Today's News: Our Take


ANOTHER DAY

Fox has renewed 24, The O.C., Malcolm in the Middle and The Bernie Mac Show for next season. The network also picked up Mad TV for three additional seasons. (That '70s Show, King of the Hill and The Simpsons were renewed earlier this year.) Speaking of 24, last night's thrilling hour — featuring a knockout performance by Elisha Cuthbert — attracted 11 million viewers, matching the show's best ratings of the season. Translation: 24 is back, folks. read more

DEEPER AND DEEPER IN DEBT

Madonna's Maverick Records label, home to Madge as well as Alanis Morissette and Michelle Branch, has lost $66 million since 1999, according to court documents filed by longtime partner Warner Music Group. Last month, Maverick sued Warner for $200 million, claiming breach of contract and fraud. read more

CABIN FEVER

To mark United Airlines' new partnership with Sony's new Connect Online Music Service, Sheryl Crow will perform a 40-minute set on board a United flight from Chicago to Los Angeles on May 4. Bob Guiney, meanwhile, is in talks to headline in coach. read more

EATING DISORDER

Viewers are having some serious reservations about The Restaurant. The new season kicked off Monday night with just 6.7 million customers. Someone better give Mama a hug. In other ratings news, as expected, The Apprentice ranked as last week's top show among total viewers and adults 18-49. Someone better give Les Moonves a hug. read more

LACKING PASSION

It looks like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ won't play on the Big Four networks after all. According to The Associated Press, ABC has turned down an offer to air the graphic film, and CBS, NBC and Fox are expected to follow suit. As previously reported, Gibson is demanding that the film run in its entirety, meaning completely unedited, and be followed by 1990's Bird on a Wire. That joke just never gets old. read more

EMERGENCY!

ABC's Kingdom Hospital has claimed another victim: Susan Lyne has stepped down as the network's entertainment president. The move comes two weeks after Lloyd Braun exited his post as network chairman, four weeks after Kingdom Hospital was put on life support, six months after the arrival of It's All Relative and more than a year since Are You Hot? crashed and burned. So, who's minding the store now? Touchstone Television president Stephen McPherson, who, according to sources, never saw eye-to-eye with Lyne. "He was not an advocate of hers," one former network exec tells my colleague, Stephen Battaglio. "She was not going to work for him. They were not close." read more

Showbiz Moms Dads Finally, in...

Showbiz Moms & Dads
Finally, in the midst of this vapid void of mind-numbing entertainment, a show comes along that speaks to the human condition.

No, seriously. Raise your hand if your parents never tried to live vicariously through you, their talented little superstar. Now raise your hand, parents out there in cyberspace, if you never decided that your child was destined for fame before they could even spell the word fortune. Yeah, that's what I thought. (Okay, I confess. My hands never left the keyboard.)

To be fair, Little Ms. Jordan is a success story with a couple of sitcom roles under her belt, but Mama needs to make a choice: Either pay for some therapy now, for yourself, or you'll be paying for therapy for your little girl down the road. Your daughter is doing great, now put down the whip. Sure you're the best of friends and you always will be, but if your social life centers on dragging your 8-year-old to a salsa class — read more

BAUBLES FOR BEARS

Animal-rights crusader Kim Basinger sold her 3.7-carat diamond engagement ring from ex-husband Alec Baldwin at auction Tuesday for $59,750. The proceeds will benefit the Performing Animal Welfare Society, a California refuge for abused, retired and surplus elephants, lions, bears and other captive wildlife. So, who scored the winning bid? A Beverly Hills jewelry dealer, who predicted a fan would "pay crazy money for that." That's the spirit. read more

CITY IN RUIN

Starship's "We Built This City" was named the worst song ever by Blender magazine, which describes the 1985 hit as "the truly horrible sound of a band taking the corporate dollar while sneering at those who take the corporate dollar." (Well, duh.) Other tunes making the mag's "50 Worst Songs Ever!" list include Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart," Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," Limp Bizkit's "Rollin'" and Madonna's "American Life." In related news... read more

SHORT CUTS

Newmarket Films will release a special director's cut of 2001's darkly surreal Donnie Darko, which has attained cult status on DVD... Adam Goldberg (Relativity, Saving Private Ryan) has been cast opposite Parker Posey in USA Network's upcoming Frankenstein redo. He'll play Posey's crime-fighting partner, which sounds freakin' hysterical... Matrix babe Carrie-Anne Moss has been cast as the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 3. read more

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