Today's News: Our Take


BOWLED OVER

Fresh off his big balloon malfunction at last July's Democratic National Convention, producer Don Mischer has been tapped by the NFL to helm this year's Super Bowl halftime show — the first since the fiasco that was Boobygate. Super Bowl XXXIX takes place Feb. 6 and will air with a 98-hour delay on Fox. read more

BIG AWARD

A Texas jury awarded Sandra Bullock $7 million Thursday in a dispute with a builder she alleged did shoddy work on her Austin home. The builder plans to appeal. read more

QUITE A FIND

It's official: ABC has found a surefire smash with Lost. Despite facing baseball play-offs on Fox, Wednesday's episode attracted a whopping 18.1 million viewers and established new highs in several demos, including adults 18-34, men 18-34, teens and kids. Also on Wednesday, the third and final Bush-Kerry debate drew a combined 51.2 million viewers on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. read more

IN THEIR CROSSHAIRS

There were some tense moments on CNN's Crossfire Friday when Daily Show ringleader Jon Stewart dropped by and proceeded to tear co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala to shreds. Stewart, who frequently takes jabs at the debate-style program on Daily Show, accused conservative Carlson and liberal Begala of being puppets for their respective parties. "You have a responsibility to the public discourse and you fail miserably," he scowled. "You're doing theater when you should be doing debate." At one point, Stewart even told a visibly irritated Carlson, "You're as big a d--k on your show as you are on any show." How uncomfortable was the segment? Rosie O'Donnell-Tom Selleck uncomfortable. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Christina Chang, best known for her role as ADA Sandy Chang on ABC's recent Dragnet update, is joining the cast of CSI: Miami as a love interest for Horatio (David Caruso). Chang will first air in this Monday's episode. read more

SHORT CUTS

Mel Gibson will guest-star on the Oct. 22 episode of ABC's Complete Savages. Gibson is one of the sitcom's producers... ABC has trimmed Mark Cuban's The Benefactor from eight episodes to just six due to crappy ratings. The finale airs Oct. 25. read more

TROUBLE IN PARADISE

It looks like the sun has set on NBC's Hawaii. Marking the first cancellation of the new fall season, the Peacock network has stuck a fork in the low-rated cop drama, sources tell TV Guide Online. Heather Locklear's airport romp LAX, which has hit a rough patch on Monday at 10 pm, is expected to take over Hawaii's Wednesday 8 pm time slot. An NBC rep declined to comment. read more

HAZZARD DUTY

Burt Reynolds and Willie Nelson are in final negotiations to join good ol' boys Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and their sexy cousin Jessica Simpson in the big-screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard, per The Hollywood Reporter. Reynolds would play the evil Boss Hogg, while Nelson would play Uncle Jesse read more

OSCAR ROCKS ON

Chris Rock has been tapped to host the 77th annual Academy Awards telecast, airing Feb. 27 on ABC. This is the Emmy-winning comic's inaugural stint as Oscar emcee and the first time someone other than Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg or Steve Martin has hosted since 1996. Interesting side note: The last time Rock presided over an awards show, it featured a tonsil-hockey duel between Britney and Madonna. How can he possibly top that? I've got five words for ya: Lauren Bacall and Nicole Kidman. read more

HIGH TIDE

LAX is high-tailing it out of Monday night just in the nick of time. On Nov. 8, CBS will air a special 90-minute CSI: Miami (9:30-11 pm/ET) that will revolve around a killer tidal wave hitting South Beach, TV Guide Online has learned. To make room for the super-sized stunt, the network is benching Everybody Loves Raymond for the night and moving Two and a Half Men up to 9 pm/ET. read more

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