Today's News: Our Take


FRIENDS AGAIN

Jennifer Aniston's next film role will combine two things she knows a lot about: cash and friends. Aniston is in talks to star alongside Oscar nominees Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack and Oscar winner Frances McDormand in the indie flick Friends with Money, per The Hollywood Reporter. The film revolves around, um, a group of rich friends. read more

WORST OF THE WORST

The British trade publication Broadcast has named Baywatch the worst U.S. TV import of all time. The mag cited the show's "mind-numbing predictability" as its biggest downfall, although, let's face it, Traci Bingham deserves some of the blame, too. Other programs making the list include The Anna Nicole Show, The Dukes of Hazzard, Knots Landing and, um, Falcon Crest?!?! Clearly, these Brits never heard of a little episode titled "Stormy Weather." Yeah, look it up. read more

NO ONE CARES

Roughly 10 million viewers watched Byron propose to Mary on Wednesday's Bachelor finale, making it the franchise's lowest-rated climax yet. In other ratings news, NBC's Seinfeld special averaged a decent 14.1 million viewers Thursday night, but Jerry and Co. were still beaten by Without a Trace. Meanwhile, earlier in the night, a lot of people missed the funniest Will & Grace of the season. The show's one-hour Thanksgiving-themed episode managed only 8 million viewers. read more

ON THE MEND

A rep for former Cheers star Shelley Long is denying a New York Post report that the actress — depressed about the demise of her 22-year marriage to stockbroker Bruce Tyson — overdosed on painkillers two weeks ago. Long's manager Martin Michelson tells USA Today that his client simply had a bad reaction to some pain pills, adding that she "is now home and she is fine." read more

STORK REPORT

Julia Roberts gave birth Sunday morning to a girl and a boy at a Los Angeles-area hospital. Hazel Patricia Moder and Phinnaeus Walter Moder are the Oscar winner's first children with hubby Danny Moder. The twins arrived more than a month ahead of schedule and followed nearly six weeks of enforced bed rest for Roberts. Pretty Woman's rep said "mother and babies are doing great," although sources confirm that Phinnaeus is suffering from a bad case of firstnameitis. read more

SHORT CUTS

Viacom has agreed to shell out $3.5 million in fines to the FCC to resolve indecency probes related to shock-jocks Howard Stern and Opie and Anthony... The MPAA has slapped Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education with a dreaded NC-17 rating due to "a scene of explicit sexual content" involving two men. read more

Apprentice Babe Blinks


Donald Trump was running a two-for-one special on last Thursday's The Apprentice. Not only did he fire 28-year-old investment manager Wes Moss, but he also terminated 31-year-old marketing guru Maria Boren. Adding insult to injury, the pair didn't even get their own cabs! Luckily, TV Guide Online's Michael Ausiello doesn't believe in sharing, so he gave Maria her very own Q&A and devoted a portion of this week's "Ask Ausiello" to Wes. Simply put, everyone's a winner!

TV Guide Online: OK, what the hell happened to you in Thursday's episode?
Maria Boren:
At the photo shoot, we were all feeling the pressure of making a deadline. And Wes had actually come up to me on a couple of different occasions and said, "We really need to see this happen." The point where I actually flew off the handle at him was when he came over one last time and said, with added passion, "We have got t read more

HE NEEDS THAT ANGEL

It was inevitable: Plus-size American Idol champ Ruben Studdard was hospitalized Monday in Alabama. A rep for his record label said Studdard — who was in the midst of a publicity tour for his new album, I Need an Angel — was suffering from exhaustion, although more tests are being performed. He'll likely remain in the hospital through the end of the week. Studdard recently embarked on a highly publicized low-carb, low-cal diet that was being chronicled by Extra. He allegedly shed 12 of his 449 lbs. when reports surfaced that he had given up. Things have gotten so bad that doctors are recommending he borrow Anna Nicole's intravenous TrimSpa drip. read more

DELAYED

Universal has delayed the release of Joss Whedon's Firefly flick, Serenity, from April 22 to Sept. 30. No reason was given for the postponement. The studio has also pushed back the opening of the Sean Penn-Nicole Kidman thriller The Interpreter from Feb. 18 to April 22. read more

"Judy Garland" Meets Columbo


Actress Tammy Blanchard — a 2001 Emmy winner as young Judy in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows — says her golden statuette still holds an honored place at home. "Right now, it's in my china closet in my dining room," the 27-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "That's pretty much where it's going to stay forever. My family likes to see it when they come over, so I just leave it out in the open."

Blanchard isn't resting on her laurels, however. This Sunday, she'll pull our heartstrings even more in When Angels Come to Town (9 pm/ET, CBS). Miss Tammy appears opposite Columbo's Peter Falk in the third jolly holiday film about an angel named Max and his mischievous miracles.

Surprisingly, Blanchard reveals she's got something of a crush on her 77-year-old leading man. "He's the most handsome man in the world," she declares, "so good-looking in person." On the set, Falk's youthful antics made Blanchard, well, blanch. " read more

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