Today's News: Our Take


SPIDEY CRISIS

Damn you, Green Goblin! A bum back may prevent Tobey Maguire from reprising his title role in Spider-Man 2. The actor's rep tells Variety that the web-slinger is still healing from "mild discomfort in his back" brought on by physically demanding roles in his last two films: the first Spider-Man and the upcoming horse drama Seabiscuit, in which he plays jockey Red Pollard. Ironically, Maguire may be replaced by Good Girl star Jake Gyllenhaal — the real-life boyfriend of Spider-Man leading lady Kirsten Dunst. Shooting is slated to begin April 12. read more

MONICA MOURNS

Friends actress Courteney Cox Arquette is turning to the dark side. The underrated funny lady has signed on to star in the psychological drama November. She'll play a shutterbug struggling to put the tragic circumstances of her boyfriend's death behind her. read more

BAILEY' S BACK

Former Party of Five star Scott Wolf — who has been virtually MIA since the Fox melodrama went off the air three years ago — has been tapped to headline the CBS comedy pilot Rubbing Charlie. Owen's liar-thief-drunk older bro will play a doctor who's uncertain of what he wants out of his own life. read more

Ben Browder Bids Farewell to Farscape


As John Crichton, the lost-in-space astronaut at the center of Sci Fi's cult series, Farscape, Ben Browder has been tortured, shot at, ejected into space and twinned. But you won't hear him complain. "I've had a fantastic time playing Crichton," says the Tennessee-born actor. With the show's finale airing Friday (8 pm/ET), Browder, 40, reflects on his tour of duty aboard the living leviathan Moya, and names his favorite Farscape episodes.

TV Guide Online: Farscape's fans are nothing if not devoted. But be honest: Haven't you grown a little tired of people calling you "Crichton" all the time?
Ben Browder: Actually, that doesn't happen to me very often. I hear about it happening to other people. Claudia Black [who plays Crichton read more

Hall & Oates Return!


The trademark blond pompadour and the big black mustache are long gone, but Daryl Hall and John Oates are back. After disappointing record sales in the '90s, the duo have rebounded with a new hit album, Do It for Love. And now they're bringing their infectious blend of pop and R&B to A&E's say-it-they'll-play-it concert series, Live by Request (airing March 24, 9 pm/ET)

"It's one of the best shows on television for music, if not the best," says Hall, 54, of the telecast that counts Santana, David Bowie and James Taylor as previous gue read more

LET THERE BE PEACE

Here's further proof that Sopranos star James Gandolfini has resolved his ugly contract dispute with HBO: Both sides have dropped their dueling lawsuits, and production on the show's fifth season is scheduled to commence on March 31 — just one week behind schedule. Phew, that was a close one. read more

IDOL NAILBITER

When (and if) war breaks out, the major networks are expected to air up to three days of wall-to-wall news coverage, which could throw a monkey wrench into everything from CBS's coverage of the NCAA hoops tournament (ESPN may carry the games) to American Idol's selection process on Fox. And in a move that can only be described as ironic, UPN will be the only broadcaster to stick with regular programming. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Spider-Man's not the only superhero franchise in trouble. The producers of the upcoming Superman update are back to square one in their search for a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve. The latest setback: Brendan Fraser and Guiding Light star Matthew Bomer are now out of contention for the title role, according to The Hollywood Reporter. read more

RECOVERING

Sharon Osbourne was rushed by ambulance to a Las Vegas hospital Friday night after suffering heat exhaustion backstage at her hubby's concert, the New York Post reports. "It was nothing serious," says her rep. "We were [at the hospital] for about 20 minutes." read more

BATTLE PLAN

Oscar organizers insist Sunday's 75th annual ceremony will go on as planned despite the imminent war in Iraq. "The Academy Awards are scheduled to proceed Sunday the 23rd at 5:30 pm [PT]," show producer Gil Cates said Monday in a statement. If war does break out, it's possible ABC could break away from the telecast for sporadic news updates. Somewhere, host Steve Martin is wishing he had taken a pass this year. read more

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