Today's News: Our Take


PAGING DARK HELMET...

Mel Brooks is developing a TV 'toon inspired by his classic sci-fi send-up Spaceballs. According to Variety, the project would spoof the current crop of sci-fi and fantasy pics, including the Star Wars prequels and the Lord of the Rings saga. read more

BRAT PACT

Just what we needed on TV — more brats. ABC has started production on Brat Camp, a reality series in which nine "problem kids" are sent to Utah for 30 days in a bid to turn their lives around, Variety reports. It's based on the U.K. series, which just began airing on ABC Family. read more

TRAGEDY

Moesha actor Lamont Bentley died Tuesday when his car plunged off the San Diego Freeway. He was 31. Bentley, who played the longtime pal of Brandy's character on the UPN sitcom, also starred as Tupac Shakur in the TV movie, Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story. read more

IMAGE IS EVERYTHING

Not surprisingly, Ray nabbed a field-best seven nominations for the 36th NAACP Image Awards, including acting nods for stars Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington. Ray will compete for best picture with Collateral, Fahrenheit 9/11, Hotel Rwanda and Man on Fire. On the TV side, ER, Kevin Hill, Law & Order, Soul Food and The Wire are up for best drama, while The Bernie Mac Show, Chappelle's Show, My Wife and Kids, Girlfriends and Half & Half will vie for best comedy. read more

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT... SCOOP!

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 sweethearts Luke Perry and Jennie Garth will reconnect on the Feb. 25 episode of Garth's WB sitcom, What I Like About You. As reported in next week's TV Guide magazine, Perry plays Todd, a hot plumber who had a spring fling with Garth's Val back in high school. In a wink to their 90210 days, Kelly, er, Val learns that Dylan, er, Todd was seeing a girl named Brenda, er — nope, it really is Brenda — when they had their one-night stand. Says a source: "The producers are alluding to the Kelly and Dylan hookup when Brenda was in Paris." Those were good times indeed. read more

ENJOY THE VIEW

The week of Feb. 7, Desperate Housewives' domestic goddesses — Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Nicollette Sheridan — will take turns cohosting The View for a day. Tune in to watch the stars of the Golden Globe-winning prime-time soap chat up guests such as Jay Leno and Dennis Franz and scoop up any swag that Star Jones Reynolds neglected to nail down. read more

Can Joey Be Saved?


If Joey is to get by, he's gonna need a little help from his Friends. Almost six months after Matt LeBlanc's NBC sitcom premiered to good reviews and great ratings, viewers are vanishing, and they're taking the critics with them. In other words, the show had better get a lot better — fast — or it'll quickly join AfterM*A*S*H in spin-off heaven.

"It's not about anything more than Joey moving to Los Angeles, living in an apartment and interacting with his sister and nephew," groans Ed Martin, editor of the TV-biz newsletter "Jack Myers Report." Adds an industry insider: "If it's not sinking, it's certainly floundering."

Although NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly notes that Joey is the season's No. 1 new comedy, he concedes, "There's work to be done." Efforts are under way to surround Chandler's former roommate with more interesting, er, pals. "The show is being opened up," Reilly says, citing Lucy Liu's re read more

IDOL DAY TWO

The juggernaut that is American Idol slowed a bit on Wednesday, but Simon and Co. remain a force to reckon with. Last night's episode attracted 26.4 million viewers — down from Tuesday's 33.5 million viewers. Some of that erosion can no doubt be blamed on Lost, which came in a strong No. 2 at 8 pm with 19.5 million viewers. Speaking of Lost, I can't believe they almost — spoiler alert! — killed the polar bear! read more

Smallville's New Best Friend


Smallville once again pays tribute to DC Comics mythology next month when a superpowered pooch finds his way into Clark Kent's life. Arf!

But unlike Krypto, Superman's comic-book canine companion, Smallville's pup will not arrive in a rocket ship wearing a red cape. Instead, when he shows up in the Feb. 16 episode, his strength is the result of nefarious experiments at Luthor Corp. Might these experiments involve meteor rocks?

"Hi, it's Smallville," laughs executive producer Al Gough. "Of course they do!"

Fine, but why give the role to a golden retriever — who bears no resemblance to Superman's short-haired white pet? "We had another dog that looked more like the Krypto you know," Gough says. "But he lied on his résumé and couldn't do the stunts."

By the way, although the dog will appear regularly as Clark's furry friend, he won't be named Krypto. "This is interesting," Gough notes. "Ironically, read more

WILLOW'S NEW ROOTS

It doesn't get much better than this, folks: One of our favorite Buffy alumnae, Alyson Hannigan, is all set to appear on the wittiest series since Buffy, UPN's Veronica Mars! As reported in this week's Ask Ausiello, Willow's portrayer will be playing rat-fink Logan's half sister, Trina Echolls, which makes her the daughter of either Harry Hamlin or Lisa Rinna. (Obviously, weirdnesswise, Neptune is worlds away from Sunnydale!) Anyone care to join us in saying, "Thank heavens Aly bailed on playing second banana to Jennifer Love Hewitt on ABC's In the Game!"? read more

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