Today's News: Our Take


MEDIOCRE SEX

The return of Sex and the City on Sunday averaged 6.4 million viewers, slightly below average. According to industry experts (read: me), the ratings would have been higher had Sarah Jessica Parker and Mikhail Baryshnikov displayed just an ounce of chemistry together. read more

THE FIRST LADY'S DILEMMA

Looks like an extended work leave for Dateline NBC anchor Maria Shiver is in the works. Next week, NBC News honcho Neal Shapiro reportedly plans to meet with Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger to address concerns that her role as California's first lady is a conflict of interest with her job. However, NBC News has denied asking for her resignation outright. Shriver originally went on leave to help with her husband's gubernatorial campaign, and has since made only two appearances on the newsmagazine. read more

BAD MEDICINE

The estate of late Beatle George Harrison is suing the cancer doctor who treated the legendary performer, claiming he coerced Harrison into autographing a guitar for his teenage son two weeks before his death. The $10 million lawsuit — filed Monday by the singer's widow, Olivia, and their son, Dhani — says Dr. Gilbert Lederman guided a weakened Harrison as he wrote his name "with great effort and much obvious discomfort." A photograph of the physician's son holding the guitar appeared in the National Enquirer shortly after Harrison's death in 2001. The doc's attorney calls the suit "absurd." read more

MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING

Robert Duvall is finally coming clean about why Francis Ford Coppola wasn't able to pull him back in for Godfather III. "If they paid [Al] Pacino twice what they paid me, that's fine, but not three or four times, which is what they did," he tells tonight's 60 Minutes II. Duvall earned an Oscar nod for his role as Tom Hagen in the original Godfather. He also starred in the sequel. read more

HAIRY CONCEPT

What do you get when you mix The Restaurant with a little Shampoo? A new reality show on Bravo titled Blow Out. According to Variety, the six-episode series will be set in a new Beverly Hills salon launched by star stylist Jonathan Antin. read more

VEGAS, BABY!

Is Britney Spears ready to try her luck in Sin City again? The newly singled pop tart — whose quickie Las Vegas wedding to pal Jason Allen Alexander was officially annulled on Monday — is being wooed to play herself in an episode of NBC's new hit drama Las Vegas. "We're actively trying to get her to come on, because she loves the show," exec producer Gary Scott Thompson tells TV Guide Online. "But then her little weekend [wedding] happened and we kind of went, 'I don't know if she's gonna want to do Vegas anymore.'" Calls to Spears' reps were not returned, but they probably have their hands full these days. read more

SHORT CUTS

Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers will compete for best picture at Sunday's People's Choice Awards... Celine Dion received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday. It's located in front of the Kodak Theater on the corner of Hurl and Gag... Beyoncé Knowles has been tapped to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII on Feb. 1. In other gridiron news, Fight On!! Trojans are No. 1!! read more

FROG LEAPS

Another day, another high-profile resignation at a broadcast network. The WB's Jed Patrick confirmed Tuesday that he will exit his post as the network's president and chief operating officer. The news follows Monday's announcement that Sandy Grushow will step down as chairman of Fox. What does all this mean to the average viewer? Not a damn thing. read more

LITTLE FRIEND

It's official: Friends star Courteney Cox and husband David Arquette are expecting their first child. There's no word on a due date, but rumors that a baby was on the way began swirling in October when David's actor-brother Alexis let the cat out of the bag on The Sharon Osbourne Show. Cox — who has been candid about her struggle to have children — recently told Barbara Walters that she had suffered "many miscarriages" and had begun using pre-genetic testing to lessen the possibility of losing another baby. read more

END QUOTE

"This maybe was not the year to try to launch a show on the network schedule. By the time we found our creative voice, we were pulled." Rob Lowe lamenting the rapid demise of The Lyon's Den at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood on Tuesday. read more

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