Today's News: Our Take


RATINGS, SHMATINGS

With 27 million viewers, last Tuesday's performance edition of American Idol ranked as the most-watched show of the week and helped Fox edge out NBC among adults 18-49. CBS came out on top among total viewers, thanks to its strong Monday lineup and a decent performance from its NCAA basketball tourney. Meanwhile, first-year shows Las Vegas, The O.C., The Apprentice and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition posted their best ratings of the season last week. read more

24 This show reminds me of the...

24
This show reminds me of the '72 Chevy Impala two-door coupe that I drove in high school. That beast of a car had an engine that could push four tons of All-American steel past 60 mph in less time than it takes to buckle your seatbelt. And just when you thought she was giving you everything, BAM! She'd pop into a phantom gear at about 80 mph and send your stomach into your spine with a hearty growl from her big block V-8. That's 24 in a lugnut. The drama has accelerated smoothly this season and maintained a pretty healthy speed of let's say 75 mph, but this episode put the proverbial pedal to the metal.

The virus is out and Michelle, trapped inside the hotel, lays it on the line with Tony: "I've been exposed; there's nothing anyone can do." Seventy-six...

Back at CTU, Chappelle gives the order, "Shoot to kill. Anyone who attempts to leave. No exceptions" Seventy-seven...

Jack plays cat and mouse with the bad guy hoping to get clo read more

STRAIGHT DOPE

Fox is playing it safe with its new Friday lineup, which is tanking in the ratings. The network is moving Wonderfalls to Thursday nights beginning this week and benching Playing It Straight until summer, when it will likely be relaunched. Translation: It's back to the closet for all those cowboys! read more

MORE KONG CASTING

Oscar winner Adrien Brody is in talks to play Naomi Watts' love interest in Peter Jackson's King Kong remake. As reported here yesterday, Jack Black has joined the cast as the filmmaker who brings the big ape to New York City from Skull Island. Bad move, buddy. read more

HOWDY, PARTNER

Fox has ordered 10 episodes of The Partner, an Apprentice-esque reality series in which young lawyers battle it out for a job at a major law firm. Producers are currently on the lookout for a well-known lawyer to play the Donald Trump role of judge. Somewhere, Star Jones is calling her agent. read more

HE'S KING

Funnyman Jack Black has been cast opposite Naomi Watts in Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black will play adventurer-filmmaker Carl Denham, the role originated by Robert Armstrong in the 1933 version. read more

Rising Star Jake Simpson


Even before he trounced the competition on Star Search, vocalist Jake Simpson probably could have gotten anything he wanted. For Pete's sake, the guy looks like a mischievous altar boy and sings like an angel! So now that he has in hand his prize money, he ought to be buying Jags! Mansions! Towns! But, he tells TV Guide Online, "I haven't bought anything yet. I really want a mountain bike, though."

At least the blue-eyed soul man has a good excuse for not doing his part to boost the economy: He's been too darn busy to go on any spending sprees. First, he has to settle on a musical genre, then — hello?! — he has an album to make. "I'm in between two styles right now — one is very urban, and one is very not," he explains. "I'm having a hard time with it, because I love so many different styles." Fortuitously, as soon as he gets back into, as he puts it, his "hippie brain," one of his nearest and dearest will be able to help him come u read more

Apprentice Sexpot Fired Up!

Omarosa vs. Ereka? That's so yesterday. The Apprentice feud that has everyone talking these days pits 24-year-old real-estate vixen Katrina Campins against 30-year-old Southern belle Amy Henry. Their rivalry runneth over on last Thursday's show when, during a dramatic boardroom showdown, Katrina accused America's Sweetheart of dipping her pen in company ink. Amy retaliated by suggesting Katrina too often used her breast assets to close a deal. Luckily, Donald Trump fired one of 'em — sorry, Katrina — thus ensuring that the mudslinging would immediately continue at TV Guide Online!

TV Guide Online: You suggested in the boardroom that Nick and Amy were engaged in a full-blown affair. What didn't the cameras show?
Katrina Campins:
Well, Amy actually claims that I brought sex to the table, but she brought a lot more sex to the table than I did. She slept with one guy on the show and then she had sexual rel read more

PRACTICE MAKES TWO SPINOFFS?

Überproducer David E. Kelley is pitching ABC a half-hour comedy centered on Camryn Manheim's Practice attorney, Ellenor Frutt, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series, which would debut in early 2005, would follow Ellenor as she returns home following the demise of her legal drama, er, law firm. As previously reported, ABC has already picked up a Kelley-produced Practice spinoff starring James Spader. The Practice ends its eight-year run in May, but the franchise will be around in one form or another for all eternity. read more

TONIGHT DOUGH

Late-night leader Jay Leno has signed a new four-year deal with NBC that will keep him at the helm of The Tonight Show through at least 2009. The contract is said to be worth $25 million a year for a grand total of — drumroll please — $100 million! Leno currently pulls in around $18 million annually. Despite the bump, Leno still earns less than David Letterman, who collects a cool $31.5 million a year for his Late Show duties. In related news... read more

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