Today's News: Our Take


American Splendor, a film about comic artist Harvey Pekar, walked off with the Grand Jury prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday. Capturing the Friedmans, a drama about a family dealing with tragedy, was named best documentary. read more


Spider-Man screenwriter David Koepp has signed on to direct Johnny Depp in Columbia's upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's novella Two Past Midnight: Secret Window, Secret Garden, Variety reports. Koepp also penned the script for the project. read more


60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt will step down as the show's exec producer next year, CBS announced today. Hewitt will continue to oversee the program until June 2004, at which point he will relinquish his post to Jeff Fager, who currently oversees 60 Minutes II. Rumors have swirled for months that CBS was looking to replace the 80-year-old at the helm, but Hewitt has said, "I want to die at my desk." He may still get his wish: After exiting 60 Minutes, Hewitt will continue on at CBS News developing new projects and offering advice to his successor. In other words, the network will pay him to sit around and reminisce about the good ol' days. read more


Budweiser's spot featuring a zebra referee reviewing a call on instant replay ranked as viewers' favorite Super Bowl commercial, according to USA Today's annual ad meter poll. The beer maker also scored with its ad about a guy who skirts a bar's "no pets allowed" rule by using his dog as his hairdo. Movie trailers, meanwhile, got a cool response from couch potatoes, with The Hulk, Charlie's Angels, T3 and Bad Boys 2 all getting low marks. Viewers also rejected Subway's latest Jared spot as well as Celine Dion's Chrysler ad. And as far as the game went, the team with the pretty red uniforms won. read more


Billy Joel, 53, spent several hours in a New York hospital after crashing his Mercedes-Benz into a tree on Long Island late Saturday night. Police apparently don't believe alcohol was a factor in the incident. And why would it have been? Well, last June the Piano Man checked himself into rehab for a "personal problem." read more


Former General Hospital Emmy winner Rena Sofer, currently slumming it on Just Shoot Me, has been tapped to replace actress Melissa George on NBC's upcoming Friends-esque sitcom Coupling. The comedy, slated to debut in the fall, is based on the hit British series of the same name. read more


Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Zach Galligan, best known as the star of Gremlins, was arrested Wednesday in Hollywood on suspicion of pulling a Winona Ryder. Police allegedly caught the 38-year-old actor taking a Deep Purple CD from a Tower Records store. Sounds like someone's in deep trouble. Thank you very much. I'm here all week, folks. Tell your friends... read more


With movie musicals hot again, Columbia Pictures is hoping to mount a big-screen adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new Birdie would be a remake of the studio's 1963 film version, which starred Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton and Bobby Rydell. read more


According to preliminary Nielsen data, the ABC-televised contest attracted an averaged more than 88 million viewers — making it the most-watched Super Bowl in five years. read more


Nominations for Britain's version of the Oscars (the BAFTAs) were announced Monday and Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Pianist will compete for best film honors. Overall, Chicago and Gangs scored a field-best 12 nods apiece. Winners will be announced Feb. 23. read more

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