Today's News: Our Take


NBC has decided that, well, maybe Friends isn't the "best comedy ever" after all. The network promised Thursday not to rerun a much-criticized promo in which it used that phrase to refer to the departing hitcom. An NBC spokeswoman concedes that the spot "went overboard." She'll get no argument from Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, who last week expressed his dismay at the ad. "I don't blame them for saying that," he said. "Although, we all know it's not true." read more


Kooky Crocodile Hunter/baby-dangler Steve Irwin dodged a bullet Thursday when Australia's Office of Workplace Health and Safety decided not to bring charges against him for holding his 1-month-old son while feeding one of his crocs. Let this serve as a lesson to everyone: You will not be punished for using your children as croc bait. read more


Even though Shrek 2 doesn't open for another four months, DreamWorks is fast-tracking production of a third installment, in which the lovable green ogre tackles the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Meanwhile, Variety reports that the studio is also hard at work on Shark Tale 2, even though the first Shark Tale doesn't debut until October. read more


The TV Guide Channel relaunches today with all-new programming — including What's On, featuring TV Guide Online's Watercooler columnists, Daniel R. Coleridge and Michael Peck in their very own segment. Look for the dishy duo's Watercooler chatter twice a week on What's On, debuting tonight at 7 pm/ET (check local TV Guide listings). read more


Bend It Like Beckham, Lost in Translation, Dirty Pretty Things, The Station Agent and In America will compete for best original screenplay at the Writers Guild of America's annual awardsfest on Feb. 21. In the best adapted screenplay category, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will face-off against Seabiscuit, American Splendor, Cold Mountain and Mystic River. read more


Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's tumultuous 18-month courtship is over. "I am confirming the reports that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck," read a statement from Lopez's camp. "At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy." According to reports, the romance ended on Jan. 20, just three days after Affleck returned to Los Angeles from the Sundance Film Festival and four months after the duo called off their lavish, million-dollar nuptials. Let's all share a moment of silence in memory of Bennifer. read more


Another hint that the long-term outlook for Everybody Loves Raymond isn't great... Asked whether we'd see more Raymond next season, creator Phil Rosenthal told Mediaweek's Marc Berman: "If I had to predict right now, I would say no. I'm not really sure how many more stories there are left to tell." read more


Legendary Hollywood hoofer/actress Ann Miller, who shared the screen with such dancing greats as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Bob Fosse, died Thursday of lung cancer. She was 81. Miller was last seen as landlady Catherine "Coco" Lenoix in David Lynch's 2001 mind-bender Mulholland Dr. read more


NBC blinked. In the wake of The Apprentice's crushing defeat against Fox's American Idol Wednesday night, the network is moving its Donald Trump-helmed reality show back to Thursday night starting next week. Apprentice will air at 9 pm/ET following Friends and Will & Grace. Scrubs, meanwhile, shifts to Tuesdays at 9:30 pm/ET following Frasier. That leaves the struggling Tracy Morgan Show with no place to go but Saturday at 8 pm/ET — a fate worse than cancellation. read more


Bob Keeshan — who charmed kids as TV's Captain Kangaroo for 36 years — has died after a long illness. He was 76. On his iconic childrens' show, Keeshan played a gentle, grandfatherly man with a bowl haircut, whose "Kangaroo" nickname came from the deep pockets in his signature cardigan sweater. Over the years, he hung out with puppets, told knock-knock jokes and won six Emmys along the way. read more

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