Today's News: Our Take


TOUGH CELL

Showtime is developing an hourlong drama series about the personal lives of terrorists, the New York Post reports. Titled The Cell, the show will be told from the viewpoints of a group of European and American converts to Islam who are plotting terror attacks in America. The Mummy's Oded Fehr stars as the group's leader. read more

NOT SO DESPERATE

The tube industry is still abuzz over Sunday's boffo Desperate Housewives premiere on ABC. A stunning 21.3 million viewers caught the show's debut episode, giving ABC its most-watched series premiere since Spin City eight years ago. Now for the $64,543 question: What the heck does this mean for Alias, which was slated to reclaim its Sunday-9 pm time slot in January? I spy a move to Monday night for Sydney and Co. read more

X MARKS THE SPIN-OFF

Twentieth Century Fox is giving Hugh Jackman's X-Men character, Wolverine, his own movie. The studio has tapped Troy scribe David Benioff to pen the spin-off, which will likely explore the steel-clawed hero's pre-mutant days, Variety reports. In addition to Wolverine, Fox is also prepping a third X-Men. read more

FIN CLUB

Okay, so a more apropos title for Open Water would have been Dull as Dishwater. Not to fear, Jaws fans. Meg author Steve Alten is on the verge of giving the shark-movie genre back its bite. He's just secured Twister director Jan de Bont to helm the megabucks screen adaptation of the first of his three books about prehistoric Great Whites doing lunch in modern times. read more

JURY EXPANDS

Third Watch's Amy Carlson and Oz's Kirk Acevedo have joined Dick Wolf's latest Law & Order spin-off, Trial by Jury. They'll star opposite Bebe Neuwirth, Jerry Orbach and Fred Thompson. read more

EMERGENCY RECAST?

Lawyers for Michael Jackson filed a motion Monday to remove the Santa Barbara district attorney's office from his child-molestation case. Although the exact reason was not disclosed, it's no secret that Jacko's legal team believes DA Tom Sneddon has a personal vendetta against the baby-danglin', moon-walkin' pop star. read more

SHORT CUTS

Eminem's new single "Just Lose It" entered Billboard's Hot 100 chart at No. 17 — the highest-debuting song of his career... Beginning Oct. 10, Fox is banishing its low-rated dud, The Next Great Champ, to Fox Sports Net. read more

SOCK-IT MAN

Is Elton John going through the change of life? First, the 57-year-old (off his) rocker threw that whole Taiwanese tantrum, and now he's lashing out at Madonna. While accepting an award from Q music magazine in London, John ripped into Madge after he discovered she was up for Best Live Act. "Anyone who lip-syncs on stage when you pay 75 pounds to see them should be shot," John said, referring to the Material Girl's Re-Invention tour. "Madonna, best f---ing live act? F--- off." Funny thing is, Madge didn't lip-sync on the just-wrapped tour — a fact her reps were quick to point out. "She sang every note of her Re-Invention tour live," says her spokeswoman, "and is not ashamed that she was well paid for her hard work." read more

TIME CHECK

Fox will launch the fourth season of 24 with a special two-hour premiere on Sunday, Jan. 9 — the same day the network airs the NFC wild-card game. Fox originally planned to kick off 24's season on Jan. 10. Meanwhile, Variety reports that Knots Landing grad William Devane has joined the cast as secretary of defense James Heller. read more

THIS IS UNREAL

Donald Trump is getting fired up about a non-reality TV project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Apprentice kingpin is pitching NBC a prime-time drama series that would be set at New York's Trump Tower — the posh skyscraper that hosted the likes of Omatrocious and Little Munchkin. Writer-producer Gay Walch (Summerland) is in talks to pen the project. read more

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