Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

ABC's According to Jim will make its syndication debut on Tribune stations nationwide in fall 2006... Denzel Washington is set to reunite with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua for The Return of Superfly, a biopic of Harlem heroin kingpin Frank Lucas, Variety reports... UPN has ordered five episodes of I'm Still Alive, a reality show that mixes real footage with CGI-animation to tell true stories of people who've survived life-threatening ordeals... Veteran TV writer-director Paris Barclay (NYPD Blue, The West Wing) is developing a cop drama for Showtime set in an NYPD hate-crime unit. read more

RECAST

Cedric the Entertainer has been tapped to replace Justin Timberlake as host of ABC's upcoming Motown 45 special. The Barbershop 2 star will emcee the ceremony with Lionel Richie. Timberlake allegedly dropped out of the special because it conflicted with filming of his his first movie, Edison. read more

SISTER ACT

Ashlee Simpson is moving in on her sister's territory. MTV has signed Jessica's lil' sis to headline Ashlee, a six-episode reality series chronicling the 7th Heaven star's quest to become a pop singer and make her brother-in-law look like an even bigger failure. read more

END QUOTE

"Yeah. I think he's sexy. I do. But I think Howard Stern is sexy, too. For me it's a power thing." Apprentice evictee Heidi Bressler discussing whether she would date The Donald in an interview with TV Guide Online. For more, click here. read more

Deceit Marlo Thomas as a suburban...

Deceit
Marlo Thomas as a suburban wife who maybe — maybe not — killed her rich husband... Oh, yeah, the Lifetime movie is making a comeback, y'all. She's Too Young, which aired a few weeks ago, blew me away. That's why I'm taping this. I gotta go watch a soap — I mean, telenovela. But I'll be back.

Prisionera
Daniel esta con otra! And his crazy girlfriend's not going to leave the lobby until he comes back with that cheating hussy. Watch out now! To make sure I was getting the words right I turned the caption box on during the premiere of Telemundo's new soap The Prisoner and it gave me subtitles — in English! What? Thank goodness I didn't have this option all those years ago when I learned melodramatic Spanish from watching Alcanzar Una Estrella and Mar&#237a Mercedes. Otherwise I would never know phrases like "bueno para nada sin verguenza" (Translation: good for nothing, s read more

IT'S NOT RIGHT, BUT IT'S OKAY

Whitney Houston can't deny it anymore: She has a problem. The Grammy-winning diva has entered a drug-rehabilitation facility, confirms her publicist, who adds that the singer "thanks everyone for their support and prayers." During a 2002 sit-down with Diane Sawyer, Houston admitted that she had abused drugs in the past, but insisted she had cleaned up her act through prayer. "I partied a lot. Trust me: I partied my tail off," she said. "You get to a point where you know the party's over." Houston's other problem, hubby Bobby Brown, is currently serving a 60-day prison sentence in Georgia on a probation violation. Where does all this leave the couple's 10-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina? In therapy for life. read more

Question: Who is the artist ...

Question: Who is the artist who sang "Joe Cool" and "Little Birdie" on those '60s and '70s CBS-TV Peanuts animated TV specials? (It sounded sort of like Lou Rawls, but I doubt that it was him.) — Brian S., Del Mar, Calif.

Televisionary: Composer-musician Vince Guaraldi, who wrote and played the classic Peanuts music, also handled the vocal duties on "Joe Cool" (1972's You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown) and "Little Birdie" (1973's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving). Unfortunately, those versions aren't available on any albums, to the best of my knowledge. However, you can find B.B. King covering "Joe Cool" and Joe Williams singing "Little Birdie" (inferior versions, I'll admit) on the 1989 release Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (Verve).

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GAG ME WITH A SPOON

This could be the comeback Vanity Smurf has been waiting for: Madonna's Maverick Films is teaming up with NBC to produce a four-hour miniseries about the '80s. The Peacock previously scored ratings gold with the decade-centric miniseries The '60s and The '70s. It's not clear how involved Madge will be in the project, or if she's aware her company is developing it at all. read more

Question: What ever happened ...

Question: What ever happened to the UPN show Jake 2.0? Has it been canceled or will it come back as a summer replacement? — Lisa V., Vacaville, Cal.

Televisionary: It's not being produced anymore, Lisa. For more on that, see my pal Matt Roush's March 8 Ask Matt column.

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Question: Who is the voice ...

Question: Who is the voice that says, "Beef — it's what's for dinner" in the beef commercials? — Catherine N., Traveler Rest, S.C.

Televisionary: That's Sam Elliott featured in the ads put together by the Cattlemen's Beef Board, Catherine. The actor, most recently seen on the big screen in The Hulk, is the latest in a line of celebs who've lent their voices to beef campaigns. Past voices include those of Robert Mitchum, James Garner and Cybill Shepherd.

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