Today's News: Our Take


HERE AND THERE

Despite the Blizzard of 2005 trapping millions at home, Ice Cube's new comedy Are We There Yet? opened at No. 1 with a strong $18.5 million. Last weekend's top flick, Coach Carter, slipped to No. 2 with $11 million. read more

L&O Remembers Jerry Orbach


For 12 seasons, Jerry Orbach and S. Epatha Merkerson were a team on Law & Order. He was the series' signature seen-it-all police detective, Lennie Briscoe. She was his all-business lieutenant, Anita Van Buren. Because he was fighting prostate cancer, Orbach left for a less strenuous role on L&O creator Dick Wolf's latest spin-off, Trial by Jury, which debuts on NBC in March. (He'll be seen in several episodes.) The 69-year-old Orbach's passing on Dec. 28 left both fans and colleagues shocked and saddened.

"It just never occurred to me that Jerry wouldn't make it," Merkerson tells TV Guide Online. "It just seemed that even death couldn't beat him."

The actress already felt devastated when Orbach exited the original series, she says. "It didn't hit me until the day we said goodbye to him, and there was such an outpouring of love for this dude. I bet it was a 20-minute ovation. It was more than I could take. H read more

CHERRY PICKING

Also at press tour, a clearly perplexed Marc Cherry shot down recent reports that Pamela Anderson was the original choice for the role of Susan (Teri Hatcher) on Housewives. "I'm sure she's a very nice lady and talented in her own right," he said, "but she was definitely not on my radar for this particular series." read more

KHAKI COUTURE

Sarah Jessica Parker is falling further into the Gap. The Sex and the City star has signed on to promote the clothing giant's spring line, debuting in March. Meanwhile, Parker's onetime Sex costar Kim Cattrall is telling anyone who'll listen that she's still open to making a Sex and the City movie — provided the script doesn't suck and the money is right. "We all worked very hard for six years," she tells Reuters, "all of us." And she's not talking about Stanford. read more

GOOD NIGHT, JOHNNY

Late-night legend Johnny Carson, who lulled America to sleep for nearly 30 years as host of NBC's Tonight Show, died Sunday of emphysema at his Malibu, Calif., home. He was 79. "Mr. Carson passed away peacefully early Sunday morning," his nephew, Jeff Sotzing, told the Associated Press. "He was surrounded by his family, whose loss will be immeasurable." The news caught the showbiz world off guard. "Like the rest of the country, I'm stunned," Oprah Winfrey told reporters gathered at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles. "He's one of the greats of our time." In a statement, Carson's Tonight Show sidekick Ed McMahon said, "[Johnny was] like a brother to me... [We] created a friendship which was professional, family-like and one of respect and great admiration." After doing his final show on May 22, 1992, Carson vanished from the public eye. His absence only seemed to elevate his status as a TV icon. "One of the thing read more

Desperate Hussy Tells All


She may have been snubbed by the Golden Globes, but Eva Longoria ain't complaining these days. Her insta-breakout role as suburban adulteress Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives has made this 29-year-old Young & the Restless alumna one of TV's hottest (in every sense of the word) young actresses. Here, Longoria dishes with TV Guide Online about her show's best-comedy Globe, her desire to defeat CSI and her 90210 memories.

TV Guide Online: Why are people so fascinated by Gabrielle's affair with John (Jesse Metcalfe)?
Eva Longoria:
It's the journey to find love and happiness, and no matter what route that takes you, audiences like that. It's very entertaining. I do a lot of awful things to get there, but in the end, it's still a pure hope of getting love, so that's what the audience is attracted to. People appreciate it and think it's funny — I don't think there's going to be a lot of 40-year-old women running off read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Punk'd prankster Ashton Kutcher is producing a new reality series for WB that promises to answer the age-old question: Can a looks-challenged nerd and a hot chick fall in love? Titled Beauty and the Geek, the show follows seven seemingly mismatched couples as they go through a series of mating competitions. "We're in the middle of shooting it right now," Kutcher told me at WB's TCA press tour party Saturday night. "It's funny and intriguing." But more importantly, really, really, really mean. read more

TROUBLED LIFE

It looks like ABC's angsty teen soap life as we know it is knocking on death's door. At press tour Sunday, network head Steve McPherson conceded that the show's prospects looked bleak, although he stopped short of uttering the dreaded C-word. "We're really frustrated," he sighed. "We feel like we've failed in terms of getting that show an audience. We really want to make sure we've exhausted every possibility before we officially say it's gone. But it's not looking good." Meanwhile, McPherson couldn't confirm whether life's remaining unaired episodes would ever see the light of day. read more

NEXT STOP OSCAR?

Martin Scorsese's The Aviator was named best film of the year Saturday from the Producers Guild of America. In 11 of the past 15 years, the PGA has honored films that went on to win the Academy Award for best picture. (Oscar nods are announced Tuesday.) On the TV side, it was an HBO sweep, with Angels in America taking the best TV-movie prize and The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm winning for best drama and comedy series respectively. read more

CHARMED, HE'S SURE

Despite ascending to Hollywood's B-plus-list, Nip/Tuck star Julian McMahon has agreed to return to Charmed for the show's 150th episode this April. He'll reprise his role as Alyssa Milano's half-demon ex, Cole. "As busy as he is, as crazy as he is, and as big a star as he's become, it's just a testament to his graciousness that he would honor the fans and come back," says executive producer Brad Kern. For an exclusive interview with McMahon about his big Charmed comeback — and to find out what this means for Milano's Phoebe — read Ask Ausiello on Wednesday. read more

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