Letterman vs. Conan -- Who'll Conquer?

In his Washington Post column today, Tom Shales profiles Conan O'Brien -- heir to Jay Leno's Tonight Show throne as of Monday -- and begs the flame-haired jester this loaded question: What about the fact that, at 11:35 p.m, you'll now be competing against your longtime comedy idol, David Letterman? Conan demurs as only Conan can: I'm just going to pretend it's not true for as long as possible. I don't think I'm going to take anything away from Dave. We're very different people, and I don't think anyone who's a loyal Dave-watcher is going to decide to start watching me. I think I have to find my own people--people who are probably meth addicts, come to think of it, in an alley somewhere right now huffing glue. He also talks about Letterman's initial influence on his comedic development: There's a period in your life where you can be influenced in a way--there's a window of opportunity that opens when you're...

Morning Mix: Chris Brown Sued for Personal Injury

Man Sues Chris Brown for Personal Injury.  Chris Brown is back in the headlines after his bodyguard was accused of assault -- and Brown himself sued for personal injury.  Allegedly, Robert Rosen snapped a photo of Brown playing basketball at an L.A. gym on March 13.  Afterward, Rosen says that Brown's bodyguard chased him down and beat him up; he's sueing for medical costs and more. [People]Susan Boyle Reveals Her Inner Bad-Girl?.  The Britain's Got Talent phenom, who rose to fame on her dowdy, sweet image, apparently lost her curse-word virginity at a North London hotel while yelling at police.  Say two bystanders.  People are always trying to bring her down, huh?  [MTV UK]Players Play Hard -- and People Actually Watch.  The NBA playoffs have been riveting -- minus those god-awful Muppet commercials -- so it's no surprise that the ratings have set new records for the franchise.  The Wrap reports that while baseball ratings are in double-digit declines, TNT and...

Morning Mix: "American Idol" Finale Day!

Will Gokey's Fans Break for Lambert? As Simon seems sure that American Idol finalist Adam Lambert will take the title home tonight, fans are both recalling last season -- a surprise David Cook victory, even as Simon nearly assured David Archuleta he'd win -- and speculating as to where the passionate Danny Gokey fans are disembarking. No surprise, in order to stir the pot more, that the press is toying with the idea of a Kris Allen swing. What do you think? [Associated Press]Third (Olympian)'s a Charm. Gymnast Shawn Johnson finally gets the gold -- this time as the latest Dancing With the Stars champion. She is the third former Olympian to snag the mirrored ball trophy of eight winners total, and as speedskater Apollo Ohno said on the show, no Olympian who's made the finals has ever lost DWTS. [Associated Press]Crawford to Star in "Footloose."  As if their phyiscal resemblance wasn't enough, Chace Crawford, Gossip Girl hottie, will step into Zac...

"The Producers" in Germany: Fascinating

Piggybacking on its theater review from yesterday's print edition, The New York Times' news blog has two fascinating dispatches from Germans who've just seen Mel Brooks' "The Producers" -- centered around a mocking, Hitler-themed musical -- in Berlin.  Check it out here.

Morning Mix: MLK Story to Become Movie

King Story to Come to Big Screen.  Stephen Spielberg will produce a Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, Dreamworks announced, in the first ever King biopic to be authorized by the King Estate.  The film's makers will thus be allowed to cull from King's papers, speeches, video and personal belongings.   [Variety]Allen Settles With American Apparel.  The clothing company that used a still of director Woody Allen from "Annie Hall" without his permission will settle out of court for $5 million, it was announced yesterday.  "It’s of course possible by going through the trial, a jury might have awarded me more money, but this is not how I make my living," Allen told reporters outside of the court room. [New York Times]

The Movie That Everybody's Talking About

Check out the trailer for Lars von Trier's Antichrist, above.  The film is responsible for the the biggest splash to-date at Cannes -- Reuters ticks off the various audience reactions from last night's premiere, including, but not limited tocheersjeers"derisive" laughterscreamsapplause"loud" boosSeems there's some graphic sexual mutilation, talking forest creatures, drill-boring through appendages, spraying blood and more.  The 53-year-old Danish director, meanwhile, calls the film "the most important of my career" and himself "the world's greatest director."  We wonder what the film's stars, Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, have to say about all this?

