Today's News: Our Take


WATCH OUT, OPRAH

Tony Danza wants to be the boss of daytime. The actor has signed a deal with Disney to headline his own syndicated talk show next fall. read more

AND THE WINNER IS...

Sunday night's much-hyped TV movie showdown between CBS's The Elizabeth Smart Story and NBC's Saving Jessica Lynch ended in a virtual dead heat. While the Smart pic prevailed among total viewers (15.5 million vs. 15 million), Lynch tied Smart in key demographics, including adults 18-49. read more

MISTER MATCH

Will Smith has signed on to play a "date doctor" who runs a matchmaking service in the romantic comedy Last First Kiss. Eva Mendes is in talks to play the female lead, a journalist who enrolls in the program intent on exposing Smith as a fraud. read more

POOR JUSTIN

Don't be surprised if Justin Guarini's trademark afro starts graying soon. The American Idol runner-up — whose debut CD tanked — is being sued for $100,000 by a Pennsylvania couple who claims he rammed his truck into the back of their car last March. read more

The Office Comes to America

The breakup of Coupling has done nothing to bolster optimism for The Office, the latest U.K. comedy hit to get Americanized by NBC. Slated to debut next fall, the U.S. branch is being headed by King of the Hill exec Greg Daniels. And although the show's original creator and star, Ricky Gervais (a.k.a. bossman David Brent), has agreed to play an "advisory and support" role, skeptics predict something's bound to get lost in the translation.


TV Guide Online: The idea of an American Office scares us.
Ricky Gervais:
Yes, because you've seen the English version. And hopefully, there are 249 million Americans that haven't.

TVGO: So, it's inevitable that Office fans will hate the U.S. version?
Gervais:
You're bound to be disappointed if you keep comparing it. I don't think they should be the same. And for as many nightmare stories of remakes, you have one that [worked]. I'm sure Americans d 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

WANTED: A BUTCH CARSON KRESSLEY

Bravo has greenlit Straight Eye for the Queer Guy, a one-hour special in which five hetero men make over a gay guy. The Queer Eye spinoff will reportedly feature lessons on power tools, NFL basics, decorating your garage and keeping your emotions bottled up. In related news, Bravo will air a Queer Eye holiday special on Dec. 16 in which the Fab Five revisit their past makeover subjects. Good, because I'm dying to find out how Tom M's kids made out with those toys Jai bought them. read more

FOOL ME ONCE...

Joe Schmo dupee Matt Kennedy Gould is getting back into bed with the very network that scammed him. Gould has inked a development deal with Spike TV, the New York Daily News reports. read more

END QUOTE

"Perhaps this project, because it was so controversial, I should have been more attentive early on. Maybe I should have looked at some of the dailies." — CBS chairman Les Moonves discussing the furor over The Reagans in an interview with Variety. read more

VIRTUAL (HARSH) REALITY

Maybe moviegoers do actually listen to critics. The poorly-reviewed Matrix Revolutions topped the weekend box office with $50 million — down 45 percent from the $91.8 million Matrix Reloaded took in during its three-day debut last May. Since opening Wednesday, Revolutions has grossed $85.5 million domestically and $204.1 million worldwide. Elsewhere, Will Ferrell's holiday comedy Elf debuted at No. 2 with a better-than-expected $32.1 million, and Love Actually grabbed the No. 6 spot with $6.6 million — which, actually, is pretty good considering it opened on only 576 screens. read more

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