Emmy-winning TV icon John Ritter, best known for his role as endearingly awkward Jack Tripper in Three's Company and more recently the star of ABC's family comedy 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, died Thursday of a heart problem. He was 54. According to reports, Ritter had an undiagnosed defect in his aorta. In a statement, ABC said it was "shocked and heartbroken at the terrible news of John's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children at this very difficult time." There's no word on what impact Ritter's death will have on 8 Simple Rules, which was slated to kick off its second season Sept. 23. Ritter is survived by his wife, Wings actress Amy Yasbeck, as well as children Jason, Carly, Tyler and Stella. For a tribute from TV Guide critic Matt Roush, click here.
The WB is slowly turning into the Superhero Network. The Frog net — home of Smallville and (as of Oct. 5) Tarzan — is developing an hourlong drama for fall 2004 centered around fast-moving DC Comics icon the Flash, Variety reports. CBS attempted its own Flash series back in 1990, but that show tanked — and it was really good, too. Not to be a pessimist or anything.
Listen up, America: There's more upheaval behind-the-scenes at The Bernie Mac Show. Former Regency TV exec Peter Aronson is replacing Friends alum Michael Borkow as the sitcom's showrunner. Last spring, Borkow replaced series creator Larry Wilmore, who's now calling the shots on Whoopi.
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest's upcoming daytime talk show has a title: On Air with Ryan Seacrest. Rumor has it Twentieth Television ditched the well-groomed emcee's original choice, I'm Not Gay.
And the No. 1 reason David Letterman is glowing these days? He's gonna be a first-time daddy! The Late Show host's longtime girlfriend, Regina Lasko, is preggers, the New York Post reports.
After this, only one more rerun until the final season! I have the same fear Phoebe has about the cell phone still being on even though she just hung up. Burning question: Why are these New Yorkers so tan? Catch the name of the cologne Phoebe was sprayed with? Incentive for Men. Almost as classic as Hombre. And to dispel any misconceptions: Yes, women go to dressing rooms together, just like we go to the restroom together. But we don't go in the same stall. I realize this happened so the gals could gab in private, but don't go thinking we do anything else in there but talk. Sure John Stamos is "sperm-tastic," but why's he crossing his legs at the dinner table? And for the love of Hank Azaria, Phoebe must marry David. Mike's a weenie. Yay! A final-season promo. Oh. My. God. I need a tissue.
Earth Wind and Fire's "Do You Remember?" is such a better song than that cover of "Feelin' Groo
Wednesday's third season premiere of Enterprise attracted 4.1 million Trekkies, up 8 percent over last May's season finale, but off 16 percent from the show's second season premiere last September. UPN's new drama Jake 2.0, meanwhile, retained a promising 90 percent of Enterprise's total audience.
Country legend Johnny Cash, who became a giant in the music world with such hits as "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line," and "A Boy Named Sue," and who earned the nickname the Man in Black for always dressing in black, died Friday morning of complications from diabetes. He was 71. Cash had been released from the hospital earlier this week after a two-week stay for treatment of an unspecified stomach ailment — an illness which caused him to bow out of last month's MTV Video Music Awards.
An American Psycho is taking over the role of Batman. British thesp Christian Bale — best known for his indie work in films such as Little Women, Laurel Canyon and American Psycho — has been tapped to play the Caped Crusader in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming Batman flick. "What I see in Christian is the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne," says director Christopher Nolan (Memento). "He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for." The film — which will follow the early career of the Dark Knight — is expected to begin production early next year.
Broadway baby Kerry Butler knows her way around the block and
not just Theater Row, either. The native New Yorker, who's currently putting
down roots as Audrey in the big-time revival of Little Shop of Horrors,
has appeared twice on Sesame Street and, even more impressive, lived to
tell the tale.
"I went to the wrap party [last year], and I actually saw Snuffleupagus eat a little boy," she reveals to TV Guide Online. But before you go grumbling, "There goes the neighborhood!" let the ingenue finish. "Snuffleupagus spit him back out again, so it was okay. At the wrap party, they play all kinds of
jokes and stuff. It was perfect!"
Butler's second visit to Big Bird's turf was especially meaningful to
her. On her first visit, she was just a kid. However, upon returning to the
avenue, "I was sort of like a celebrity guest. I played the mail carrier and
sang, 'Oh, the letter carrier brings the mail... ' — you know, for 'T