Kristin Cavallari: "I Have Acting Skills Now"

It's either refreshing, or a sad, telling state of affairs when a newly signed reality TV star -- former Laguna Beach babe Kristin Cavallari -- says of her new gig, essentially, "Thank God I can act."  Or verbatim: The goal for me is to get my fans excited about me again. When I first started out, I had a celebrity name but I didn’t have the acting skills I have now. If I have some buzz with my name again, I feel like it will only help.Good for her that she's easing into her role as Lauren Conrad's replacement on MTV reality show The Hills with the full knowledge that there's nothing "real" about it.  Check out her full Q+A with EW here.

Morning Mix: People Desperate to Make "Idol" Finale Seem Tense

"Angels & Demons" vs. "Star Trek" -- Neither Here Nor There.  The world is split -- overseas, people are rushing to see Da Vinci Code follow-up Angels & Demons (the film had a $104 million worldwide take this weekend).  But domestically, the film barely edged out Star Trek's second weekend -- A&D netted $48 million while the sci-fi reboot took $43 million, a less than 50 percent drop from its opening weekend and a figure that moves the film's total,10-day domestic take to nearly $148 million. [Variety]People Desperate to Make "Idol" Finale Seem Like a Tight Race.  The Associated Press is predicting that this year's Idol finale -- staged over Tuesday and Wednesday of this week -- will be the "wackiest" yet.  Reasons provided included Adam Lambert's makeup preferences and Kris Allen's perceived come-from-behind victory.  It includes this pot-stirring from EW.com writer Michael Slezak: "Calling them...

"The Road" Trailer Freaks Everybody Out

In that invigorating, just-went-through-a-haunted-house, "that was AAAWESOME!" kind of way.  Proceed for spinal chills:The new trailer for the movie adaptation of the grim Cormac McCarthy novel has been roundly deemed both "bleak" and "cooool" by the blogosphere.  What do you think?

Steve Zahn, We Salute You!

So it's come to this.  We've admired and loved Steve Zahn for over a decade--maybe since That Thing You Do!, in which he played a delightfully goofy member of one-hit phenom rock band The Oneders Wonders.  Today, after years of being the screwy sidekick, Zahn is finally opening his first major studio comedy as number-one lead guy, opposite Jennifer Aniston in. The reviews so far are golden.In honor of this long-anticipated day--the day that will hopefully launch Zahn respect and fanhood the world over--here's a look backward through YouTube at the star's best moments:Dancing under the weight of a serious handlebar moustache in Happy, TexasYou've Got MailBreaking our hearts into a million pieces as the band's token ladies' man in That Thing You Do!A redux of Neil Diamond's "Cherry, Cherry" with fellow funnymen Jack Black and Jason Biggs in Saving Silverman

7 Things: Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna

The two young stars who kept us riveted through Y Tu Mamá También are back acting together in the directorial debut of that film's writer, Carlos Cuaron -- also the brother of established Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron. Their new flick, Rudo y Cursi, is both a lighthearted soccer comedy and a probing meditation on the state of Mexico and the crippling effects of narcotics. Click the player above to hear the pair talk about their movie, American Idol and what they've been up to since Y Tu Mama.

Leonardo DiCaprio: How Well Can He Evoke Sinatra?

  If the sight of Leo in Revolutionary Road is any indication--the period fedoras, the stream of martinis, the Sinatra-esque, slicked-back hair--we think he'll (potentially) do just fine. Depending on his pipes. Whence this speculation? From the news this morning that Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese will helm a long-anticipated biopic of the singer, to be backed by Mandalay and Universal Pictures. (If you haven't seen the last four Scorsese films, the connect-the-dots point here is that DiCaprio has starred in all of them--Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed and this October's Shutter Island all tally DiCaprio as a lead). Amazingly, this is the first bigscreen picture to tackle Sinatra's life. Our blind faith in the Marty-and-Leo tag team has us pumped (should the latter land the gig) -- but what do you think?

Michelle Obama Is No. 93 on Maxim Hot 100

The Maxim Hot 100--and it's No. 1 hottest female--were just announced, and joining the bootylicious ranks of Scarlett Johansson, Megan Fox and Jessica Biel is ... drumroll ... Olivia Wilde, who plays Dr. Remy Hadley on House....

