Today's News: Our Take


SUNDAYThe Sopranos I assume everyone...

SUNDAY

The Sopranos
I assume everyone in town, including A.J.'s guidance counselor (David Strathairn) knows what Tony does for a living. (He says he's heard "some.") So is he really putting the preliminary moves on Carmela? Get the feeling the high school's gonna be taking out a "help wanted" ad soon?

Now, I was a knucklehead as a youth. And my buddies were even bigger ones. Drawing on the passed-out pal's face? Yeah, it happened (along with covering his mug with peanut butter and sticking Trivial Pursuit pieces into it to achieve a modern-primitive mosaic effect). But shaving off the eyebrows? Krazy Gluing the face to the floor? Way over the line. All. Out. War.

And speaking of war, putting Feech (Robert Loggia) on a bus back to prison avoided one. (The beauty of owning a cheap car, by the way: Had I been at that wedding, my ride would've still been there when I came out.) But I'm betting Tony's rare act o read more

WHATCHOO TALKIN' ABOUT?

Despite the dud that was its Charlie's Angels exposé, NBC is forging ahead with its Behind the Camera franchise. The net is developing a two-hour movie that explores the backstage drama at Diff'rent Strokes. Also in the Peacock's pipeline: Behind-the-scenes flicks about Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley and Bewitched. read more

SHORT CUTS

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ crossed the $300 million mark at the U.S. box office Thursday... With Martha Stewart headed for the slammer, CBS has ordered 10 episodes of a reality competition that aims to find the next diva of domesticity, Variety reports... ABC Family has acquired rerun rights to the WB's Smallville. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

NBC's news division is coming under fire for devoting two full hours of Dateline NBC to The Apprentice's April 15 finale. Dateline's entire April 14 show will take a behind-the-scenes look at the NBC reality smash, while the April 16 edition will feature an hourlong profile of Donald Trump. "I think it's a disgrace," said former NBC News president Larry Grossman. "It's clearly using the news division to hype the network's entertainment schedule." Dateline exec producer David Corvo argues that, "We're trying to respond to the interest." To that end, rumor has it Dateline is planning to devote six full hours to the phenomenon that is Happy Family. read more

Richard Grieco's Show of Force


His 21 Jump Street crony, Johnny Depp, now headlines blockbusters and vies for Oscars, while his own body of work tends to bypass the multiplex altogether. But despite the fact that his smoldering stare and intense presence should have made him a matinee idol as well, Richard Grieco doesn't give a damn. "Even when the films I've done haven't been good, they've been good characters," he explains to TV Guide Online, "so I'll still take them."

In the Sci Fi thriller Phantom Force (a spin-off of the FX-citing Interceptor Force flicks, premiering Saturday night at 9 pm/ET), the early-'90s teen heartthrob has himself another doozy of a role: a G-man combatting demons of both the literal and figurative variety. "In a lot of ways, I relate to the darker characters," allows the frequent screen heavy, who plays a hit man opposite Burt Reynolds and Charles Durning in the upcoming comedy Forget About It. "Even my writing and pa read more

THINKING PINK

Soccer stud David Beckham is in talks to play a cameo role in MGM's upcoming Pink Panther feature, starring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau. Beckham would play — brace yourself — a soccer player. read more

BROWN OUT

Bobby Brown was released from a Dedham, Mass., jail Thursday after spending the night for not paying $63,500 in back child support. He was sprung after forking over the cash. Brown called the whole thing a "misunderstanding," adding that he "thought it was paid." Next up for Whitney's albatross: A May 5 court date in Fulton County, Ga., where he faces misdemeanor battery charges for allegedly hitting his wife. On the bright side, at least the dude's keepin' busy. read more

MATERIAL MATTER

Madonna's Maverick record label has slapped Warner Music with a $200 million breach-of-contract lawsuit that seeks to end a partnership that began in 1992. The suit alleges fraud and false accounting and comes a day after Warners filed its own breach-of-contract suit against Maverick in Delaware. But I thought music was supposed to make the people come together??? I'm so confused. read more

LEGAL BILL

William Shatner is expected to join the cast of ABC's in-the-works Practice spinoff starring James Spader. Last week, the Star Trek icon kicked off a multi-episode arc on The Practice. read more

SPLITSVILLE

The three-year romance between Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz has come to an end. The couple — who met on the set of 2001's Vanilla Sky — "broke up at the end of January and it's amicable," confirms Lee Anne DeVette, Cruise's sister-turned-gofer-turned-publicist. Let's all observe a moment of silence for Tomelope... Okay, moment's up. read more

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