Today's News: Our Take


BEWITCHING DUO

It's official: Nicole Kidman has signed on to star opposite Will Ferrell in Columbia Pictures' big-screen adaptation of Bewitched. But before you get too excited about this magical pairing, keep in mind that Nora Ephron — who hasn't made a decent film since Sleepless in Seattle in 1993 — is on board to direct. read more

MORE TIT FOR TAT

The fallout over Boobygate continues: Janet Jackson will apparently not appear at Sunday's Grammy Awards, where she was slated to introduce a tribute to ailing R&B singer Luther Vandross. According to reports, CBS rescinded her invitation in the wake of her Super Bowl striptease. The network declined to comment. Meanwhile, NBC has removed a scene from tonight's ER that would have shown a female patient's bare breast because "the atmosphere created by this week's events has made it too difficult for many of our affiliates to air this shot." Finally, the NFL has yanked 'N Syncer JC Chasez's halftime performance from this weekend's Pro Bowl game and replaced it with some Hawaiian dancers. read more

LEGALLY BLONDE

Hilary Duff has signed on to star in the Miramax comedy Outward Blonde, which revolves around a materialistic New York girl who gets shipped off to an Outward Bound program after she fails gym class. read more

MUST-FLEE TV

Fans of really crappy music will wanna catch tonight's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, which features a musical performance from former Bachelor star Bob Guiney. The kissing cad and his band will sing "Girlfriend" off his debut album, 3 Sides. read more

GAME OVER

Bowing to pressure from the NFL, ESPN has sacked its controversial pigskin drama Playmakers. "We have decided that Playmakers will not resume production," said ESPN exec vice president Mark Shapiro. "Many considerations went into to this decision, not the least of which was the reaction from [the NFL]." The NFL complained that the series — which featured story lines built around drugs, spousal abuse and homosexuality (oh my!) — was too harsh in its depiction of pro football's dark side. "This decision is censorship, pure and simple," exec producer John Eisendrath tells Variety. "The NFL didn't like the show so it told ESPN to take it off the air, and ESPN dutifully took it off the air." read more

OH, WHAT A TANGLED WEB

James Brown is seeking an annulment from the same wife he stands accused of beating. The 70-year-old Godfather of Soul — who was arrested last week and charged with domestic violence — wants out of his marriage to Tomi Rae Brown because he claims she never divorced her previous husband. Good times... read more

Extreme Wedding: "I Redo"


Picture, if you will, your wedding day: You find yourself face to face with your beloved and... Jeepers! The name is familiar, but you can't place the face! Scary, right? But that's exactly the scenario for which Extreme Makeover recipients Michael and Susan set themselves up in tonight's episode (airing at 9 pm/ET on ABC). They agreed to separate for two months before their nuptials while going under knife after knife. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Jeepers!

"There was a bit of nervous tension at the altar as Mike was lifting up my veil and we saw each other for the first time," the bride admits to TV Guide Online. "But I had a lot of confidence [in the doctors, so I believed] that we'd still recognize each other. And once I saw that it was the same Michael that I'd fallen in love with, just with a slightly smaller nose, everything was very relaxed."

Some — including us, if we're feeling both hopeful and read more

CENSORSHIP?

A spokesman for Mel Gibson declined to confirm a report in Wednesday's New York Times that said the actor-director decided to remove a controversial scene in The Passion of the Christ, his upcoming film about Christ's final hours. The Times reported that Gibson excised a sequence that featured a Jewish high priest declaring a blood curse on Jews for the death of Jesus. Jewish leaders expressed concern that the scene could spark anti-Semitism. read more

INDY ON HOLD

Looks like we'll have to wait a while longer for that fourth Indiana Jones pic. George Lucas, reportedly unhappy with the script Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) turned in, has commissioned a rewrite. Now, production probably won't get under way until 2005 — when Harrison Ford will be 63. read more

AND THEY'RE OFF

FX is teaming up with NASCAR for a reality series that goes behind the scenes with racing stars, Variety reports. Tentatively titled NASCAR: Drivers Unscripted, the show would premiere in May and feature such A-list drivers as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears and Tony Raines. read more

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