Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Fox will kick off the 2004 baseball season in prime time on Friday, April 16, with a rematch between legendary rivals the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox... Hip-hop superstar Missy Elliott is teaming up with UPN on a reality show that's being described as the rap equivalent of American Idol... Spider-Man 2 doesn't open until July 2, but Sony Pictures is already developing a third Spidey flick to be released in 2007, Variety reports... Boyz N the Hood's John Singleton is in talks to develop and direct Luke Cage, a superhero drama based on Marvel Comics' first black crime-fighter. read more

GET REAL!

TBS is developing reality versions of Gilligan's Island and Sex and the City. Set to premiere later this year, the Island project will feature a real-life skipper, first mate, millionaire couple, movie star, Kansas farm girl and a professor working together to get off a remote island. The Sex show, meanwhile, will be hosted by Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell and follow "four single girls on a hunt for Mr. Right, or Mr. Right Now, in New York City." read more

ON THE MEND

Five months after his tiger mauling, Siegfried & Roy illusionist Roy Horn is walking again. Last week, the the 59-year-old managed to walk 558 paces with the help of a wheeled walking device. read more

PILOT NEWS

Chris Rock is producing a comedy pilot for Fox that is loosely based on his experience growing up "on the nicest block in the ghetto," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The network has also tapped Andy Richter to play the father of quintuplets in an untitled sitcom pilot. Meanwhile, Lord of the Rings hobbit Dominic Monaghan will play one of several castaways in Lost, an ABC drama pilot created by Alias mastermind J.J. Abrams. read more

FOLLOW THE LEADER

Justin Timberlake spent last week shadowing Associated Press reporter Bob Porterfield as research for his upcoming big-screen debut as a journalist in Edison. "I thought he was sharp," says Porterfield. "He seemed attentive and interested in learning this stuff. He has a real interest in developing his part. He took quite a few notes." read more

RAYMOND UPDATE

CBS president Leslie Moonves told reporters Tuesday during a conference call that he was "very guardedly optimistic" that Everybody Loves Raymond would return in the fall for a ninth and final season. As first reported Tuesday by TV Guide Online, Raymond exec producer Phil Rosenthal offered to bring the top-rated sitcom back for a Friends-esque shortened season. In other CBS news, the finale of Survivor: All-Stars will air May 9 from 8-10 pm/ET, followed by an hour-long reunion show broadcast live from New York City's Madison Square Garden. read more

REMEMBERED

Clay Aiken's father, Vernon Grissom, died Friday at the age of 68. Aiken, who has been estranged from his birth father for many years, did not attend the funeral Monday. read more

CLEAN SWEEPS

The February sweeps ratings race doesn't end until tonight but the winners are already being crowned. CBS cruised to an easy victory among total viewers while NBC led comfortably in adults 18-49. ABC ranked third in viewers, followed by Fox, which posted a 23 percent decline over last year when Joe Millionaire was all the rage. UPN and the WB tied for fifth with 3.9 million viewers, but America's Next Top Model-fueled UPN was up 7 percent while the WB was off 10 percent. Paging Felicity... read more

THE SIMPLE LIFE

Lionel Richie's estranged wife, Diane, is seeking $300,000 in monthly support payments, according to court papers obtained by — who else — TheSmokingGun.com. Apparently, Lionel's 37-year-old soon-to-be-ex is hell-bent on maintaining her "extravagant lifestyle," which includes such monthly expenses as clothing, shoes, and accessories ($15,000); dermatology ($3,000); laser hair removal ($1,000); and jewelry ($5,000). There's also the $20,000 annual plastic surgery tab, because, let's face it, no one should have to be greedy and ugly. read more

American Idol This week, we're...

American Idol
This week, we're on Group 4. Simon was dead-on about Suzy Vulaca: "You're a good singer, but forgettable." I don't care if she's from Fiji, with a special pronunciation for her last name. She has no star spark. Plus, this girl's frizz-bomb hairdo looked more attractive on Justin Guarini. As for Utah college boy John Preator, he's cute, but a lousy singer. And his hairline goes all the way back to Provo! That doesn't bode too well for the future. And I hate to slam Heather "New Attitude" Piccinini after Simon called her facial expressions "ugly," but this chick looks like a stripper, no matter what color she dyes her hair. Some of these girls on reality TV just weren't brought up right.

Redhead John Stevens was adorable, but Clay Aiken's already more than filled Idol's geek-makes-good quota, hasn't he? Plus, John looks like he's barely out of puberty, which makes him look silly sin read more

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