Today's News: Our Take


SWEEPS STUNT?

Clearly tiring of Members Only hand-me-downs, actress Shelley Morrison — best known as Karen's wisecracking maid on Will & Grace — was arrested Wednesday for investigation of felony shoplifting at a Los Angeles department store. Arraignment was set for May 14. In other Will & Grace news, Thursday's episode — featuring a guest shot by Madonna — attracted an above average 17.7 million viewers. Unfortunately, the show itself was decidedly below average. read more

SHORT CUTS

Ed leading man Tom Cavanagh joins the cast of Broadway's Urinetown: The Musical beginning May 20... Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx and his sister, Deidra Dixon, were arrested Saturday after they refused to leave a New Orleans casino. read more

REALITY BITES

Wet T-shirt contests are apparently way overrated. Moviegoers resoundly rejected the much-hyped reality flick The Real Cancun over the weekend. The movie about 16 sex-crazed college students grossed an embarrassing $2.3 million at the box office, bad enough to debut in 10th place. The new murder-mystery Identity fared much better, opening at No. 1 with $17 million and bumping Anger Management to No. 2 ($16 million). Elsewhere, crime caper Confidence bowed at No. 5 with $4.75 million and the Kirk-Michael Douglas drama It Runs in the Family tripped up at No. 9 with $3 million. read more

WATCH OUT

As those NBC promos have long been teasing, a major character bites the dust on tonight's Third Watch season finale. Tomorrow, the actor in question speaks out about the shocking turn of events in an exclusive interview with TV Guide Online. read more

CHARMED, SHE'S SURE

Mariah Carey will kick off her Charmbracelet World Tour on June 24 in Osaka, Japan. U.S dates include Anchorage, July 18; Chicago, July 29; Atlantic City, Aug. 10; and Dallas, Aug. 16. Tickets go on sale May 10. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Reality may be getting a harsh reception in theaters, but it remains big business on the small screen. A cable channel devoted to all things reality is in the development stages, and could debut as early as January. Dubbed Reality Central, the channel will offer a behind-the-scenes look at unscripted shows and contestants. Half of the network's lineup will initially be comprised of reality show reruns. Stars of the genre — including Survivor champ Richard Hatch and Bachelorette beauty Trista Rehn — have signed on to help promote and market the project. This channel has Tina Fabulous written all over it! read more

WAR OF WORDS

NBC News correspondent Ashleigh Banfield has ruffled some feathers over at the Peacock network. In a speech last Thursday at Kansas State University, Banfield ripped into television news networks, including her own, for their "glorious" coverage of the Iraqi war. "You did not see where those bullets landed," she said. "You didn't see what happened when the mortars landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me." Responds NBC: "We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks." As punishment, Banfield will be forced to listen to Lester Holt's voice for 24 hours straight. read more

HELP WANTED

NBC has placed an order for Celebrity Temps, a reality series in which stars trade jobs with regular folk for a day. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first episode will find Carmen Electra babysitting small children. In exchange, the parents of the kids will head for the nearest mirror and stare in it all day. read more

PLAYING IT SAFE

Blaming Canada's SARS outbreak, Billy Joel and Elton John have canceled a sold-out concert tonight in Toronto. American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and Lisa Marie Presley have also scrapped promo appearances there. read more

CHEW ON THIS

Things are wooking up for the ailing Star Wars franchise. George Lucas has confirmed that actor Peter Mayhew will reprise his role as Chewbacca in the final prequel, Star Wars: Episode III. Mayhew last donned his famous shag carpet costume in 1983's Return of the Jedi. read more

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