Today's News: Our Take


AALIYAH LAWSUIT

The parents of late singer-actress Aaliyah are suing Virgin Records, alleging that negligence and recklessness caused the plane crash that killed the 22-year-old last August, The Associated Press reports. The lawsuit also named several video production companies and Blackhawk International Airways as defendants. Aaliyah — who had been in the Bahamas shooting a video — was returning to Florida on a charter flight when it crashed on takeoff. read more

FAMILY MATTERS

A potentially nasty legal tussle between Liza Minnelli and her 94-year-old stepmom has been averted. On Monday, Lee Anderson Minnelli dropped the elder abuse and breach of contract lawsuit she filed against her stepdaughter. The elder Minnelli claimed she was guaranteed housing in the will of her late hubby, Vincente Minnelli, but that Liza sold the Beverly Hills home where she had lived for 40 years and instructed her reps to remove Lee by "whatever means necessary." read more

ABC OVERHAUL

ABC unveiled its new fall schedule today in New York, and the network announced that it's adding seven new shows, including a spinoff of its current miniseries Dinotopia and an interactive mystery from producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon titled Push, Nevada. The Drew Carey Show, meanwhile, will relocate to Monday nights at 8 pm/ET, followed by Whose Line Is It Anyway? at 8:30 pm/ET. As previously reported, Philly, Spin City, The Job and Dharma & Greg are goners. Also on the way out: Politically Incorrect read more

WHY WON'T SHE GO AWAY?

Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire bride Darva Conger is at risk of getting divorced from her teeth! She's agreed to take on Olympic gold-medal gymnast Olga Korbut on Fox's Celebrity Boxing 2 on May 22. Also slated to do battle: Welcome Back, Kotter's Ron "Horshack" Palillo and Saved by the Bell's Dustin "Screech" Diamond. These classy C-listers join a previously announced fight card that includes Joey Buttafuoco. read more

JOSH GETS LUCKY

At Monday's presentation to TV advertisers, NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker revealed that Lily Tomlin and Mary Louise Parker will join The West Wing as series regulars this fall. Tomlin's character will be introduced in this season's finale on May 22. Parker has already been recurring as Amy Gardner, the liberal love interest of Bradley Whitford's White House deputy chief of staff, Josh Lyman. Zucker also revealed that Watching Ellie will return as a midseason replacement and that Friends will sign off with a two-hour series finale in May 2003. Among NBC's new crop, the Sunday family drama American Dreams showed the most promise, while read more

FROG'S FALL

The WB outlined its fall plans to advertisers Tuesday morning in New York, and big changes are afoot. The Frog Network is adding two new dramas, the family saga Everwood and the Batman spinoff Birds of Prey, as well as four new comedies, including a Family Affair remake starring Tim Curry and a buddy sitcom featuring Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Jennie Garth and Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes. A weekly repeat of Gilmore Girls kicks off a revamped Sunday night, followed by original episodes of Charmed and Angel. The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, meanwhile, is be read more

Question: I missed the first ...

Question: I missed the first five minutes of the May 2 episode of ER and that was when they read the famous letter from Dr. Greene. Any chance of finding out what it said? — Marni T., Malibu, Calif.

Televisionary:

Gee, is it any wonder ER remains a heavy hitter for NBC? By the morning after that episode aired, I'd already received a mailbox full of requests from fans begging for the same thing. (But it's a good thing the NBC drama doesn't live or die on its opening teaser ratings, huh?)

Using my unique Televisionary powers of suggestion, I compelled a contact to fax me the script for that episode. As those who caught it saw, the following letter from the cancer-stricken Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) was faxed from Hawaii by Dr. Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston) to Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle), who read it out loud to the other hospital staffers:

So here I am, out on the bea read more

Question: In the CBS movie ...

Question: In the CBS movie Living with the Dead, who did Ted Danson portray?

Televisionary:

He played celebrity psychic James Van Praagh, who, like Crossing Over's John Edwards, claims to be able to contact the dead. A former sitcom writer and Paramount paralegal (and no, that doesn't mean he specialized in supernatural law), Van Praagh says he used to see spirits all the time as a child, lost the ability at the age of eight or nine and regained it 20 years later.

Whether he can or not, his success is out of this world — his 1998 book Talking to Heaven: A Medium's Message of Life After Death was a bestseller. And the spirits certainly smiled upon the Danson movie, which was a ratings winner.

Dead set on seeing more of him? You're in luck. Beyond with James Van Praagh, a syndicated TV show, is set to debut this fall.

read more

MATTHEW PERRY'S NEW LOVE

Friends millionaire Matthew Perry has signed on to star in the Paramount drama One of Us, playing a man who returns to his hometown and falls in love with an alien. Yes folks, this is a drama. read more

SAVE THE DATE

The Sopranos will return with new episodes beginning Sunday, Sept. 15, HBO exec Chris Albrecht tells the New York Times. "Nobody is waiting more than we are to get The Sopranos back on the air," Albrecht said. The mob drama's fourth season was delayed when series creator David Chase requested more production time. read more

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