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Hollywood Celebrity Buzz

Ross von Metze | April 06, 2006

Katie Couric is officially jumping ship for CBS

Fans of The Today Show got confirmation that what industry insiders have been saying for weeks is indeed true. Katie Couric is jumping ship to head over to CBS, and The View co-host Meredith Vieira will be taking her place.

As someone who�s not a terribly huge fan of Katie and her impossibly perky demeanor at 6 o�clock in the morning, I could frankly care less. But I have to admit I�m a bit surprised to see what industry insiders have to say about this whole shake up.

As someone who�s had the television world in her corner pocket for more than a decade, you�d think the folks over at CBS would be jumping for joy to get someone with Katie�s track record on their team. Some of them are, but some of them �

Take 60 Minutes� Andy Rooney, who�s been a correspondent on the show for nearly 30 years. While talking to radio talk show host Don Imus, Rooney expressed his � errr � thoughts about Couric�s new gig. �I think everybody likes Katie Couric. I mean, how could you not like Katie Couric? But I don't know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she's coming here.�

Others have suggested Couric doesn�t have the �gravitas� to take over the CBS Evening News, a word CNN anchor Judy Woodruff has taken to interpreting as �sexist code for � Should be a man.��

Least happy, I should think, are the folks at NBC. With ratings for their prime time programming reaching UPN-worthy lows, their morning programming has consistently held a steady lead over closest competitor Good Morning America. And while Vieira is certainly a worthy replacement, I don���t think there�s a doubt in anyone�s mind that she can�t hold a candle to the power that is Diane Sawyer over at ABC.

And while I can safely say I support CBS� decision to fill the anchor chair with a woman (it�s about damn time), there�s something about Couric, with her bleached out highlights and her impossibly colorful cardigans, talking about the war in Iraq that just doesn�t ring true. Remember the age old saying, 'don't quit your day job' ... Time shall tell, but for now, I�m reserving judgment.

Pink tokes up and passes out in Amsterdam

On to something with a little more bite, everyone�s favorite bad girl Pink has owned up to even more naughty behavior. Back in the early days of her pop career (you know, before she became the extra hot rock chick she is today and was still cranking out cookie cutter R&B;) , the singer claims she nearly OD�d on �a thousand bags of weed� before a live performance.

The pop babe says she went on a bit of a blunt binge the first time she touched down in Amsterdam. Pot aficionados seek out the streets of Amsterdam because pot is legal there, and then 19-year-old Alecia Moore (that�s Pink�s real name) decided to take advantage of her time in the city. and didn't come out of a daze for several hours.

�Holy s**t! I was 19-years-old, I went straight from the airport to the Bulldog Caf�, bought a thousand bags of weed and smoked them all by myself and then went on stage,� Pink told a British tabloid. �It was a TV show and I was borderline collapsing on camera. The producer came on stage and said, 'Would you like to do that again, because that's the most awful performance I've ever seen in my entire career'. I looked at her and said, 'Do what?' It was halfway through dinner after the show when I came out of my coma.�

While Pink admits the story sounds funny now, she says at the time, it was mortifying.

Alicia Keys

And she�s not the only singer who�s been stoned out of her mind during a live performance. Aside from the obvious rockers, rappers and Whitney Houston, though Alicia Keys may come off as classy and refined now, my mind wanders back to a certain MTV special in which her sunglasses never came off and while slurring her speech to a room full of camera man, she ate it tripping over a speaker in the middle of an empty room.

And then of course there�s Macy Gray, who stoned off her gourd asked an arena of 10,000 people (many of them kids as this was an afternoon, radio station sponsored concert), �How many of you like to get fucked?� She followed it up with a song called "Sexual Revolution" before damn near falling into the orchestra pit.

Pink�s hot, but ladies, lay off the pot.

Chad Michael Murray drops one costar for another

And the latest passenger on the Hollywood train of actors who dispose of spouses like most men go through Mach 3 Razors: Chad Michael Murray. Just months after wife and One Tree Hill co-star Sophia Bush demanded their five month marriage be annulled on grounds of fraud, Murray is again engaged, to another co-worker � and this one�s just 18 years old.

Murray plans to tie the knot with crew member Kenzie Dalton later this year, sparking a boat load of questions, like � We�re they dating before she became legal? Were they dating before Bush called it quits? Is Dalton the reason Bush called it quits?

One Tree Hill, a sort of Dawson�s Creek / 90210 for today�s teen, looks likely to be cancelled when the WB morphs with UPN to form CW next fall – Ratings are down a steep 29% from last year � Which, of course, would give Murray plenty of time to dote on his bride to be.

Bush has yet to comment, and the two are still splitting screentime on the WB sudster. The pair met while both were working on Creek – she as a sexy cheerleader, he as a brooding basketball hunk. In her court papers, Bush requested that neither Murray nor herself be obligated to pay any spousal support.

