Today's News: Our Take

SUNDAY The 4400 I feel terrible...


The 4400
I feel terrible saying this, but I'm still getting used to not being surprised by good programming on USA Network. Next week is the last episode of this alien-abduction limited series and I'm not happy. (Hopefully, this will be picked up for future episodes. Hey, if something like, say, Joe Schmo, can have a subsequent edition, why not this cool show?)

OK, so right now we've got that rich benevolent guy, Jordan (Billy Campbell), who seems amazingly slimy even though he's giving away houses and jobs. (That beard alone is a giveaway.) And then you have that strange, pushy baby in Lily's belly. Next, there's clairvoyant Maia and healing or suck-the-life-out-of-you Shawn, who has no problem hooking up with his brother's girlfriend (now ex). And finally, Kyle, after just waking up from a coma, is saying he's actually not Kyle. Yikes. Yeah, I don't know, but I have a sick feeling these things are all rel read more


Here's some red-hot "TV News" scoop from the current issue of TV Guide magazine: For the season premiere of My Wife and Kids, Damon Wayans scored a slam dunk by coaxing good friend Michael Jordan to guest-star. In his TV-series debut, His Airness will encounter Wayans' character at a hoops fantasy camp, where the two will face off on the court. "[Wayans] is in training," laughs creator Don Reo. "To play Michael Jordan one-on-one is a little intimidating." It can't be any worse than sparring about films opposite Antoine Merriwether. read more

Is Meryl Playing Hillary?

The biggest question surrounding Paramount's remake of the 1962 classic The Manchurian Candidate — besides "Why remake a classic?" — is whether Meryl Streep is channeling Hillary Clinton in her performance as power-hungry Sen. Eleanor Shaw.

"A lot of journalists have asked me that question," sighs the two-time Oscar winner. "Even Katie Couric, who you'd think would have good fact-checkers." Disturbed by the comparison, Streep went online to track down the source of the rumors. "I discovered that it's from a really scary guy who runs a website in Los Angeles. And every single reporter has heard this story and fed it back to me as if it was true. But consider the source!"

Still, Streep does admit that the character is modeled after a real political figure, whom she declines to name. "I think I'm doing a dead-on impersonation of them," she teases, "but no one has identified who it is yet. And who says I haven't read more


The upcoming cable channel devoted to reality TV has changed its name from Reality Central to Reality 24-7... Former Ed star Tom Cavanagh has signed on to headline ABC Family's holiday-themed movie Snow... According to the latest ratings, the Democratic Convention continues to be watched by no one... Tasti D-Lite is opening a store in Times Square!!! read more


The preliminary hearing in the case against Catherine Zeta-Jones' alleged stalker was delayed Thursday after the accused "fan" took some sleeping pills and was too groggy to sit in a chair and listen to people talk about what a loon she is. The hearing is expected to resume later today. read more


While taping a domestic-violence-themed segment of her talk show Thursday, a tearful Sharon Osbourne said she would have shot her hubby, Ozzy, when he tried to strangle her in 1989 if she had had a gun. "He was drinking and he was taking drugs and it got to the point where he got violent with me, and he nearly choked me to death," she said. "He's a gift from God, but if I'd have had a gun I would have used it." Wow, that's some powerful... wait a second, I thought her talk show was canceled!?!? read more


Despite published reports that say Pierce Brosnan's 007 days are behind him, MGM is leaving the door open for the actor to die another day in a 21st Bond film. "We're going to address the casting issues," the studio's vice chairman, Chris McGurk, told reporters. "We're deep in development, and right now, we're still targeting November 2005 [as the release date]." Gee, I wonder if this is all just a negotiations ploy? Hmmm.... read more

Scrubs Star's Hollywood Dream

You'd think starring in a well-known sitcom like NBC's Scrubs would open doors in Hollywood. But Zach Braff got a harsh reality check when he first went looking for a studio to finance his feature-directorial debut, Garden State (now in limited release).

"It was harder than I thought," says Braff, who also scripted and stars in the film. "I had envisioned that being on Scrubs, having Natalie Portman attached to star and Danny DeVito producing would make it a cinch to get money. I wasn't even asking for that much anyway. But I couldn't find anyone willing to take a risk."

Braff says part of the studios' reluctance had to do with his screenplay, which deliberately avoids following the conventions of most twentysomething dramas. "It's not a movie a studio would ever generate and, as I learned, it was not a movie a studio would ever even produce," he explains. "It was what they call in the studio system 'execution dependent.' read more


Did you hear the one about how a bunch of country singers made a wrong turn on their way to Nashville and ended up at New York's Madison Square Garden? No? Well, listen up anyway. TV Guide Online has learned that the Country Music Association is in talks to bring the CMA Awards to the Big Apple in 2005. "It's a really exciting idea," says Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. "New York's a huge market for country music, but also, country has a strong patriotic bent and we were really sad for New York after 9/11." Another plus: Tasti D-Lite is opening a store in Times Square!!! read more


Brandy is reportedly engaged to pro-basketball player Quentin Richardson. Or is she just pregnant and lying to protect her wholesome image? Either way, one thing is certain: No one cares. read more

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