Beach volleyball is among the Olympic competitions airing Friday night -- and swimming finals, too (8 p.m. ET, NBC). Also, "Monk" (10 p.m. ET, USA) has its season finale and the Independent Film Channel brings you Richard Linklater's 2001 film "Tape" (8:30 p.m. ET, IFC) starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman (admit it, you miss seeing them together) and Robert Sean Leonard.
Jane's ups and downs: The personal revelation Jane Pauley is hoping will help sell her new book, "Skywriting: A Life out of the Blue," which hits stores Tuesday, and stir up interest in her new daytime talk show on NBC, which debuts later this month? Her struggle with bipolar disporder, which she says was triggered by an adverse reaction to a steroid prescribed to her for the treatment of hives. After taking the steroids, "I was revved," she writes in the book, excerpted in the current issue of People. "I was so energized that I didn't just walk down the hall, I felt like I was motoring down the hall. ... I told everyone that I could understand why men felt like they could run the world, because I felt like that. This was a new me, and I liked her." But after she crashed, in the spring of 2001, she checked herself into a New York hospital for treatment and stayed for three weeks. "I became accustomed to mealtime trays with plastic utensils and no knives, to leaving the bathroom door open at least a crack, to sleeping with a lady in white sitting 6 feet away in the darkness, keeping an eye on me," Pauley writes, adding that a full recovery took her six months. Throughout the ordeal, Pauley says in a related "Dateline" interview, her husband, "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, just "wanted his wife back." (People and "Dateline" via N.Y. Daily News)
Speaking of revved: Al Gore was pulled over for speeding during a visit to Oregon earlier this month, and was issued a $141 ticket for driving 75 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. The former veep was alone, in a rental car and on his way to visit family on the coast -- and the state trooper who nabbed him didn't recognize him until he forked over his license. The officer "actually went back up and re-contacted [Gore], and asked him if he was who he thought he was, and said he was," said an Oregon State Police department spokesman. "Mr. Gore was very polite and courteous and understood." He has until September to contest the ticket, which you can download here, if you're of a mind to. (KATU.com)
Superfreak? An autopsy has failed to determine what, precisely, Rick James died of last week, but speculation is mounting that drugs may be to blame. If so, his friends are apparently giving him a suitable send-off. At an after-hours club James frequented in L.A., "club regulars paid their respects by approaching his portrait on the wall and blowing either marijuana smoke or cocaine at his smiling face," the New York Daily News reports. Toxicology tests on the singer's body are still pending. (Rush and Molloy)
Hell hath no fury like an anchorman spurned: Tom Brokaw has fired off a furious e-mail to Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, for not including someone from his network at the table of moderators in the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates -- and for suggesting that anchormen were unsuitable for the task because they might "overshadow the events," an implication Brokaw says he "deeply" resents. What's more, he writes, "For a commission that has assumed primary power in the exercise of the democratic process, you have a peculiarly autocratic style." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)
Lil' Kim, who's trying to reform her image as she faces jail time for perjury charges, on toying with the idea of having her breast implants removed: "Sometimes it hurts my back. But I have too much fun with them." (Page Six)
-- Amy Reiter