While you're watching John Edwards square off against Dick Cheney in the vice presidential debate (9 p.m. ET, on the networks and cable news channels), you might want to set your TiVo or VCR to record the first installment of the four-part miniseries "Tanner on Tanner" (9 p.m. ET, Sundance), the sequel to Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau's landmark "Tanner '88." Michael Murphy and Cynthia Nixon return to their roles as a politician and his daughter, only this time Nixon's character is all grown up and a documentary filmmaker. Why they're opting to air it opposite the debates is anyone's guess ...
At least he didn't call her a "rude, vile pig": Elton John's at it again. This time the target of his random wrath is ... Madonna. "Anyone who lip-synchs in public on stage when you pay 75 pounds to see them should be shot," John said while collecting a songwriting award from Q magazine, in reference to Madonna's nomination for the award for best live act. "Madonna, best f***ing live act? F*** off," he said. "Since when has lip-synching been live?" adding, "That's me off her f***ing Christmas card list but do I give a toss? No." John's outburt prompted the following statement from the Madonna camp: "Madonna does not lip-synch nor does she spend her time trashing other artists. She sang every note on her Reinvention tour live and is not ashamed that she was well paid for her hard work. Elton John remains on her Christmas card list whether he is nice ... or naughty." Or Kabbalah card list ... or whatever. (Reuters)
Another icon attacked: Billy Bob Thornton is ripping into William Shakespeare. "I think Shakespeare's overrated. It's bullshit. I'd never go and see a Shakespeare play," he said, adding that he wasn't inclined to star in one either (not that it's clear that anyone's asked or anything). "Who'd want to see me in 'Hamlet'? Who cares? I don't know why actors do it. Shakespeare is just a bunch of soap operas." And don't go suggesting that the Bard's work is over his head. "It's not that I don't understand it. But people think if you speak with an English accent it somehow makes you smarter," Thornton said. "I don't believe in all the flowery language." (London Sun)
Also: Guests at Billy Joel's marriage to 23-year-old Kate Lee on Saturday included Paul Reiser, Don Henley, Phil Ramone, Howard Stern and Beth Ostrosky, and Joel's daughter Alexa and ex-wife, Christie Brinkley (Rush and Molloy) ... Jayson Blair says he's subscribed to the New York Times because he misses reading it on the weekends, and a Times spokeswoman says that the paper is "always pleased" to get new subscribers (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Michael Jackson's nieces and nephews (including one named Jermajesty, 4) are set to appear on "The Early Show" on CBS to defend their uncle's honor, partly because they're sick of kids at school teasing them (N.Y. Daily News) ... "Crossfire" co-host Robert Novak fell in the shower the morning after the first presidential debate and broke a hip (Page Six) ... Sarah Jessica Parker has called her "Sex and the City" character Carrie Bradshaw's outfits "pretty inappropriate" (Page Six) ... And in what sounds like a scene straight out of "Best in Show," Parker Posey got into trouble on an L.A.-JFK flight on Saturday for bringing her dog (a bichon frisé) into the bathroom with her; she later explained that the petite pooch had had an accident in its carrier and she was cleaning it up (Page Six)
Paris Hilton's official comment on reports that she used the N-word on a video making its way through the media: "I am deeply hurt by recent reports. Anyone who knows me knows that this is not me. I love everybody and am not a person who discriminates against anyone -- ever." (Rush and Molloy)
Britney Spears comparing the difficulties of writing a heartfelt letter to her fans telling them "where I am in my life right now ... this is my ultimate truth," inspired in part by seeing the Broadway show "Wicked," to getting an Ivy League education: "I feel like I'm at Harvard." (Page Six)
-- Amy Reiter