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CRITICS CALL BIG BROTHER A BIG BORE!

The critics have spoken — Wednesday night's debut of the CBS reality series Big Brother was b-o-r-i-n-g. The Toronto Sun's Jim Slotek writes: "I hereby take back everything negative I said about Survivor and nominate it for a Peabody Award." USA Today went so far as to say the "dopily lethargic" debut could kill the reality trend overnight. Still, the ratings were impressive — buoyed by a Survivor lead-in, Big Brother killed the competition with a 13.5 rating. read more

SURVIVOR CONTESTANT HATCHES LAWSUIT

Survivor contestant Richard Hatch is suing the state of Rhode Island for releasing details of his April arrest on child-abuse charges to the National Enquirer. Hatch, 39, was arrested last April just two days after returning from the filming of the CBS series. read more

CHARLES NELSON REILLY LIVE!

Goofy character actor, director and former Match Game panelist Charles Nelson Reilly has opened a new one-man show, Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly, at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, CA. Will he reminisce about doing those 1970s Bic ads dressed as a giant banana? Tickets are $30 each; the show runs through Aug. 27. read more

ESPN PREPS GAME SHOW

ESPN is close to completing a deal with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire exec producer Michael Davies for a sports trivia quiz show to be called Two-Minute Drill, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Game show vet Andrew Golder (Win Ben Stein's Money) is shepherding Drill as exec producer along with Davies. read more

"I POOP ON COMEDY CENTRAL!"

Robert Smigel, the man behind Late Night With Conan O'Brien's potty-mouthed puppet Triumph the Insult Dog, will write and produce a new half-hour show for Comedy Central set to debut later this year. The Hollywood Reporter says the as-yet-unnamed show will feature animated shorts, puppets and animals, possibly including Triumph and Smigel's Saturday Night Live creations "Ambiguously Gay Duo" and "Fun With Real Audio." read more

TAXI MEETS F-TROOP

Former Taxi star Marilu Henner, Rex Smith and F-Troop's Larry Storch are teaming up this summer in the road company of Annie Get Your Gun. Storch, 75, was originally scheduled to do a stand-up show with Soupy Sales in New York but had to cancel to prepare for Annie's July 25 opening at the Dallas Music Hall. read more

ABC'S LATEST BUZZ

ABC plans to add a Buzz Lightyear adventure series and a show about a boy and his dog to its Saturday morning lineup this fall, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Toy Story prequel will feature the voices of former Seinfelders Patrick Warburton as Buzz and Wayne Knight as the Evil Emperor Zurg. — Rich Brown read more

WINSLET TRIES PRODUCING

Titanic star Kate Winslet and hubby Jim Threapleton have formed London-based film production company Telltale Films. No details yet on any projects but the couple expects to shoot its first movie by 2001. read more

BOND, SIR JAMES BOND

Actor Sean Connery was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday despite his passionate Scottish nationalism. "It's one of the proudest days of my life," the 69-year-old original James Bond told Reuters after the hour-long ceremony at Edinburgh's Holyrood Palace. "It means a great deal for it to happen in Scotland." read more

CLOONEY'S PERFECT WEEKEND

George Clooney boat drama The Perfect Storm was the No. 1 pic over the holiday weekend, grossing a whopping $64 million for the five days ending July 4. Mel Gibson's Revolutionary War drama The Patriot opened in the No. 2 spot with $35.2 million, followed by returning pics Chicken Run ($21 million) and Me, Myself & Irene ($19.5 million). The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle opened in the fifth spot with a disappointing $11 million for the five days. read more

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