Today's News: Our Take


Despite that whole K-Street mess, HBO is going back into business with producers George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh. The pay-cabler has given the green light to the duo's latest series, an untitled improv comedy that revolves around a trio of struggling actors trying to make it big in Hollywood. Among the show's stars: Clooney's on-again/off-again girlfriend Krista Allen. Now it's all making sense. read more


The war between NBC and the creators of Will & Grace is getting nastier. Three months after David Kohan and Max Mutchnick sued NBC claiming it short-changed them on the sitcom's license-fee deal, the Peacock filed a counterclaim against the pair Wednesday, accusing them of being "uncooperative, duplicitous and guilty of shameless self-dealing" during negotiations. Interestingly, the suit makes no mention of the pain and suffering the duo caused when they created Good Morning Miami. read more


Vivica A. Fox has replaced Gloria Reuben as the star of Lifetime's crime series 1-800-MISSING, which has just been renewed for a second season. Reuben opted to leave the show to pursue other projects. Let me guess: She wants to be a backup singer for Scooter Girl this time. read more


Yep, she's back: Ellen DeGeneres' self-titled gabfest received a leading 12 Daytime Emmy nominations, including best talk show and talk show host. The comedian's competition includes Dr. Phil, Live with Regis and Kelly, The View and The Wayne Brady Show. On the soap front, The Young and the Restless led all sudsers with 16 nods, followed by All My Children and As the World Turns with 14 each and General Hospital and Guiding Light with 12. Also of note: GH's Tamara Braun received a long-overdue first lead actress nod. The 31st annual Daytime Emmy Awards airs live from Radio City Music Hall on May 21. read more

M-I-C, K-E-Y, F-I-R-E-D

Michael Eisner was stripped of his title as chairman of Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday after 43 percent of the company's shareholders voted against him. Eisner will, however, retain his post as CEO. read more


Gary Oldman has joined the cast of Batman Begins, Warner Bros.' new take on the Caped Crusader starring Christian Bale. Oldman will play a detective on the Gotham police force. The rapidly expanding ensemble also includes Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Morgan Freeman and Ken Watanabe. read more


Johnny Sack is the Sopranos character most likely to get whacked this season, according to online bookmaker The company issued 3-to-1 odds that Tony's rival mob boss would be the first to make an untimely exit. Sack's associate, Little Carmine, is listed at 7-to-2 and Christopher's blabbermouth wife, Adriana, is at 4-to-1. Last season, correctly predicted that Ralphie would meet his maker. read more


Norah Jones' Feels Like Home sold another 281,000 copies to hold on to the top spot on Billboard's album chart for the third consecutive week. To date, Home has moved 1.7 million units. read more


Steven Spielberg sidestepped the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's box office smash The Passion of the Christ, declaring himself "too smart to answer a question like that." At a press conference Wednesday to promote the DVD release of Schindler's List, the Oscar-winning filmmaker said he had yet to see the film, which has been accused of promoting anti-Semitism. "When I do see [it]," he added, "the first person who will hear from me will be Mel Gibson and no one else." read more


Perhaps doing damage control post-Boobygate — or more likely, getting the word out about her new CD — Janet Jackson will host Saturday Night Live on April 10. Actually, she'll be both host and musical guest. Just to be safe, rumor has it NBC may air the show with a 67-week delay. In related news, Ben Affleck hosts SNL for the second time on March 13. read more

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