disney has its way, women will become the next subjects kneeling before its $4 billion throne.
  • Alicia Keys

    Keys's new album, "As I Am," debuts this week. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • A Cha-Cha Chat With A Lot Of Spice

    Scary Spice (Melanie Brown) is the star on "Dancing With the Stars," but after the series ends, she won't stop dancing. She's going on the Spice Girls reunion tour. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Céline Dion Leaving Las Vegas

    Céline Dion spent five years in the desert. Let's see if she can still swim, and sing, with the big guys.
  • Newsmakers: 8 Things Lance Forgot to Tell In His Tell-All Book

    Lance Bass, former 'N Sync boy bander, came out in 2006. Now, naturally, he has a memoir, called "Out of Sync." He told all—for real—to Ramin Setoodeh.1. None of his ex-bandmates is likely to finish his book: "The guys don't like to read. In fact, I just saw Joey [Fatone] last night, and I was like, haven't you read the book yet? He's like, I'm on chapter five and I've been on that chapter for two weeks."2. He's not exactly a wordsmith himself: "I'm terrible at putting sentences together. I know exactly what I want to say and all the stories, but I don't know how to put it in book form, so I got help from an author."3. He'd love for 'N Sync to reunite: "I'd do it in a heartbeat. We're just waiting for Justin [Timberlake]. I think his No. 1 concern would be this whole boy band stigma that he got over."4. He still wants to go into outer space: "I have to find the right mission. The good thing is, I've done all the training so all I would have to do is a refresher course. I'm not...
  • Rare Opportunity to Buy an Oscar

    Wanna buy an Oscar? Because of a rule established in 1950 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which allows the organization to buy back unwanted statues for $1 before the public gets a shot, the opportunity to purchase an actual Oscar is extremely rare. But in December, Sotheby's will be auctioning one off, and it's a doozy: the only Academy Award won by Orson Welles, which he earned for the screenplay to "Citizen Kane." And given its mysterious history, you might call this one the Rosebud of Oscars.Welles won the award in 1942, making it exempt from the Academy's rule. But in 1988, his daughter Beatrice informed the Academy that the original statue had been lost prior to Welles's death three years earlier. She asked for, and received, a replacement, under the condition that she could never sell it. But then in 1994, the original suddenly appeared on the auction market. The seller was a cinematographer friend of the late filmmaker, who claimed that Welles gave it to...
  • Can Paris Hilton Get Serious?

    Rich girl. Party animal. Jailbird. America's No. 1 heir-head wants to get out of the bimbo business.
  • Up and Coming: Casey Affleck

    It's been a while since anyone cared about an Affleck movie. But that'll change now that Casey, Ben's kid brother, is starring in two big films: "The Assassination of Jesse James" and "Gone Baby Gone" (directed by Ben). He spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Newsmakers

    Foxx stars in "The Kingdom," a thriller about an FBI team investigating a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia. He spoke to Nicki Gostin. ...
  • Q & A: Evan Rachel Wood

    Wood will be in four movies at this week's Toronto Film Festival. But her favorite is Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe," in which she (and the cast) sing dozens of Beatles songs. Wood spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.Yeah. I have no problem telling people that it's the greatest movie ever made.I'm going to cover it up for something better.It's a strawberry with the leaves in the shape of a bird. But when people look at it, they say, "Is that a ferret sticking out of an apple?"I'm an alien. I'm young Uma Thurman. And I'm a young brunette working at McDonald's.I have to keep it blond for roles, so I could go either way. But now I can't dye my hair black, because that would mean I'm a zombie.People need to grow up about that.I think people really get off on seeing someone fail. No one is waiting for me to say something smart. An actress is stupid—that's the best news. It's on CNN. People tell me I'm immature, and Britney's crotch is on CNN. Who the hell is immature?
  • Britney Gets Graded

    To find out just how good or bad Britney's performance was at the VMA, we sought professional help-a judge from 'Dancing With the Stars.'
  • When Tragedy Strikes a Hollywood Comedy

    Owen Wilson has a new movie coming out next month. Will his reported suicide attempt hurt 'The Darjeeling Limited' or perversely help it?
  • The Island of Dreams

