Today's News: Our Take


THE LAST COURSE

NBC has decided to dump the remaining episodes of The Restaurant on a night when most people will be holed up in a real restaurant. Episodes 4 and 5 will air this Saturday at 8 and 9 pm/ET, respectively, and the series finale will run on Saturday, June 5 at 8 pm/ET. read more

SHORT CUTS

American Idol's Paula Abdul and Apprentice runner-up Kwame Jackson will be among the judges at the 2004 Miss Universe pageant, airing June 1 on NBC... Correction: The name of Helen Hunt's new daughter is Makena'lei, not McKenna, as we reported on Friday. The name comes from a town in Maui and reinforces the age-old stereotype that celebs are nuts. read more

TIME'S UP

The pink slips are flying at 24's Counter Terrorism Unit. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Reiko Aylesworth (Michelle), James Badge Dale (Chase) and Carlos Bernard (Tony) will not be returning as series regulars next fall. Additionally, Jack Bauer's demon spawn, Kim (played by Elisha Cuthbert), is expected to make only guest appearances. The jury is still out on Mary Lynn Rajskub, who as CTU grump Chloe, gave birth to the breakout character of the 2003-04 TV season. read more

THE BRATS ARE BACK

VH1 is developing a four-hour miniseries that will chronicle the adolescent years of Brat Packers Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, Variety reports. The project is based on the book Brat Pack Confidential. read more

FAHRENHEIT IS HOT

Filmmaker Michael Moore's controversial anti-Dubya documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 walked off with top honors Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. In last week's New York Times, White House flack Dan Barlett said the film, which links Bush to the bin Ladin clan, "is so outrageously false, it's not even worth comment." read more

YEP, SHE'S A WINNER

Ellen DeGeneres's freshman gabfest picked up best talk show honors at Friday's 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. But in a rather stunning turn of events, the funny lady lost the best host prize to Wayne Brady — whose self-titled show was recently axed after two seasons. Elsewhere, The Young and the Restless was named best soap, while General Hospital icon Anthony Geary (Luke) and Y&R spitfire Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) took the top acting awards. And money matters continued to haunt Martha Stewart: The embattled diva lost the best service show host trophy to financial wizard Suze Orman. read more

GREEN DAY

We knew that green ogre was big, but not this big. Shrek 2 grossed $104.3 million at the weekend box office, the second-best three-day haul in history behind Spider-Man. Since opening Wednesday, the animated flick has brought in $125.3 million — another record. Last week's No. 1 film, the Greek comedy Troy, fell to No. 2 with $23.8 million for a total of $85.8 million. Third-place Van Helsing, meanwhile, crossed the $100-million mark with weekend ticket sales of $10.1 million. read more

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE...

Matt LeBlanc no longer has to worry about his new TV sis sportin' mafia ties. On last night's Sopranos, Drea de Matteo's long-suffering alter ego, Adriana, got tapped three times by the whack stick shortly after coming out as a friend of the Feds. For months, viewers have been buzzing that de Matteo's mob days were numbered — speculation that only intensified the moment she signed on to play Joey Tribbiani's hairdresser sib on this fall's Joey. But in a recent interview with TV Guide magazine, the actress dismissed the rumor, insisting that she was under contract with The Sopranos "for one more season... Why are they gonna kill her? She doesn't even know anything!" As Apprentice reject Tammy Lee would say, "We were duped!" read more

Will Seinfeld's Pal Be a Star?


The summer lull — just after May sweeps mania and before the fall TV season — is when networks like testing out iffy new material. Case in point: Come to Papa, an NBC sitcom starring stand-up comic Tom Papa. Basically, he plays a suburban New Jersey newspaper reporter who dreams of a life less ordinary as a comedy writer. How'd this unknown land such a plum gig? Well, his showbiz connections — particularly ex-NBC golden boy Jerry Seinfeld — didn't exactly hurt.

"I'm friends with Jerry. He kind of discovered me in the [comedy] clubs about five years ago, and I have been on tour with him," Papa explains, adding hopefully, "Seinfeld also debuted in the summer, so maybe that's a good omen. It's kind of strange how we've mirrored the same route he's taken. He had a pilot and it took a while to get up on its feet. Once it did, it was supposed to [debut] in the spring and they moved it to the summer, the same way that we did. read more

GOOD NEWS, SWAN FANS!

The Big Four networks are expected to stick with their regular schedules this evening instead of airing President Bush's prime-time speech on Iraq. For those who must hear what the Prez has to say, there's always MSNBC, Fox News and CNN. read more

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