Today's News: Our Take


BODY BLOW

Jesse Ventura has been relegated to the dreaded weekend shift. MSNBC has dropped plans to give the wrestler-turned-governor his own weeknight show. Instead, he will host a once-a-week program on — ewww &#151 Saturdays. In a statement, Ventura said he believes the Saturday slot "is not as confining as weeknight programming and will allow me more freedom to strut my stuff and make my case." In other words, he can do whatever he wants because no one will be watching. read more

MORE WIRE

Despite drawing only modest ratings, HBO has renewed its critically acclaimed drama The Wire for a third season. The second season ends Aug. 24. read more

ELVIS LIVES

RCA Records will issue the never-before-released Elvis Presley song "I'm a Roustabout" on Oct. 7 as part of a new greatest-hits collection. The news comes on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the King's death. read more

I SPY A... D'UH!

Alias fans, you may want to sit down for this: Jennifer Garner is dating her leading man Michael Vartan! The official confirmation — which came as a complete shock to no one — was issued by Garner's spokeswoman, who told Us Weekly that the pair "were friends and they recently started dating." Garner split from her hubby, ex-Felicity star Scott Foley, last April, but according to Us, she and Vartan didn't start dating until Alias resumed production two weeks ago. It's not a lie if you believe it. read more

GOOD DEAL

Former Roseanne patriarch John Goodman has signed a deal with CBS to headline a sitcom targeted for fall 2004, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This would be the actor's first starring TV role since his ill-fated Fox comedy Normal, Ohio flopped in 2000. The premise of the new show is still being hammered out. read more

Futurama Makes a Comeback!

It's a conundrum worthy of Professor Farnsworth himself: How did Futurama blossom into a cable and DVD smash after a bumpy five-season run on Fox? Executive producer David X. Cohen credits the show's dedicated fan base, as well as a consistent time slot. As part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup, Futurama averaged 2.2 million viewers in June, a huge number for cable (the series is scheduled to return on Nov. 2). It's also doing well in afternoon reruns on TBS. Then there are the DVDs. The box set of Futurama's first season was released in March, and it sold so well that Season Two was rushed into stores this week. Cohen spoke with TV Guide Online about the show's newfound success, its future and what fans can look for on upcoming DVD releases.


TVGO: It must be gratifying to see how well Futurama is performing on cable.
DC:
Incredibly so. We could not be happier with how it's doin read more

Brat Packer Moves to Poland


How do you know when you've grown up? A member of the '80s Brat Pack with whom you went through adolescence is... is... Heaven help us, she's playing a mom! But Mare Winningham, the plain Jane of St. Elmo's Fire, doesn't seem fazed in the least that she's now too mature for girly roles. Says the female lead of David E. Kelley's fall entry, The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.: "I've got three sons of my own that are just within two years apart... and I raised them in a small town."

However, the concept of the CBS drama (which debuts Sept. 24 at 10 pm/ET) didn't resonate with the sometime folk singer only as a wife — she plays Randy Quaid's unhappy better half — an read more

The Second Coming of Jason Bateman


Perhaps not since Tom Hanks shook off the stink of Bosom Buddies has a more-or-less dismissed actor been poised to make as stunning a comeback as Jason Bateman. This fall, Justine's kid brother returns in Fox's Arrested Development (premiering Nov. 2 at 9:30 pm/ET), which he describes as "The Royal Tenenbaums shot like Cops." Even more promising, the quirky docu-style family comedy comes to the tube from highfalutin movie producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

"I've always been very aware of my 'baggage,' per se," admits the child star of The Hogan Family read more

BUSTED

A Los Angeles shutterbug who took topless pics of Cameron Diaz before she became a big star was charged Wednesday with trying to extort $3.3 million from the actress. John Rutter is accused of forging Diaz's name on the release; he faces up to six years behind bars if convicted. Does this mean we can't see the nudie pics? read more

FEELING CLAUSTROPHOBIC

HBO is divorcing itself from Marriage, Steven Bochco's much-talked-about upcoming drama series set almost entirely in the bedroom of one couple's New York City apartment. After viewing the pilot, the network "had serious reservations about whether it could be sustained as a series," an HBO rep tells Variety. Bochco, meanwhile, is developing a new cop drama for ABC — a possible successor to NYPD Blue, which is entering its 11th (and possibly final) season this fall. read more

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