Today's News: Our Take


DUTY CALLS

Third Watch has collared Nia Long (Soul Food) to walk the beat full-time this fall as Sasha Monroe, the cop character she originated in an April '03 episode. Meanwhile, sources confirm that Eddie Cibrian (Jimmy) will likely exit the NBC drama at some point this season. Pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine to read the funny joke I make about Cibrian's dimples. read more

OUR BOOMTOWN

Boomtown — which got the cold shoulder from Emmy last week — was the big winner at Saturday's 19th annual Television Critics Association Awards, picking up trophies for best new program and best drama series. Wanda Sykes hosted the 80-minute ceremony, which also bestowed a pair of awards on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. American Idol, meanwhile, was named Program of the Year. Paula Abdul showed up 40 minutes late to accept the trophy alongside Idol emcee Ryan Seacrest (who arrived on time). read more

DUTY CALLS

Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman — the team behind Band of Brothers — are mounting another 10-part World War II mini-series for HBO. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new project will focus on battles in the Pacific theater. read more

JOEY'S BIG BREAK

It's looking increasingly like Matt LeBlanc will be there for us well past Friends's swan song in May 2004. According to The Hollywood Reporter, LeBlanc is nearing a deal to headline a spinoff built around his Joey Tribbiani character. Friends exec producers Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan would likely pen the pilot script and serve as showrunners. Rumor has it, the spinoff would find Joey moving to Hollywood to pursue his acting career. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

All those on-air fat jokes apparently took a toll on American Idol's Randy Jackson. According to Inside Edition, the portly Idol judge recently underwent gastric bypass surgery in an attempt to lose weight. (That explains why he was MIA at Saturday's TCA Awards. What's your excuse, Simon?) In a statement, Jackson confirmed that he has "taken serious steps to improve my health... so I may appear lighter very soon. I want to resume my Speedo modeling career." Sounds like someone's been taking classes at the Paula Abdul School of Joke Writing. read more

Anna Paquin Grows Up


Enough beating up on former child stars! In recent years, we've seen plenty of 'em manage to reach adulthood sans embarrassing detours into jail or drug rehab. Just look at upstanding Ivy Leaguers like Claire Danes, Natalie Portman, Julia Stiles and Anna Paquin. For Paquin, 21 — who won an Oscar for best supporting actress in The Piano at age 11 — the secret to avoiding such has-been horrors lies in taking her early success with a grain of salt.

"There's no way to live, worrying about living up to something you did when you were 9," says the Columb read more

SHORT CUTS

NBC will broadcast a special 30-minute version of sister network Bravo's hit makeover series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Thursday at 9:30 pm... The Osbourne family's black Chihuahua was attacked and killed by coyotes, Us Weekly reports. read more

OOPSIE!

At CBS's portion of the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood, Calif., Sunday, CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves admitted that the network "maybe went over the line" when it attempted to land an exclusive interview with former POW Jessica Lynch by enticing her with a possible movie-of-the-week deal. "That was not respecting, possibly, the sanctity of CBS News," he said. For a minute-by-minute recap of all the day's highlights — including scoop on the future of Everybody Loves Raymond, The Amazing Race and Survivorclick here. read more

WHAT WILL BABS THINK?

James Brolin seems to be getting the hang of this right-wing thing. The actor — who played Martin Sheen's Republican rival on The West Wing last season — has been cast as Ronald Reagan in CBS's upcoming four-hour miniseries, The Reagans. Judy Davis will play Nancy Reagan. For more on this, click here and scroll down to 9:44 am. read more

OH BABY

Russell Crowe's bride, Danielle Spencer, is expecting their first child, he told an Australian TV station on Monday. "Danni is 14 weeks and three days [pregnant]," the Oscar-winning newlywed said. "So it is a lot of fun, and she is feeling all the effects of it." The couple's bundle o' joy is due in January. read more

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