Today's News: Our Take


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

JESUS JUICE ALL AROUND!

Michael Jackson has won a legal fight to stop a New Jersey man from selling Jackson family memorabilia on the Internet. Unfortunately, Henry Vaccaro claims he already shipped the goods to a European buyer. Jackson's lawyer says he'll seek a court order to have the knickknacks returned. read more

SAFE BET

NBC is toying with the idea of mounting an Apprentice spinoff centered on winner Bill Rancic. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network is in talks with executive producer Mark Burnett about a show that would follow Rancic as he oversees his grand-prize gig: the construction of the 90-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in his native Chicago. But according to the New York Times, financing for the $700 million high-rise project has yet to come through, and some doubt it will. "There is a lot of healthy skepticism about it," says real estate attorney Anthony R. Licata. "That said, Trump has made a career of proving people wrong. I would never bet against the guy." Meanwhile... read more

'TIS THE SEASON

Fox is launching six original series in June as part of an aggressive summer lineup that includes the Mark Burnett-produced reality gamble The Casino, the Andy Richter comedy Quintuplets, the Hawaii-set soap North Shore and the return of The Simple Life. Noticeably MIA: Forever Eden. But rumor has it Fox may bring the low-rent Paradise Hotel knock-off back this summer under the misleading title Forever Eden and Cruz. read more

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW?

Is Clairol about to drop the F-bomb on Omarosa? A spokeswoman for the haircare giant, which on Friday shot an Herbal Essence shampoo commercial featuring the Apprentice diva, tells TV Guide Online that they filmed "multiple endings" to the spot and Omatrocious "may or may not" make the final cut. "No decision has been made at the moment." Clairol may be having second thoughts in the wake of Monday's New York Post story in which Om's Apprentice rival, Ereka Vetrini, blasted the company for aligning itself with the controversial, concussion-prone figure. "You can be sure I won't be using [their] products anymore," she said. Responds the Clairol rep: "We certainly listen to every one of our consumers." 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 Stephen King's 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, the dude responsible for such shows as Scrubs and Alias. I like him already. read more

SHORT CUTS

ABC has tapped Ben Sherwood, the former No. 2 guy at NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, to succeed Shelley Ross as exec producer of Good Morning America... ESPN has renewed Dream JobAmerica's Next Top Model set in the booth — for a second season. read more

LIL' UPDATE

Lil' Kim will go on trial in November for her eight felony counts of perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. As previously reported, the rapper is accused of lying to a grand jury about the February 2001 shootout she witnessed outside Manhattan radio station WQHT. She pleaded not guilty last week and was released on $500,000 bail. "Kim is not a criminal," her attorney, Mel Sachs, told reporters. "These charges have been extracted out of context, magnified out of proportion. She's been singled out and used because of who she is in the music industry." read more

EATING DISORDER

Viewers are having some serious reservations about The Restaurant. The new season kicked off Monday night with just 6.7 million customers. Mama's gonna take this badly. read more

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