Today's News: Our Take


Lone's Last Shot?


If you have yet to sample Fox's quirky X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen, tonight's finale may be your last shot. After a strong start in March, Gunmen's three conspiracy-obsessed computer geeks have watched their viewership disappear faster than data on an "I Love You" virus-infected hard drive. But it's not all doom and gloom. Last week's episode retained a best-yet 86 percent of its adults 18-49 lead-in from Police Videos (granted, a small victory, but a victory nonetheless), and in a recent USA Today poll, Gunmen ranked second only to the WB's Roswell as the struggling series viewers most want to see return next fall. Still, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the show needs to flex some ratings muscle tonight. But short of hacking into Nielsen's mainframe, what is series creator Chris Carter to do? Well, a little stunt casting couldn't hurt, that's for sure. — Michael Ausiello


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Lone's Last Shot?


If you have yet to sample Fox's quirky X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen, tonight's finale may be your last shot. After a strong start in March, Gunmen's three conspiracy-obsessed computer geeks have watched their viewership disappear faster than data on an "I Love You" virus-infected hard drive. But it's not all doom and gloom. Last week's episode retained a best-yet 86 percent of its adults 18-49 lead-in from Police Videos (granted, a small victory, but a victory nonetheless), and in a recent USA Today poll, Gunmen ranked second only to the WB's Roswell as the struggling series viewers most want to see return next fall. Still, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the show needs to flex some ratings muscle tonight. But short of hacking into Nielsen's mainframe, what is series creator Chris Carter to do? Well, a little stunt casting couldn't hurt, that's for sure. — Michael Ausiello


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Heath's Courtly Lady Love


Actress Shannyn Sossamon has come far since 1999, when she was first discovered while deejaying at Gwyneth Paltrow's birthday party. Now, the whole world can see her busting a move with Aussie heartthrob Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale (opening Friday).

She's especially fond of one romantically hip dance number they did to David Bowie's "Golden Years." "Heath's a good dancer and I'm a good dancer, and it just felt magical," Sossamon enthuses to TV Guide Online. "[It was] like we were filming a musical way back when. It really felt magical."

Prior to being cast in A Knight's Tale, Sossamon confesses that — like most American moviegoers — she wasn't too familiar with Ledger's work. "I knew he was in that movie 10 Things I Hate About You, but I didn't know who he was," she admits. But clearly her fair-haired co-star has left quite an impression on her. "He's just cool," she gushes. "He's awesome. He's really charming read more

V.I.P. Vixen Mouths Off


As one of the shapely starlets of Pamela Anderson's popular jigglefest, V.I.P., Natalie Raitano knows from drama. Not so much the bullet-dodging, car-chasing sort — her stunt doubles handle that fuss and muss. Still, her daily life isn't all posing for photo shoots with big guns and tiny bikinis. In a telephone t&#234te &#224 t&#234te with TV Guide Online, Raitano boisterously opens up about her struggles as an actress and an animal lover — and her vow to defend gal pal Pam from tabloid tattletales. — Daniel R. Coleridge


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Heath's Courtly Lady Love


Actress Shannyn Sossamon has come far since 1999, when she was first discovered while deejaying at Gwyneth Paltrow's birthday party. Now, the whole world can see her busting a move with Aussie heartthrob Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale (opening Friday).

She's especially fond of one romantically hip dance number they did to David Bowie's "Golden Years." "Heath's a good dancer and I'm a good dancer, and it just felt magical," Sossamon enthuses to TV Guide Online. "[It was] like we were filming a musical way back when. It really felt magical."

