Today's News: Our Take


MUSIC KUDOS

American Music Awards nominations are out! In the male pop-rock artist category, American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is competing with the big boys — Kid Rock, John Mayer and Justin Timberlake. Meanwhile, Celine Dion snagged two nods: The one for favorite adult contemporary artist puts her up against Cher and Norah Jones. The other, for fave female pop-rock artist, has her vying with Avril Lavigne and J.Lo. Eminem got nods for favorite male rapper and the 8 Mile soundtrack, while Sean Paul and Missy Elliott also are up for hip-hop honors. read more

THE SHOW WILL GO ON

After much "introspection and discussion," ABC has decided to continue production of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter despite the sudden death of its star John Ritter. Instead of recasting Ritter's role, producers will write his death into the show. At a press conference Tuesday, ABC chairman Lloyd Braun announced that the network would air the three episodes that Ritter completed sequentially beginning with next Tuesday's season premiere. The show will then take a brief production hiatus and "future episodes, once we come back onto the air, will take viewers into the Hennessy household as they experience the loss of a father and construct a new life together." read more

CONTROL FREAK

Andy Richter is heading back to NBC. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Conan's onetime sidekick has signed a deal with the network to develop a sitcom for fall 2004. Richter's first stab at post-Late Night success — the critically acclaimed Fox comedy Andy Richter Controls the Universe — failed to connect with viewers for some unknown reason. read more

GAY FOR PAY

Here's some "TV News" scoop from next week's issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale Monday): Will & Grace producers have retained ex-Practice star Dylan McDermott to play a romantic interest for Will (Eric McCormack) in an episode to air Oct. 30. As of now it's just a one-shot deal, but it could develop into a recurring gig. Why the hesitation? "It scares people," says McCormack of a full-blown love story for Will. "It scares middle America. So we have to be careful. And I think to do it with the right person — somebody they already know, an actor they're already comfortable with — might help. This is maybe one that makes them comfortable." read more

SHORT CUTS

Comedy Central has ordered a second season of Reno 911!... Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearance on Monday's Oprah earned the chatfest its best season-premiere numbers in five years. read more

STAIN REMOVED

Miramax has delayed the release of its upcoming Nicole Kidman-Anthony Hopkins drama The Human Stain from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31, TV Guide Online has learned. Rumor has it the studio postponed the the highly anticipated film just to annoy me. read more

Performing As Loved the winner;...

Performing As
Loved the winner; you know, that spooky-good Frank Sinatra impersonator. The Faith Hill wannabe was okay, too. But everyone else sounded screechy as howler monkeys. Still, I have to hand it to the faux Cher, Lisa Cash. She did "Turn Back Time," complete with guys in sailor outfits and a tamed-down-for-broadcast-TV version of Cher's black, see-through outfit from her music video. By the way, I only remember Cash's name because she sounds like a Las Vegas lounge singer. Speaking of Vegas, there's about 100 drag queens there who could do Cher way better. Of course, if Fox let crossdressers compete, they'd blow the regular Joes out of the water.

Whoopi
The Whoopster goes way over the top in a fit of claustrophobia. Eh, maybe this is gonna be one of those hit or miss sitcoms. Giggle-inducing one week, so-so the next.

Big Brother 4
Three housemates are left. read more

COME TO PAPA, YOU LITTLE %$#*!

Foul-mouthed thesp Colin Farrell and his galpal, model Kim Bordenave, became the proud parents of a baby boy, born Friday in Los Angeles. Farrell was not present for the birth because he was in Morocco shooting Oliver Stone's upcoming Alexander the Great epic. The little guy will be named when his pa returns home. read more

O.C. Vixen the Next Katie, Not Tori


Some O.C. cast members would sooner drink Coppertone than hear one more time how much their prime-time soap resembles its Fox forebear, Beverly Hills, 90210. But Rachel Bilson? She isn't one of 'em. "It's so flattering!" the actress exclaims to TV Guide Online. "I grew up on 90210. I was addicted to it!" Just don't call her character, ice princess Summer, the O.C.'s answer to Donna Martin.

"I don't want to be the Donna!" she says, mock pouting. "Nothing against Tori Spelling, but Summer affiliates more with Kelly (Jennie Garth) at the beginning of 90210, when she was the BMW-drivin' bad girl. Donna was way more innocent." And the buxom virgin stayed that way for — gulp! — years. "No, no, no, no!" Bilson squeals. "That is not the case with my character at all!"

Down the line, however, the L.A. native hopes that her star will align less with sitcom scene-stealer Garth's and more with that of a certa read more

Frasier Wedding Mystery


Buzz that Frasier will cap its 11-year run in May by throwing a wedding for Kelsey Grammer's lovelorn shrink has everyone speculating about the identity of the future Mrs. Crane. Well, we can pretty much tell you who the radio caregiver won't be exchanging I-do's with: his trusty producer Roz (Peri Gilpin), who, in last May's finale, quit KACL in a jealous rage over her boss's romance with Julia (Felicity Huffman).

"I'll tell you the truth," Grammer confides to TV Guide Online. "We've never actually seen [Frasier and Roz] as the ultimate relationship. It never seemed like the right place to go. But they certainly are the best of friends — and we'll restore that."

But first, the tension created by Roz's lingering feelings will be dealt with in the Sept. 23 season premiere. "We will explore some of the psychological underpinnings as to why Roz acted that way," explains exec producer Christopher Lloyd. "But as far as read more

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