Today's News: Our Take


HIT MAN

A car driven by Sopranos star James Gandolfini was struck by a suspected drunken driver Saturday in New Jersey. Gandolfini, who was in the Garden State for a Rutgers-Michigan State football game (wink, wink), was not injured in the accident. read more

THE BRUSH-OFF FROM OZ

Ewan McGregor, Ricky Martin and Harry Connick Jr. were reportedly approached about succeeding Hugh Jackman in Broadway's The Boy from Oz, which closes Sunday after a successful year-long run. "I think that they were asked and just turned it down," Jackman tells the New York Times. Meanwhile, the Tony winner says he's not bidding farewell to Broadway for good. "I want to do a one-man show as Hugh Jackman," he says. "I never had the guts to admit that before." Let's hope his next big confession involves the words "Van Helsing" and "I'm sorry." read more

WANTING MOORE

Michael Moore has taken Fahrenheit 9/11 out of this year's best documentary Oscar race and is instead focusing on the grand prize: best picture. Fahrenheit would be the first documentary ever nominated for Oscar's top prize. In related news, rumor has it Warner Bros. is expected to take Catwoman out of the Oscars race entirely and focus instead on a Razzies sweep. read more

SURRENDER, DIANE

CBS has tapped Diane Keaton to produce and star in an adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's novel Surrender, Dorothy, reports Variety. The story revolves around a tight mother-daughter relationship that ends abruptly after the daughter dies in an accident. read more

ON THE MEND

Docs treating Rodney Dangerfield say the 82-year-old comedian is expected to make a full recovery following heart valve-replacement surgery. Dangerfield remains hospitalized in intensive care at UCLA Medical Center. read more

Question: My wife and I were ...

Question: My wife and I were eating Jimmy Dean sausage for breakfast and were wondering what ever happened to him. Why isn't he in those commercials anymore? — Tony R., Newport News, Va.

Televisionary: Funny you should ask, Tony, since Jimmy Dean and wife Donna address that question in their Dean autobiography, Thirty Years of Sausage, Fifty Years of Ham (Berkley), due out next month. And from Dean's perspective, at least, it's not a pretty story.

According to his account, everything was hunky-dory in 1984 when Consolidated Foods, parent company of such brands as Sara Lee, Coach, Hanes and Champion, bought the Jimmy Dean Meat Company from the singer, who was earlier known to the public as the singer of the folk hit "Big Bad John" and the host of his own musical-variety TV show from 1957 to 1966. But over the next two decades, he grew unhappy with working under a large conglomerate (which eventually changed its name to Sara Lee) as it slowly t read more

THAT THING THEY DO

Filmmaker Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) is developing a four-hour remake of The Thing for Sci Fi Channel, Variety reports. And not to be outdone, Ridley Scott is updating the the 1971 thriller The Andromeda Strain for Sci Fi. read more

Question: Can you please tell ...

Question: Can you please tell me the theme song for the wonderful (but now canceled) State of Grace? It starts something like this: "Do you believe in magic, in a young girl's life..." — Roslyn, New York, N.Y.

Televisionary: Actually, that's in a young girl's heart, Roslyn. But it's the Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic?" and you'll find it on their Greatest Hits CD (Buddha/BMG). An added note: lead songwriter John Sebastian also had a hit with his theme song for Welcome Back, Kotter.

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HE REALLY IS A CARTOON

Playboy chieftain Hugh Hefner and comic book legend Stan Lee are joining forces on an animated series for MTV. Titled Hef's Superbunnies, the show will find Hefner battling crime with the help of a team of, um, "specially-trained" Playmates. Well, that's one way to put it. read more

A Quick Note This will be my last...

A Quick Note
This will be my last night watching the Monday shows. Starting Sept. 13, the fabulous Ms. Rebecca Peterson will work Watercooler Mondays and I'll move to Thursday nights. Wish me luck!

North Shore
It's back! And, apparently, where there's trouble, there's Tessa. First the formerly broke Miss Con Woman secretly gives fine Mr. Bar Manager Frankie $10,000 to open a nightclub/lounge in the Grand Waimea Hotel. "I'll be your silent partner," she says. (No word on why she happens to have that kind of money lying around.) Then, after Nicole moves in with her billionaire dad to find out if he killed her mother, Margaret (who, it turns out, was in love with her boss Vincent back in the day), Tessa goes to "Daddy" and offers to spy on the whole Grand Waimea family. The reason she volunteers to be a back-stabbing beyaatch: "I want the money, the career, the man. I want it all. And I will get it." Now we're talking. Thank you, producers, for amping read more

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