Bravo is hotter than ever, with its "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and the new "Boy Meets Boy," which premieres this week. When the channel's president, Jeff Gaspin, announced the shows at a press conference he was asked if Bravo was becoming a "gay network." His answer was pure "Seinfeld" -- "Absolutely not," he said, "not that there's anything wrong with that." It's actually a "Will and Grace" marketing strategy, going for the 18-49-year-old gals (and, as the "Sex and the City" gals defined them, the "gay straight men"). (Hollywood Reporter)
Speaking of the "Will and Grace" effect, the ubiquitous Michael Caine -- now a hit with more demographics after his hilarious turn as Austin Powers' daddy in "Goldmember" -- will guest star on W&G. No word yet on whether he'll play a gay straight man, a straight gay man or just his adorable self. (IMDB)
The director of the next Harry Potter movie, "Azkaban," not due until 2004, is already making statements bound to get the P.R. machine going. Alfonso Cuaron, best known for directing "Y Tu Mamá También," says the evil wizard Voldemort reminds him of George W. Bush. "In combination with Saddam," he says, "they both have selfish interests and are very much in love with power. Also, a disregard for the environment. A love for manipulating people." He says the character of Fudge (the Minister of Magic) reminds him of Tony Blair. (MSNBC)
This just in: Fox News is reporting that Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided not to run for governor of California during the recall election in October. Seems he met with former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, who had said he'd consider running if Arnie didn't. That news should lessen California's standing as laughingstock of the world, but it will also make for a less colorful race. Any other action heroes ready in the wings?
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Speaking of Arnold ... Teddy Kennedy says of his relative-by-marriage: "He's a brilliant actor, but what makes Republicans think he could do well in politics?" The senator was interviewed in the current issue of Time magazine. He added, "Of course, it's hard to argue with Arnold when you're hanging upside down by the ankles."
Watch out, Jay Leno. Conan O'Brien wants your job. Then again, he's not in much of a hurry. "It's a little bit like saying my ambition is to be pope," O'Brien told the Television Critics Association last week, when asked about his designs on the "Tonight Show" job. "So much weird stuff has to happen for you to become pope and so much of it is out of your control, that I don't know, the timing might not be right for me. Jay may want to do it 10, 15, 20 more years, and then I'm not going to succeed him when I'm 60 or 50, so I don't know." (N.Y. Daily News)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg refuses to send letter of greeting to a group of visiting Chinese acrobats, gets called a "one-term mayor" by novelist Toni Morrison; Radar magazine editor Maer Roshan gets ready to spin records at New York's Soho Grand, calls self "tone-deaf old queen"; Liz Hurley's Indian millionaire boyfriend, Arun Nayar, seen "cozying up" to another woman, friends say he has a history of "very short attachments"; Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake spotted making out "all the time" in the lobby of Chicago's Four Seasons Hotel, where they're staying while he's in town on tour.
Rush and Molloy: Judge rules that "Chicago" producer Marty Richards gets to keep share of late wife's $300-$350 million estate; Linda Fiorentino admits to meeting director Barry Sonnenfeld in a poker game, says by end of game she had role in "Men in Black" -- but denies rift with Tommy Lee Jones; Rosie O'Donnell says she and Boy George, with whom she's working in the Broadway musical "Taboo," are great friends ("He writes me E-mails every day. We love each other"); Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon are moving to London, looking for houses in Notting Hill.
Cindy Adams: Moved by the death of Brooklyn Councilman James Davis, Adams has decided to eschew gossip for the day (though she does note Liza Minnelli's move to end her 16-month marriage to David Gest, who Adams quoted in her Sunday column as saying: "It's going to get ugly") and instead advises us not to "sweat the small stuff." "Happiness is a battle. You have to fight for happiness. You just plain simply absolutely have to get up each morning and be grateful," she writes. Chacicken soup for the gossip junkie's soul, we sneer, but for some reason this morning, I admit, I actually found her platitudes a bit touching.
Liz Smith: Sylvester Stallone still threatening to make "Rocky 6," says "'Rocky' is a philosophy, so let's make the sixth one, which I've already written. 'Rocky' still needs to be in the game, like my hero, George Foreman, who went from real-life 'villain' to fabled hero in only 50 years or so. He'll be in the next 'Rocky' movie!"
Drudge Report: Ann Coulter said to have snagged $3 million book deal, "which would become the highwater mark for an advance paid to a conservative author."
-- Amy Reiter