Today's News: Our Take


The 16th season of The Real World, debuting in June, will be set in Austin, Texas, MTV confirmed late last week... Ricky Gervais, the brilliant creator and star of The Office, will pen an upcoming episode of The Simpsons... Lastly, happy days are here again for Scott Baio, who has been tapped to star in an NBC sitcom pilot about a fortysomething guy whose life is turned upside-down when he moves in with a dude in his 20s. Wait, Scott Baio is fortysomething? Geez, I'm getting old. read more


Six major drug companies are advising their employees to look out for a heavyset man who answers to the name Ivana Destroy-Dubya. According to a report in The Los Angeles Times, the companies — which included Pfizer, Wyeth and AstraZeneca — released internal communications telling staffers to be wary of filmmaker Michael Moore, whose next film will target the health care industry. read more


... he has a problem. Comedian George Carlin has entered rehab "because I use too much wine and Vicodin," he said in a statement. "No one told me I needed this; I recognized the problem and took the step myself." read more


Dick Clark, who continues to recover from a mild stroke, will remain hospitalized through Christmas and perhaps New Year's Eve, USA Today reports. As previously reported, Regis Philbin will be pinch-hitting for Clark on ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005. read more


CSI: Miami is turning up the heat this February with another 90-minute installment, this one revolving around a massive fire in the Everglades. A source close to the show tells me that the big-budget episode also features a prison break by one of Miami's most infamous killers and the kidnapping of a major Scene-stealer. Meanwhile, with CSI: Miami's super-sized events garnering huge ratings — November's tidal wave-themed outing attracted 22 million viewers — might CBS consider expanding the show permanently? "Thank heavens, no," scoffs the insider. "These 90-minute episodes are a killer." read more


Burt Reynolds will guest-star on CBS's The King of Queens during February sweeps as Doug's (Kevin James) former high school football coach. As reported in the new issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale tomorrow), James invited the former Evening Shade star to appear on the show after the two became fast friends working on the big-screen comedy Grilled. read more


Jenny Craig has tapped Hollywood's new plus-size poster girl, Kirstie Alley, as its new celeb spokeswoman. The upcoming Fat Actress star says she was approached by four other companies before settling on Jenny. "I wanted to go with the safest, most well-rounded, fun approach," Alley says. "And let's face it, Jenny Craig's food is hands-down the yummiest." And their checks the cashiest! read more


Embattled pop star Ashlee Simpson will embark on her first solo tour in early '05. The tour kicks off Feb. 18 in Los Angeles and makes stops in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Lipsyncville. read more

Javier Bardem: Couch Potato

Javier Bardem confesses that he spent the first few months of 2004 lying on his couch. The Oscar-nominated actor wasn't goofing off watching Golden Girls repeats, though — he was preparing for his role as a quadriplegic in his latest critically-acclaimed film, The Sea Inside.

"I would lie still on the sofa trying talk to myself and going through different emotional states," Bardem explains. "And then I realized that it wasn't working — I was moving like a maniac. So I would put a camera on myself and say some monologues. I would do that for several hours every day. Then, during the shooting, I had five hours of makeup, plus 10 hours of shooting. So that was 15 hours a day in bed, plus the hour I spent in my bed at home sleeping."

That may sound like more of a vacation than a job, but the mood on the set wasn't particularly lighthearted, due to the story Sea tells. Based on a true story, it follows Ramon Sampedro, a quadriple read more


Reports of Dead Like Me's untimely demise have been greatly exaggerated. Although Showtime axed the two-year-old drama series, execs at MGM (the show's producer) confirm that they are "exploring every opportunity" to keep the show alive. For more on that, read "Ask Ausiello." (Yes, there's actually a little substance to this week's column. The key words being "a little.") read more

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