Today's News: Our Take


Highbrow broadcaster Alistair Cooke, who hosted PBS's Masterpiece Theatre from 1971 to '92 and presided over Britain's popular Letter from America radio show for nearly six decades, died Tuesday at his home in New York of apparent heart disease. He was 95. read more


NBC has renewed Crossing Jordan for a fourth season. The show — which took an eight-month hiatus to accommodate Jill Hennessy's pregnancy — returned four weeks ago to strong ratings on Sunday night. read more


Überproducer David E. Kelley is pitching ABC a half-hour comedy centered on Camryn Manheim's Practice attorney, Ellenor Frutt, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series, which would debut in early 2005, would follow Ellenor as she returns home following the demise of her legal drama, er, law firm. As previously reported, ABC has already picked up a Kelley-produced Practice spinoff starring James Spader. The Practice ends its eight-year run in May, but the franchise will be around in one form or another for all eternity. read more


Boobygate star Janet Jackson is headlining a new scandal: Bleepgate! The singer was bleeped by CBS censors last night for saying the word "Jesus" during an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman. Jackson, whose new CD, Damita Jo, drops today, insisted that her legendary Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction was "totally an accident. It wasn't a stunt." But when Dave suggested that the peep show looked intentional, she said, "Oh, Jesus," according to an unedited tape of the show. The exclamation was later deleted for air. read more


"I came to New York City to land a job, not a date." — Fired Apprentice contestant Katrina Campins, pointing out the major difference between herself and corporate rival Amy Henry in an interview with TV Guide Online. Click here for the full story. read more


Late-night leader Jay Leno has signed a new four-year deal with NBC that will keep him at the helm of The Tonight Show through at least 2009. The contract is said to be worth $25 million a year for a grand total of — drumroll please — $100 million! Leno currently pulls in around $18 million annually. Despite the bump, Leno still earns less than David Letterman, who collects a cool $31.5 million a year for his Late Show duties. In related news... read more


Jason Patric was arrested Monday in Austin on misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. According to reports, the 37-year-old actor — who was in Texas for the premiere of his latest film, The Alamo — was apparently hanging out on a downtown street with some friends when police asked him to move. He allegedly took an aggressive stance and the rest, as they say, is history. Patric's publicist released a statement saying her client "believes he has done nothing wrong. He hopes for a rapid resolution to clear his name. In the meantime, remember The Alamo come April 9!" Alright, I made up that last part. read more


Fox is playing it safe with its new Friday lineup, which is tanking in the ratings. The network is moving Wonderfalls to Thursday nights beginning this week and benching Playing It Straight until summer, when it will be relaunched. So, it's back in the closet for all those cowboys! read more


Jennifer Lopez will guest star as herself on Will & Grace's hourlong season finale April 29... Will Ferrell is in talks to play Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in the film version of Mel Brooks' Tony-winning musical The Producers starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Nicole Kidman, USA Today reports. read more


Picture The Fugitive as a reality show and you've got The Chase, a Court TV special airing April 30 that drops a bunch of nobodies in a remote location with 24 hours to elude a team of professional trackers and find a cash prize. If it's a success, The Chase could morph into a weekly series. read more

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