Morning Mix: Buoyant Start to Cannes With "Up"

Happy Cannes Day!  It's opening day for the Festival de Cannes, the most exclusive and luxe film festival in the world, held for its 62nd year in the French Riviera.  And for the first time ever, an animated film will launch the festivities -- Up, Pixar's latest project (and first 3-D venture). The festival has garnered media attention this year for being stacked with auteurs' and major directors' pet projects, such as Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and Pedro Almodóvar's Los Abrazos Rotos. [New York Times]Kidman Backs Out of Allen Project.  Nicole Kidman has severed ties with the unnamed Woody Allen project she was set to star in -- the Australian actress didn't cite reasons. The film, which is to start filming in London this summer, also stars Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto and Anthony Hopkins.  So it's not like it'll lose any star power.  [Variety] "Jon &...

Sigh. Someone's Going to Pay $1350 to Meet Jim Cramer.

A mild silver lining of the cool economic climes is watching the preposterously overpriced -- the diamond tennis bracelets, the beachfront mansionettes -- throttle back earthward in value. But who knew there'd be downright in The Great Value Reassignment of 2009?  From the looks of the RFK Center for Human Rights and Justice celebrity charity auction, only half of Hollywood has caught up with the times.  Either that, or we're imagining some crazy appraiser in shirt garters holding a loupe over Dr. House's cane, and somehow finding over $20,000 worth of there.The excerpted list!Coffee with Melody Hobson of Good Morning America -- $150Have Gloria Ruben, star of “Raising the Bar” on TNT, sing for you and your guests at your next cocktail party -- $175VIP tickets to “Real Time with Bill Maher” -- $225 Lunch at the Four Seasons with Dennis Haysbert of CBS’s “the Unit” -- $250Lunch with “Project Runway”’s Tim Gunn at Bryant Park Grill -- $425Go backstage at Rachel Ray’s...

Trump: Beautiful People Are Targets. What Do You Think?

And King Trump ascended to the seat of sovereignty, wielding his scepter microphone, and for all the world to hear, declared a crucifix-wearing Carrie Prejean the rightful Miss California USA.  The pitchfork-wielding populace press, meanwhile, peppered the King and the doyenne of Cali with questions. Such as, uh, don't you see the hypocrisy in declaring yourself a role model to women, when ya lied about snapping semi-nude photos?She did not -- or at least, we think she did not, because Trump kept cutting her off and recentering the attention on himself.  Because really, this is about him.  Though it was, at times, hard to see the daylight between them: they both appeared to be sporting sandy eyeshadow, heavy dustings of bronzer and blonde highlights.But the real circus started when Trump declared Prejean a victim of anti-hottie prejudice. (And when he declared he'd "seen the pictures," and they're nothing to get too worked up over.  What does Melania think...

Morning Mix: Spurned William Shatner's Lost Scene -- Revealed!

Spurned William Shatner's Scene Revealed.  Star Trek writers/producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman revealed the details behind a failed William Shatner plot in J.J. Abrams' reboot of the sci-fi franchise. While the TV version's beloved Spock -- Leonard Nimoy -- was effortlessly indexed in the movie's younger cast, Shatner reportedly feuded with the director, and had but few (albeit encouraging) words for Chris Pine, his replacement as Captain Kirk.  Will he figure into a Abrams' Trek sequel, already in the works?  If the MTV video of these two guys talking about how hard it would be to make Shatner happen is any indication, well, it looks unlikely. [MTV News]Bruce Jenner Is "Sweet," Even Post-Lift.  God, it's so awkward when your stepdaughter tries to act as your spokeswoman, through her blog, about how your botched face lift and nose job have landed you in dire need of a 60th-birthday touch-up.  And when, either because of or in spite of...

The "Gossip Girl" Litmus Test -- How Much Do You Love the 80s?

The prognosis ranges from "still in the game" to grim to completely, totally, utterly unlikely for the 1980s-set spinoff, still unnamed despite having a full cast and promotional photos. The show is centered on a backtrack to the teenage years of mom Lily van der Woodsen (a Benatar-ed Brittany Snow) and the sister that we never knew she had, who sort of reminds us of a brunette Cynthia Benson (Tom Hanks's crush in )....

