Today's News: Our Take


GOING BATTY

An American Psycho is taking over the role of Batman. British thesp Christian Bale — best known for his indie work in films such as Little Women, Laurel Canyon and American Psycho — has been tapped to play the Caped Crusader in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming Batman flick. "What I see in Christian is the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne," says director Christopher Nolan (Memento). "He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for." The film — which will follow the early career of the Dark Knight — is expected to begin production early next year. read more

FLASH FLOOD

The WB is slowly turning into the Superhero Network. The Frog net — home of Smallville and (as of Oct. 5) Tarzan — is developing an hourlong drama for fall 2004 centered around fast-moving DC Comics icon the Flash, Variety reports. CBS attempted its own Flash series back in 1990, but that show tanked — and it was really good, too. Not to be a pessimist or anything. read more

THE NAME GAME

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest's upcoming daytime talk show has a title: On Air with Ryan Seacrest. Rumor has it Twentieth Television ditched the well-groomed emcee's original choice, I'm Not Gay. read more

SAD DAY IN HOLLYWOOD

Emmy-winning TV icon John Ritter, best known for his role as endearingly awkward Jack Tripper in Three's Company and more recently the star of ABC's family comedy 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, died Thursday of a heart problem. He was 54. According to reports, Ritter had an undiagnosed defect in his aorta. In a statement, ABC said it was "shocked and heartbroken at the terrible news of John's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children at this very difficult time." There's no word on what impact Ritter's death will have on 8 Simple Rules, which was slated to kick off its second season Sept. 23. Ritter is survived by his wife, Wings actress Amy Yasbeck, as well as children Jason, Carly, Tyler and Stella. For a tribute from TV Guide critic Matt Roush, click here. read more

BIG MAC SWITCH

Listen up, America: There's more upheaval behind-the-scenes at The Bernie Mac Show. Former Regency TV exec Peter Aronson is replacing Friends alum Michael Borkow as the sitcom's showrunner. Last spring, Borkow replaced series creator Larry Wilmore, who's now calling the shots on Whoopi. read more

CONGRATS!

And the No. 1 reason David Letterman is glowing these days? He's gonna be a first-time daddy! The Late Show host's longtime girlfriend, Regina Lasko, is preggers, the New York Post reports. read more

Friends, NBC After this, only...

Friends, NBC
After this, only one more rerun until the final season! I have the same fear Phoebe has about the cell phone still being on even though she just hung up. Burning question: Why are these New Yorkers so tan? Catch the name of the cologne Phoebe was sprayed with? Incentive for Men. Almost as classic as Hombre. And to dispel any misconceptions: Yes, women go to dressing rooms together, just like we go to the restroom together. But we don't go in the same stall. I realize this happened so the gals could gab in private, but don't go thinking we do anything else in there but talk. Sure John Stamos is "sperm-tastic," but why's he crossing his legs at the dinner table? And for the love of Hank Azaria, Phoebe must marry David. Mike's a weenie. Yay! A final-season promo. Oh. My. God. I need a tissue.

GAP Commercial
Earth Wind and Fire's "Do You Remember?" is such a better song than that cover of "Feelin' Groo read more

Homicide: Life on Sesame Street?


Broadway baby Kerry Butler knows her way around the block — and not just Theater Row, either. The native New Yorker, who's currently putting down roots as Audrey in the big-time revival of Little Shop of Horrors, has appeared twice on Sesame Street and, even more impressive, lived to tell the tale.

"I went to the wrap party [last year], and I actually saw Snuffleupagus eat a little boy," she reveals to TV Guide Online. But before you go grumbling, "There goes the neighborhood!" let the ingenue finish. "Snuffleupagus spit him back out again, so it was okay. At the wrap party, they play all kinds of jokes and stuff. It was perfect!"

Butler's second visit to Big Bird's turf was especially meaningful to her. On her first visit, she was just a kid. However, upon returning to the avenue, "I was sort of like a celebrity guest. I played the mail carrier and sang, 'Oh, the letter carrier brings the mail... ' — you know, for 'T read more

Island Hunk Tempts Fate


Upon arriving on Temptation Island, trouble magnet Jeff scarcely had time to unpack his swim trunks before he decided what he wanted to tempt — fate. Yep, one look at Kara's boyfriend, Vin Diesel wannabe Jason, and the mischievous sometime model was a goner! He just had to pretend he was going to give Jason a trinket indicating his interest in Kara.

"When we were walking by, Jason was pretty much growling at everyone," he tells TV Guide Online. "My first impression was that he was a tool, so I had to mess with him. It was nothing toward Kara at all. I didn't want to hurt her feelings — I never even met the girl!"

However, after logging some quality time with his archenemy's significant other, the 24-year-old realized that he enjoyed rubbing her back as much as he did getting under Jason's skin. "We had a little bit of chemistry," he teases, adding that he didn't turn on the charm just to piss off Ja read more

Guns 'n Gripes on The Guardian


Talk about folks needing a chill pill. Last season's rage-filled finale of The Guardian left us hanging on the edge of our couches, with a double shooting and a double beating. But let's get real. The main cliffhanger — the point-blank shooting of James Mooney (Charles Malik Whitfield) and the new geeky lawyer (Will Farrell) — wasn't really a cliffhanger.

Think about it. We know who dies (Farrell's character), we know who did the shooting (Taliek, played by Vicellous Shannon), and we know why: Mooney wrongly suspected Taliek of killing his cousin, so he had him savagely beaten with a tire iron, then admitted his mistake to Taliek, who retaliated by gunning him down. Got all that?

As for father and son attorneys Nick (Simon Baker) and Burton Fallin (Dabney Coleman), they had both pummeled a guy for swiping their parking space. Apparently, those anger management classes Nick had been ordered to take after s read more

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