Today's News: Our Take


IDOL TRYOUTS

Hey, wannabe pop stars! Start working on saucy retorts to Simon's scathing criticisms, 'cause American Idol 2 will soon hold auditions in Detroit, New York, Atlanta, Nashville, Miami, Austin and L.A. For more info, visit www.idolonfox.com. read more

THIS HAS TO HURT

NBC's Today show has cancelled Matt Lauer's trip to Cuba (planned for Friday) after it failed to secure an interview with Fidel Castro. Instead, Castro has decided to talk exclusively with ABC's Barbara Walters. That interview will air tomorrow night on 20/20. read more

DALLAS REDUX

Who's shooting J.R. Ewing now? Twentieth Century Fox! The film studio is developing a big-screen adaptation of Dallas. "I like the idea of doing it for the 21st century, with a new cast," series creator Dave Jacobs tells Variety. "We've got a new take on it. Before, people would have been interested in who is screwing each other. Now it's the national crimes that are affecting everyone. The conflict is still about family conflicts, but the stakes are higher now. That's the thing that excites me about it." Just promise us you'll give Miss Ellie a decent wardrobe this time around! read more

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

Turns out, there are two Vincent D'Onofrios making a living in Hollywood — but only one of them is suing Madonna. Despite reports that D'Onofrio the actor (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) is suing the Material Girl over her new film Swept Away, it's actually D'Onofrio the producer who's crying foul. He claims he pitched Madonna the idea of doing a remake of the 1974 film of the same name. read more

PUSH SHOVED

In other ABC scheduling news, the network has axed Push, Nevada. Its seventh and final episode will air on Oct. 24. And yes, producers plan to ensure that enough clues will have aired to award one lucky viewer the $1 million jackpot. (For more on Push, click here.) ABC also has cancelled its Friday night dramedy That Was Then. Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Drew Carey Show — currently airing on Mondays — will take over Then's 9-10 pm timeslot beginning in November. read more

SIBLING SCANDAL FOR REESE

Here's an odd art-imitates-life parallel for Reese Witherspoon: In Sweet Home Alabama, she plays a celeb who's embarrassed by her trashy roots. Cut to her real-life hometown of Nashville, Tenn., where the New York Post reports that brother John Witherspoon has been charged with sexual assault. The 29-year-old allegedly snuck into a female neighbor's home, began molesting her as she lay asleep on her couch, then fled the scene. He has also been pulled over for drunk driving this year. read more

SURVIVOR ALUM ATTACKED

Former Survivor: The Australian Outback contestant Kel Gleason — the beef jerky dude — was reportedly beaten with broken beer bottles by four bar patrons in Toronto. The incident occurred on Sept. 20 and left the former Army Intelligence officer with serious head injuries. read more

ELVIS STILL KING

With sales of 336,660 copies, Elvis Presley's 30 #1 Hits held on to the No. 1 spot on Billboard's album chart for the second-consecutive week. The Rolling Stones' two-disc Forty Licks debuted in second place with 309,800 copies sold. Meanwhile, Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" remains the top-selling single for the third week. In other American Idol news, runner-up Justin Guarini has reportedly signed an album deal with the show's producer, Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings. Finally, Fox is confirming that Idol standout Tamyra Gray will appear in four episodes of Boston Public beginning in February. read more

WEST WING CRISIS

Maybe it's time Heather Locklear paid The West Wing a visit. Despite its third-consecutive Emmy victory, NBC's White House drama is purging viewers faster than The Drew Carey Show. The latest sign that President Bartlett's approval rating is dropping: Wednesday's episode was trumped in the ratings by a program on — yikes! — ABC! Yes, among adults 18-49, ABC's match-making reality series The Bachelor beat WW by 31 percent. (WW prevailed among total viewers 15.7 million to 12.8 million, but still.) The WB's new drama Birds of Prey, meanwhile, had a rockin' debut. The show attracted 7.6 million viewers and helped the network finish second for the night among adults 18-34. read more

SARA WON'T RUE THIS DAY

Popular alumna Sara Rue is happy today. Satisfied with its ratings, ABC has ordered a full season (22 episodes) of her new sitcom, Less Than Perfect, co-starring Andy Dick. read more

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