So, did you hear that hot rumor about Christina Aguilera? Or did you just listen to the new Eminem cut? Yes, leave it to Eminem, alter-ego Slim Shady, to give social commentary a bad name.
The hip-hop phenomenon, whose irreverent 1999 debut album "Slip Shady LP" won over suburban kids and industry moguls alike, is courting trouble again with the unapologetically scathing lyrics on his forthcoming album "The Marshall Mathers LP," due out May 23.
The track in contention, titled "The Real Slim Shady," is also the first single to come out of the sophomore album. And keeping very much to his lyrical forte, the song is an all-out banter binge, a catalogue of tailor-made dis served up to some of today's high-profile entertainment types.
Among the folks getting the rough side of Eminem's tongue this song around include the Tommy Lees ("Jaws all on the floor like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door/And started whooping her ass worse than before"), Will Smith ("Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell his records/Well I do so f*** him and f*** you too!"), and MTV kook Tom Green ("Sometimes I wanna get on TV and just let loose, but can't/But it's cool for Tom Green to hump a dead moose").
As unsparing as the above tongue-lashing may be, the emcee provocateur saved the best of his wrath-ridden rhymes for budding popstress Aguilera.
To summarize the Eminem rap, the coquettish singer is alluded to having, er, non-puritanical sex with two MTV faves -- veejay Carson Daly and Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. ("S*** Christina Aguilera better switch chairs/So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst/And hear them argue over who she gave head to first").
Both Durst and Aguilera have issued statements disclaiming and condemning the Eminem song, but their woes have done little to curb the popularity of the song.
"[Christina] thinks the song is disgusting and offensive, and above all, it's not true. She's done all that she can do, and she's said all that she can say," Aguilera's rep told us.
And Aguilera can add Eminem's video being on heavy MTV rotation to the list of things she's powerless to change. The music trendsetter has been playing the video like it's going out of style, skidding the diplomatic issue of promoting something that renders the channel's most beloved artists, not to mention its own heartthrob darling Carson Daly, as babbling fools.
Quothe an MTV spokesperson: "The song is No. 2 on 'Total Request Live.' [Carson] has a fun attitude about it, and the video is being played. That fact alone can speak for itself."
Given MTV's stance, what has the third part of the fictitious ménage a trois -- puppy-faced Carson Daly -- been saying and doing 'bout bein' openly disrespected?
Submissively introducing the video version of the song on his afternoon show, "TRL."
SANTA MONICA, CALIF., Feb. 16, 2000 -- Courtney Thorne-Smith and Gil Bellows certainly prove to have much more in common than the estranged couple they portray on "Ally McBeal."
That's right. While news of Bellows' defection from the legal-eagle sitcom Friday still burns hot on the consciousness of the show's execs and producers, another "McBeal" veteran has apparently announced her intention to bow out at the end of the third season.
And the said deserter is none other than Courtney Thorne-Smith, who plays Bellows' onscreen wife, Georgia. And her reason for leaving is really not that much different from what she's doing and has been doing for the past who-knows-how-many-years. You see, Thorne-Smith would like to pursue a career in sitcoms ... but where she's the lead and plays second to no one.
David E. Kelley, creator and producer of the hit Fox show, confirmed Thorne-Smith's exit in USA Today. But her defection might come as the best complimentary plot device given Bellows' (aka Billy, Georgia's husband) third-season bail.
"When [Gil] was going to leave, we knew the storylines for Courtney would probably diminish as well," Kelley tells USA Today. "We were kind of at the end of the run for Billy, and the two of them could see that maybe now is the best time for them to go."
A full-fledged plan to restock the dwindling "Ally McBeal" cast is already in effect. According to Kelley, two lawyers, one male one female, are slated to join McBeal's Boston law firm later this season.
No word yet if Ally's going to fall customarily head-over-heel for the new male addition ... or the new female one, for that matter.
DALY SYNDROME: Carson Daly, the non-too-spectacular VJ for MTV's "Total Request Live," might be spreading his emcee schtick to that of noncable territory.
Daily Variety reports today that Daly is currently in advanced negotiations on a new joint deal with CBS. If sealed, the contract would expand Daly's "personal and production brand" to both MTV and CBS -- which, in teenspeaks, means that Daly will, like, be on CBS and host special shows and stuff like that.
