Today's News: Our Take


WEATHER BULLETIN

The forecast for Al Roker's daughter looks hazy with periods of unprovoked giddiness and sudden cravings. According to the New York Post, Courtney Roker — the 15-year-old daughter of Today's incredible shrinking weatherman — was suspended from her Westchester high school last week after she confessed to her dad that she smoked pot on school grounds. Two of her pals were also busted. read more

CSI: MIAMI OFF THE AIR

WPRI-TV, a CBS affiliate in Providence, R.I., has refused to air an upcoming CSI: Miami episode about a nightclub fire. The station feels it's too similar to the real-life blaze that killed 99 people in a Warwick, R.I., club in February. An Eye network rep said they respect WPRI's decision, adding that Miami's fire storyline was conceived before the tragedy occurred. read more

JAY'S MEA CULPA

Tonight Show host Jay Leno has apologized to a Kentucky physician for joking that the guy looks like Adolph Hitler. During his regular bit where he spoofs newspaper ads, Leno pointed to a photo of Dr. Ricky Collins, wisecracking, "He's no longer the chancellor of Germany. He's now a doctor." After Mrs. Collins called NBC to complain, Leno phoned them personally to make nice, and even donated $500 to the doc's favorite charity. read more

POLITICAL CRISIS

Aaron Sorkin, creator and exec producer of The West Wing, announced Thursday that he will be stepping down at the end of this season. "This has been the experience of any writer's dreams," Sorkin says. "I had the best job in show business for four years, and I'll never forget that." Fellow exec producer/director Tommy Schlamme will also be leaving. In a statement, NBC thanked the two for helping create "one of the finest shows to ever air on television," and added that exec producer John Wells has agreed to "assume a more active role next season." To read our exclusive interview with Wells, where he talks about Sorkin's departure and the show's declining ratings, click here. read more

JENN IN, GWYN OUT

Alias's Jennifer Garner is replacing Gwyneth Paltrow in the upcoming indie flick Happy Endings. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paltrow is seeking time off to grieve the loss of her father, producer/director Bruce Paltrow, who died last October while she was shooting Ted and Sylvia. Lisa Kudrow will also star in the comedy, which is set to shoot this summer in Los Angeles. read more

Heather Donahue Files Suit


The Hollywood parody New Suit (opening Friday) is highly unlikely to make movie-goers forget how much they loved — and loved to hateHeather Donahue as The Blair Witch Project's other scary villainess. But that's just fine with the level-headed up-and-comer. She never aspired to be a sensation, never mind an overnight one.

"I want the same career I've always wanted, which is sort of long, slow and respected, at least by myself," she tells TV Guide Online. "That's how I always imagined things going — working my way up, getting a part here and a part there, then gradually just being a working actor. I love making my living as an actor — to me, that's a minor miracle.

"In fact, the whole Blair Witch experience came as a huge, not-entirely-pleasant shock," she adds, noting that after the pi read more

West Wing Creator Quits! What Now?

Talk about political upheaval. Late Thursday, West Wing's creator and exec producer Aaron Sorkin sent shockwaves through the TV industry when he announced that he would be stepping down as the show's Emmy-winning commander-in-chief. And what's more, he's taking his No. 2, exec producer/director Tommy Schlamme, with him. Although insiders speculate that Sorkin was driven out in part due to the show's declining ratings, all parties insist the split was an amicable one. That's a sentiment pretty much shared by fellow WW producer John Wells, who in this exclusive interview with TV Guide Online, sets the record straight about the surprising behind-the-scenes shake-up at NBC's fictional White House.
TV Guide Online: Why is Aaron leaving?
John Wells:
He's been threatening to for the last three years, and each year we've been successful in getting him to stay. [But] this year, he said he really needs to read more

Chicago Producers See Red


Everybody loves Lucille Ball. And Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — the Oscar-winning producers of Chicago — are no exception. The successful duo, whose recent TV biopics include Martin and Lewis and Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, cover the famous redhead in Lucy (Sunday at 8 pm/ET on CBS). But will they be kind?

"We've truly loved the people that we have done biopics on," says Meron. "We truly want to honor them, and we want people to understand why they were great. I hope that we've been successful in that, because in no way shape or form would we ever want to malign these people."

The three-hour teleplay explores the comedienne's pers read more

THEY LOVE AMERICA, REALLY!

The Dixie Chicks got a warm welcome in Greenville, S.C. as they kicked-off their summer concert tour on Thursday. The sold-out crowd cheered on the Chicks, whose album plummeted on country charts after singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed of President Bush in March. Last night, Maines thanked the crowd for their support and rejoiced, "They said you might not come, but we knew you would." read more

LEGAL WOES

A hairstylist for Fox Sports's Best Damn Sports Show Period has slapped Tom Arnold and co-host John Salley with a sexual harassment suit. In legal papers, Lisa Brescher alleges she was "pawed [and] groped," and subjected to various unpleasant remarks. A Fox spokesman fires back: "Unfortunately, this is a case where a disgruntled worker thinks that there is money to be made by making outlandish accusations against a high-profile company and its stars." read more

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