SATURDAY, SEPT. 4: Move over, Simon: There’s a new judge in town. Gene Simmons, he of the super-long tongue and the towering platforms, will be a guest judge at the American Idol auditions in New Orleans, helping Simon, Paula and Randy determine which singers will go to round two in Los Angeles (after the show makes stops in Las Vegas, Anchorage and San Francisco to find other future Fantasias). Will the musician who once bragged about bedding more than 20,000 women will advise the hopefuls on the fine art of womanizing and face-painting? Find out: Simmons’s guest appearance will air when the show returns to FOX in January.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 7: Now that the MTV Video Music Awards parties are over, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are ready to hit the books on their first day at New York University. The sisters won’t be saddled with Earth Science and Humanities 101: They’re enrolled in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where students create their own curricula. As far as any late-night study session, that won’t take place in cramped quarters: While their 5,725-sq.-ft., multimillion-dollar Greenwich Village penthouse renovation is completed, Mary-Kate and Ashley will reside in another posh apartment nearby.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 8: As the GOP delegates make their exodus out of New York City, fashionistas invade the Big Apple in full force with the start of Olympus Fashion Week – seven days of catwalking, air-kissing and couture. The usual suspects will be showcasing their Spring 2005 lines and a slew of celebrities (including freshmen Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) will be sitting in the front row as the flashbulbs pop. The festivities kick off with the Fashion Rocks concert at Radio City Music Hall, an all-star affair featuring Beyoncé, Usher, Andre 3000 of OutKast, Rod Stewart and Alicia Keys.
Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, Dawnette Knight, who’s accused of stalking and threatening Catherine Zeta-Jones, will go to court for a status hearing. (She overdosed on barbiturates while in jail in August but was later determined fit to stand trial.) Knight was arrested on June 3 at her Beverly Hills apartment and charged with one felony count of stalking and 24 felony counts of making criminal threats in more than 24 letters she sent to Michael Douglas. The preliminary hearing, which was delayed by Knight’s overdose, will resume Sept. 9.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 9: Matt LeBlanc will go it alone, without the rest of his Friends, for the premiere of his sitcom Joey. With The Sopranos’ Drea de Matteo as his single-mom sister, struggling actor Joey Tribbiani works for his big break as an actor on the West Coast. Will Joey make magic without the rest of his coffee-guzzling gang? Tune in to see. And in other NBC news, Donald Trump hopes to have another hit on his hands with the return of The Apprentice. Among the 18 new Don-abbes hoping not to hear the immortal words “You’re fired!”: Ivana (yes, you read that right), a 28-year-old venture capitalist. And expect a few appearances by Apprentice winner Bill Rancic, who will do his share of hazing the newbies.