    A century ago, if you immigrated to America by ship, the most important part of your journey was the six-minute medical inspection at Ellis Island in New York Harbor. You'd walk past a row of inspectors, each looking for a different disease. Does your head feel itchy? Maybe it's favus, fungus of the scalp. One medical examiner carried a small metal hook, to flip eyelids for trachoma (bacteria that can lead to blindness). Most of the newly arrived would pass quickly, boarding a ferry to Manhattan or New Jersey. But about 10 percent of immigrants needed further checking. They were sent—1.2 million of them, beginning in 1901—to the south side of the island. Here was a 750-bed hospital that tended to those trapped in purgatory, between their old homes and their new.When Ellis Island shut down in 1954, so did the wards and operating rooms of the hospital. The main hall on the north side of the island was restored and opened to the public in 1990, but the hospital, with its 29 surrounding...
  • What Will Rosie Do After 'The View'?

    Is anyone surprised that Rosie O'Donnell won’t be coming back to "The View"? Ever since she and cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck shouted each other down on Wednesday's show like guests on "Jerry Springer," O’Donnell has been suggesting on her blog that she’s done with the show. (Rosie’s last day, officially, was supposed to be June 21.) Today, before ABC announced Rosie wouldn’t return, she posted a video that showed ripped-up photographs of her, Barbara Walters and Hasslebeck. If Barbara Walters fumed when Star Jones gave an interview to People magazine saying Barbara fired her, imagine how she felt about Rosie’s public displays of disaffection. In fact, Walters told NEWSWEEK last fall that she hoped Rosie wouldn’t use her blog to bash the other women on the show. The title of Rosie’s latest video? “True Colors.”The trouble on “The View” started this week, when the girls were talking about their big date with Emmy. Rosie said that the award belonged to Barbara, for being smart enough to...
  • Get Ready for 'High School Musical 2'

    It's springtime in St. George, Utah, and the hills are alive with the sound of "High School Musical." The production has invaded this small desert town to film a sequel, much to the delight of the students at Coral Cliffs Elementary School, located about a mile from the set. At recess, the kids swear that if they listen really hard, they can hear the movie's new songs echo on the horizon. "They filmed for two weeks on our baseball fields," says music teacher Stacie Bowden, who often uses songs from the TV movie in her choir class. "We had a lot of kids trying to get up there. It was crazy." Just as surreal, the film's stars—Zac, Ashley, Corbin, Vanessa; in the tween world, they're all one-name superstars—seem to be everywhere: at the movies, the go-kart track, even the bus stop, according to one sighting. "One day in PE," says Anje Olivas, a 9-year-old third grader, "I was doing the long jump. I looked up and I think I saw Zac Efron."Was it just her imagination? It's hard to say....
  • Star Jones on Gastric Bypass Surgery

    Remember when Star Jones thrived on excess? This was the woman, after all, who accepted wedding gifts from companies—clothing and merchandise—in exchange for plugging them on 'The View,' as if she needed the freebies. Now that she's returning to TV, 160 pounds lighter from (she finally admitted this week) a gastric bypass, she's got a new view: moderation. Take a recent breakfast. Jones orders a single scrambled egg with cheese. The waiter brings her two by mistake. "That's too much!" Star squeals, shoveling the extra egg away. Still, in many other ways, she's still the same Star. A few weeks before her new show on Court TV (it debuts Aug. 20) Jones spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh. Excerpts: ...
  • How Prison Made Steve Madden a Better Man

    Steve Madden is showing off his spring collection: gumball-colored sneakers with wedges that look like souvenirs from an acid trip. Fix, they're called, appropriately enough. "Fix?!" groans a Brooklyn shoe-store owner, whom Madden has invited to this New York trade show to critique his line. "Girls will look at them and say, 'What's wrong with me? What do I need fixed?' " Madden gives a quiet nod of his baseball-capped head. One of his employees fidgets nervously. But the store owner doesn't let up. "It's old. It's done. You need to define yourself in the marketplace."After a three-year hiatus, of sorts, Madden, 50, is doing just that—and he's not letting himself be rattled by critics. In the mid-'90s, Madden was a rock star to millions of young women who couldn't get enough of his affordable bejeweled platforms and big-toed clogs. The college dropout who'd gotten his start peddling shoes on Long Island was Manhattan royalty, holding court in his SoHo flagship and sitting courtside...
  • How Prison Made Steve Madden a Better Man

