Today's News: Our Take


DEAD ALIVE

Sunday's series premiere of HBO's Deadweight, er, I mean Deadwood averaged 5.8 million viewers. It was the cabler's most-watched series debut in history. By comparison, the September launch of HBO's far-superior Carnivale netted 5.3 million total viewers. (Now, nobody better be talking smack about my Carnivale.) read more

ON THE SCENE

Former Providence star Melina Kanakaredes is ditching New England for the Big Apple. The actress has been cast opposite Gary Sinise in CBS' latest CSI spin-off, CSI: New York. She'll play the show's lead female forensic investigator. As previously reported, 24's Vanessa Ferlito has also been taped for CSI's Gotham branch. For more on Ferlito's new gig — and the scoop behind her abrupt exit from 24 — click here. read more

SHORT CUTS

Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski (The Pianist) is developing a big-screen remake of the Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist... Jack Valenti, chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America for the past 38 years, announced Tuesday that he will retire in a few months. read more

FILM FACTOR

E! Entertainment is partnering with the producers of Fear Factor on a reality show in which contestants re-create memorable stunts and scenes from the movies and TV, Variety reports. E! has also picked up Dr. 90210, a series that shadows the life of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. read more

IMPOSSIBLE NEWS

Writer-director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile) will pen the script for Mission: Impossible 3. He replaces Robert Towne, who wrote the first two installments of Tom Cruise's spy franchise but who now has opted to focus on his upcoming adaptation of Jan Fante's Depression-era novel Ask the Dust. read more

HOT PROPERTY

Michael Jackson is suing a New Jersey man for more than $10 million, claiming that he is illegally selling such private Jackson family memorabilia as personal financial documents, medical records, private contracts and Jesus Juice-stained bibs on the Internet. According to court papers obtained by The Smoking Gun, Jacko says Henry Vaccaro obtained the merchandise through a bankruptcy sale involving the entertainer's parents and has no right to sell them. read more

AND THE LOSER IS...

The Academy of TV Arts and Sciences has axed the outstanding classical music/dance program award from this year's Emmys under a new directive that calls for the elimination of categories no one really cares about. Up next (we hope): Outstanding supporting actor/actress in a miniseries. Man, those two are a snooze. read more

America's Next Top Model After...

America's Next Top Model
After glimpsing the many fears and neuroses of the final three — Shandi, Mercedes and Yoanna — I couldn't really root against any of 'em. Though somehow, I just knew Shandi wouldn't win. Not because I'm holding her constant weeping or her two-timing or her trashy candy-store robbing past against her. Oh, no, I am not one to judge. Shandi just wasn't confident enough, was she?

It had to be Yoanna and Mercedes in the final runway showdown. And what a fabulously apropos way to wrap this second season. They were both fierce. Though I gotta say, despite Yoanna's spookily symmetrical features, I was with Janice Dickinson all the way: I really hoped Mercedes would win! I knew she wouldn't, but I wanted this spunky spitfire to emerge victorious. (By the way, how many times did girlfriend refer to Yo as a "bitch" in this episode? I lost count.) Mercedes wanted it so badly. She strutted dow read more

Whoopi Tackles Gay Marriage


Ever since NBC's Whoopi debuted, the sitcom has dropped winking references to "Don't Hide Love," Mavis Rae's one-hit wonder from her bygone pop star days. The snippets we've heard of the song are always catchy, but such a tease. We never get to hear the whole thing! Happily, Whoopi Goldberg performs it as Mavis — with accompaniment by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus — in tonight's episode at 8 pm/ET.

As Mavis Rae learns, "Don't Hide Love" has become a gay anthem over the years. So much so that her lesbian cousin wants Mavis Rae to sing it at her wedding in Mavis' hotel, which is simultaneously hosting a Republican shindig. Uh-oh! That's where issue-oriented comedy ensues...

"Gay marriage is something we've wanted to deal with for quite some time," says the Whoopster. "It's taken a little while to get the script just right for us. It's not an easy subject to deal with because everyone has an opinion. And so that's what the read more

Kathy Griffin's Wrecked Reality


Self-proclaimed D-lister Kathy Griffin makes a living by spoofing herself — and nearly every celebrity she's ever met — in her showbiz-skewering comedy act. The wickedly funny wacko even pitched NBC to do a series called The D-List, but the Peacock passed. Instead, NBC's given Griffin a D-List stand-up special on its cable arm, Bravo — airing Wednesday at 9 pm/ET after Queer Eye. (Scorched stars will include Whitney Houston and Anna Nicole Smith.) Sadly, MTV had to can Kathy's So-Called Reality, since networks fearful of her scathing reviews refused to share video clips of their shows. That stinks! So here, TV Guide Online gets a sassy rundown on what Griffin thinks of reality TV today...

Survivor
"I think Season 1 of Survivor was one of the best shows in the history of TV. What I don't like is that reality TV has this culture of rewarding people for being lazy and under the read more

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