Two much-heralded new shows air for the first time on Wednesday night: "Kevin Hill" (9 p.m. ET, UPN), in which Taye Diggs plays a high-flying lawyer who has to ditch his life when his cousin dies and leaves him his baby to raise, and "Wife Swap" (10 p.m., ABC), in which two women trade homes and families for two weeks.
La Streisand rips la press a new one: Barbra Streisand is on a tear against the media, and it has nothing to do with the way the press has treated her. "Where is our free press?" Streisand asks on her Web site. "If you cross this administration you get your head handed to you. If you open your mouth and tell the truth like former White House Economic Advisor Lawrence Lindsay did when he told the Administration that the Iraqi war was going to cost between $100 billion to $200 billion dollars, you get fired. If you disagree with the President, like Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill did one too many times regarding the President's policy on tax cuts, you get canned. If you claim that the Administration is misrepresenting the facts and misleading the public, like Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson did, your wife's career gets ruined when she gets outed as a CIA operative in the national media. If you tell the administration that several thousand more servicemen and women are needed in Iraq, like General Shinseki did, you get publicly scolded as being incorrect. And, if you choose to air a story about George Bush's military service, or lack thereof, like CBS did last week, you and your award winning news anchor get investigated by the FCC." She writes that this has taken its toll, concluding, "we now live in a time where the fear of revenge by this administration sends a chill through the corporations that control our media and overwhelms the press' responsibility to investigate, educate and hold our leaders accountable." (BarbraStreisand.com)
Shaq attack: Some time ago, word leaked out that when Kobe Bryant was questioned by Colorado cops hours after he'd been accused of rape, he told them that other basketball players he knew had paid off women with whom they'd had extramarital sexual relations in order to keep them quiet. Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that he named at least one fellow NBA player in particular during his conversation with police: Shaquille O'Neal. "Bryant stated he should have done what Shaq does," Detective Doug Winters wrote in a police report, recounting an untaped conversation. "Bryant stated that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything. He stated Shaq has paid up to a million dollars already for situations like this." O'Neal's agent told the Times that the allegations were untrue and "undeserving of a response." (L.A. Times)
Also: Al Franken is hitting the campaign trail and broadcasting his "Al Franken Show" live from swing-state cities like Minneapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and Miami (Associated Press) ... A pro-Kerry group from the adult film industry, Pornforprogress.com, has just released "The Porn for Kerry DVD," described as "part political satire and part hardcore hot sex," the proceeds from which will be donated to the Kerry campaign (Page Six) ... Murder charges have been dropped in L.A. against Chaka Khan's 25-year-old son for lack of evidence (Chicago Sun Times) ... Melissa Etheridge has just signed on to star in a sitcom on ABC about a lesbian music teacher who is raising a daughter with her best friend, a straight man (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)
Donald Trump on how he charmed his way into the heart of his fiancée, Melania Knauss: "I said, give me your number immediately. I want your phone number. It was very crude, but sometimes it works. You either get slapped, or you get the number." ("Ellen" via Rush and Molloy)
An unnamed correspondent for Defamer.com on Val Kilmer's play "The Ten Commandments," playing at the Kodak theater in L.A.: "[It was] one of the strangest pieces of theater to come down the pike in a while ... Val Kilmer as Moses is mind-boggling bad ... he talk/sings, prances around in a Pharaoh outfit and even a red burqa at one point ... most of his stage time is spent on his knees (!) or lying around while the other performers try not to embarrass themselves too much, considering they are in an Egyptian disco. The burning bush went out a few times as well. Couldn't stay for Act 2 ... too painful." (Defamer.com)
-- Amy Reiter