Today's News: Our Take


JACKO LEGAL UPDATE

Michael Jackson is being sued for $3 million by a former business associate who claims the embattled pop star owes him for producing fees and cash advances, including money to "pay Marlon Brando to appear at Jackson's concert" and to "buy jewelry for Elizabeth Taylor." The plaintiff, J. Marc Schaffel, is best known as the gay-porn producer who collaborated with Jacko on the Sept. 11 charity single "What More Can I Give?" Turns out, the answer was $3 million. read more

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME CONTROVERSY?

After receiving a flurry of complaints from viewers, fans and the NFL, ABC Sports apologized Tuesday for airing a sexually suggestive Desperate Housewives promo at the beginning of Monday Night Football. The spot — which is currently being reviewed by the FCC — featured a "naked" Nicollette Sheridan seducing Philadelphia Eagles player Terrell Owens in the team locker-room. In a statement, NFL V.P. Greg Aiello called the opening "inappropriate and unsuitable for our MNF audience." A rep for the Eagles, meanwhile, said "after seeing the final piece, we wish it hadn't aired." Even more infuriating, they were promised Teri Hatcher. read more

Nancy McKeon's Disastrous Career


When Las Vegas took a beating and storms blacked out Chicago in part one of Category 6: Day of Destruction, Nancy McKeon thought of it as "a fun ride." Of course, it helps that she's only making believe in the CBS disaster miniseries, part two of which airs tonight at 8 pm/ET. Here, the 38-year-old actress tells TV Guide Online about stormy weather, the sapphic appeal of The Facts of Life's Jo Polniaczek, and her butt-kickin' role on Lifetime's The Division.

TV Guide Online: What's the worst storm you've ever been in?
Nancy McKeon:
Oh man, when I was very young and it was our first cruise. Two ships left New York for Bermuda and there was a huge storm. The other ship actually turned back but ours just kept goin'. And I was very ill — it was rough and scary, and heightened by being young and not knowing what's going on. The ocean and weather can be very humbling.

TVGO: In Category 6, you're a reporter who criticize read more

SEEING DOUBLE

TBS' Real Gilligan's Island hasn't even premiered and I'm already lost. The cabler revealed Tuesday that when the reality spoof debuts Nov. 30, viewers will be treated to two sets of castaways that will go head-to-head in a series of challenges inspired by plots from the '60s show. "It's Ginger versus Ginger, Mary Ann versus Mary Ann, Professor versus Professor and so on until we have our final seven," producer Mike Fleiss tells the Associated Press. "Then the game changes." Baywatch babe Nicole Eggert will play Rachel Hunter's Ginger twin, while the rest of the cast will be populated with Surreal Life bait. read more

I SPY A GREAT LINEUP

It's official: J.J. Abrams owns Wednesday night. ABC has announced that Abrams' spy-thriller Alias is relocating to Wednesday at 9 pm following his other baby, Lost. The move takes effect Jan. 5, when Alias kicks off its fourth season with a two-hour premiere. Meanwhile, the latest edition of The Bachelorette (starring Jen Schefft) will air Mondays at 9 pm beginning Jan. 10. It'll be sandwiched between Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: How'd They Do That? and the new reality series Supernanny. read more

TAKE A BOW

More bad news for Michael Jackson: His archenemy has the No. 1 album in the country. After just three days of release, Eminem's new CD Encore sold a whopping 700,000 copies to debut atop Billboard's album chart. read more

Apprentice Hothead Mouths Off


If loose lips sink ships, then 31-year-old Apprentice also-ran Chris Russo may want to strap on an extra life preserver. During the two months he spent kissing up to Trump, the politically incorrect (yet oddly likable) Long Islander came off a smidge chauvinistic (remember the bridal store "bitch"?), a tad homophobic (b---j-bs = gay support!) and a touch traitorous ("My team sucks, Don!"). Now, let's see if we can add apologetic to the list...

TV Guide Online: Was Thursday's bridal task rigged to make you lose?
Chris Russo:
I don't think the competition was rigged to make me lose. I do believe there was a slight chance the wedding task was not the next task in line. But this is Mr. Trump's game, and if he wanted to change things up to have me tested after opening my mouth the week before, he makes the rules.

TVGO: Do you think your accent was an obstacle when you were making those phone calls? Maybe the women at those bridal st read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Desperate Housewives is pulling an Ally McBeal at this year's Golden Globes, submitting itself in the best comedy category instead of best drama, Variety reports. Similarly, series stars Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross will all be up for best actress in a comedy — which means Lauren Graham once again has her work cut out for her. Curses! read more

RED STATE OF MIND

ABC is developing a drama series set in the nation's heartland titled The Flyover States. The show revolves around a single mother from New York who moves back home to Arkansas after her husband dies, only to learn that Kmart and Sears have merged. read more

Survivor's Sarge Discharged


The women have taken a commanding lead in Survivor: Vanuatu's battle of the sexes. The latest casualty of the gender war was last week's castoff, Lea "Sarge" Masters. The 40-year-old drill sergeant (whose elimination makes him Vanuatu's first jury member) lost out after his old pal Chris sided with the female voters. Here, Masters commands TV Guide Online's attention as he dishes Chris' betrayal, the ladies' devious behavior and baring his bottom on national TV.

TV Guide Online: Before watching your final episode, did you know Chris voted against you?
Sarge:
No, I didn't. I was sitting there going, "What? Where did that come from?" I think he just didn't want to ruffle any feathers so he could get in with the women and stick a knife in their backs for me.

TVGO: Bet you were also surprised that Julie and LeAnn brought back chicken wings for the girls, but just bones for the guys.
Sarge:
That had Julie's name written a read more

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