Today's News: Our Take


Here's some "TV News" scoop from the new issue of TV Guide magazine (on newsstands today): Kathleen Wilhoite — best remembered for her role as Dr. Lewis's nutty sis on ER — has been cast as Jess's never-before-seen mom (and Luke's sibling) on Gilmore Girls. She first appears in the Jan. 27 episode, which also marks the return of Milo Ventimiglia's Jess. read more


Despite repeated on-air pleas, David Letterman probably won't be guesting on The Oprah Winfrey Show anytime soon. Or vice versa. Winfrey tells Time magazine that during her previous two appearances on Letterman's Late Show she was "sort of like the butt of his jokes. I felt completely uncomfortable sitting in that chair, and I vowed I would not ever put myself in that position again." I'm sure that whole "Uma, Oprah" debacle didn't help either. read more


Ozzy Osbourne says his bizarre behavior on MTV's The Osbournes was the result of a 42-pill-per-day habit that he blames on a Beverly Hills doctor. Osbourne told the Los Angeles Times that his doc overprescribed a host of powerful antipsychotic and tranquilizing drugs. "I was wiped out on pills," he says. "I couldn't talk. I couldn't walk. I could barely stand up. I was lumbering about like the Hunchback of Notre Dame." On the bright side, it made for some great television. read more


HBO's epic masterpiece Angels in America, Bravo's increasingly-grating Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and ESPN's sure-to-be-axed drama Playmakers are among the top nominees for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's (GLAAD) annual media awards. read more


The Blizzard of 2003 put a big chill on the weekend box office as Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai opened slightly below expectations and a number of films suffered steep double-digit declines. According to early estimates, Samurai debuted at No. 1 with $24.4 million — far below Cruise's other recent openings, including Minority Report ($35.6 million) and Mission: Impossible II ($57.8 million). After two weeks at No. 1, The Cat in the Hat fell to No. 5 with $7.3 million — a 70 percent drop from last weekend. Other freefallers include Eddie Murphy's Haunted Mansion (No. 3 with $9.5 million; off 60 percent) and Elf (No. 4 with $8.1 millio read more


This just in: Ain't It Cool News guru Harry Knowles has more pull than the Pope. Last Tuesday, Mel Gibson cancelled a Vatican screening of his controversial flick The Passion of the Christ, claiming "the film is... weeks away from being finished." But over the weekend, Gibson screened Passion for "230 exhausted cinema-loving movie worshipers" at Knowles's fifth annual Butt-Numb-A-Thon Film Festival. In fact, the actor-filmmaker even stuck around for a 90-minute Q&A. Sounds a little fishy to me. read more


Reality TV's first couple, Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, tied the knot Saturday before family, friends and Bob Guiney. The $1 million wedding — which ABC will televise Wednesday from 9-11 pm/ET — took place at the Lodge in Rancho Mirage just outside of Palm Springs, Calif. The divorce, meanwhile, is expected to take place any day now in Los Angeles Superior Court. read more

Quote of the weekend: "Did I say...

Quote of the weekend:
"Did I say one word when that boy broke my high heels playing dress-up?"
Wanda (Kellita Smith) on The Bernie Mac Show, reminding her husband of her continuing patience with their nephew and nieces.


Angels in America
Talk about an overwhelming, majestic sadness. HBO might as well head up to the stage right now and collect that best miniseries Emmy. This tale of AIDS in the Reagan era, starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson, was incredibly (and justifiably) hyped. The superb performances, fluid direction by Mike Nichols and heightened dialogue from original playwright Tony Kushner all made this a truly unique viewing experience. It's certainly not the "feel-good movie of the year" — it's the "feel damn good about watching television" event of the season.

Undercover Christmas
I didn't c read more


Several NBC affiliates refused to air this weekend's SNL — featuring presidential candidate Al Sharpton as host — for fear it would activate federal "equal time" provisions and force them to offer air time to the eight other Democrats running for president. Millions of Americans, meanwhile, refused to watch the show for fear it would continue to suck. read more

Recasting Dark Shadows

Like a vampire that simply refuses to die, the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows (which ran on ABC as an afternoon serial from 1966 to '71 and, almost a decade later, was resurrected by NBC as a Friday-night fright) is being raised from the grave yet again. This time, series creator Dan Curtis has even recruited for his partner a real power player: John Wells, who, as executive producer of ER, has lots of experience with faux hemoglobin. But before the latest prime-time version sees the light of day (so to speak), the dynamic duo will have to unearth an actor with the charisma to pull off the lead role of toothsome playboy Barnabas Collins. Luckily, their friends at TV Guide Online are here to help. Our picks?

Dylan McDermott: Not only does the Practice read more

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