Prior to being cast in A Knight's Tale, Sossamon confesses that — like most American moviegoers — she wasn't too familiar with Ledger's work. "I knew he was in that movie 10 Things I Hate About You, but I didn't know who he was," she admits. But clearly her fair-haired co-star has left quite an impression on her. "He's just cool," she gushes. "He's awesome. He's really charming read more

Broadway's Music Man Sounds Off


The finale of Survivor: The Australian Outback wasn't the only major entertainment event that took place last Thursday night. On stage at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre, The Music Man's departing star, Craig Bierko — en route to his dressing room to prepare for that evening's show (and an interview with TV Guide Online) — bumped into his successor as Professor Harold Hill, Will & Grace's Eric McCormack. On the surface, such an encounter would seem as riveting as, well, the first hour of the Survivor conclusion. But just one day earlier, the New York Post ran a scathing story alleging that McCormack refused to watch Bierko in the role because he "can't bear Craig" and "thinks he is just a dreadful actor."

Although McCormack denied any ill will — he told the Post that he has avoided Bierko's performances because it "would be more intimidating than helpful" — the s read more

Rosie's Right Hand Man


John McDanielThe Rosie O'Donnell Show's giddy bandleader — has quietly emerged as a daytime heartthrob, thanks to those "magic fingers" of his.

"Oh stop!" McDaniel balks at the suggestion, letting loose his hearty, sugar-laced cackle. A music lover since age five and the proud owner of over 3,000 albums, O'Donnell's accompanist isn't one for straining his Yamaha's ebony and ivory keys. "The music is never meant to call attention to itself," he tells TV Guide Online. "It's only to support the company [of a show]."

At home, however, McDaniel's dinner guests often do call attention to themselves with their impromptu performances. Fortunately, his neighbors — who've become accustomed to his star-studded shenanigans — never really complain. "I have a big loft," he laughs. "Can you imagine someone yelling for that Carol Burnett to shut up?!"

O'Donnell's name will be noticeably absent from busy McDaniel's datebook once she departs read more

Sexpot Sells Grosse Pointe


When Grosse Pointe ingenue Lindsay Sloane sees starlets modeling tube tops and thongs in horndog monthlies like Maxim, she thinks that "it's not even a step up from Playboy," she tells TV Guide Online. Yet in the current issue of Stuff, there she is, wearing a blouse that's so sheer, she could catch pneumonia in Maui. What gives?

"I'll do anything to save our show," she explains, "and that's an audience that wouldn't know about it except if you do the men's magazines and they see you in revealing clothes."

Unfortunately, Sloane's desperate action is called for — these are desperate times for the stage-door Beverly Hills, 90210 parody that casts her in (essentially) the Tori Spelling role. Though critics reacted to the sitcom as orgasmically as Stuff subscribers do to the glossy's layouts, audiences avoided even the series's February season finale as if it was Shannen Doherty before she's had her morn read more

American High: The Sequel


American High is proving to be quite an overachiever for PBS. Since being relaunched on the network last month, the acclaimed reality series — which got prematurely expelled by Fox back in August — has helped PBS post solid year-to-year gains on Wednesday nights among kids 12-17 (up 33 percent) and adults 18-24 (up 150 percent). What's more, traffic on PBS.org has reached an all-time high.

It should come as little surprise, then, that a follow-up is being discussed. But according to executive producer R.J. Cutler, don't expect American High: The College Years. "We would go into a second season in a new high school," he tells TV Guide Online. "We'll find a community that provides a natural contrast to the [suburban Chicago locale] we worked in for the first series."

Still, Cutler says that regardless of American High's setting, the show's basic themes will likely remain the same. "I believe we'll see that kids in South Central L.A. or i read more

Malcolm's Driven Young Star


Los Angelenos are used to seeing just about anything on the freeway, but when Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz gets behind the wheel, he draws some strange looks. "People look at me like, 'He's too young to be driving,'" says the 15-year-old, who just got his learner's permit. "They think I'm that kid I play on the TV show, who's only 12."

Even if he doesn't quite look his age, Muniz heads into L.A.'s notoriously rough traffic undaunted. "I never feel scared," he insists. "Sometimes, when I get a little nervous because someone is tailgating or driving too fast, I just try to relax and act cool because I really love driving a car — I bought a couple of them!"

And since his learner's permit requires that Muniz be accompanied by a licensed driver, his mother's usually in the passenger seat — though she doesn't backseat-drive too much. "My mom is very cool about it," he says. "She never has to tell me which way to read more

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