Today's News: Our Take


8 Simple Rules Drat! Somehow,...

8 Simple Rules
Drat! Somehow, I thought David Spade had been cast into the TV abyss when NBC canceled Just Shoot Me. Now here he is, playing Cousin CJ — who's just like JSM's Dennis Finch, except he's scraggly, unshaven and dressed like a sloppy slacker. So Spade basically looks the way he does off camera. Scary, but true. I know, 'cause I see him around Los Angeles all the time. You'd be surprised how many of your fave stars leave the house lookin' like trash when they're not working. Not that Spade's one of my faves. He's peddling the same sleaze-with-a-heart-of-gold shtick on 8 Simple that he was in JSM, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and... everything else he's ever done. Are you as over it as I am? I'm also getting over 8 Simple's revolving door of B-listers since John Ritter's passing. Sorry, but a TV series with too many guest stars is like a woman wearing too many accessories: She looks very insec read more

SPRINGTIME FOR FRASIER

Frasier Crane may be trading in the gray skies of Seattle for the bright lights of Broadway. With Frasier going kaput in May, Kelsey Grammer is in talks to take over Nathan Lane's role as rapscallion producer Max Bialystock in The Producers this summer, TV Guide Online has learned. Lane and Matthew Broderick are currently two weeks into their three-month return engagement on the Great White Way. Should Grammer accept the gig, who would play Bloom to his Bialystock? "I don't know," he says. "That's one of the questions." Here's a suggestion: What about his Frasier sib David Hyde Pierce? "That's a funny idea," Grammer says. "I'm not sure if the audience is ready for that yet." In related news, Kelsey Grammer th read more

YOO-HOO — I'M NOT BROKE

Despite a costly trial looming, Michael Jackson's finances are going to be "just fine," his advisers declared on Monday after meeting for several hours in Beverly Hills. But just to be safe, Jacko will take a part-time job at Kohls for the next several months. read more

LET'S MAKE A DEAL

Speaking of embattled pop stars, Diana Ross will accept a plea agreement rather than go to trial on drunken-driving charges. Ross — who originally pleaded not guilty — will change her plea at a Feb. 9 hearing. The 59-year-old performer was arrested on Dec. 30, 2002 in Tucson, Ariz. read more

SPEAKING OF FRASIER

Oscar-nominated actress Laura Linney — currently earning raves for her supporting turn in Mystic River — is checking into Frasier for at least three episodes, TV Guide Online has learned. She'll play a potential love interest for Kelsey Grammer's romantically challenged shrink. For more on Linney's role, click here. read more

Frasier Finale Scoop!!

Now that the whole Frasier mystery has been solved — NBC finally confirmed Monday that the Emmy-winning comedy would end its 11-year run in May — we can all concentrate on more important things. Like, how will the show wrap things up? Will Frasier find true love with actress Laura Linney? Will Niles and Daphne get their own spin-off? And will Kelsey Grammer follow up his role of a lifetime by snagging Nathan Lane's on Broadway? Phew, that's a lot of questions. Luckily, TV Guide Online was on the show's Hollywood-based set for Monday's farewell press conference/luncheon to get all the scoop &#151 and then some. That's right, there's even more.

Will Frasier at last get the girl — any girl?
"It's possible," Grammer told reporters. "He's a terrific guy. And as he's mellowed through the years, I think he's a little bit easier to get along with." Ent read more

OH, NO, THEY DIDN'T

On last night's Late Show, David Letterman took his network to task for running a prominent photo of Tonight Show host Jay Leno — instead of him — in its online promotion of Sunday night's People's Choice Awards. (Dave and Jay were both up for favorite talk show host.) The network hastily deleted the image and replaced it with a photo of Letterman, but CBS boss Les Moonves nevertheless phoned Dave to apologize. Luckily, TheSmokingGun.com captured the embarrassing ad before it was taken down. If I haven't said it before, God bless The Smoking Gun. read more

Top Model's Janice Strikes Again!

"When we started thinking about judges, Janice Dickinson was one of the first people who popped into my head," says Tyra Banks, host and executive producer of UPN's America's Next Top Model (tomorrow at 9 pm/ET). "I'd never met her, but I'd heard the stories." One of the world's first supermodels (she claims to have invented the term), Dickinson lives up to her diva-may-care reputation with her merciless commentary on Top Model — and while talking with us. Meow!

TV Guide Online: What do you bring to the show?
Dickinson:
Real-life experience, know-how, and a lot of frickin' fire. People want to get into brawling matches with me because I'm brutally honest. I feel I'm saving the girls a lot of time by telling them A) You're too fat, B) You're too old, C) You're too short. Tyra's way too nice. I'm not.

TVGO: Do you consider yourself the Simon Cowell of Top Model?
Dickinson:
I look much better than Simon in a thong. read more

LIVE FROM NEW YORK...

NBC is suing E! Entertainment Television claiming the cable network's Saturday Night Live clips special, 101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments, violated a 2002 licensing deal. "NBC did not grant E! permission to use footage from its groundbreaking SNL franchise in this way," NBC said in a statement. Although E! refutes that claim, the network pulled the first episode of the special from its Sunday lineup while this whole thing plays out. read more

PREPARE TO BE CARDED

Fox Searchlight Pictures has decided to release Bernardo Bertolucci's racy new film The Dreamers in February uncut and rated NC-17. It'll mark the first time in six years a major studio has released a film with the adults-only rating. Based on Gilbert Adair's novel, Dreamers centers around three college students who test each other sexually. read more

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