Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Christine Baranski has joined Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alyson Hannigan and Ed O'Neill in ABC's upcoming comedy series In the Game, per The Hollywood Reporter... Court TV anchor Nancy Grace is headed to CNN Headline News, where she'll host her own show... Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon will play a soccer mom who suffers a stroke on ER Feb. 17. read more

BLACK MONDAY

Interested in breaking into the news biz? There are a few openings at CBS. Four CBS news execs were fired today following the release of an independent investigation into the botched 60 Minutes report about President Bush's military service. "The bottom line is that much of the September 8th broadcast was wrong, incomplete or unfair," Les Moonves said in a statement. The pink slipees included producers Mary Mapes, Josh Howard, Mary Murphy and senior vice president Betsy West. CBS News president Andrew Heyward, whom Moonves described as "an executive of integrity and talent," was spared the axe. And what about Dan Rather, who announced in November that he was stepping down as anchor of the CBS Evening News? Although Moonves said the broadcast "would have benefited from a more direct involvement on" his part, "we believe any further action would not be appropriate." Coming Friday: The independent panel releases its fin read more

BANNED

Library officials in two southern Mississippi counties have banned Jon Stewart's best-selling book America because of a photo that shows the nine Supreme Court justices superimposed over naked bodies. "I've been a librarian for 40 years," said Robert Willits, director of the Jackson-George Regional Library System, "and this is the only book I've objected to so strongly that I wouldn't allow it to circulate." Someone needs to get this guy a copy of It's Time to Retire. read more

SUNDAY 24 What a relaxing show...

SUNDAY
24
What a relaxing show to curl up with on a Sunday night. The frantic pace and unbelievably heightened tension have (at least) two weird effects, in my opinion:
1.) Normal conversation seems like a huge waste of time. Whenever two characters are doing anything except racing to prevent some sort of horrible disaster, you feel like yelling at the TV, "What are you doing?! Quit talking about your stupid relationship and stop that bomb/assassination/toxin! Move it!"
2.) Extreme/semi-crazy actions actually make sense. When Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) shot that guy in the leg to uncover the "primary objective" mere minutes before it was supposed to occur, you're apt to think, "Yes, that's excessive but arguably necessary. And hey, it's Jack, the good guy who wouldn't do anything really bad, right?" Now, isn't that logic somehow screwed up?

Anyway, I'm not sure if Donald Rumsfeld is a big fan of the show, or the Fox n read more

SCHMO'S NEW SHOW

Joe Schmo Show's Lance Krall is headed back to Spike TV as the star of his own show. Per Variety, the cabler has greenlit eight episodes of The Lance Krall Show, an improv series featuring Krall and his pals goofing in front of the camera. It debuts this spring. read more

JUST FRIENDS

In a split heard 'round the world, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have announced that they are separating after nearly five years of marriage. "We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate," the couple said in a joint statement. "For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration. We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another." The break-up comes after months of tabloid speculation that the couple's marriage was on the rocks. They concluded their statement by asking the public and media "in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months." read more

Divorce Court's Royal Split


What's the perfect way to end a made-for-TV marriage? Well, if you're famed Jason Johnson, the ex-Marine who got hitched to Bahraini princess Meriam Al-Khalifa, you go on Divorce Court.

Johnson filed for divorce from Al-Khalifa in November, five years after their fairy-tale wedding inspired an NBC movie and numerous TV appearances. The split prompted the invitation from Divorce Court, which the couple had regularly watched together.

"I thought I could get some useful insight from the judge for my [next marriage]," says Johnson, who will appear solo on the show January 31. "[Al-Khalifa] doesn't know that I did the show. She probably won't see it."

"My reaction [was] why is he coming and without the wife? How am I going to do this?" says Judge Mablean Ephriam, who normally referees for the couples who come before her to spar. "He doesn't know where she is. She left. He had asked her for the divorce and she signed [a summary read more

Race's Gus and Hera


Going into the latest leg of The Amazing Race, father-daughter team Gus and Hera were comfortably at the head of the pack. But then, an unfortunate encounter with an errant gate knocked Hera for a loop and left the duo stuck in last place. Although the team continued to run a solid race, Gus and Hera weren't able to avoid Philimination. Here, they reveal their take on the Gate Incident and what exactly Gus did for the CIA.

TV Guide Online: Hera, what do you think happened at the gate? Did somebody pull on it like Freddy claimed or was it just an accident?
Hera:
I'm not sure if Freddy was correct. I think it was more a matter of carelessness. It also ended up being carelessness that knocked over the clue box. Everyone was being very careless and we ended up at the raw end of the deal.
Gus: I personally think that someone lifted it up to go through it faster, and then they dropped it. And when they let it go, Hera just happened to b read more

IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE...

... It's casting scoop from the set of Superman! Kevin Spacey has been tapped to play Lex Luthor in Bryan Singer's upcoming Man of Steel update. The flick marks a reunion for the duo; Singer directed Spacey to his first Oscar in The Usual Suspects. Speaking of reunions, Spacey's Beyond the Sea leading lady Kate Bosworth is reportedly in talks to play Lois Lane to Brandon Routh's Clark Kent. Bosworth beat out several "name" actresses for the plum part, including Claire Danes, Linda Cardellini and — hmmphKeri Russell. (Dear Sally... Bryan Singer just made the biggest mistake of his life.) read more

THE DIRECT APPROACH

Nominees for the Directors Guild of America Awards were announced yesterday, and they are: Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby, Marc Forster for Finding Neverland, Taylor Hackford for Ray, Alexander Payne for Sideways and sentimental favorite Martin Scorsese. After watching the top prize fly away five times, The Aviator pilot will try to finally land the darn thing at the group's 57th annual dinner, being held Jan. 29. read more

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