Today's News: Our Take


DOINK DOINK

Law & Order has tapped acting vet Dennis Farina (Midnight Run, Get Shorty) to replace Jerry Orbach next season. As previously reported, Orbach is transferring to spinoff No. 3, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, which debuts on NBC at midseason. Although Farina's character is still being fleshed out, exec producer Dick Wolf tells TV Guide Online that the 60-year-old Crime Story star will be playing an "Italian cop who's an iconoclast... and a confirmed bachelor." Adds Farina: "He's going to be a little out of the ordinary." read more

UNMAKING THE BAND

On Thursday's finale of MTV's Making the Band 2, producer-host P. Diddy finally had enough of all the drama and broke up Da Band. During the show's two seasons, the group was plagued by constant infighting, tardiness and legal entanglements. P. Diddy will remain in business with two members of the sextet — Ness and Babs. Dylan, Fred, Sara and Chopper, meanwhile, are rumored to be in talks to headline Making the Big Macs. read more

ULTIMATE SURVIVOR?

Reality titan Mark Burnett is in talks with Martha Stewart about a possible syndicated show starring the jail-bound domestic diva. "My vision says her customers and fans are still loyal to her," Burnett tells Variety. "I don't think the Martha Stewart brand loyalty has changed." read more

BLAME HAWAII

As global condemnation of La Toya London's ouster on American Idol intensified, critics are looking at what role Hawaii played in the scandal. Specifically, did residents of the Aloha State jam phone lines in support of hometown girl Jasmine Trias? According to Verizon, Hawaii logged more calls during Idol's two-hour voting period than all of the company's 29 coverage states — with the exception of New York and California. In related news, the National Weather Center says there is a 90-percent chance that Hurricane Fantasia and Tropical Storm Diana will collide over Honolulu next Tuesday evening. read more

Frasier: Analyzing the Laughter...

Frasier: Analyzing the Laughter and Series Finale After 11 years and 31 Emmys, the beloved Cheers spinoff bids adieu on the night it originally called home before being bounced in favor of much less deserving Must-See TV fare. The farewell kicks off with an hourlong (55 minutes, actually, to steal from Survivor's audience, perhaps, but why quibble) clip show of the series' most memorable moments. (My favorite episode was the frantic installment in which the Crane boys bought and tried to run their favorite restaurant, with hilariously disastrous results. Daphne whacking that eel is priceless.) Clip shows are always fun, especially when they remind us of how characters have evolved over the years, emotionally and physically (forget Jennifer Aniston's hair; Kelsey Grammer's could be the topic of someone's thesis it changed so many times). But why did the usually brilliant writers resort to the contrived device of having Fraiser participating i read more

SHORT CUTS

Mean Girls star Lindsay Lohan has been tapped to host the MTV Movie Awards on June 10... The MPAA has slapped an NC-17 rating A Dirty Shame, the latest comedy from cult director John Waters. The film stars Tracey Ullman as a working-class store owner who turns into a depraved sex addict following a concussion... Jim Carrey is mulling a sequel to Bruce Almighty, Variety reports. read more

RUPE WINS!

It's official: Rupert Boneham is the most popular Survivor of them all. The lovable pirate was awarded a $1-million check live Thursday night on CBS after fans chose him as their fave all-star in an online poll. The runners-up were Big Tom (huh?), Colby and Boston Rob, who revealed during the show that he and fiancée Amber are talking to a network about televising their nuptials. Would they ever do it? Cracked Rob: "If the price is right." read more

YIPPEE, A SWAN SCANDAL!

The doc hired to counsel the ugly ducklings on Fox's The Swan is apparently as fake as the contestants. According to The Smoking Gun, therapist Lynn Ianni received her Ph.D. from a California correspondence school that was described this week as an unaccredited "diploma mill" by congressional investigators. Now, if only TSG would find some dirt on host Amanda Byram. read more

A Comeback for Spike?

In next week's Angel series finale, Spike wonders how to spend what could potentially be the last day of his undead life. So the platinum-topped vamp Spike chooses to spout poetry at a seedy bar. For his portrayer, James Marsters, playing live music would more likely top the final to-do list. The California-bred actor moonlights as lead singer of his rock band, Ghost of the Robot. On the final night of his Angel duties, he happily previewed two new tracks for us in his trailer. "I think this is the best song I've written so far," he said proudly of one acoustic ballad. Soon, he'll embark on a European tour with the group, but don't fret, Spike fans: Unlike co-star David Boreanaz, he's not ready to stake his signature role just yet.

TV Guide Online: How does it feel to shoot the last day on a series?
James Marsters:
Good. Television often is an exercise read more

Survivor Rob: Reformed?

Survivor: All-Stars backstabber Boston Rob gets another shot at that $1-million jackpot tonight at 8 pm/ET, when America decides which castaway most deserves to join Amber in the winner's circle. While the Beantown baddie performed some serious damage control by proposing to his suddenly wealthy gal-pal on Sunday's post-finale reunion show, was it enough to convince viewers that he's not the greedy, compassion-challenged conspirator he acted like on the show? Well, just in case it wasn't, the future Mr. Brkich makes his case once again to TV Guide Online.
TV Guide Online: Do you think you have a shot at the second million-dollar prize?
Boston Rob:
I hope so. What I'm hoping is that people will mix up Rupert and Robert and I think I might have a shot. I don't know. We'll see. I think I played the game the best. I think I deserve to win. Who knows, maybe the public will see it that way; we'll have read more

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