Today's News: Our Take


DIVINE INTERVENTION

Turns out, not only is God one of us, he's a Nielsen voter too! The premiere of CBS's spiritual drama Joan of Arcadia pulled in 13.2 million viewers Friday night, trouncing the heavily hyped debut of Alicia Silverstone's NBC romance Miss Match (7.9 million viewers). The rest of CBS's new Friday lineup — which includes the relocated JAG and the new Joe Pantoliano drama The Handler — also fared well, averaging 13.8 and 12.6 million viewers respectively. ABC's Kelly Ripa-Faith Ford family farce Hope & Faith, meanwhile, got off to a strong start with 11.5 million viewers. read more

Sunday Cold Case So, I figured,...

Sunday

Cold Case
So, I figured, here's another pretty face thrown into a bloody procedure series to give it some window dressing. (Hey, it works fine for CSI — and at least Cold Case isn't trying to pull an ex-stripper explanation over on us. Not in the pilot, anyway.) But Kathryn Morris carries off tough-minded Det. Lilly Rush quite capably. I just hope the writers don't keep heading to the ripped-from-the-headlines well (Michael Skakel, anyone?) that's... OK, earning bigtime ratings for shows like CSI and Law &#038 Order and making millions upon millions for producers like Jerry Bruckheimer and Dick Wolf. Yeah, right. I'll shut up now.

Alias
Y'know, these characters and plots rang truer when they were played out by Gerry Anderson's puppets. Let's see: Vaughn's a teacher, ma read more

A LEGEND DIES

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Elia Kazan, who directed some of the most influential movies of all time, including On the Waterfront, East of Eden and A Streetcar Named Desire, died Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 94. A cause of death was not given. Kazan was also a giant of the theater world, having earned the best director Tony three times. Despite the acclaim, Kazan was assailed for naming names during the Communist witchhunt in the 1950s. Those old wounds were reopened in 1999 when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences decided to bestow upon Kazan an honorary Oscar. At the ceremony, some audience members — including Nick Nolte and Ed Harris — refused to applaud when his name was announced. read more

DELIVERANCE FROM TEMPTATION

If we were betting folks, we'd say that the No. 1 reason to tune in to tonight's Temptation Island 3 finale (at 8 ET on Fox) is to wager our life savings that piggy Michael gets sent packin' by his adorable girlfriend, Melissa. Upon being reunited, "I saw the look on her face and knew what the outcome would be," he hints to TV Guide Online's Ben Katner. Drat — too bad we're not betting folks. For an exclusive interview with Mr. Potty-Mouth, keep an eye on our Insider section later this week. read more

COMEBACK KID

Liza Minnelli has made her first big career move sans estranged husband/manager/all-around scary man David Gest. The actress-singer has signed on to play a rich widowed socialite in two episodes of Fox's sublime Royal Tenenbaums-esque satire Arrested Development, which premieres on Nov. 2. read more

STUNT CASTING

Will & Grace has cast Monty Python alum John Cleese to play the father of Karen's nemesis Lorraine (Minnie Driver) in six episodes. Driver will also be back for as many as six episodes this season. read more

HOLLYWOOD MOURNS

Veteran entertainer Donald O'Connor, whose show-stopping "Make 'Em Laugh" production number in 1952's Singin' in the Rain deftly combined comedy and acrobatics, died Saturday of heart failure. He was 78. O'Connor was also known for starring in the wildly popular Francis the Talking Mule comedies of the 1950s. According to his family, among O'Connor's last words were: "I'd like to thank the Academy for my lifetime achievement award that I will eventually get." read more

IN RELATED NEWS

Kelly Ripa celebrated her show's promising Nielsens by reenacting Hope & Faith's climactic food fight on today's Live. Sadly, the All My Children grad proved too eager for her own good, shooting a wad of ketchup directly into poor Reege's left eye. read more

WANING FRIENDS?

The 10th (and final) season premiere of Friends beat Survivor in the ratings on Thursday, but NBC's flagship comedy was down a whopping 29 percent year-to-year. (Hey, Jeff Zucker: That's what happens when you prematurely announce that Matt LeBlanc is getting his own spinoff.) read more

Seven Silly Questions for... Paradise Hotel's Smokey

If you ask us, only one of the guests of Fox's wanton wonderland, Paradise Hotel, has never made an ass of himself — and he's a monkey! Yes, even as odd bird Tom's stuffed traveling companion, Smokey, watched his pulchritudinous playmates hook up and strip down, he himself didn't go ape... or did he? Perhaps a little gorilla warfare — in the form of Seven Silly Questions — will flush out his inner party animal.


TV Guide Online: How aggravated were you that you got to visit a singles' mecca, but had to let Tom tag along? Didn't he get in the way of your game?
Smokey:
Somebody has to take one for the team sometimes. We're a pimp duo.

TVGO: In several episodes, we didn't see you at all. Were you under the covers while Charla was hiding out in bed?
Smokey:
No. Most of my time was taken up by Amanda, the host. She wouldn't leave me alone! I was complaining.

TVGO: Gee. You must have had read more

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