Today's News: Our Take


Zooey Deschanel Sings for Santa


The weather outside is frightful, but Zooey Deschanel helps make the climate inside movie theaters delightful in Elf (opening today). But it wasn't all cheery holiday fun. The 23-year-old co-star of The Good Girl was required to lighten her brunette hair to play Will Ferrell's love interest, and she insists blondes don't have more fun.

"It is all a lie," Deschanel says emphatically. "I'm never going to be blonde again. I'd much rather be a brunette."

Even if she disliked her makeover, the starlet enjoyed heating up Elf with a toasty rendition of the classic tune, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." And hey, this girl can actually sing! "I started out doing a lot of musicals," she reminds us. "So it was cool that I got to sing in a movie."

In fact, Deschanel read more

AND THE WINNER IS...

Sunday night's much-hyped TV movie showdown between CBS's The Elizabeth Smart Story and NBC's Saving Jessica Lynch ended in a virtual dead heat. While the Smart pic prevailed among total viewers (15.5 million vs. 15 million), Lynch tied Smart in key demographics, including adults 18-49. read more

The Office Comes to America

The breakup of Coupling has done nothing to bolster optimism for The Office, the latest U.K. comedy hit to get Americanized by NBC. Slated to debut next fall, the U.S. branch is being headed by King of the Hill exec Greg Daniels. And although the show's original creator and star, Ricky Gervais (a.k.a. bossman David Brent), has agreed to play an "advisory and support" role, skeptics predict something's bound to get lost in the translation.


TV Guide Online: The idea of an American Office scares us.
Ricky Gervais:
Yes, because you've seen the English version. And hopefully, there are 249 million Americans that haven't.

TVGO: So, it's inevitable that Office fans will hate the U.S. version?
Gervais:
You're bound to be disappointed if you keep comparing it. I don't think they should be the same. And for as many nightmare stories of remakes, you have one that [worked]. I'm sure Americans d read more

WATCH OUT, OPRAH

Tony Danza wants to be the boss of daytime. The actor has signed a deal with Disney to headline his own syndicated talk show next fall. read more

POOR JUSTIN

Don't be surprised if Justin Guarini's trademark afro starts graying soon. The American Idol runner-up — whose debut CD tanked — is being sued for $100,000 by a Pennsylvania couple who claims he rammed his truck into the back of their car last March. read more

WANTED: A BUTCH CARSON KRESSLEY

Bravo has greenlit Straight Eye for the Queer Guy, a one-hour special in which five hetero men make over a gay guy. The Queer Eye spinoff will reportedly feature lessons on power tools, NFL basics, decorating your garage and keeping your emotions bottled up. In related news, Bravo will air a Queer Eye holiday special on Dec. 16 in which the Fab Five revisit their past makeover subjects. Good, because I'm dying to find out how Tom M's kids made out with those toys Jai bought them. read more

FOOL ME ONCE...

Joe Schmo dupee Matt Kennedy Gould is getting back into bed with the very network that scammed him. Gould has inked a development deal with Spike TV, the New York Daily News reports. read more

END QUOTE

"Perhaps this project, because it was so controversial, I should have been more attentive early on. Maybe I should have looked at some of the dailies." — CBS chairman Les Moonves discussing the furor over The Reagans in an interview with Variety. read more

VIRTUAL (HARSH) REALITY

Maybe moviegoers do actually listen to critics. The poorly-reviewed Matrix Revolutions topped the weekend box office with $50 million — down 45 percent from the $91.8 million Matrix Reloaded took in during its three-day debut last May. Since opening Wednesday, Revolutions has grossed $85.5 million domestically and $204.1 million worldwide. Elsewhere, Will Ferrell's holiday comedy Elf debuted at No. 2 with a better-than-expected $32.1 million, and Love Actually grabbed the No. 6 spot with $6.6 million — which, actually, is pretty good considering it opened on only 576 screens. read more

MISTER MATCH

Will Smith has signed on to play a "date doctor" who runs a matchmaking service in the romantic comedy Last First Kiss. Eva Mendes is in talks to play the female lead, a journalist who enrolls in the program intent on exposing Smith as a fraud. read more

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