Marc Peyser

THE HOUSE OF HILTON

You can learn the most interesting things at a backyard barbecue, at least when the backyard belongs to the Hilton family. For instance, the fact that Paris eats like a horse: a turkey sandwich, sausage, pasta and a bowl of Fruity Pebbles for dessert.

THE WAR FOR YOUR LIVING ROOM

Maybe it's a mistake to look for symbolism on basic cable, but consider this: the first soldier gunned down in FX's military drama "Over There" is shot while going to the bathroom.

Don't Touch That Dial

Fresh air: Who needs it? Sunshine? Bad for the skin. Summer is here, and that means it's prime growing season for couch potatoes looking to bask in the light of their televisions.Summer television used to be an oxymoron, of course, unless you were interested in catching up on "Law & Order" reruns.

NEWSMAKERS

Q&A: Liz SmithDishing" is gossip queen Liz Smith's new book about her meals with Hollywood legends. She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Marc Peyser.Are people afraid of you?Noooo.But everyone kisses up to you--even Bill O'Reilly.He likes me.

STRAWBERRY FIELDS, BACK IN BLOOM

It's a little-known fact--and, frankly, a little hard to imagine--but back in 1979, John Lennon and Yoko Ono started writing a Broadway musical. It was an oddly frivolous genre for the "angry" Beatle and a woman who once recorded her own orgasms, but love often led Mr.

Sex and The Suburbs

AMERICA IS FEELING 'DESPERATE.' HOW DID A RACY SERIES ABOUT FORTYSOMETHING HOUSEWIVES TAKE OVER POP CULTURE--AND WHAT TOOK IT SO LONG?

THE CURSE OF THE SHOW KILLERS

After years of breathing HBO's fumes, Showtime thinks it may finally have a drama worth talking about. "Huff" stars Hank Azaria as a psychiatrist with more problems than his patients.

'BROOKLYN' MEETS BROADWAY

"Brooklyn" is that most endangered of Broadway beasts: a musical that's not a revival or a movie knockoff but a real, live, original work. Even more compelling, the show was written by a formerly homeless songwriter and the woman who plucked him off the streets and gave him a home.

A NATION OF INNOVATION

What kind of book about inventors snubs the mighty Alexander Graham Bell while heaping praise on Samuel Slater, who not only never created anything but actually stole the idea for the industrial textile mill?

CHOOSE, LOSE OR SNOOZE

Fed up with politics? Don't look for an escape on TV, where every day will soon be Election Day, even where you'd least expect it. Next week the Sundance Channel debuts "Tanner on Tanner," a sequel to the acclaimed 1988 mini-series directed by Robert Altman and written by "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau.

The Passion Of The Tv Executive

Mel Gibson has never even acted in a sitcom, so you can forgive some people's skepticism when he wanted to direct one. "I remember saying something stupid like, 'Has he ever done multicamera before?' " says Mike Scully, the co-creator of the show in question, ABC's "Complete Savages." "And someone said, 'Well, on "Braveheart" he had 18 cameras.' And I said, 'That would be multi'." "Savages" stars Keith Carradine as the single father of five rambunctious sons.

A Bacon Sandwich Was Just The Beginning

Neal Karlen calls his memoir "Shanda," a Yiddish word that means "disgrace." It's a good description of a man who once told "Hebe" jokes, dated shiksas (non-Jews) and turned himself into what he calls a "Jewish Uncle Tom." Fortunately, Karlen found his way out of the self-loathing desert.

MUST SEE OF MUST FLEE?

It's election season, and the choices are tough. Should you go with an old friend or the new Trump? Will you feel safe traveling to "LAX" or "Hawaii"? Sure, that presidential thing is important, but some of us will think almost as much about which fall shows to watch as we will about Bush vs.

The Lion Kings Return

There was the talking horse, of course. Also the heroic collie, the helpful dolphin and an entire planet of apes. Animals used to be a TV staple, but lately they've been put out to pasture, a.k.a.

