Today's News: Our Take


Quentin Tarantino's bloody big-screen comeback Kill Bill butchered the box office competition over the weekend, opening at No. 1 with $22.2 million. It was the director's biggest debut to date and the fourth-best October bow ever. Last week's top flick, Jack Black's School of Rock, slipped to second with $15.4 million, but lost only 21 percent of its business. Joel and Ethan Coen's new dark comedy Intolerable Cruelty — starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones — opened at No. 3 with a decent $13.1 million, followed by Good Boy! (No. 4 with a better-than-expected $13 million) and Out of Time (No. 5 with $8.6 million). In limited release, Clint Eastwood's latest directorial effort Mystic River earned a spectacular $591,390 on just 13 screens. It opens nationwide Wednesday. 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


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


Christmas is coming early for American Idol fans. Fox will air an American Idol holiday special on Nov. 25 featuring alums Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken singing your favorite Yuletide hits. Why is the network scheduling a Christmas special two days before Thanksgiving, you ask? Because they want to get it in before the end of November sweeps, silly. 'Tis the season! 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


... 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

SundaySunday Morning Shootout...


Sunday Morning Shootout
Producer Peter Guber and Variety Editor-in-Chief Peter Bart argue over the MPAA's decision to ban sending DVD and VHS screeners to Academy Awards voters because of piracy concerns. I can't say for sure what I think, so they should send them all here and let me decide. Edward Norton stops by to discuss whether on-set tension makes for a better movie, a question I firmly believe can only be settled by... well, sending all Academy screeners to me. Then arguments start over the ballooning cost of movie making and how much support Governor Ah-nuld can expect from Hollywood. I, of course, believe the only way to get to the bottom of these issues is to... You know where I'm going with this, right?

The Practice
The Lyon's Den
Switching back and forth: On The Practice, Sharon Stone says she talks to God, but the other lawyers don't belie read more

Chainsaw Massacre's Fearless Star

Actor Eric Balfour — star of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (opening Oct. 17) — just keeps popping up on TV. He's been Claire's psycho, drug-addicted boyfriend on Six Feet Under and a computer geek on 24. But wait, what about his role on Jerry Bruckheimer's much-hyped WB series, Fearless?

"Fearless is still coming," Balfour insists to TV Guide Online, "but we don't have a date right now."

The much maligned — albeit with good reason — pilot featured Balfour as an FBI agent partnered with Rachael Leigh Cook, who plays a woman born without the gene to feel fear. Sound like a sketchy premise? Perhaps that's why the former fall series got bumped to the murky land of midseason. But Balfour insists that other forces were at play behind this scheduling decision.

"We haven't shot more than the pilot," the 26-year-old points out. "Basically, what happened was [executive producers] read more

Idol Star Goes Gay for Pay

American Idol lullababe Tamyra Gray is going from thespian to lesbian. The Boston Public grad will play a sapphic singer who develops a crush on Rachel True's Mona character on the Nov. 3 episode of UPN's Half & Half. The 24-year-old crooner admits she had some reservations about making her sitcom debut with such a "challenging" role.

"In the beginning [I was a little apprehensive], but mostly because I didn't know the other actress, Rachel, who I was playing side-by-side with," she tells TV Guide Online. "But it's kind of lighthearted, so it wasn't so bad. It wasn't bad at all, actually; it was pretty easy."

In the story, Mona tries to sign a hot new singer named Zora (Gray) to Delicious Records, but the hetero-leaning exec quickly realizes that the artist is sporting designs on more than just a lucrative album deal. "My character on Boston Public was a little shy," Gray says. "[Zora] is much more outgoing and read more

Meet WB's New "Mrs. Brady"

Diane Farr has the voice of an angel — well, maybe a very wry angel who got rid of her extra-thick New York accent. "I think somebody once called it 'whiskey-soaked,'" says Farr, 31, of her distinctive inflection. "It sorta sounds like I had a rough night." But, after well-received stints on MTV's Loveline and ABC's The Job, her days are pretty smooth now, as she lends that unique delivery to the new WB comedy Like Family (Fridays, 8:30 pm ET). She plays a single mother who, with her teenage son, moves into the crowded suburban home of her best friend (Holly Robinson Peete). Luckily, Farr made some space to talk with us.

TV Guide Online: The actor who plays your son on Like Family, J. Mack Slaughter, is actually 20 years old. Um, have you ever read that book Growing Up Brady by Barry Williams?
Diane Farr:
(Laughs) No, but I make the jokes all the time that I'm gonna pull a "Mrs. Brady" on him.

read more

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