Today's News: Our Take


THE LOST BOY

Jason Patric was arrested Monday in Austin on misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. According to reports, the 37-year-old actor — who was in Texas for the premiere of his latest film, The Alamo — was apparently hanging out on a downtown street with some friends when police asked him to move. He allegedly took an aggressive stance and the rest, as they say, is history. Patric's publicist released a statement saying her client "believes he has done nothing wrong. He hopes for a rapid resolution to clear his name. In the meantime, remember The Alamo come April 9!" Alright, I made up that last part. read more

PRACTICE MAKES TWO SPINOFFS?

Überproducer David E. Kelley is pitching ABC a half-hour comedy centered on Camryn Manheim's Practice attorney, Ellenor Frutt, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series, which would debut in early 2005, would follow Ellenor as she returns home following the demise of her legal drama, er, law firm. As previously reported, ABC has already picked up a Kelley-produced Practice spinoff starring James Spader. The Practice ends its eight-year run in May, but the franchise will be around in one form or another for all eternity. read more

TONIGHT DOUGH

Late-night leader Jay Leno has signed a new four-year deal with NBC that will keep him at the helm of The Tonight Show through at least 2009. The contract is said to be worth $25 million a year for a grand total of — drumroll please — $100 million! Leno currently pulls in around $18 million annually. Despite the bump, Leno still earns less than David Letterman, who collects a cool $31.5 million a year for his Late Show duties. In related news... read more

REMEMBERED

Highbrow broadcaster Alistair Cooke, who hosted PBS's Masterpiece Theatre from 1971 to '92 and presided over Britain's popular Letter from America radio show for nearly six decades, died Tuesday at his home in New York of apparent heart disease. He was 95. read more

STRAIGHT DOPE

Fox is playing it safe with its new Friday lineup, which is tanking in the ratings. The network is moving Wonderfalls to Thursday nights beginning this week and benching Playing It Straight until summer, when it will be relaunched. So, it's back in the closet for all those cowboys! read more

Rising Star Jake Simpson


Even before he trounced the competition on Star Search, vocalist Jake Simpson probably could have gotten anything he wanted. For Pete's sake, the guy looks like a mischievous altar boy and sings like an angel! So now that he has in hand his prize money, he ought to be buying Jags! Mansions! Towns! But, he tells TV Guide Online, "I haven't bought anything yet. I really want a mountain bike, though."

At least the blue-eyed soul man has a good excuse for not doing his part to boost the economy: He's been too darn busy to go on any spending sprees. First, he has to settle on a musical genre, then — hello?! — he has an album to make. "I'm in between two styles right now — one is very urban, and one is very not," he explains. "I'm having a hard time with it, because I love so many different styles." Fortuitously, as soon as he gets back into, as he puts it, his "hippie brain," one of his nearest and dearest will be able to help him come u read more

Will & Grace Baby Mystery


Will & Grace is in major denial. Although actress Debra Messing is very pregnant — the baby's due in late spring — her character, Grace, is not. The show's producers initially hid Messing behind pillows and purses. But lately, they haven't tried too hard to conceal her distracting baby bump. At times, cameras shot her full body — belly and all — as if she were still stick-thin. What's up with that?

"Pretending Grace's body hasn't changed is stupid," says Leon Hall of E!'s Fashion Police. "Now, when Karen makes cracks about [Grace's] clothes, it comes off mean-spirited because we know [she's] with child." Reps for NBC and Messing refused to comment on the decision not to explain Grace's weight gain. We're just expected to accept, adds Hall, "that Grace is flat-chested. But suddenly her B-cup runneth over!"

"It's always a tricky situation when a series star gets pregnant midrun, especially when read more

HE'S KING

Funnyman Jack Black has been cast opposite Naomi Watts in Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black will play adventurer-filmmaker Carl Denham, the role originated by Robert Armstrong in the 1933 version. read more

OH, JESUS JUICE

Boobygate star Janet Jackson is headlining a new scandal: Bleepgate! The singer was bleeped by CBS censors last night for saying the word "Jesus" during an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman. Jackson, whose new CD, Damita Jo, drops today, insisted that her legendary Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction was "totally an accident. It wasn't a stunt." But when Dave suggested that the peep show looked intentional, she said, "Oh, Jesus," according to an unedited tape of the show. The exclamation was later deleted for air. read more

END QUOTE

"I came to New York City to land a job, not a date." — Fired Apprentice contestant Katrina Campins, pointing out the major difference between herself and corporate rival Amy Henry in an interview with TV Guide Online. Click here for the full story. read more

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