Today's News: Our Take


COUPLING YANKED

Here's the best development of the new TV season: NBC is benching Coupling for the next two weeks! (Yipee!) However, the Peacock has opted to fill the struggling sitcom's post-Will & Grace timeslot this week with a repeat of Whoopi. (Sigh... ) Ironically, in spite of the whole Coupling debacle, NBC is taking another stab at translating a hit British comedy for American audiences. The network has ordered a pilot for a U.S. version of the sublime U.K. comedy The Office. (Some people never learn... ) read more

ACCESS IS EVERYTHING

Rumor has it Access Hollywood anchor Pat O'Brien may follow in pal Arnold Schwarzenegger's footsteps and run for governor of South Dakota in 2006. O'Brien would challenge incumbent Republican Mike Rounds. What's next — Tony Potts for president??? (He better get those Mensa scores up first.) read more

CONAN'S A POP

Late Night funny guy Conan O'Brien and his wife, Liza Powel, became the proud parents of a baby girl on Tuesday. Neve O'Brien was born at 5:13 pm in New York City. This is the couple's first child. Conan will resume his late-night duties tonight. In other baby news, Curb Your Enthusiasm star Cheryl Hines and hubby Paul Young are expecting their first child in March. read more

SIMPLE PLAN

Veteran actor James Garner has been tapped to play the father of Katey Sagal's widowed alter ego in four episodes of ABC's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Garner will first appear in early November, when the show returns with a special hourlong episode that will revolve around the Hennessy clan as they cope with the loss of John Ritter's character, Paul. (According to sources, Dick Van Dyke was among the contenders for the part.) The role of Garner's TV wife, meanwhile, is still being cast. read more

KEYSTONE COPS

NBC has ordered an hour-long cop dramedy pilot from producer Steven Bochco. According to Variety, the potential series will focus on rookie cops in a suburban college town who spend much of their time handling bizarre, generally non-life-threatening crimes. This is Bochco's first project with the Peacock network since L.A. Law. read more

Bob Newhart Checks Into ER

It's taken TV comedy vet Bob Newhart 74 years to make his dramatic debut. Sure, he's done serious films, but "generally as the comic relief." So what better place to do full-on drama than our favorite weepy hospital series, NBC's ER? He begins a three-episode stint on Oct. 30 as a visual artist who's distraught over losing his sight. Back on the funny front, he'll be seen as a "very nice" Santa's helper in Will Ferrell's Christmas flick Elf (opening Nov. 7). Here, he chatters with TV Guide Online about his latest adventure.


TV Guide Online: You've won so many awards — Grammys, Emmys, etc. Is there a Bob Newhart Memorial Tribute room in your house?
Bob Newhart:
No, my wife tends to be very modest about my achievements. Much more modest than I. (Laughs) She tends to hide my awards all over the house. Well, in the den, I have my Emmys. But they're in a bookcase. You really have to read more

DIVORCE COURT

Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland has filed for divorce from his wife, Mary Weiland, after nearly four years of marriage. In related news, the five-year marriage between Vincent D'Onofrio (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) and wife Carin Van Der Donk has come to an end. read more

FAMILY AFFAIR

Art imitates wife on the Nov. 24 episode of CBS's Two and a Half Men when Denise Richards guest stars as the on-again-off-again girlfriend of real-life hubby Charlie Sheen. The couple also act opposite each other in Scary Movie 3, which opens next Friday. read more

SHORT CUTS

Showtime has greenlit a TV movie based on the Jayson Blair/New York Times scandal... Ludacris's new CD, Chicken N Beer, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart with 430,000 copies sold... Karl Malden will receive the Screen Actors Guild's lifetime achievement award on Feb. 22... Mel Gibson has renamed his controversial religious epic The Passion of Christ because the original title — The Passion — was already claimed by Miramax. read more

MUST-FLEE TV

Due to tonight's final game of the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, NBC has decided to scrap original episodes of Friends, Scrubs, Will & Grace and ER in favor of repeats. Ditto for CBS, which is going with repeats of CSI and Without a Trace. (An original Survivor will air as planned.) Last night, NBC pulled a fast one on viewers when it swapped in second-run Law & Orders in place of original programming. In related news, go Yan..., er, team! Go team! read more

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