Today's News: Our Take


GOOD NEWS

Looks like Good Morning Miami will live to see another day. NBC has ordered a full season's worth (22 episodes) of the workplace comedy, which co-stars Mark Feuerstein and Suzanne Pleshette. On Thursday night, the sitcom held an impressive 84 percent of Will & Grace's lead-in audience. In other Peacock news, Julia Louis-Dreyfus's single-camera comedy Watching Ellie will kick off its second season in March. NBC recently ordered six news episodes. read more

THIS ISN'T A PRANK, FOLKS

How's this for an unbelievable stunt: Jackass: The Movie — the big-screen adaptation of the late MTV series — debuted in first place at the box office with $22.7 million. Not surprisingly, young men accounted for half of the film's audience. The Ring slipped to No. 2, but cinched its sleeper status by actually grossing nearly $4 million more than last weekend. The Naomi Watts thriller took in $18.8 million for a 10-day total of $39.7 million. Rounding out the top five: Ghost Ship (No. 3 with $11.7 million), Sweet Home Alabama (No. 4 with $6.4 million) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (No. 5 with $6.3 million). read more

FAMILY AFFAIR

Friends millionaire Matthew Perry is in final talks to co-star with his real-life dad, actor John Bennett Perry, in the father-son drama The Beginning of Wisdom. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Perry would shoot the film in the spring, after he wraps his ninth — and likely final — season of Friends. read more

SHORT CUTS

Will & Grace's Eric McCormack hosts this weekend's Saturday Night Live with musical guest Jay-Z... Fox will release Jennifer Aniston's indie hit The Good Girl on DVD Jan. 7. Robin Williams's One Hour Photo, meanwhile, hits video stores Feb. 18. read more

FOUR SCORE

CBS, off to its best start since the 1987-88 TV season, has given full season orders to four of its new shows: CSI: Miami, Still Standing, Without A Trace and Hack. read more

SAD DAY IN HOLLYWOOD

Veteran actor Richard Harris — whose best known films include Camelot and The Field — has died at 72. He succumbed to Hodgkin's disease on Friday in a London hospital, where he had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Beloved for his wizardly white mane, the Irishman most recently played Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies. Over the weekend, Potter producer David Heyman told Britain's ITV News that he will reluctantly recast the role of Dumbledore in the upcoming third installment. "We will find a new Dumbledore," he said, "but there will only be one Richard Harris." For more on Harris's death, click here. read more

Will Fox Swat Firefly?


If you haven't yet sampled Fox's gonzo space Western, Firefly, its creator, Joss Whedon, would like to make one small request: Please do... and preferably tonight at 8 pm/ET. "This week definitely matters [to the series' future]," the celebrated writer-director-producer tells TV Guide Online. "[Network prez] Sandy Grushow said to me before we ever started that this [show] is going to be a slow grow, and [the World Series] is going to hurt us, which it has. Fox has a lot of shows that are underperforming because of this weird season.

"So," he continues, "I'm not like, 'My future is assured!' But it's also not like the death knell chiming."

Far from it. In fact, Fox just commissioned three additional scripts from Whedon, the mastermind behind UPN's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its glorious WB read more

Buh-Bye, Buffy?


Buffy the Vampire Slayer's creator is about to drive a stake through the hearts of the show's diehard fans: According to Joss Whedon, the Chosen One and her trusty gang of Scoobies will likely call it a doomsday in May. "I'm beginning to suspect that it may be [Buffy's] last season," he tells TV Guide Online. "Nothing's official, but it's starting to feel possible. The way people are talking, there's a finality to it."

Might the folks with whom Whedon's been conferring work at A.C. Nielsen? Compared to this time last year, Buffy's ratings are off an alarming 16 percent. In fact, last week more viewers watched Buffy's bloody brilliant spinoff Angel than the mother show itself. "It had a really good seven-year run and it's time to call it quits," implores Mediaweek columnist Mar read more

Ron Howard's Beautiful Oscar Memories


It's been seven months since Hollywood at last bestowed twin Oscars on filmmaker Ron Howard for producing and directing A Beautiful Mind, yet the experience remains a blur for the artist formerly known as Opie. "Not unlike childbirth, I don't remember much of that now," he tells TV Guide Online. "It was pretty emotionally wrenching.

"I probably feel the joy of that acknowledgement even a little more deeply today than I did immediately afterward," he adds. "At the time, there was a tremendous surge of adrenaline — and it was sustained for quite a while. Now, there's just a real sense of satisfaction that the movie was acknowledged in that way."

Award-show pundits speculated that Howard's triumph was, in part, the Academy's way of making up for lost time. During his 25-year career behind the camera, he n read more

Trace Star Haunted by Seinfeld


Without A Trace leading man Anthony LaPaglia knows a thing or two about battling NBC's Must-See TV franchise. In 1996, ABC pitted the actor's critically acclaimed series Murder One against Seinfeld on Thursday nights — a move that slowly killed the legal thriller. So, you'd think the Aussie import would be doing cartwheels over word that his new CBS missing persons drama is gradually closing in on NBC's venerable — albeit declining — ER. Instead, he seems downright blasé.

"NBC has dominated [Thursday] so much in the last eight years, that this time, there's less pressure," says LaPaglia, who plays senior FBI agent Jack Malone on Trace. "The fact that we've picked up some numbers and are doing a little better is just read more

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