Today's News: Our Take


Jodie Foster has signed on to headline Disney's high-concept thriller Flight Plan. The two-time Oscar winner will play a woman who freaks out when her young daughter mysteriously disappears during a flight to America. The annoying little brat was last seen kicking the seat in front of her and throwing peanuts at the bald man across the aisle. read more


Kelsey Grammer apparently isn't letting Frasier go without a fight. Last month, Paramount — with Grammer's blessing — allegedly pitched NBC a new series chronicling the next phase of Frasier's life, Variety reports. NBC opted against continuing the franchise, leaving producers free to A) shop the project elsewhere, B) quit while they're ahead or C) feel silly for even suggesting such a thing. Let's pray they went with B or C. read more


Fox is back on speaking terms with the cast of The Simpsons. The network has resolved a salary dispute with six of the show's voice actors that threatened to erase the hit cartoon's 16th season. Although terms of the new four-year pact were not disclosed, according to reports, Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Hank Azaria (Moe, Apu), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Julie Kavner (Marge) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart) will now pocket $5.5 million for working a couple days a year in their sweats. That's up from the $2.8-million annual paycheck each of them had been collecti read more


NBC is mulling a new reality show that sounds a lot like CBS's stalled Real Beverly Hillbillies, Variety reports. High Life revolves around members of a "rural" family as they adjust to their new life in Beverly Hills. read more


Comedy Central's new It Funnyman, Dave Chappelle, is in talks to headline his own comedy film for New Line. Dave Chappelle's Family History of the World would find the comic playing his family members at various points in history. read more


The ninth and final season of The Drew Carey Show — yep, it ain't dead yet folks! — kicks off June 2 on ABC... Brad Cotter was named the winner of USA Network's Nashville Star Saturday night. The 33-year-old Alabaman snagged a Sony recording contract... Christopher Reeve will direct an original movie for A&E about a quadriplegic who becomes a Harvard University honors student. read more


Tina Fey's cliquish teen satire Mean Girls opened at No. 1 over the weekend with $25 million — more than double expectations. Last week's top flick, Denzel Washington's thriller Man on Fire, slipped to No. 2 with $15.2 million, followed by the Jennifer Garner comedy 13 Going on 30 ($10 million). Elsewhere, three other newcomers — Laws of Attraction, Godsend and Envy — collected a mere $20 million combined. read more


Here's some "TV News" scoop from the current issue of TV Guide magazine: Catherine Bell has quietly inked a new contract that will keep her on board CBS's JAG for two more seasons — one more than co-star David James Elliott is currently signed up for. "I don't know if [there will be] two more, but I'm committed to two more," says Bell, referring to the fact that CBS has yet to renew the long-running military drama for another year. But the actress is optimistic. "Our season finale is a 'To be continued... '," she points out, "so that tells you something." Yeah, it tells me Les Moonves is playing hardball! read more

SUNDAYThe Book of Ruth The awful...


The Book of Ruth
The awful murder. The abuse. The blood. Yet all I keep thinking is: You mean to tell me Aunt Sid pointed Ruth toward the drawerful of letters, forgetting that the one from Mark — in which he trashed her husband and marriage — was in there? Not a chance. Man, nobody hurts you like your kin, huh?

Of course, that same husband did end up being a pill-popping lunatic who hit Ruth and beat her mom to death, but that drawer maneuver was tacky just the same.

State of Play
I guess I should realize praising this show is now a routine with me. The teaser alone is better written than most of what passes for drama on more mainstream American shows. After Cal, being interrogated, tells the cops they oughtta be embarrassed because he's doing a better job on the case than they are, Cameron pipes up with: "Well, you asked for that. I said 10 minutes ago it was getting repetitive. Were either read more

Joan "Mystery" Solved!

When you're master and commander of your own hit series, you can do anything you like: make a cameo appearance, name a character after yourself, give a job to your daughter, Tori... The sky's the limit! Joan of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall knows this very well. So, she tells TV Guide Online, she refused to play God with the songs she writes and records with partner Michael Guidry as the Enablers.

"A lot of different people pick the music for the show, and what I do is make [our material] available to them, because, for me, it doesn't count unless they choose it," Hall explains. "Otherwise," she adds with a laugh, "it's just me putting my music on my own show, which is not hard to do!"

Finally, after almost a full year, Hall's team of taste-makers has selected one of her tunes, the perkily ponderous "Mystery," for use in Friday's season finale (8 pm/ET on CBS). We can't accuse the staff of kissing up to the boss lady, eithe read more

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