Today's News: Our Take


LEGAL BRIEF

As first hinted in TV Guide magazine, fired Practice star Dylan McDermott is headed back to the ABC drama for a showdown with his successor, James Spader, a show rep now confirms. The actor will reprise his role as legal eagle Bobby Donnell for a two episode arc airing May 2 and 16. "There's a lot of conflict in the office involving Alan," says co-star Camryn Manheim, "so we need our old friend to help resolve it." read more

RIGHT HOOK

Fox says it's not aiming below the belt with The Next Great Champ, its upcoming boxing reality show starring Oscar De La Hoya. Although the project sounds a lot like DreamWorks and NBC's in-the-works unscripted pugilist drama The Contender, Fox insists its project is different because "the winner of this show will actually fight for an existing title," Champ producer David Goldberg tells Variety. Counters Contender exec Mark Burnett: "If we feel they've stepped over the line, it's creatively outrageous... and we [will] take legal action." Sounds like a job for Oma-rosa! read more

SHORT CUTS

The 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, slated for Aug. 29, will air live from Miami for the first time in its 20-year history... Sources confirm that Matt LeBlanc's spinoff series, Joey, will take over Friends' Thursday at 8 pm/ET timeslot next fall... Tom Brokaw will sign off as anchor of NBC Nightly News on Dec. 1. Brian Williams will pick up the torch the following night... Tori Spelling has been added to the cast of UPN's comedy pilot Me, Me, Me, which revolves around a pair of female social climbers. read more

MORE TIME

If you missed last night's special Sunday airing of 24 — and judging by the ratings, many of you did (Nielsen estimates that just under 7 million viewers tuned in) — there's good news. Fox's cable arm, FX, will rerun the Must-See episode tonight at 11 pm/ET and tomorrow night at 6 pm/ET. read more

END QUOTE

"I don't think that's possible." Apprentice runner-up Kwame Jackson on making sense of Omarosa's actions during an interview with TV Guide Online. For more, click here. read more

WITH THIS RING...

Sissy Spacek is going back to her Carrie roots with a role in the upcoming horror sequel The Ring 2, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Details about Spacek's character are being kept secret, but this much is known: Actually, nothing is known. In other film-casting news, Reese Witherspoon will star in and produce The Proposal, a romantic comedy about a couple's turbulent wedding plans. read more

'TIS THE SEASON

Fox is launching six original series in June as part of an aggressive summer lineup that includes the Mark Burnett-produced reality gamble The Casino, the Andy Richter comedy Quintuplets, the Hawaii-set soap North Shore and the return of The Simple Life. Noticeably MIA: Forever Eden. But rumor has it Fox may bring the low-rent Paradise Hotel knock-off back this summer under the misleading title Forever Eden and Cruz. read more

MATERIAL WORLD

8 Simple Rules matriarch Katey Sagal has purchased a Los Angeles-area home once owned by Madonna for $4.7 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sagal bought the one-story early California Mediterranean estate from its current occupant, Dharma & Greg star Jenna Elfman. Situated on nearly 2 acres, the crib boasts three bedrooms, a domed center hall, a library, a gym, a Spanish-tile kitchen and a white bustier wedding dress hanging in the cedar closet. read more

YOU'RE FIRED UP

Final numbers for Thursday's Apprentice finale are in, and 28.1 million viewers watched Bill Rancic open a can of woop-ass on Kwame Jackson. The two-hour climax ranks as the third-highest-rated entertainment show of the season among adults 18-49, behind the Oscars and the post-Super Bowl debut of Survivor: All-Stars. read more

SWEET REVENGE

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 butchered the competition at the weekend box office. The conclusion of Quentin Tarantino's bloody revenge saga debuted at No. 1 with $25.6 million — $3 million more than Vol. 1 opened with in October. New comic-book pic The Punisher snagged the No. 2 spot with $14 million, followed by holdover flicks Johnson Family Vacation ($6.4 million), Hellboy ($5.7 million) and Home on the Range ($5.4 million). The weekend's "Loser Award" goes to Nia Vardalos, whose Connie and Carla resembled a big, fat flop. The gender-bending comedy opened outside the top 10 with $3.3 million. What a drag. read more

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