Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Drew Barrymore received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame Tuesday... A memorial service for Keiko the killer whale will be held Feb. 20 at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where the 6-ton Free Willy star lived from 1996 to 1998. Keiko died Dec. 12 of pneumonia... Former 24 damsel in distress Sarah Wynter is joining the cast of USA Network's The Dead Zone in a recurring role, according to The Hollywood Reporter... Lifetime is reviving the classic game show Queen for a Day... Alias genius J.J. Abrams has inked a new seven-figure deal to keep his production company — Bad Robot Television — at Disney-owned Touchstone TV, Variety reports. read more

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Maria Shriver has quit her job at NBC News to focus on her duties as first lady of California. In a statement, Arnold Schwarzenegger's other half — who has been on extended leave from the network ever since her hubby announced he was running for governor — said she reached the decision "after much soul-searching." Shriver isn't retiring, though. She will continue to pitch the network specials, including an upcoming project on Alzheimer's. read more

WANDA'S BACK

Wanda Sykes, whose Fox sitcom Wanda at Large was axed last fall, has found a new gig at Comedy Central. The comedian has signed on to headline a series that focuses on her real-life efforts to do everyday jobs. read more

Gilmore Girls Fresh from his aborted...

Gilmore Girls
Fresh from his aborted stint in Spin-Off Town (a well-populated suburb of Cancellationville), Jess Mariano returns to Stars Hollow to discover that — surprise! — nobody missed him. Not his uncle Luke, not his sassy mechanic Gypsy, not his ex-gal pal Rory and definitely not us viewers. Well, OK, I probably shouldn't speak for everyone. I'm sure there are more than a few GG fans out there who couldn't wait to see their favorite leather-clad bad boy roar back into town. But, personally, I'm over Jess and have been for about... oh, two seasons now. When he first hit the scene waaaay back in Year 2, he seemed like a fun alternative to Dean, Rory's stick-in-the-mud first boyfriend. But in the grand tradition of Maddie and Dave (or, to use a reference kids today will actually get, Ryan and Marissa), putting these opposites together immediately cancelled out any romantic tension. My fingers are cro read more

SHOW HER THE MONEY

A jury has ordered a Philadelphia surgeon to pay $15 million to Kelly Ripa's less-famous sister for failing to properly repair her broken ankle. Linda Ripa, 30, was nearly killed in a 1999 car accident that fractured her pelvis, sternum and ankle. She sued her doctor, claiming he improperly set her broken bones following the crash, leaving her foot permanently deformed. read more

Erika Christensen's Perfect Life


In The Perfect Score — now in theaters — Erika Christensen stars as Anna, a high schooler under pressure from her folks to get top marks on the SAT, get admitted to Brown, and live out their fantasy of a perfect life. Happily, the budding actress — best known for her work in Traffic and Swimfan — can't relate much to that whole hassle.

Unlike Anna's demanding 'rents, Christensen's mom and dad sound downright cool, especially when it comes to her chosen career. "When I was 5, they put me in acting," she tells TV Guide Online. "They didn't know that I wanted to do it and they became paranoid that they were being those 'pushy parents.' So they just stopped. Then, when I was about 12, I realized that I did want to [act], and they gave me a little trial period. I did really well and started making money, and they figured, 'Alright, this is a good deal. We can do this.'

"I am fortunate enough to have been raised withou read more

A Better Show Than Friends?


Maybe you've heard: The NBC juggernaut Friends is coming to an end this year. But we bet you haven't been told why you needn't despair: There's another sitcom all ready to take its place, at least according to Topher Grace, adorable dork Eric Foreman on Fox's That '70s Show.

"I don't think [our period laugher] will replace Friends," the scrawny leading man says, tongue in cheek. "I think it will far, far surpass Friends as the best show ever in the history of the universe. But I don't want to set myself up for a downfall."

Truth be told, we wouldn't be surprised if Grace's smart-ass prediction turned out to be on the money. That '70s Show is on a roll this season, and, with its principals all lined up to continue, it's bound keep on rockin'. For his part, the Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! star still considers himself the luckiest geek alive to have landed the series in the first place.

"I was cast out read more

FREE PORN

CBS estimates that more than 89 million people saw Janet Jackson flush her career down the toilet Sunday night, making it the most-watched Super Bowl since 1998. But only 33.3 million stuck around for the premiere of Survivor: All Stars. That's off 27 percent from the 45.4 million who watched the post-Bowl debut of Survivor: Australian Outback in 2001. read more

Apprentice's Latest Loser Speaks

He may not have been the most memorable contestant on The Apprentice, but fourth ouster Bowie Hogg has a personality as big as his home state of Texas. Here, he sounds off on his fellow competitors, rationalizes his expulsion, describes his dream woman and answers the show's $1 million question: What happens to the rejects after they get in that cab?

TV Guide Online: Other than a certain legendary rock star, Bowie is a rather unusual name. Is there a story behind it? Bowie Hogg: I was the youngest of four boys — my three older brothers have totally normal names — and I guess with the fourth one they couldn't decide on a name. My birth sticker from the hospital says "Boy Hogg," and they couldn't decide. For two weeks I had no name! And then my brother Jim was playing peek-a-boo as a joke and it stuck.

TVGO: You called Sam a "cancer" in the group. Don't you think that was a bit harsh? Hogg: No, I don't. He and I are actu read more

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Maria Shriver has quit her job at NBC News to focus on her duties as first lady of California. In a statement, Arnold Schwarzenegger's prettier half — who has been on extended leave from the network ever since her hubby announced he was running for governor — said she reached the decision "after much soul-searching... I am proud of the work I have done at NBC News, and I look forward to going back there sometime in the future." read more

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