Today's News: Our Take


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

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

WHERE THERE'S A WILL...

Bad Boys II made good at the box office over the weekend. The action sequel starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence debuted at No. 1 with $46.7 million, the fourth-biggest R-rated bow in history. Pirates of the Caribbean slipped to No. 2 with $33.3 million — off just 29 percent from last weekend. (By comparison, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen plummeted 56 percent in its second weekend.) Elsewhere, new spy spoof Johnny English opened in fourth place with $9.3 million, and the Mandy Moore drama How to Deal arrived in eighth place with $5.8 million. 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

BUCKLE UP!

Saturday Night Live's Jimmy Fallon has been cast opposite Queen Latifah in Taxi, 20th Century Fox's in-the-works remake of the 1998 French flick about a cabbie (Latifah) who teams with a cop (Fallon) to solve a series of bank robberies. read more

FAREWELL

Author Carol Shields, who won a Pulitzer for her novel The Stone Diaries, died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 68. read more

Emmy Boss Explains WB's Shut-Out

Let's face the facts: This year's Emmy nominations were a snooze. Voters once again played it safe, honoring aging faves like The West Wing and Will & Grace over fresher, more deserving fare like Alias and Scrubs. (When E!'s reality train wreck Anna Nicole Smith Show gets more nods than the WB's sublime mother-daughter dramedy Gilmore Girls, something's wrong, folks.) So, who better to vent our frustrations to than the big cheese himself: Academy Chairman and CEO Bryce Zabel.

TV Guide Online: Why do you think it's so tough for WB shows to break through?
Bryce Zabel:
I'm not an expert here, but I would presume that the WB is gaining increasing consciousness every year among all the voters, among American read more

Fox Exec Grilled About 24 Gaffe


Fox kicked off its portion of the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood, Calif., on a high note Thursday. As the network's Entertainment President Gail Berman said in her opening remarks, "Today we have a lot to celebrate." She was referring, of course, to the 37 Emmy nominations Fox scored earlier that morning (led by 24 and American Idol), as well as the fact that the network was "coming off the most successful year in our history." Unfortunately, I found it difficult to share in her happiness, for I had a score to settle with Ms. Berman. At issue: Her obsession with running 24 commercials that give away key plot twists. The last straw came in April, when Fox ran a promo that revealed Lynn's impending fall down a stairwell. And the worst part? It aired just weeks after I personally pleaded with Berman to put an end to read more

BANZAI PROTEST

An Asian-American media group says Fox's new comedy Banzai demeans and stereotypes Asian people, and the dissenters staged a protest Thursday at the TCA press tour to voice their anger. In reponse to the controversy, Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman said, "Well, the show itself is a parody of Japanese game shows. Certainly, we think the bulk of the audience has understood that." read more

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