Today's News: Our Take


Sunday Arrested Development Can...

Sunday

Arrested Development
Can it be? I'm laughing at a U.S. broadcast comedy? I mean, not because I fear I'm too jaded and should force myself, or because I grade network TV on a bell curve and am trying to find the best of a humor-starved lot, but because it's actually funny? (I remember an old TV Guide story from Jason Bateman's Hogan Family days in which industry types sang his praises without convincing me, but they were right and I was wrong — the guy's good here.) I usually reserve true out-loud laughter for Curb Your Enthusiasm (cable), The Office (British and cable) and The Simpsons (an anomaly). So what a surprise: the cynicism, the arson, the cousin lust. It's dark! It's different! It's daring! And, given my luck and its early lackluster ratings, probably doomed.

The Elizabeth Smart Story
"People will trust you more without your beard," the TV version of read more

Sunday Arrested Development Can...

Sunday

Arrested Development
Can it be? I'm laughing at a U.S. broadcast comedy? I mean, not because I fear I'm too jaded and should force myself, or because I grade network TV on a bell curve and am trying to find the best of a humor-starved lot, but because it's actually funny? (I remember an old TV Guide story from Jason Bateman's Hogan Family days in which industry types sang his praises without convincing me, but they were right and I was wrong — the guy's good here.) I usually reserve true out-loud laughter for Curb Your Enthusiasm (cable), The Office (British and cable) and The Simpsons (an anomaly). So what a surprise: the cynicism, the arson, the cousin lust. It's dark! It's different! It's daring! And, given my luck and its early lackluster ratings, probably doomed.

The Elizabeth Smart Story
"People will trust you more without your beard," the TV version of read more

Mrs. Swan Returns to Mad TV


On the occasion of its 200th episode (airing Saturday at 11 pm/ET), Fox's Mad TV is doing something really crazy: It's bringing back a passel of its most popular former players, among them our personal favorite, Alex Borstein. "[Seeing the old gang again] was like Friday the 13th, only scarier," she tells TV Guide Online with a laugh. "It was kind of like we'd been gone forever, yet we felt as if we'd never left."

Best of all, for the reunion, the funny lady has resurrected Mrs. Swan, the loopy manicurist character she based on her (apparently certifiable) grandmother. "We went to the post office recently to get her passport renewed," she relates, "and she gave me her ID to show the lady there, and that's when we found out it had expired... which she actually already knew, but was trying to pull a fast one on them!

"So we had to take a trip to the DMV to get her a new ID," she continues, "and that's what this Mrs. Swan sketch is read more

COUNTRY RULES

CBS's telecast of the 37th annual CMA Awards on Wednesday attracted nearly 21 million viewers, the show's largest audience in seven years. That may explain the disappointing numbers posted by The O.C., which finished fourth at 9 pm/ET. read more

SWINGIN' MISS

The TV jungle has proven uninhabitable for Tarzan. The WB pulled the plug on the much-hyped action-drama Thursday after it failed to find an audience on Sunday nights. A network rep says original episodes of the show will continue to air during November sweeps, after which Travis Fimmel and his six-pack abs will go "on hiatus." In related news, ABC has axed Dick Wolf's L.A. Dragnet. read more

JUSTIN TIME

Justin Timberlake dominated Thursday's MTV Europe Music Awards, winning best male singer, best pop act and best album for Justified. Christina Aguilera, who hosted the show, was named best female singer, while Beyonce Knowles won best song for "Crazy in Love." Aguilera opened the show wearing a nun's habit, which she quickly removed to reveal — shocker! — a barely-there top and leather chaps. She's so unpredictable! read more

NBC'S NEW TUESDAY

NBC is revamping its Tuesday night lineup beginning Dec. 2. Among the changes: The network will move Whoopi to 8:30 pm/ET to make room for the debut of The Tracy Morgan Show at 8 pm. Happy Family shifts to 9:30 pm following Frasier, which stays put at 9 pm. Good Morning Miami, meanwhile, moves to Thursdays at 9:30 pm — the timeslot briefly occupied by Coupling. read more

The Reagans's First Lady Speaks

To some folks, The Reagans isn't just another TV miniseries, it's a politically polarized polemic! All this controversy began when the New York Times ran its Oct. 21 article about the James Brolin/Judy Davis film, starting the whirlwind of public and political pressure that ultimately led to CBS declining to air it. (Instead, it'll debut on Showtime next year.) TV Guide Online interviewed Davis the day that Times story broke, and the 48-year-old Aussie actress spoke very candidly about her role as Nancy Reagan. But while she is empathetic toward her character, Davis does little to calm Ronald Reagan's supporters, who fear a liberal slant on the Republican former president's story.


TV Guide Online: Did you have any hesitation about accepting the role of Nancy Reagan?
Davis:
I did. I'm not American, I'm Australian. Which, in a se read more

C'MON GET HAPPY

Rev up the school bus, folks. The Partridge Family is coming back to town. VH1 has given the green light to a remake of the classic '70s sitcom, to debut sometime in 2004. Additionally, the casting of the new clan will be the subject of an upcoming VH1 reality show. read more

SEX SELLS

7th Heaven creator Brenda Hampton is developing a primetime drama for Fox titled The Sex Life of the American Teenager, which focuses on, um, the sex lives of teens living in America. "I'm going to go where I haven't been," Hampton quipped to Variety. "If you can't talk to your teens about sex, you can watch Fox." Mr. and Mrs. Hilton, I think she's talking to you. read more

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