Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Newmarket Films will release a special director's cut of 2001's darkly surreal Donnie Darko, which has attained cult status on DVD... Adam Goldberg (Relativity, Saving Private Ryan) has been cast opposite Parker Posey in USA Network's upcoming Frankenstein redo. He'll play Posey's crime-fighting partner, which sounds freakin' hysterical... Matrix babe Carrie-Anne Moss has been cast as the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 3. read more

EMERGENCY!

ABC's Kingdom Hospital has claimed another victim: Susan Lyne has stepped down as the network's entertainment president. The move comes two weeks after Lloyd Braun exited his post as network chairman, four weeks after Kingdom Hospital was put on life support, six months after the arrival of It's All Relative and more than a year since Are You Hot? crashed and burned. So, who's minding the store now? Touchstone Television president Stephen McPherson, who, according to sources, never saw eye-to-eye with Lyne. "He was not an advocate of hers," one former network exec tells my colleague, Stephen Battaglio. "She was not going to work for him. They were not close." read more

BAUBLES FOR BEARS

Animal-rights crusader Kim Basinger sold her 3.7-carat diamond engagement ring from ex-husband Alec Baldwin at auction Tuesday for $59,750. The proceeds will benefit the Performing Animal Welfare Society, a California refuge for abused, retired and surplus elephants, lions, bears and other captive wildlife. So, who scored the winning bid? A Beverly Hills jewelry dealer, who predicted a fan would "pay crazy money for that." That's the spirit. read more

CITY IN RUIN

Starship's "We Built This City" was named the worst song ever by Blender magazine, which describes the 1985 hit as "the truly horrible sound of a band taking the corporate dollar while sneering at those who take the corporate dollar." (Well, duh.) Other tunes making the mag's "50 Worst Songs Ever!" list include Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart," Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," Limp Bizkit's "Rollin'" and Madonna's "American Life." In related news... read more

Showbiz Moms Dads Finally, in...

Showbiz Moms & Dads
Finally, in the midst of this vapid void of mind-numbing entertainment, a show comes along that speaks to the human condition.

No, seriously. Raise your hand if your parents never tried to live vicariously through you, their talented little superstar. Now raise your hand, parents out there in cyberspace, if you never decided that your child was destined for fame before they could even spell the word fortune. Yeah, that's what I thought. (Okay, I confess. My hands never left the keyboard.)

To be fair, Little Ms. Jordan is a success story with a couple of sitcom roles under her belt, but Mama needs to make a choice: Either pay for some therapy now, for yourself, or you'll be paying for therapy for your little girl down the road. Your daughter is doing great, now put down the whip. Sure you're the best of friends and you always will be, but if your social life centers on dragging your 8-year-old to a salsa class — read more

LEGAL BRIEF

As first hinted in TV Guide magazine, fired Practice star Dylan McDermott is headed back to the ABC drama for a showdown with his successor, James Spader, a show rep now confirms. The actor will reprise his role as legal eagle Bobby Donnell for a two-episode arc airing May 2 and 16. "There's a lot of conflict in the office involving [Spader's character]," says co-star Camryn Manheim, "so we need our old friend to help resolve it." read more

PAY IT FORWARD

Kevin Spacey — who won an Oscar for playing a criminal mastermind in The Usual Suspects — was suckered by a humble con artist last weekend. The actor told BBC Radio his cell phone was snatched in a London park by a young man with "some sob story" about needing to phone home. Spacey initially told cops the thief attacked him — but later admitted he'd chased the guy, only to trip over his own dog and bump his head on the pavement. Next to The Life of David Gale, this has to rank as one of the most embarrassing experiences of his life. read more

Prime Suspect Star Returns

There's nothing like a dame, especially when her name's Helen Mirren. The accomplished 58-year-old actress, recently honored by the British government, is back as a tough Brit copper named Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness. This time, Tennison investigates the brutal murder of a young Bosnian refugee. The second half of this two-parter — airing on PBS's Masterpiece Theater — runs Sunday at 9 pm/ET.

TV Guide Online: Congratulations on being made a Dame of the British Empire last summer. Did the Queen tap you on the shoulder with a sword?
Helen Mirren:
I got my honor from Prince Charles, but men get tapped, women don't. It's a great honor that comes from [my] country. It's very sad that a similar thing doesn't exist in America.

TVGO: What are you most recognized for over here?
Mirren:
There's a section of the public who absolutely know me for Prime Suspect, another for Calendar Girls read more

Survivor's Kathy Blasts Rob

Last week, Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien — whose fate was likely sealed by Lex's recent ouster — became Boston Rob's latest victim on Survivor: All-Stars. The 50-year-old Marquesas alumna scrambled until her last minute to sway votes, but failed. Now an All-Stars jury member, Kathy tells TV Guide Online all about her strategy, Rob's backstabbing, and why she was the one who decided to keep Amber around.

TV Guide Online: You were such a power player in the beginning. What happened?
Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien:
I was working it, but I guess [getting voted off] is what happens when you trust a friend. Other than that, I think I played a pretty good game.

TVGO: What made you think Rob could be trusted after he betrayed Lex?
Kathy:
I helped with that Lex decision, unfortunately. I was the one that instigated that whole Amber idea. I thought it gave us more options to bring Amber over. Hindsight is 20/20 read more

PAGING JAMES EARL JONES...

Star Wars fans will get a first look at Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) morphing into Darth Vader when the Star Wars Trilogy DVD collection hits stores on Sept. 21. The digitized boxed set will preview a sequence from Star Wars: Episode III in which Anakin slips into Vader's new duds. "What we want to do is give people a sense of what it was like when Darth Vader steps back on the set again," Lucasfilm's Jim Ward tells USA Today. "It's one of those moments that happens only once in the lifetime of a saga." Another once-in-a-lifetime moment: Watching Padmé glue a pair of Cinnabons to her daughter's head. We better see that, too. read more

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