Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Stephen Baldwin is attempting to get his career back on track with Robbin Hoodz, an "old-school-type skateboarding film" he plans to cowrite and direct... CBS is developing a three-hour musical adaptation of Scrooge for next season... CBS has also secured rights to air the Tony Awards through 2010. read more

HER DAY IN COURT

Martha Stewart's gonna have a tough time getting people to focus on her salad today when jury selection in her securities fraud trial begins in New York City. Potential jurors will reportedly be asked such questions as: "Have you ever purchased a Martha Stewart product? Have you ever made a project or cooked a recipe from Martha Stewart? Do you think psycho Oliver is ruining all that is good and sacred about The O.C.?" Opening arguments could begin later this week. read more

IDOL WORSHIP CONTINUES...

There's apparently no stopping American Idol. Last night's third-season premiere attracted a deafening 28 million viewers, making it the night's most watched program by a landslide. It also helped boost the debut of My Big Fat Obnoxious Fianc&#233, which reeled in a big, fat 20 million viewers. Of course, if the second episode is as obnoxious as the first — and judging by last night's teaser, it will be — expect that number to tumble dramatically next Monday. read more

EVERYBODY HATES WAITING

It'll be several weeks at least before Ray Romano makes a decision about a ninth season of Everybody Loves Raymond. CBS initially said a verdict would come down in January, but now the network's entertainment president, Les Moonves, tells TV Guide Online that "the decision is a month away." Meanwhile, Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal hinted Monday that the end could be near. "Some shows have gone on for too long, and we know which ones they are," he told reporters at the annual NATPE conference in Las Vegas. "You want to get off the stage before someone tells you to get off the stage." read more

WAS IT OR WASN'T IT?

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ may have lost a key endorsement. One of Pope John Paul II's cronies — Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz — told the Catholic News Service that his boss "told no one his opinion of this film." That contradicts earlier reports that quoted the Holy Father as saying the controversial flick about the crucifixion of Christ "is as it was." Turns out what he actually said was, "It is no Weekend at Bernie's." read more

CASE CLOSED

The estate of George Harrison has settled its lawsuit against the late Beatle's cancer doctor. The $10 million suit — filed earlier this month by the singer's widow, Olivia, and their son, Dhani — accused Dr. Gilbert Lederman of forcing Harrison to autograph a guitar for his son. Under the terms of the settlement, the instrument in question "will be disposed of privately" and Lederman's son will be given a handful of Swedish Fish and a balloon. read more

THE WRITE STUFF

The Writers Guild of America announced nominations for its annual TV kudos on Monday, and two episodes of Fox's Malcolm in the Middle will compete with installments of Sex and the City and Frasier on the comedy side. Law & Order: SVU led the drama contenders with two nods — including one for Stephanie March's riveting final episode. Competing with SVU will be The O.C., The West Wing and the original Law & Order. Winners will be announced Feb. 21. read more

WILD SEX

Fox has greenlit National Geographic: When Animals Attract, an hour-long reality special on the mating habits of the wild kingdom. It'll air Feb. 13 — just in time for Valentine's Day! The network has also ordered a second edition of Man vs. Beast to air Feb. 20. The latest installment will feature a climbing contest pitting a monkey against a man, as well as exclusive footage of David Gest smacking himself upside the head. read more

PRICEY FRIENDS

NBC is charging advertisers $2 million for a 30-second spot during the May 6 Friends finale — a record for an entertainment show. By comparison, the network commanded $1.7 million a spot for its Seinfeld send-off in 1998. read more

PINK-SLIPPED

British rock band Oasis has fired drummer Alan White. "[He] has been asked to leave Oasis by the other band members," read a terse message on the group's official Web site. "There are no plans to replace Alan. The band's scheduled recording sessions remain unaffected." read more

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