Today's News: Our Take


FAREWELL

TV news giant David Brinkley, who during his five decade-long broadcasting career won 10 Emmys, three Peabodys and, in 1992, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, died Wednesday night at his home in Houston of complications from a fall. He was 82. Brinkley began his career at NBC in the late '50s as a political reporter. He eventually went on to co-anchor the evening news, first with Chet Huntley and later with John Chancellor. In 1981, he joined ABC news as host of This Week with David Brinkley, a post he held until 1997. "For those of us who were privileged to work with him over his long and outstanding career, we know that he set a shining example for everyone in broadcast journalism," ABC News President David Westin said. "ABC News has a richer heritage because of his many contributions to the the network." read more

MACKEY WOULD BE PROUD

Shawn Ryan, creator/exec producer of The Shield, has signed a $6 million pact with FX to continue helming the acclaimed drama for another two seasons. Variety calls it the "most lucrative writer deal in the history of basic cable." (Sopranos creator David Chase calls it chump change.) Season Three of The Shield is slated to launch in January. read more

GUY STUFF

Warner Bros. has secured the rights to turn '80s action-adventure series The Fall Guy into a feature film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Somewhere, Heather Thomas is desperately trying to remember the name of her agent. read more

A PLEA FOR PEACE

Woody Allen has taped a French tourism video urging Americans to go back to eating French fries and sharing French kisses. But maybe not in that order, because that could get messy. read more

BEST SELLER

Hillary Clinton's tell-all tome Living History sold roughly 200,000 copies in its first day of release Monday, according to Simon & Schuster. As a result of the brisk sales, S&S — which paid the former first lady $8 million to spill her guts about Monicagate — is printing another 300,000 copies of the book. read more

OH, BROTHER

The ax is swinging at another David E. Kelley show. The überproducer has fired one of the lead actors from his upcoming CBS drama Brotherhood of Poland, N.H. (Wednesdays/10 pm/ET). Brian Haley, who was slated to play brother Waylon Shaw, is out and a replacement is being sought. A rep for David E. Kelley Productions says the role is "being reconceived," but adds that "Brian's work was exceptional in the pilot, and we hope to be able to bring him back in another role." According to FilmJerk.com, casting agents are looking for someone with a small-town New England feel — accessible, familiar and passionate — to take over the part. Add bitter and hunky and suddenly the role is mine to lose. read more

THIS SOUNDS DIRTY

John Waters is on the prowl for an actress to play a blue-collar convenience store clerk prone to uncontrollable sexual urges in his latest comedy, A Dirty Shame. "I wish Meryl Streep would do it," he tells Variety, "but I don't think she would." Johnny Knoxville and Selma Blair have been recruited to co-star. read more

EXEC SHUFFLE

The head of cable network FX is defecting to NBC to oversee the network's prime-time development. Kevin Reilly, the man responsible for The Shield, will become second-in-command to Entertainment President Jeff Zucker. Funny sidebar: As USA Today notes, Zucker once referred to The Shield as a show "nobody watches." I bet he feels silly about that now. read more

How Franky Got to Hollywood


Former bouncer, running back and electronic-poker technician Franky G. had zero films to his credit when he auditioned to play an ex-con in Manito (opening Friday in select cities). And that was a good thing. What helped the 40-year-old Brooklyn native deliver a buzz-worthy performance was real life experience — not to mention a body that won't quit!

"I had a friend of mine who is similar to Junior," he tells TV Guide Online. "He's now a born-again Christian with a wife and a kid and lives in Queens. He showed me some of the Bronx areas where he dealt drugs. He did five years in prison. When I read this script, I thought of him a lot."

Franky guesses his years as a semi-pro football player have given him an edge (and that chiseled physique) in his new career. "The roughness of [football] disciplined me a lot," he explains.

Not that Hollywood has been especi read more

TOY STORY

Those '80s icons known as The Transformers are taking shape as movie stars. According to The Hollywood Reporter, X-Men writer-producer Tom DeSanto is developing a live-action feature based on the classic shape-shifting toys. Can the Smurfs be far behind? I think not. read more

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