Today's News: Our Take


FAREWELL

Tony Randall, star of The Odd Couple, died in his sleep Monday night at the age of 84. Randall, who won an Emmy in 1975 for his portrayal of the fussbudget Felix Unger, suffered complications from a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Heather Harlan Randall, and their two children, ages 5 and 7. Randall also starred in the Rock Hudson-Doris Day films Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back. read more

WHOA!

How's Matt LeBlanc doin'? We're betting pretty good after the enthusiastic reception his Friends spinoff, Joey, received at NBC's fall-schedule presentation to advertisers (and me!) Monday in New York. Confident that they have a hit on their hands, Peacock execs screened the sitcom's entire pilot episode for the packed crowd. The consensus? It was warm, clever and, most importantly, funny. The network was stingier when it came to previewing its other new offerings, showing only clips of the 'toon series Father of the Pride (could be fun), crime dramas Medical Investigation and Hawaii (yawn...), and Heather Locklear's airport-set saga LAX (my advice to NBC: abort takeoff). The highlight of the nearly three-hour dog-and-pony show — which included appearances by read more

STORK REPORT

Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis has given birth to twin boys. Kian William and Kaiis Steven were born May 6 in Los Angeles. Dad is Davis' hubby, Dr. Reza Jarrahy. They also have a 2-year-old daughter, Alizeh Keshvar. read more

MAJOR DEVELOPMENT

Fox, which unveils its fall lineup on Thursday, has renewed its critically acclaimed (yet Nielsen-challenged) gem Arrested Development, Variety reports. The net has also greenlit struggling freshman drama Tru Calling for a second season. read more

IT'S TOAST

King World Productions is putting a fork in Martha Stewart Living, announcing that the once-hot home show will go on hiatus at the end of this season while its star gets her "legal situation" straightened out. Stewart, who was convicted of obstruction of justice in March, will be sentenced on June 17. read more

I SPY AN UPROAR

ABC won't debut a fourth season of Alias until January '05, allowing the serial thriller to enjoy an uninterrupted, rerun-free 20-episode run. The network's new fall lineup — presented to advertisers today in New York — will feature eight new shows. Among them: Lost, a drama from Alias creator J.J. Abrams, the Teri Hatcher-headlined soap Desperate Housewives and James Spader's Practice spinoff, Fleet Street. Meanwhile, 8 Simple Rules moves to Friday, where it will kick off ABC's TGIF lineup. read more

FROG SKED

The WB is keeping its Monday and Tuesday lineups intact next fall, but change is in the air on every other night. On Wednesday, Smallville will stay at 8 pm, where it will lead into new sketch comedies Blue Collar TV and The Green Screen. New drama The Mountain (think One Tree Hill on skis) will be paired on Thursdays with the reality-game hybrid Studio 7, and Mark Burnett's Commando Nanny joins the net's Friday comedy lineup. On Sunday, Charmed remains at 8 pm, where it will be sandwiched between an expanded Steve Harvey's Big Time and newcomer Jack and Bobby, the show that's not about the Kennedys. read more

BECKER IT'S NOT

Ted Danson has been tapped for the lead role in Our Fathers, Showtime's adaptation of David France's book about the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal. He'll play the Boston lawyer who represented the first victims to come forward. read more

EYEING BIG NAMES

When CBS announces its fall sked on Wednesday, Les Moonves and Co. are expected to add five new shows, including family comedies starring sitcom greats John Goodman and Jason Alexander. Also in the mix: Clubhouse, a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old batboy for the New York Yankees, and Dr. Vegas, an hourlong drama starring Rob Lowe as — you guessed it — a Las Vegas casino doc. read more

RECAST

Elizabeth Vargas has been tapped to replace Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 in September. She'll join current co-anchor John Stossel. As previously announced, Walters is leaving the show to focus on her prime-time specials and keeping the peace between Star Jones and Rosie O'Donnell. read more

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