    Steve Madden is showing off his spring collection: gumball-colored sneakers with wedges that look like souvenirs from an acid trip. Fix, they're called, appropriately enough. "Fix?!" groans a Brooklyn shoe-store owner, whom Madden has invited to this New York trade show to critique his line. "Girls will look at them and say, 'What's wrong with me? What do I need fixed?' " Madden gives a quiet nod of his baseball-capped head. One of his employees fidgets nervously. But the store owner doesn't let up. "It's old. It's done. You need to define yourself in the marketplace."After a three-year hiatus, of sorts, Madden, 50, is doing just that—and he's not letting himself be rattled by critics. In the mid-'90s, Madden was a rock star to millions of young women who couldn't get enough of his affordable bejeweled platforms and big-toed clogs. The college dropout who'd gotten his start peddling shoes on Long Island was Manhattan royalty, holding court in his SoHo flagship and sitting courtside...
  • Auditioning for 'Big Brother'

    Of all the nice people I meet at the "Big Brother" auditions last spring, my favorite contestant is a woman named Emillan. She arrives for her big date with Hollywood dressed from head to toe in black lingerie, which she purchased for $200 from Frederick's of Hollywood. "I work in the sex industry," Emillan tells me. Really? How? Actually, Emillan holds three different jobs. "I'm a stripper. I'm a foot-fetish model—that's where I make money—and I specialize in domination." Really? How? OK, I'll spare you the details. I ask Emillan if she has any reality TV experience. "I auditioned for 'Coyote Ugly,' where they were looking for a bartender/singer, but I didn't make that. My friend told me I was sneaky and conniving and I'd be perfect for this." It's settled. If I make it into the "Big Brother" house and so does Emillan, we're definitely forming an alliance.Tonight marks the eighth season of what I think is the greatest reality TV show of all time. "Survivor" has its rats and ...
  • Q&A With Enrique Iglesias

    The world's best-selling Spanish music artist, on his way to Live Earth, holds forth on Al Gore, performing in a gay club, 'Insomnia'—his new album and the real thing—and sleeping pills.
  • Q&A: Hugh Dancy on 'Evening', Clare Danes

    Is Hugh Dancy the next Hugh Grant? The 32-year-old British actor has been pegged as the next big thing in Hollywood. He just completed a successful run on Broadway in "Journey's End," as the lead, Capt. Stanhope (a role that Laurence Olivier originated). He has four movies out this year, including "The Jane Austen Book Club," based on the recent book. In his latest drama, "Evening," Dancy plays Buddy Wittenborn, a rich New Englander who is dating the film's heroine, Ann. In real life, Dancy is now dating the actress who played Ann, Claire Danes. He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Paula Abdul’s Reality

    Paula Abdul is TV's most famous cry baby. She tears up when contestants are voted off "American Idol." She bawls when they win the grand prize. At one point last season, Abdul even started wailing when one finalist—Melinda Dolittle—sang really well, because she was just so happy for her. So it's no surprise that the tears flow in Abdul's new reality show, "Hey, Paula," airing on Bravo tonight.The shocker is how quickly Paula Abdul blows up—for the strangest reasons. In the premiere episode, the former pop singer is on her way to Philadelphia to film a QVC spot for her jewelry line when she realizes her two assistants have forgotten to pack her sweat pants, and she'll need to squeeze into a pair of jeans instead. "Why these pants?!" she asks. "I could kill you guys ... it's supposed to be a comfortable trip ... take your foot and shove it down your throat." By the end of the scolding, it's not just Paula who's crying but her two intern-like assistants as well.Train-wreck reality TV...
  • Paris Hilton's Celebrity Justice

    Hotel heiress Paris Hilton went to jail, came home for medical reasons—and has now been sent back again. Inside the strangest journey into celebrity justice since O.J.
  • Listening In: Paris and the Pokey

    Should the Hilton hotel heiress be forced back to jail? Should she be allowed to serve out her term under house arrest? Should you care?