News, Oct. 7: Ashton and Demi Visit Iowa, NBC Wants Maria Shriver Back, MTV Renews Newlyweds Show, More…

Top Story: Ashton and Demi Visit Iowa

Hollywood’s hottest couple escaped Tinseltown and spent some quality time in Homestead, Iowa, over the weekend. According to The Associated Press, Ashton Kutcher, who grew up in Iowa and briefly attended the University of Iowa, took ladylove Demi Moore to meet his mother, Diane Portwood. Portwood had only kind words to say about Moore, 40. “What I’ve found is when you meet many of these so-called celebrities in person, they are really down to earth,” she said. “We sat and talked about her kids and my kids and we had a great time.” The couple flew in Friday and was going to attend the Hawkeyes’ homecoming game against the University of Michigan Wolverines Saturday, but nixed the plans when paparazzi began swarming. “When the paparazzi came to the door, I told them to leave, and if they didn’t abide by my wishes, I told them I’d call the law on them,” Portwood said.

NBC Wants Maria Shriver Back

NBC is expecting Maria Shriver to return to work on Dateline NBC— whether her husband, actor-turned-California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, wins or loses today’s recall vote. NBC News spokeswoman Allison Gollust told AP Monday the network will talk to Shriver about how her assignments will change if Schwarzenegger is elected governor. But Gollust noted that topics such as California politics or stories covering decisions her husband might have to make would be off limits for Shriver.

Horn Critical but Stable

Las Vegas magician Roy Horn, who remains in critical but stable condition at University Medical Center in Las Vegas after being mauled by a 600-pound white tiger during a performance Friday at the MGM Mirage hotel-casino, signaled a thumbs up after a second surgery Sunday to relieve pressure on his brain, Reuters reports. A spokesman for Roy, one half of Sin City’s legendary German-born illusionists Siegfried & Roy, said that although doctors are encouraged that he will recover, it will be several days until the full extent of his injuries is known. Their show has been canceled indefinitely.

MTV Renews Newlyweds

MTV announced Monday it is bringing back the reality series Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, which follows pop singers Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson as they navigate through married life, for a second season. According to the AP, the new episodes will begin in 2004. Viewers, meanwhile, can catch the season finale of Newlyweds on Tuesday, Oct 21 at 10:30 p.m. EDT–five days before the couple’s one-year anniversary.

Shannen Doherty Ventures Into Comedy Arena

Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Shannen Doherty is looking to make her first venture into comedy. According to Reuters, Doherty has signed a deal to star in a show about a young woman who is stuck with a reputation of being headstrong and nasty but is sweet and fragile at heart. The role might prove perfect for Doherty, who has been dogged by her “bad girl” image, highly publicized offscreen antics and reports of clashes on the 90210 set. Doherty also hastily exited the WB’s supernatural drama Charmed in 2001 amid reports of difficulties with her co-stars. She will also return as host of Sci Fi Channel’s hidden-camera series Scare Tactics.

No FCC Action Over Bono’s F-Word

The Federal Communications Commission decided Monday that U2 frontman Bono‘s use of a curse word during the 2003 Golden Globe telecast did not constitute a violation of the nation’s broadcast indecency rules, Reuters reports. The Parents Television Council and others claimed that Bono‘s quote “this is really, really f—ing brilliant” failed to meet the test for indecency, but federal bureau disagreed. “The word ‘f—ing’ my be crude and offensive, but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities,” the bureau wrote. “Rather, the performer used the word ‘f—ing’ as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation.”

David Cronenberg Takes Top Honors at DGA Canada

Director David Cronenberg and his psychological thriller Spider took top honors Saturday at the second annual Directors Guild of Canada Awards in Toronto, Variety reports, beating out Atom Egoyan‘s Ararat and Deepa Mehta’s Bollywood/Hollywood. The Showtime series Queer as Folk, meanwhile, snagged the TV drama spot, beating out Da Vinci’s Inquest and Eleventh Hour. A lifetime achievement award was presented to veteran film and TV director Daryl Duke (Payday, The Thorn Birds, Tai-Pan. The awards ceremony was hosted by former NewsRadio and Kids in the Hall star Dave Foley.

AMAs Announce Performers

Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Ricky Martin, OutKast, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken will join previously confirmed performers Ashanti, Hilary Duff, Alan Jackson, Metallica and Britney Spears for the 31st annual American Music Awards. The Nov. 16 ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will take place at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium and will be broadcast live on ABC.

Role Call: Fox Replaces Latifah in Beauty Shop, Kilmer To Appear on Friends

Queen Latifah has been replaced in the upcoming Barbershop spin-off Beauty Shop by Vivica A. Fox, the Weekly Entertainment News Network reports. In Barbershop 2, the character is the owner of a beauty salon located next door to Calvin Palm