Enough Already: Star Trek "Beam" Headlines

There Will Be Cliches, Part II:Remember how much we hated the "There Will Be [Noun]" headlines back in early '08, along with the "No Country for Old [Noun]" variants?  Yeah, so, these days, it's Star Trek and "beaming" that's getting on our last nerve.  If one more headline trumpets the sci-fi flick's "beaming up" of a boatload of cash this weekend, we're going to set our phasers to stun, or something else really bad.Star Trek Beams to Top of Chart, BBC News Star Trek Beams Up $76.5 Million in Opening, AP via MSNBCStar Trek Beams Up $72.5 Million in First Weekend, ReutersStar Trek Beams Into Albany, WFXL Fox 31Star Trek Beams Into SNL, Just JaredAs Star Trek Beams into Theaters, Our Five Reason Why We Love Captain Kirk, MTV NewsStar Trek Beams You Back to Exciting Times, Belleville News Democrat

Farrah: Can't We Leave the Woman Alone?

Earlier this morning, Sony Pictures' home entertainment division announced that the complete fourth season of Charlie's Angels -- the show that launched the fame of headline fixture Farrah Fawcett -- will hit your megamall on July 21.  Why the announcement today, of all days?  We can only speculate -- forgive us for doing what comes naturally to blogs -- that it's because interest in the show and its biggest veteran hasn't been this high in years.  Fawcett didn't even figure into the fourth season, and yet, her name -- and her bio, which includes references to the ABC show -- have shot up in Google rankings and searches, given her worsening condition and ongoing battle with terminal anal cancer.  (Check out this Google Trends graph of the Farrah coverage, pitted against something that's been steadily in the news, like Iraq).Other Fawcett-mania: The two-hour "video diary" documentary about her struggle to survive, to air May 15 on NBC (trailer...

Morning Mix: Star Trek Hauls in $76 Mil

Box-Office Boom for J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." Star Trek had a successful weekend -- $76.5 million from Thursday to Sunday nights -- but didn't catch Wolverine to nab the best opening of the year.  Still, Paramount points to an upswing in attendance over the course of the weekend (it's usually the reverse) as a sign that good word-of-mouth is promoting the film.  They expect to see more big numbers next weekend -- unlike the X-Men film, which plummeted nearly 70& after its opening weekend. [Variety]TV Slate to Be Set Next Week.  With a week until announcements re: what shows we'll be hooked on next fall, the big networks are buckling down -- and leaking buzz to the trades.  Check out the linked update of which shows are locks, on the bubble, and losing steam. (Of interest, Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting that the Gossip Girl spinoff, set in 1980s L.A., has been canceled).  [Variety]It's only Monday, and already there are two R&B...

Morning Mix: CBS Drops $55 Million

Big Drop for CBS.  CBS posted a $55 million lost yesterday -- that's up against last year's profit of $244 million.  The corporation credits a tremendous slide in ad revenue.  Like the other networks, however, the company was remiss to cite too much gloom ahead of their big line-up presentation, later this month. [Variety]Jack Bauer Goes to Jail? "24" star Kiefer Sutherland has been charged with assault since he turned himself in to police; it was revealed Tuesday morning that he allegedly headbutted a man (rumored to be Proenza Schouler designer Jack McCullough) in a scuffle after the Costume Institute gala.  Headbutted him, yes, you read that correctly.  A paparazzi snap of the designer shows him with a bloodied scab across the bridge of his nose.  Why would Jack do it?  Apparently the altercation was over Brooke Shields.  Huh? [Reuters via Washington Post]A Canadian Retreat for Woody and Buzz.  A third sibling to join the Disney/Pixar animation family?  Walt...

Round-Up of NEWSWEEK's "Trek" Coverage

On some parts of this planet, Star Trek is now playing.  In case you've somehow missed the deluge of Trek content on this site and others over the past few MONTHS, here's a primer of the notables:The trailer -- or see below for YouTube version"We're All Trekkies Now," Steve Daly for NEWSWEEK (cover story)"Confessions of a Star Trek Writer," Leonard Mlodinow for NEWSWEEK (cover story)NEWSWEEK gallery of famous guest stars on Star TrekNEWSWEEK snaps of an early Trek convention, in the '70s"Has Star Trek Lost Its Moral Relevance?" by NEWSWEEK's Marc Bain"Spock, Kirk and Slash Fiction," by Paul Constant for NEWSWEEK