PBS brings you everything you always wanted to know about Fidel Castro but were afraid to ask on "American Experience: Fidel Castro" (check local listings for times). And if you're in more of a fictional mood, BBC America offers the premiere of a new series, "The Night Detective" (10 p.m. EST), about a successful, charismatic black cop who's transferred from London to the predominantly white North East after he helps uncover police corruption in the city.
Rooney rather than Rather? Sad news for those of you who got all hopeful when Les Moonves recently declared that Jon Stewart was among those being considered to replace Dan Rather as anchor of the CBS Evening News: The network is now pooh-poohing the very notion. "CBS News executives insist that Moonves has no plans to put Stewart on the Evening News," reports New York magazine in an in-depth story about the inside workings and uncertain future of CBS News. "If anything, Stewart is considered a more likely candidate to replace Andy Rooney as a commentator on '60 Minutes' if the 85-year-old essayist ever retires." According to the magazine, when he mentioned Stewart in a press conference a short while back, "Moonves was only riffing." (New York magazine)
Awards updates: Clint Eastwood has been named this year's best director by the Directors Guild of America for "Million Dollar Baby," an award many -- including, apparently, Eastwood himself -- had expected Martin Scorsese to win for "The Aviator." "This is a surprise," Eastwood said when accepting his reward, adding, "I got to say this is a real pleasure. I am as pleased as punch." Fifty of the last 56 winners of the DGA's best director award have also won Oscars. ("Million Dollar Baby" has also become the target of criticism from conservative groups objecting to its portrayal of assisted suicide.) Also this weekend, "The Incredibles" swept this year's Annie Awards -- honoring animated films -- winning the awards for best animated feature, best directing and best voice acting for the film's director, Brad Bird, who provided the voice of seamstress Edna Mode. Meanwhile, Alejandro Amenabar's "The Sea Inside," a favorite to win the best foreign language film Oscar, swept the Goya Awards, Spain's equivalent of the Academy honors. And the Sundance winners were named -- click here for the rundown. (Reuters, USA Today, BCC News, AFP)
MJ's say: Michael Jackson has issued a videotaped statement on his Web site addressing the recent leaks to the media of grand jury testimony from his child molestation case. "In the last few weeks, a large amount of ugly, malicious information has been released into the media about me," Jackson, addressing the camera in close-up wearing a shiny turquoise shirt, tells the public in a spot approved by the judge overseeing his case. "Apparently, this information was leaked through transcripts in a grand jury proceeding where neither my lawyers, nor I, ever appeared. The information is disgusting and false." Jackson says he welcomed his eventual accuser and his family into his home and life "because they told me their son was ill with cancer and needed my help. Through the years, I have helped thousands of children who were ill or in distress." The accusations that followed, however, "have caused a nightmare for my family, my children and me. I never intend to place myself in so vulnerable a position again," Jackson says, concluding, "I love my community and I have great faith in our justice system. Please keep an open mind and let me have my day in court. I deserve a fair trial like every other American citizen. I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told." Jury selection for the trial starts today. (MJJSource.com)
Also: Vanity Fair names the five most avid poker players in Hollywood: Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire, Tom Cruise's ex-wife Mimi Rogers, James Woods and Gabe Kaplan, long ago of "Welcome Back, Kotter" fame. (Vanity Fair via Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Agent David Hans Schmidt is peddling tapes of Michael Jackson, circa 1990, allegedly discussing sex, gay and straight, on the telephone with a young male friend and his family. (Rush and Molloy) ... Jewish history scholar Allan Nadler has condemned the brand of Kabbalah celebrated by Madonna, Demi Moore, Donna Karan, Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Roseanne Barr, Paris Hilton and others as a subversion of its true form: "They are saying, 'Here is a vehicle to feel better.' It's about getting laid more often," he says. Whereas the original study "was the equivalent of a truly elite monastary somewhere in the middle of nowhere -- they didn't hold press conferences, and they certainly didn't put on cone-like bras and prance around." (Vanity Fair via Page Six) ... Oops! A CNN booker reportedly called Rodney "No Respect" Dangerfield's longtime publicist to ask if the comedian would be available to comment on the death of Johnny Carson. Dangerfield, of course, died last October. (Page Six) ... Susan Lucci, now celebrating 35 years on "All My Children," has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Associated Press) ... The Olsen twins have taken over personal control of their company, Dualstar, which includes the health, beauty and fashion brands that carry their name as well as their entertainment output and earns a staggering amount. (E! Online, The Australian)
-- Amy Reiter