Today's News: Our Take


Sunday's Oscar snoozefest wasn't the ratings dynamo ABC had hoped for. Although preliminary figures indicated that the Chris Rock-hosted ceremony had attracted its widest audience in five years, the final numbers painted a grimmer picture: A total 41.5 million viewers saw Amy Lumet's million dollar babies — down 2 million from 2004, when Lord of the Rings dominated. On the bright side, Rock did manage to lure more young people to the tube; ratings among viewers 18 to 34 were up. read more


I knew Keri Russell was hungry to try new things, but this I didn't see coming: My onetime dinner companion has been cast in Butterfly, a Grimm Love Story, an indie horror flick based on the Internet cannibal movement. Per The Hollywood Reporter, she'll play an American student who, while researching the life of a cannibal killer for her graduate thesis, becomes obsessed with him and his, um, unique lifestyle. (Note to Keri: Next time we meet for drinks only.) read more


Alias baddie Gina Torres has been cast opposite Kristin Davis in ABC's Soccer Moms pilot. Elsewhere, Sara Gilbert has been tapped to headline a potential WB comedy about twin sisters, and Dean Cain will play one of five former frat brothers in the WB sitcom Grown Men. read more

Amazing Race 7 Preview

Last year was busy for Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan. Not only did he film three back-to-back editions of the reality hit, he also launched his new TV series No Opportunity Wasted and published a book based on the program. "I only had two days off and traveled 465,000 miles," says the exhausted New Zealander. "I really need to take a bit of a break."

Before he can slack off though, he's got to tell all about the seventh edition of The Amazing Race, which premieres tonight on CBS at 9pm/ET. Keoghan acknowledges it's strange to be gearing up for another season so soon after the previous one wrapped, but he's very high on Amazing Race 7. "My favorite season before this was Season 5," he says. "There was something about that season that captured the magic of what the race is all about. I never thought it would get any better than that, but I have to say that Season 7 is now my favorite. It is, without doubt, the strongest one w read more


The Federal Communications Commission ruled Monday that ABC's uncensored broadcast of Saving Private Ryan last Veterans Day did not violate indecency guidelines. The telecast drew a smattering of complaints, mostly from people who have Cheerios for brains. read more


A former employee of Lizzie Grubman is suing the legendary lead foot for $6 million. Brenda Loughery claims the PR princess reneged on promises to make her a partner in her company and get her a job on PoweR Girls — Grubman's forthcoming MTV reality show. Grubman's lawyer says his client plans to "vigorously defend" herself. If that's not a euphemism for "hit and run," I don't know what is. read more


It looks like Fox is coming to its senses and cutting back American Idol's painfully bloated Wednesday results show from one hour to 30 minutes — effective immediately. The new comedy Life on a Stick will air at 9:30 pm/ET beginning later this month. Until then, reruns of That '70s Show will fill the time slot. In other Fox news, the network has announced that its new Pam Anderson comedy Stacked will premiere Wednesday, April 13 at 8:30 pm. read more


If the sight of lesbians playing tonsil hockey doesn't get dudes to watch The O.C., maybe a light-saber duel will do the trick. Fox has announced plans to premiere an all-new trailer for Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith during the March 10 episode of The O.C. The trailer will be released in theaters the following day. read more


Wondering why Robin Williams walked onstage at Sunday's Oscars with duct tape over his mouth? Apparently, the acerbic comic had planned to perform an original song mocking conservative critic James C. Dobson's recent contention that SpongeBob was promoting a "pro-homosexual" agenda in an educational video. However, Williams dropped the act after ABC demanded some of the lyrics be changed — including a line that suggested Casper the Friendly Ghost was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Hey, it's not like he accused the Smurfs of being Nazis. read more

Like most great TV shows and their...

Like most great TV shows and their stars, the Watercooler has had a little work done. Now your favorite columnists will be writing about their favorite shows. So look for their commentary throughout the week, and voice your opinions about last night's TV in our new Watercooler poll.

American Idol
OK, I know what you're thinking and no, you're not crazy. We've shaken up the mix a bit, so now we'll each be covering specific shows instead of specific nights. This way, you get more diversity and I get to weigh-in on every Idol under the sun. (Hey, it beats the 57 Law & Orders, right?) So think of me as the fourth judge, with fewer product placements and less patience for Ryan Seacrest. Just the dirt on who soared, who sucked and who should start packing their bags. Tonight: The boys.

Mario Vazquez: This kid can blow and he's cuter than a box of kittens. But the clap-along-or-die "I read more

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