RANDOM BITS: Fox's "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire" has minted its first successful marriage Tuesday night. Rick Rockwell, a San Diego millionaire -- real estate investor, a motivational speaker and owner of homes in both Vancouver, B.C., and the sunny California coastal city -- has chosen one Darva Conger, a Gulf War veteran, from 10 semifinalists.
Fox has picked up five additional episodes of the freshman family drama "Get Real" despite its less-than-satisfactory ratings performance. The show is slated to return to Fox on March 8 at the 9 p.m. PST slot.
"The Sopranos' " stranglehold on awards shows no sign of weakening.
HBO's runaway mob series -- a hit at last month's Golden Globes -- has staked out four nominations for best direction in a TV series from the Directors Guild of America, making it the first drama series ever to walk away with four mentions in a single category for the same year. The DGA's TV categories were announced Monday.
The four "Sopranos" helmers tapped for the best director award are: Daniel Attias, for the episode titled "46 Long"; Henry J. Bronchtein, for "Nobody Know Anything"; David Chase, for the pilot episode; and Allen Coulter, for "College." The "Sopranos" foursome is up against Thomas Schlamme for his work on the pilot episode of NBC's "The West Wing."
The nominees for best director in a TV comedy series are: James Burrows, for an episode titled "Yours, Mine, Ours" of NBC's "Will & Grace"; Thomas Schlamme, for the episode "Small Town" from ABC's "Sports Night"; Pamela Fryman, for the "Frasier" episode "The Flight Before Christmas"; Katy Garretson, for the "Frasier" episode "Dr. Nora"; and Victoria Hochberg, for "The Man, The Myth, The Viagra" from HBO's racy "Sex and the City."
In the category of best director of a musical variety show, the DGA nominated Gerard Foley for CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman"; Dennie A. Gordon, for HBO's "Tracey Takes On ... End of the World"; Louis J. Horvitz, for the "71st Annual Academy Awards" on ABC; Rob Marshall for ABC's "Annie"; and Beth McCarthy Miller, for NBC's "Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary."
The Directors Guild of America Awards will be announced March 11.
'MALCOLM' ON THE RISE: The fledgling Fox smash sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle" is set to continue its comic form, as the network has ordered up 16 new episodes.
The light comedy has been a surprise hit since its debut last month and has been holding its turf as the top-ranked show during its 8:30-9 p.m. Sunday time slot. Its renewal comes as an expected move given the overall unspectacular lineup plaguing Fox of late.
Three of the 16 new "Malcolm" episodes will run as extra installments during the May sweeps; the remaining 13 are slated for the show's 2000-2001 fall season.
MALLRATS OF THE WORLD UNITE: Looks like MTV has stumbled upon a cost-efficient, foolproof formula for grabbing the undivided attention of 18- to 24-year-olds: Put real-life folks in probable confrontational situations, tape them, and then broadcast the video for the consumption of viewers worldwide.
Such is the concept of MTV's latest exploit -- "Mall Confession," another quasi-"drama" series being developed for the teen-music empire. In the cinema-verité tradition of "The Real World" and "Road Rules," the new "Mall Confession" is said to involve a traveling confessional booth that will solicit personal testimonies and intimate secrets from teens in malls across America.
No word yet if MTV's upright Carson Daly will be on hand to offer absolution.
THE HUMANITY OF IT ALL: And now a moment of silence for "Shasta."
The low-rated hip-hop sitcom, formerly titled "Shasta McNasty," will depart UPN's prime-time lineup next month. Starting March 21, the network will place the new cop drama, "The Beat," in the 9-10 p.m. Tuesday time slot. The move also will bump UPN's "Dilbert" toon from the schedule. Both departing shows will see their last air dates on March 14.
Produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana ("Homicide"), "The Beat" follows Derek Cecil and Mark Ruffal as two young policemen fighting crime and personal evils in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
WHERE'S ROSIE: Rosie O'Donnell, seemingly the hardest-working woman on TV, will have a guest spot on NBC's "Third Watch" on Feb. 21.