Today's News: Our Take

Question: Hi. I love your ...

Question: Hi. I love your column. I just read your comment about The Ghosts of Buxley Hall. I just wanted to let you know that it's not too difficult to transfer the video standard PAL to NTSC. The person with the question should be able to take the VHS PAL tape to any video duplication place to get a conversion made. Some places won't do it because of copyright issues, but I used to work at a video production company that would agree to make one VHS NTSC copy if you signed a copyright release form. Customers would buy European tapes all the time and bring them in for conversions. So if the person with this question is desperate, this is an option for him or her. — Madeline C., Austin, Tex.

Televisionary: Assuming Tiffany, who asked that question, is a loyal reader, she'll see this. And we both thank you for the info, Madeline.

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Jessica Biel Must Die!

Say your prayers for Jessica Biel. The minister's daughter from 7th Heaven really needs 'em in New Line's bloody Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (opening Friday). But we're curious: How does an actress find herself on the wrong end of a chainsaw? Let's ask her, shall we?

"It is so weird," the 21-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "I just think, 'Okay, now it is time that I do an acting piece that is going to be Oscar-worthy.' I have all these ideas about what is going to come out next, and then something like this falls in my lap!

"Initially, I was very intimidated and very concerned about remaking this classic," Biel continues. "Then I read it, and it was great. And I met with [director] Marcus Nispel and he's great. Nothing like I ever expected. And it just happened. I never think, 'Oh, I've got to do a horror film,' or 'I've got to do an action movie' to get completely out of what I've done before."

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Hollywood is beating another action movie franchise to death. According to Variety, 20th Century Fox has tapped screenwriter Mark Bomback to pen Die Hard 4. Bruce Willis is slated to reprise his role as John McClane if (and only if) the script passes his muster. And let's face it: The bar was set pretty high with 1995's Die Hard: With a Vengeance. read more


Here's some "TV News" scoop from the current issue of TV Guide magazine: Just months after pink-slipping former Practice receptionist Marla Sokoloff (as well as five other colleagues), David E. Kelley has hired the actress back. Sokoloff has been cast in a multi-episode arc on Kelley's struggling CBS drama The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire. She'll play Audrey, a local recruited by Mare Winningham's character to sing in her new theater. She'll first air in December. read more


Shield star Michael Chiklis is jumping onto the big screen with a role in the indie working-class comedy-drama Make Someone Happy. read more


Steve Martin is in talks to succeed Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in MGM's big-screen prequel Birth of the Pink Panther. Mike Myers was originally attached to the role, but the studio passed when Austin Powers allegedly demanded a too-groovy $20 million payday. read more


Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer sorceress Alyson Hannigan had a pretty magical weekend. On Saturday, the actress married longtime beau (and Angel actor) Alexis Denisof in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. And the following day, news broke that the American Pie leading lady — who recently made public her wish to star in a TV sitcom — had inked a deal with NBC to headline her very own comedy series for fall 2004. Comparatively, my weekend highlights included bringing my winter clothes up from storage and catching a Sunday matinee of Intolerable Cruelty. And contrary to tabloid reports, I went to the movie alone by choice and not because I have no friends. read more


Rush Limbaugh may be facing more than just a 30-day stint in rehab. The conservative radio host — who last week admitted to listeners that he was addicted to painkillers — is also under investigation by the Palm Beach County, Fla., state attorney's office, The Associated Press reports. read more


Barbara Walters can add another big notch to her belt. The ABC News vet has landed an exclusive interview with embattled domestic guru Martha Stewart. The chat — Stewart's first since being indicted for insider trading — took place over the weekend. However, ratings-hungry ABC is holding the piece until November sweeps. During the sit-down, Stewart admitted the prospect of doing jail time frightened her. "Who wouldn't be scared? Of course I'm scared," she said. "The last place I would ever want to go is to prison. And I don't think I will be going to prison, though." read more


... the current issue of TV Guide magazine, Amazing Race fans will also want to check out my "TV News" column for scoop on the reality show's upcoming fifth edition. Now, go buy an issue, race back to your computer and e-mail me the scoop via the link at the bottom of this page. The first person to do so will get a shout-out in my column tomorrow! You'll be famous! read more

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