Today's News: Our Take


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

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

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

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

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

Swan to Maxim: Call Me!

Talk about your mixed blessings: Judges on The Swan elected not to send enlisted woman Kristy G. on to their ugly-duckling pageant because she was too pretty before they worked their magic on her! But the California girl remains determined to take her place in the spotlight — and preferably while wearing her undies! Here, she reveals to TV Guide Online her unique master plan.

TV Guide Online: So, how does it feel to know that you were too cute pre-surgery to earn a place in The Swan pageant?
Kristy G.:
Oh, I didn't need them to validate the progress that I had made. The only disappointment, if any, was that I wasn't going to get to win any cash or prizes. (Laughs) Honestly, I already feel like the swan. So I don't need [the pageant]. What I have is enough already.

TVGO: One of the first things you said in the recovery room was that you couldn't wait to put on a halter top, go-go boots and a canary-yellow miniski read more

Showdown! Punisher vs. Kill Bill

As the Punisher, Marvel Comics' iconic gun-toting vigilante, Thomas Jane squares off against an army of gangsters led by über-baddie John Travolta. But his bloodiest battle is actually happening offscreen, and it can't be won with bullets or hand grenades. That's the showdown between The Punisher and Quentin Tarantino's highly anticipated Kill Bill, Vol. 2 — which both hit theaters today, competing for the same action-hungry audience.

"I'm sure they'll hurt each other at the box office," Jane sighs resignedly. "It's inevitable. But The Punisher will find its audience. It's a niche movie; it doesn't have to make $150 million to be successful. Besides, as a kid, I loved going to the theater and seeing two films I really wanted to see up on the marquee. It's going to be a fantastic weekend for people who love these kinds of movies."

Unlike other actors-turned-superheroes, Jane genuinely can count himself as a lifelong read more

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

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

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