Today's News: Our Take


GET OUT!

Seinfeld vet Julia Louis-Dreyfus is joining the cast of Fox's Arrested Development for a two-episode arc later this season. She'll play a blind attorney assigned to prosecute Jeffrey Tambor's jailed patriarch. As reported in the new issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale Monday), the former Watching Ellie star initially turned down the gig when — according to sources — producers wouldn't meet her salary demands. (Her manager says there were "many reasons" her client initially nixed the deal.) Arrested execs had been actively courting several big-name actresses to take over the role when word came that Louis-Dreyfus had come to her senses. read more

THE JACKPOT!

NBC has extended early 22-episode pickups to dramas Las Vegas and American Dreams for next season. The Vegas renewal was a no-brainer; the show ranks as the highest-rated new drama of the season among adults 18-49. And Dreams, though a more modest hit, remains a personal favorite of NBC president Jeff Zucker. read more

Threat MatrixSince Friends, CSI...

Threat Matrix Since Friends, CSI and Tru Calling are all reruns, I dropped in on this snoozefest about homeland-security agents. Tonight, the gang is looking for terrorists who've had extreme makeovers to assume the identities of workers at a nuclear power plant. Basically it's a poor man's Face/Off, with one of the bad guys ending up looking like George Costanza instead of Nic Cage.

Steve Harvey's Big Time Harvey finally has to put his money where his mouth is when he jokingly tells a 70-year-old football-playing granny that he ought to sponsor her team and she dances around the stage like a kid in front of the tree Christmas morning. He tries to retract his offer by citing a misunderstanding of the definition of ought to on her part, but she's too busy rejoicing with the rabid audience. Chagrined, Harvey realizes that resistance is futile (not to mention cheap) and concedes with a promise of $5,000. Stev read more

END OF STORY

It looks like Pixar is finding itself a new partner. The animation studio behind Finding Nemo and Toy Story ended talks with the Walt Disney Co. that would have renewed one of the most lucrative movie distribution deals in Hollywood history. Mickey Mouse exec Michael Eisner nixed Pixar's final offer "because it would have cost Disney hundreds of millions of dollars." read more

DIRTY POP

Michael Jackson has invented a new soft drink: wine-flavored Coke. According to an article in the March Vanity Fair, the newly crowned King of Soda Pop routinely drinks wine out of Coke cans so nobody knows he's drinking. The mag also says Jackson gave the young boy he's accused of molesting wine in Coke cans on a flight from Florida in February 2003. No comment from Jacko's camp. read more

I SPY AN OSCAR GIG

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has tapped Alias badass Jennifer Garner to host its annual Scientific and Technical Awards (aka the Sci-Tech Oscars) on Feb. 14. For her troubles, Garner gets to attend the actual Oscar ceremony on Feb. 29 and present the Sci-Tech segment. read more

DEEP SLEEP

Luke Wilson has signed on to play a guy who falls asleep only to wake up 1,000 years in the future in the big-screen comedy 3001. Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-head) will direct. read more

Molly Shannon's Baby Dilemma


Molly Shannon is no Sean Penn: She isn't about to deck a photographer for snapping pictures of her. But photograph her infant daughter, Stella, and holy cow! Shutterbugs may see a whole different side of the Saturday Night Live alumna. "The other day, Entertainment Tonight happened to catch a shot of her," she recalls, "and they asked me afterwards, 'Would it be OK if we let that footage air?'

"I reeled for like two hours!" she continues. "'Should I? Should I? What should I do?' I finally had to sit myself down and ask myself what was going on."

Although the funny lady's endearing neuroses may drive her bonkers, they also make her perfect to star in Fox's mid-season sitcom Cracking Up (premiering March 15). The show's executive producer is Mike White read more

TOUR DE FORCE

The WB has ordered six episodes of a sketch comedy series starring stand-up comics Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy, Variety reports. The deal comes on the heels of the trio's successful "Blue Collar Comedy Tour." read more

Molly Shannon's Baby Dilemma


Molly Shannon is no Sean Penn: She isn't about to deck a photographer for snapping pictures of her. But photograph her infant daughter, Stella, and holy cow! Shutterbugs may see a whole different side of the Saturday Night Live alumna. "The other day, Entertainment Tonight happened to catch a shot of her," she recalls, "and they asked me afterwards, 'Would it be OK if we let that footage air?'

"I reeled for like two hours!" she continues. "'Should I? Should I? What should I do?' I finally had to sit myself down and ask myself what was going on."

Although the funny lady's endearing neuroses may drive her bonkers, they also make her perfect to star in Fox's mid-season sitcom Cracking Up (premiering March 15). The show's executive producer is Mike White read more

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