Today's News: Our Take


Why Buffy's Beau Nearly Wasn't


Marc Blucas almost missed his chance to be Buffy's commando boyfriend, Riley, on the cult fave Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The handsome 32-year-old originally bounced around the idea of playing pro basketball or, worse yet, wasting those rugged good looks as a lawyer! Thankfully, he came to his senses at the last minute.

"I was a business major, just doing theatre on the side," Blucas recalls. "I grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania. I used my sport to get me out of town. I love going back there, but I knew I wasn't a lifer. I got a scholarship to [Wake Forest University], played basketball there, did the Hoop Dreams thing and got to play professionally [with England's Manchester Giants] for a year.

"I had an academic scholarship to law school," he continues. "I thought that was the path that I was supposed to be on. If you grew up in Girard, Pa., people would throw rocks at you if you said you wanted to [act]. Two weeks before law sc read more

EMERGENCY RECAST?

Lawyers for Michael Jackson filed a motion Monday to remove the Santa Barbara district attorney's office from his child-molestation case. Although the exact reason was not disclosed, it's no secret that Jacko's legal team believes DA Tom Sneddon has a personal vendetta against the baby-danglin', moon-walkin' pop star. read more

SEW WHAT

As if Joan Lunden — who's currently expecting her second set of twins — isn't busy enough with her own home life, CBS has tapped the former Good Morning America host to emcee Finding the Next Designing Diva. The upcoming reality series will feature 12 Martha Stewart wannabes dueling in the domestic arts. read more

TOUGH CELL

Showtime is developing an hourlong drama series about the personal lives of terrorists, the New York Post reports. Titled The Cell, the show will be told from the viewpoints of a group of European and American converts to Islam who are plotting terror attacks in America. The Mummy's Oded Fehr stars as the group's leader. read more

SIMPLE CEREMONY

Peg Bundy is officially off the market. Katey Sagal married Shield writer Kurt Sutter in a private ceremony Saturday at their Los Angeles-area home. This is the third marriage for the 8 Simple Rules/Married... With Children leading lady. read more

X MARKS THE SPIN-OFF

Twentieth Century Fox is giving Hugh Jackman's X-Men character, Wolverine, his own movie. The studio has tapped Troy scribe David Benioff to pen the spin-off, which will likely explore the steel-clawed hero's pre-mutant days, Variety reports. In addition to Wolverine, Fox is also prepping a third X-Men. read more

Life Lessons from Dr. Phil (Keoghan)


The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan was only 19 years old when his life almost ended. "I was working on an adventure show and I followed this guy into a shipwreck where we were going to be shooting," recalls the 37-year-old New Zealander. "The wreck was about the size of the Love Boat and it was underwater. I go further and further into the ship, and I get separated from the guy I'm with. Suddenly, I don't know where I am. I started to panic.

"I'm very claustrophobic," he continues, "and I'm completely disoriented because I'm in this big, black mass of steel. I don't know where I am and I don't know how to get out. So I suddenly realize that this is it: I'm going to die."

Obviously, Keoghan eventually made it out of the wreck, but the scare profoundly changed him. "When I got out I was motivated to live — it was like a switch went off," he says. "I sat down and wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I died, and that became my life contract read more

NOT SO DESPERATE

The tube industry is still abuzz over Sunday's boffo Desperate Housewives premiere on ABC. A stunning 21.3 million viewers caught the show's debut episode, giving ABC its most-watched series premiere since Spin City eight years ago. Now for the $64,543 question: What the heck does this mean for Alias, which was slated to reclaim its Sunday-9 pm time slot in January? I spy a move to Monday night for Sydney and Co. read more

SHORT CUTS

Eminem's new single "Just Lose It" entered Billboard's Hot 100 chart at No. 17 — the highest-debuting song of his career... Beginning Oct. 10, Fox is banishing its low-rated dud, The Next Great Champ, to Fox Sports Net. read more

FIN CLUB

Okay, so a more apropos title for Open Water would have been Dull as Dishwater. Not to fear, Jaws fans. Meg author Steve Alten is on the verge of giving the shark-movie genre back its bite. He's just secured Twister director Jan de Bont to helm the megabucks screen adaptation of the first of his three books about prehistoric Great Whites doing lunch in modern times. read more

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