Today's News: Our Take


MORE RATINGS NEWS

Bad news, Carnivale fans. The second-season premiere of HBO's quirky (and underrated) freak show averaged just 1.8 million viewers Sunday, well below its first-season average. The news was even worse for George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's latest reality hybrid Unscripted, which debuted with just 814,000 viewers at 10 pm. read more

If you clicked to this spot strictly...

If you clicked to this spot strictly for Queer Eye dish, scroll down, kiddies.

The Biggest Loser
So that scheming, doughnut-loving smart aleck Ryan Benson is The Biggest Loser. Darn, I was rooting for Gary Deckman! Ryan did hustle hard toward his goal, though, both in his arduous workouts and his savvy votes. He won points with me for betraying his alliance with Lisa Andreone. That nasty bee-yatch! He also wins points for having such a sweet wife; I oohed and aahed right along with Mrs. Benson when Ryan showed how his watch and wedding ring fit so loosely now. I also felt for her, because it's hard when you love someone with low self-esteem, isn't it? But don't let me go off on one of my Dr. Phil digressions.... The evening's most shocking revelation was not the winner, but this: Who knew my man Gary as a youngster was a dead ringer for James read more

WHERE THERE'S A WILL...

... there, um, isn't. CBS has pulled its smarmy reality series The Will after just one episode, replacing it with Cold Case reruns beginning this Saturday. read more

THE COMEBACK CONTINUES

Buoyed by original episodes of Desperate Housewives and Lost, as well as the return of Alias and Tuesday's Orange Bowl blowout, ABC scored a dominant Nielsen victory last week. The network, which was mired in fourth place this time last year, averaged nearly 16 million viewers, well ahead of second-place CBS (12 million viewers). ABC also saw season-high ratings from Friday-night comedies 8 Simple Rules and Hope & Faith. read more

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Does he think Ma Bell is only supposed to be used for phone sex? Fox News scandal-magnet Bill O'Reilly is taking to task George Clooney and the other organizers of NBC's tsunami-aid telethon, suggesting that not all of the funds pledged will actually go to those in need. In response, the former ER doc took the high road, going so far as to urge O'Reilly to act as a presenter rather than a hurdle — an offer O'Reilly has accepted. You can catch all the fireworks this Saturday. read more

ABE-MINDED

Liam Neeson is in talks to play Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's long-in-the-works biopic, Variety reports. The film, based on the forthcoming book The Uniter: The Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is slated to begin production next January. read more

RAPID DEVELOPMENT

Arrested Development scene-stealer Jeffrey Tambor became a father and a grandfather in the span of one week last month. The 60-year-old actor and wife Kasia, 35, welcomed son Gabriel Kasper on Dec. 10. Four days later, Tambor's daughter, Molly, gave birth to son Mason Jay Moore. And if that wasn't enough, li'l Mason was reportedly seen making googly eyes at Dora the Explorer, so expect an announcement from these two any day now. Congratulations to everyone! read more

Ashanti's Oz Preview


For her feature-film debut in Coach Carter (opening Friday), R&B idol Ashanti got to work with both Samuel L. Jackson and Finding Forrester star Rob Brown. But her preferred leading man is the one she shares the screen with in her next movie, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. "I'd have to say that Pepe the Shrimp is my favorite costar," the 24-year-old fledgling actress laughs. "He had a wonderful personality."

In case you're confused, no, Pepe is definitely not playing Ashanti's love interest in the made-for-TV movie, which is set to air in May on ABC. Instead, the hyperactive shellfish plays Toto to his leading lady's Dorothy. Naturally, he's not the only familiar Muppet face who turns up in Oz. Gonzo appears as the Tin Man (or the Tin Thing, as he's called in the film), Fozzie is the Cowardly Lion and everyone's favorite green thespian, Kermit, takes on the role of the Scarecrow.

As for Miss Piggy, she steals th read more

LIVE AID

Madonna, Diana Ross, Maroon 5 and Mary J. Blige are the latest performers to sign up for NBC's special Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope benefit, airing Saturday. The telethon will also feature special appearances by Halle Berry, Kevin Spacey, Usher, George Clooney, Uma Thurman, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas and Bruce Willis. read more

This Biggest Loser's No Mo


On tonight's finale of The Biggest Loser (8 pm/ET, NBC), a large part of the show will be missing, since good-natured Maurice "Mo" Walker was voted off last week. While the 30-year-old travel agent won over his housemates and Loser fans with his Tennessean charm, we're still left wondering: Why didn't the big guy — who started the contest at 430 pounds and lost 56 — shed as much fat as his skinnier rivals, like Ryan, who's already lost 90 pounds? Here, TV Guide Online phones our favorite Loser for Mo info.

TVGO: You've definitely emerged as the most popular contestant. How does that feel?
Mo:
I wouldn't say I am the most popular, but it is wonderful how everything is going. I love talking to people and I love giving people motivation.

TVGO: Is that why you did this show?
Mo:
Here's the story on that. Probably about two months before the show started, I had gone to the doctor and had a physical. He read more

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