NOW DIGG THIS

Any second now, something terrible is going to happen to Taye Diggs. Look at what he's endured in just the last few months. He was cast to star in the TV drama "Kevin Hill" (without auditioning, thank you very much).

NEWSMAKERS

Quick, Get Me Rumor Control!New Jersey and San Francisco weren't the only places where it was uncertain last week what was up with marriage, whether solemnized or impending.

AMISH OUT OF WATER

As reality-TV shows go, the newest one from UPN couldn't be more cliched. You've seen the house before. It's got loud colors, a gorgeous pool and, despite being practically a mansion, all the beds are crammed into two rooms.

BEATEN TO THE PUNCH

Let's leave aside the question of how much on TV is worth stealing. Here are the facts. A few months ago NBC announced plans for "The Contender," a reality show about boxing, featuring Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard.

POWER TO THE POSSE

The true test of a movie star's power isn't how many women he can get. It's how many women he can get for his buddies. Vince (Adrian Grenier) is having a bad day.

LEAVING HIS MARK

The true test of a movie star's power isn't how many women he can get. It's how many women he can get for his buddies. Vince (Adrian Grenier) is having a bad day.

KNIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

Some movies are director's films. Others are star vehicles, or even writer's films. "King Arthur" is that rarest of summer blockbusters--a weatherman's film.

MARLON BRANDO, 1924-2004

It's impossible to think about a Marlon Brando obituary that doesn't layer on the superlatives. Mesmerizing. Extraordinary. Revolutionary. All of them, and probably more, are true.

WHY 'BROTHER' STAYS BIG

Crowning the crudest reality-TV show is like singling out the sleaziest politician--once they're rolling and splashing in the gutter, does it really matter who's in the deepest?

NEWSMAKERS

The Mary-Kate 'Mystery' Ends--People began to think something serious was up with teen icon Mary-Kate Olsen a couple of weeks ago when her twin sister, Ashley, had celebrated their 18th birthday alone--or as alone as anyone can be who shares a $300 million fortune.

TELEVISION: PREPARE TO TWITCH

Graham Norton is a very naughty man. He thinks nothing of whipping a sex toy out of a drawer and offering it to an unsuspecting guest, just for laughs. He still giggles about the time he found a Webcast of a woman playing "God Save the Queen" on a penny whistle--and she wasn't using her mouth to play it.

NEWSMAKERS

The Unwedding SingersJennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony seem to be under the delusion that they could tie the knot at whiplash speed and pretend no one would notice.

FOX AROUND THE CLOCK

When you're moaning about gas prices this summer vacation, consider Nicole Richie's payment plan. Through the magic of reality TV, Nicole and her friend Paris Hilton find themselves with no money, no credit cards and their pink trailer home running on empty somewhere in Florida. "What can we sell?" asks Paris. "A $100,000 watch?" Quicker than you can say "money shot," the ladies pull into a gas station.

Theater: 'A Big Bra To Fill'

Actors never think twice about losing weight for a role. It was a little harder for Michael McKean to lose his eyebrows. "I look a little like Boris Karloff getting made up for 'Frankenstein'," McKean says.

ABSOLUTELY THE PITTS

Remember the good old days when TV networks copied each other without even trying to be creative? Now every rip-off comes with a twist, as in "How about 'Survivor' where all the challenges make you sick?" or "Let's do 'The Bachelor' with little people!" But none of those copycats are as shameless as the imitators spawned by "Extreme Makeover," a feel-good show that follows people before, during and after plastic surgery.

SNAP JUDGMENT: TV

RedemptionApril 11 at 8 p.m. ET, FXJamie Foxx ("Ali") stepped away from comedy a few movies ago, but it's still a shock to see him in "Redemption. "Foxx plays Stanley (Tookie) Williams, the cofounder of the Crips gang who turns himself into an antiviolence crusader and prize-winning author--he's been nominated for Nobel Prizes in both peace and literature, and he's done all that while on death row.

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