Today's News: Our Take


RECORD BOW

Usher's new CD, Confessions, is poised to enter Billboard's album chart at No. 1 with first-week sales of 1.1 million copies. If those numbers hold up, Confessions would rank as the best album debut since 2001 and a record for an R&B artist. It also would eclipse Norah Jones' Feels like Home, which sold more than 1 million copies in its first week in stores last month. read more

MOVE OVER, WICKER...

Former Pier 1 pitchwoman Kirstie Alley is in final negotiations to play Ricki Lake's mother in an untitled CBS comedy pilot, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The potential series centers on a young widow raising her two kids with the help of her mom. Fellow Cheers alum Shelley Long, meanwhile, has been tapped to replace Beverly D'Angelo in an untitled NBC sitcom pilot about the relationship between an adult son and his newly divorced dad. Long will play the mother. read more

QUICK DRAW

HBO has renewed Deadwood for a second season after just two episodes on the air. The Western drama drew a record 5.8 million viewers for its premiere. In its second outing on Sunday, it dropped off to a still-solid 4.9 million viewers. For more on Deadwood, click here! read more

WILL SANS GRACE

Debra Messing has been ordered to stay off her feet for the remainder of her pregnancy, forcing her to miss the final four episodes of Will & Grace — including the April 29 season finale centered on Karen's wedding to John Cleese. "We've written around it," says an NBC spokesperson, adding that Grace will fall ill and be unable to attend the nuptials. Messing's rep says the actress is doing "great" and insists that there are no complications with her pregnancy. "[Her doctor just] ordered her to be careful and take it easy." In the meantime, if you're looking to break into the apartment-flipping biz, please contact Will Truman ASAP via the link at the bottom of this page. read more

LIGHTS, CAMERA, CAROL!

CBS is once again reuniting Carol Burnett with sidekicks Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner for an all-new special to air May 5. In The Carol Burnett Show: Let's Bump up the Lights, Carol and co. will introduce never-before-seen clips from the classic variety show. CBS's 2001 reunion special, The Carol Burnett Show: Showstoppers, attracted nearly 30 million viewers and ushered in TV's current nostalgia craze. read more

OFFICE PARTY!

The winners of the 63rd Annual Peabody Awards were announced today and BBC's acclaimed comedy The Office, HBO's cop drama The Wire, Showtime's gender-bending movie Soldier's Girl and the multilingual kiddie program Dora the Explorer were among the honorees. The awards — which recognize excellence in media — will be presented May 17 in New York. read more

Survivor's Colby Acts Up

He may have lost out on Survivor's $1 million booty — twice — but Colby Donaldson still has that winning smile to fall back on. In fact, the hunky Texan has parlayed those good looks into an acting career, recently landing a memorable guest stint on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. In the episode, the 29-year-old — playing himself — got into a heated debate with a Holocaust survivor about whose experience was worse. TV Guide Online caught up with Jerri Manthey's rival to chat about landing the plum gig, his acting aspirations and Hollywood's reality prejudice.

TVGO: How did you end up on Curb?
Colby Donaldson:
I went in and auditioned with a bunch of other guys and was lucky enough to get it. They originally had thrown the part out there as a fictitious character from Survivor. Once I got the job, we shot it and my name was Steve or Andy or something like that, and Larry called me up and said, "This is ridic read more

BABY BOOM

Clint Eastwood has chosen Million Dollar Baby as his follow-up to his Oscar-winning drama Mystic River. Eastwood will direct, produce and star in the project, which revolves around a woman (Hilary Swank) in her early 30s who is determined to begin a boxing career. read more

JACKO UPDATE

Michael Jackson's 14-year-old accuser testified Tuesday during the grand-jury hearing in the pop star's molestation case, according to The Associated Press. The top-secret hearing — which will determine whether Jacko must stand trial — also included testimony from the comedy-club owner who first arranged for Jackson and the boy to meet. A pretrial hearing is set for Friday. read more

START THE MADNESS

Once and Again's Sela Ward has signed on to star in the CBS telepic Suburban Madness, which chronicles the true story of a Texas woman convicted last year of murdering her philandering husband when she ran over him with her Benz. Ward will play the private eye hired to investigate the cheating hubby. read more

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