Today's News: Our Take


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Welcome to a night in my TV-watching...

Welcome to a night in my TV-watching life.

7:30 PM: Family Plots
Remind me never to die in San Diego. I just finished watching a preview tape of tonight's Family Plots episode. It's a new show on A&E about three sisters and a dad who work at the Poway-Bernardo Mortuary. And, yeah. It taught me a little more than I need to know about the realities of working at a funeral home. I mean, I don't want to know that embalmers occasionally have to do a rush job on people. Nor do I want to know that they use wax on dearly departed faces, "forget" folks' funerals or have to tape some body parts to keep them from oozing. Yuck.

8 PM: Bernie Mac
I'd like to be watching my man Bernie. Right. Now. But I can't because the thousandth American Idol special is on. Like Bernie, I say, "America, can't a woman get some peace and quiet to watch her show?" Tonight, apparently not.

8:18 PM: American Idol Uncut, Uncens read more

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