Today's News: Our Take


RECOVERING

M*A*S*H star Alan Alda remains hospitalized in South America following emergency surgery for an intestinal obstruction. The actor — who is reportedly recovering well — was in Chile working on a TV documentary. read more

THIS IS GETTING UGLY, FOLKS

The plot over the MPAA's controversial screener ban is thickening. The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. says it will cancel its annual awards gala unless the Motion Picture Assn. of America drops its ban on sending DVDs of films to critics and Oscar voters. The critics group insists the ban, which the MPAA is touting as an anti-piracy measure, will make it "physically impossible" for its members to see every movie released by the end of the year — let alone copy and sell them on eBay. read more

BOX OFFICE BUZZING

It was a bloody busy weekend at the nation's box office as New Line's Texas Chainsaw Massacre redo debuted at No. 1 with $29.1 million — the second largest October opening ever. (Naturally, talks for a sequel are already underway.) Quentin Tarantino's gory revenge saga Kill Bill Vol. 1 slipped to second with $12.5 million, just enough to edge out John Grisham's latest big-screen adaptation Runaway Jury (No. 3 with $12.1 million). Rounding out the top five: The School of Rock (No. 4 with $11.3 million) and Mystic River (No. 5 with $10.36 million). read more

ORANGE ALERT

Fox has asked for an additional five episodes of The O.C., bringing the show's full-season order to 27. The thinking person's 90210 returns from hiatus on Oct. 29. read more

SENTENCED TO LIFE

The WB is once again posing the question, "What happens when celebrities stop being polite and start getting real... desperate?" Yes, folks — the Frog network has rounded up a new batch of D-listers for its second installment of The Surreal Life. Among the has-beens moving in together this time around: rapper Vanilla Ice, mascara queen Tammy Faye, porn legend Ron Jeremy, CHiPs star Erik Estrada, ex-Baywatch babe Traci Bingham and Real World grad Trishelle (they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one). The five sub-lebrities began their 10-day sleep-over on Monday, and rumor has it some surprise guests may pop in. Although the WB has not given The Surreal Life 2 an air date, there's talk it could air as early as midseason. read more

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Blatant attention-seeker David Blaine ended his 44-day starvation stunt in London Sunday, when he emerged from his his clear plastic box looking surprisingly stout for a man who allegedly shed 50 pounds. Before being whisked off to the hospital for tests, the 30-year-old illusionist told the crowd, "This has been one of the most inspirational experiences of my life. I have learned more in that box than I have learned in years. I have learned how strong we are as human beings." (Quick, someone hand me an egg.) read more

MONSTER MASH

Carmen Electra has signed on to play herself in the upcoming MTV original movie Monster Island. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the telepic will be a satire of classic monster movies, featuring Electra as the celebrity host of a fictional MTV beach concert that goes awry when a giant beast shows up and flies away with her in its beak. Let's hope MTV doesn't scrimp on the special effects. read more

SHORT CUTS

Game 1 of the World Series between the Yanks and the Marlins on Saturday gave Fox its best fall classic ratings since 2000... The WB has renewed High School Reunion for a third season... The American Film Institute will honor Meryl Streep with its lifetime achievement award on June 10. read more

Quote of The Weekend: "I think...

Quote of The Weekend:
"I think the only thing I enjoy more than doing the incredibly easy crossword puzzle, is seeing candid photos of Mickey Rourke looking like a bloated wreck."
SNL castmember Amy Poehler in a commercial parody for The National Enquirer

SUNDAY

World Series Game 2
I'll be honest, I'm from the Boston area, so it's been a tough time recently, baseball-wise. Watching this contest would be a little masochistic, unless the Yankees are losing. Since that quickly became irrelevant in the first inning with Hideki Matsui's three-run homer, I checked in only to see if anything changed. And it did. The Yankees got three more runs with the Marlins eking out one of their own. (Now, please picture my totally resigned expression. Thanks.)

Alias
Marshall (Kevin Weisman) rocks! For an amazingly awkward guy, he's grace under pressure when it's crisis time, read more

WHO'S ON THIRD?

NBC further tweaked its fall schedule over the weekend, moving Third Watch to Fridays at 10 pm beginning Oct. 31. The drama's Monday/10 pm time slot will be filled by the new Kathy Griffin-hosted dating show Average Joe (think Mr. Personality without the masks). Where does that leave Boomtown? Headed for TRIO, I'm guessing. read more

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