Today's News: Our Take


Nielsen estimates that 18.6 million viewers watched the premiere of Fox's limited-run reality series Joe Millionaire on Monday. It was the network's best Monday night performance since 1995... Susan Sarandon has reportedly expressed interest in playing Bette Davis in an upcoming A&E biopic about the screen icon... Gary Oldman is in talks to play wizard Sirius Black in the third Harry Potter flick, Prisoner of Azkaban... Madonna has agreed to serve as a presenter at the 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards, airing Jan. 19 on NBC. read more


Wesley Snipes will make a special appearance on an episode of Fox's The Bernie Mac Show to air in February. According to Variety, Snipes will play the boss of Bernie's wife Wanda (Kellita Smith). read more


Farscape fans, take heart: The Sci Fi Channel is as upset over the show's untimely demise as you. "We never wanted to cancel it," Sci Fi president Bonnie Hammer tells TV Guide Online. "[But] the ratings had softened, and it was getting increasingly expensive to produce. We just couldn't make the financial deal." For the complete story, including Hammer's thoughts on a Farscape TV movie, click here. read more


Viewers are clearly not tiring of low-brow reality shows. Last night's debut of Joe Millionaire on Fox finished first from 9-10 pm, delivering a preliminary 12.7 rating/17 share. Final numbers are due later today. read more


Erstwhile Man of Steel Christopher Reeve will guest-star on a February sweeps episode of the WB's Superman prequel series Smallville. As reported by J. Max Robins in the Jan. 18 issue of TV Guide magazine (on newsstands Jan. 13), Reeve will play Dr. Swan, a brilliant scientist who provides Clark Kent (Tom Welling) with revelatory insight into his superhero destiny. A lure for Reeve to return to the Superman franchise was the willingness of the WB to run a public-service announcement at the end of the episode for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. "Chris is a Smallville fan," says a show insider. "He's told friends [Welling] reminds him of a young Chris Reeve." read more


Chart-topping country diva Shania Twain will perform live during Super Bowl XXXVII's halftime show on Jan. 26, the NFL confirmed Monday. An announcement about additional performers is expected shortly. read more

Farscape: Sci Fi's Murder by Numbers?

Since the Sci Fi Channel announced that the 11 new episodes of Farscape that begin airing Friday (at 8 pm/ET) will be the cult hit's last, the critics have spoken, the producers have spoken, and Lord knows, the fans have spoken. (Although Jim Henson Co. is developing a Farscape feature and anime project at starburst speed, and looking into syndication options, alienated viewers are nonetheless calling for a boycott of the cable network that shot down their favorite space opera.) In fact, just about the only entity that hasn't put in its two-cents' worth is Sci Fi... until now, that is. "We really tried to take the high road," says the cabler's president, Bonnie Hammer. "Instead of going out there and in any way belittling our partners, we kind of remained quiet." However, at last she is ready to break her silence and, in an exclusive interview with TV Guide Online, explain why the intergalactic castawa read more


Steven Spielberg will be honored Friday with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame... Drew Barrymore's camp is denying reports that the twice-wed actress is engaged to boyfriend Fabrizio Moretti, drummer for the Strokes. read more

Ray Liotta: Gunning for an Oscar?

Just like co-star Jason Patric, Ray Liotta's treading familiar ground as a police detective in the the dark crime drama Narc (in select theaters). But though Copland and Unlawful Entry taught him how to hold a gun and talk like a man of the law, Liotta notes that gruff and damaged Detective Henry Oak demanded a completely different, more nuanced performance. And judging by the high marks he's getting from critics — and the Oscar buzz reverberating throughout Hollywood — the 47-year-old actor more than rose to the challenge.

"This is a much more real human being," he says of his Narc alter ego, who is searching for the perp who murderered his partner. "With my other cop roles, one was a drug addict, in Copland read more


Camera-shy Osbourne daughter Aimee, who has chosen to remain MIA on MTV's The Osbournes, will make a rare public appearance at the American Music Awards on Monday (live 8 pm/ET on ABC). She is scheduled to present an award alongside Justin Timberlake. The rest of Aimee's clan — Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack — are hosting the show. read more

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