If the show gets cancelled, neither one of them will have two nickels to spend on lunch, let alone each other.

Basic Instinct 2 tanked at the box office

In news of another flop, Basic Instinct 2 hasn�t even been out a week and already critics have declared it the worst movie of the year. And while it�s currently trendy to hate on Sharon Stone (just like we did to Halle Berry after Catwoman and Mariah Carey after Glitter), the buxom blonde isn�t letting it get her down. In fact, she�s declared she�d like to see a third installment � and she plans to direct it.

Though promises of a steamy m�nage-a-trois and an even more exciting lesbian love scene were left for the French to ogle over (us stuffy Americans will just have to wait for the DVD), Stone offers up enough sex appeal in this long delayed sequel to prove women of a certain age can pack a sexual wallop. So the dialogue sucks, the script is completely implausible and Stone approached the once icy cool Catherine Tramell with a performance that might send Faye Dunaway over a cliff. Basic Instinct 2 is a damn good time, and the prospect of a third? Too good to be true.

But something tells me with Stone at the wheel, a three-quel might just have the steam and substance this installment was so severely lacking. From her daring work in If These Walls Could Talk 2 to her unapologetic use of sex and nudity to command the screen, Stone is certainly up to the challenge of delivering a sizzling bi-sexual performance. And hell, what better reason for her to show us her bush for a third time.

Basic Instinct 2 made less money opening weekend than the first film made in it�s opening day. Critics don�t even expect to see it clear $10 million stateside, which is less than Stone got paid to star in the thing.

Here�s hoping she cashed her check, and that the folks bankrolling the next installment can�t read a receipt.

Thea Gill brings a lesbian twist to Dante�s Cove

And on to another gay project with somewhat more realistic expectations. Here TV�s uber-hot supernatural sudster Dante�s Cove has been renewed for a second season, and while the boys were the top draw during season one, expect the addition of Queer As Folk�s Thea Gill to turn the heat up a notch for the ladies.

Joining the cast as Diana Childs, a mysterious newcomer to Dante�s Cove who will tangle with Grace (Tracy Scoggins), Gill is no stranger to what it takes to make a show for the boys all about the ladies. With costar Michelle Clunie, she managed to make moments in Queer As Folk all about her, and no doubt she�ll be able to do it again. With Dante�s Cove unapologetically mixing murder and mayhem with some of the steamiest sex scenes shown on TV, look for Gill, Scoggins and the bevy of beauties lining the cove to heat it up and take it off later this year when here! unveils six new episodes.

Hottie of the Week

As for our Hottie of the Week, well � I have to admit, we got a little help from a friend who told us to check out the bartender at West Hollywood hot spot iCandy.

Rusty Joiner may be pouring drinks on the weekends for a bevy of beautiful gays, but weekdays, he�s either perfecting his beautiful bod or going head to head with Hollywood heavyweights.

From guest sports on CSI: Miami and ER to a co-starring role in Dodgeball to a forthcoming pilot for CBS, Commuters with David Arquette, something tells us he�ll be kissing the soda jerk goodbye any day now. But until then, we�ll gladly stare � and gush.

Now that you�ve wiped the drool off your keyboard �

Bad Ass of the Week

It�s no secret Christina Aguilera has built a career around walking on the edge. From her risqu� costumes to her provocative stage shows, the singer frequently sells sex first, substance second.

That all changed with a little ballad called "Beautiful", a stunning song of love and acceptance penned by out singer/songwriter Linda Perry that won Aguilera a GLAAD Award. Then, Aguilera embarked on a series of stunning collaborations, with jazz legend Herbie Hancock (�A Song for You�) and Opera icon Andrea Bocelli, and lent her name and voice to a number of AIDS and gay rights organizations.

Now, Christina has dropped a cool $50K on a painting that depicts the notoriously anti-gay Queen Victoria as a lesbian, saying it�s an important look at how art reflects society. With a new album due in June that celebrates jazz of the 20�s and 30�s, something tells me we�ll be there scooping up copies, just as she�s stood behind us and our cause over the past several years.

In a week just overflowing with strong females, I sure hope I�ve filled your weekend with a few well deserved giggles.

TO REVIEW: Katie Couric may have quit her day job, but some folks at CBS say the jury�s still out; Pink puffed away, and it cost her a live performance, but she�s learned her lesson: moderation, and only when the camera�s off; Chad Michael Murray may be robbing the cradle, but at least he had the common sense to drop his first wife first; Sharon Stone looks ready to disrobe for a third time; Thea Gill brings some estrogen to the cove; Christina Aguilera is one Bad Ass chick and West Hollywood just got a little bit hotter with Rusty Joiner.

Until we meet again.

  • Ross von Metzke is the Editor in Chief of Xodus Magazine and a featured columnist for GayWired.com. His work has appeared in YM, Performing Arts, The San Diego Union Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, Instinct and Gay Web Monkey. Ross lives in San Diego.

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