Today's News: Our Take


THE ICK FACTOR

After catching an episode of Fear Factor in which idiots, er, contestants ate dead rats, a Cleveland fellow has filed suit against NBC for $2.5 million. In his handwritten complaint, filed on Tuesday, paralegal Austin Aitken said that bearing witness to the incident caused him to upchuck, become dizzy and hit his head on a doorway. He also claimed the network was sending the wrong message (well, duh!). Of course, the queasy beacon of righteousness then turned around and declined Reuters' request for an interview unless he was compensated for it, so clearly, he's got his priorities in order. read more

P IS FOR PLUM PART

Golden Globe nominee Natalie Portman is in final negotiations to star in V for Vendetta, Warner Bros.' in-the-works adaptation of Alan Moore's best-selling graphic novel, Variety reports. The Wachowski brothers (The Matrix) are on board to write and produce the pic, which takes place in an alternate future where Germany wins WWII and Great Britain becomes a fascist state. read more

OFF AND RUNNING

Craig Ferguson got off to a decent start as the new host of CBS's Late Late Show Monday, improving on the show's season-to-date average by 21 percent in viewers and 14 percent in adults 18-49. Meanwhile, one of the finalists for the Late Late gig, former Ed star Michael Ian Black, has landed his own gig at Comedy Central. The cabler has tapped Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain to turn their popular stage show about a trio of modern-day Marx Brothers into a half-hour series. read more

BUH-BYE

Jon Stewart's a happy camper today. Just months after The Daily Show anchor went on CNN's Crossfire and ripped the show — and cohost Tucker Carlson — to shreds, the cable news net axed Carlson and his political slugfest. "I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp," CNN CEO Jonathan Klein told the Associated Press. "[Carlson]'s career aspirations and our programming needs just don't synch up. He wants to host his own nighttime show and we don't see that in the cards here." Indeed, Carlson has reportedly been in talks with MSNBC to fill Deborah Norville's prime-time slot. read more

E! OVERHAUL

E! News Live is undergoing an extreme makeover. In addition to a new set, the show will drop the live gimmick in favor of the more traditional taped-to-air format. Cohosts John Burke and Alisha Davis are also on their way out, to be replaced by correspondent Giuliana DePandi. The changes will take effect in February. read more

AT LAST!

For years — years, I tell you! — I have been singing the praises of Scrubs and finally I am getting the respect I deserve. I mean, the show is getting the respect it deserves. Yesterday, the Producers Guild of America included the hospital laffer among its nominees for best episodic series. Possibly of greater significance to everyone but me, the PGA's film nods generally are a swell indicator of which pictures are developing into real Oscar contenders. So it bears mentioning that Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, The Aviator and The Incredibles were all given the thumbs-up and, therefore, will likely go head-to-head again at the Academy Awards. Now, back to Scrubs... read more

WILLOW RETURNS

Buffy grad Alyson Hannigan has been tapped to play Jennifer Love Hewitt's best bud in ABC's upcoming comedy series In the Game, per The Hollywood Reporter. Hewitt stars as an up-and-coming producer who lands an on-camera job at a sports TV show. read more

SIDELINED

Dick Clark, who continues to recover from a stroke, won't be conducting his traditional backstage interviews at this month's Golden Globe Awards. Reps for the show say there are no plans to bring in a replacement. read more

The Biggest Loser No, they di'int...

The Biggest Loser
No, they di'int eliminate my Mo! I always knew it would happen, but still. How could they do Maurice like that? Every week, he got winded whilst running like the wind, he moaned like a girl on that treadmill, and yet he lost an impressive 56 lbs. and he was lovably root-worthy while he was at it. He's like this show's answer to Ruben Studdard — except with a personality. That said, what was Mo doing eating a jammy English muffin while sitting in the kitchen asking Gary not to vote for him? If I were competing for $250,000 on Loser, I wouldn't be stuffing down carbs, lemme tell ya. Anyway, I was surprised the final three were released from the ranch to go out into the real world, with all its tasty temptations. Mainly though, I'm just relieved this show finally ends next week.

Red Carpet Confidential
An hour-long commercial for cosmetics sponsors, thinly veiled with so read more

ORANGE CRUSHED

Ashlee Simpson may want to go back to lip-syncing. The embattled pop star was resoundingly booed following her creaky live performance during last night's Orange Bowl half-time show in Miami. Simpson's number capped a show that also featured American Idol Kelly Clarkson, country crooner Trace Adkins and one technical glitch after another. As for the game itself, well, what can I say, except... "Fight on for ol' SC, Our men fight on to victory. Our Alma Mater dear, Looks up to you, Fight on and win, For ol' SC.... " read more

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