Rambling Reporter

Lacey Terrell/HBO

HUNG GETS HOTTER: How do you spice up a dramedy about sex, the recession and depression? HBO's answer: Leave out the last two and add more sex. That's the recipe for getting season three of Hung, starting Oct. 2, out of its sophomore ratings slump. "Season two was a downer," series star Thomas Jane tells THR. "Too realistic with the economy as shitty as it is. We added a couple of beautiful younger women, and the sex scenes are sexier. Ray has an affair with a student, so there's hot-for-teacher action. Season three is by far my favorite -- funnier, outrageous, intentionally kinky." What, no vampires?

Bleak House

Universal's Dream House is turning into a nightmare. First, the horror movie got moved from a February 2011 release date to Sept. 30 due to reshoots caused by weather. Then it earned the dubious distinction of being the film Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz hooked up on. Now, Universal has decided on no critics' screenings -- never a good thing. But here's an even worse sign: Sources tell THR that director Jim Sheridan, known for such upscale fare as My Left Foot (and a remake of I, Claudius in the works for HBO), went to the DGA to get his name taken off the film -- in favor of the "Alan Smithee" moniker. Request denied. Reps for Sheridan did not get back  to THR by press time.

Emmy Dress Diaries

Sometimes a dress is just a dress -- and sometimes it isn't. Just ask Jennifer Lopez. The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev, who plays Elena on the CW hit, had no idea her red Donna Karan Emmy dress was tagged by bloggers as "the Emmy dress of the millennium" -- until THR told her. "To be honest," she laughs, "the night of the Emmys, I had to take a red-eye back to Atlanta where we shoot, land at 6 a.m. and shoot at 7 a.m. It's been 16-hour days since." Her fashion fame came despite challenges: Dobrev, 22, and stylist Ilaria Urbinati did fittings via Skype. Then the dress demanded a stretch limo so Dobrev could lie flat and avoid scrunching the voluminous hem. "I never got to meet Donna Karan," says Dobrev. "But she sent me flowers."

Own Liz's Diamonds

Christie's is sharing with THR an exclusive look at one of Elizabeth Taylor's personal baubles: a monogrammed diamond and platinum ring given by famed Paris jeweler JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal) to Taylor on her 70th birthday. Going for $8,000 to $12,000, it's all the more valuable because JAR only sells to society stalwarts like Ann Getty and Barbara Walters. He met Taylor in 2001; she came to him to create earrings of diamonds and sapphires to match her eyes, which she said "are blue, sometimes green. It's others who think they see violet." The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor -- the ring, plus a treasure trove of jewels, fashion and paintings -- will be presented Oct. 13 to 16 for public viewing at MOCA Pacific Design Center. It then will be auctioned starting in mid-December at Christie's New York, with some proceeds going to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.