Today's News: Our Take


IT'S GIGLI OVER THIS TIME

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's tumultuous 18-month courtship is over. "I am confirming the reports that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck," read a statement from Lopez's camp. "At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy." According to reports, the romance ended on Jan. 20, just three days after Affleck returned to Los Angeles from the Sundance Film Festival and four months after the duo called off their lavish, million-dollar nuptials. Let's all share a moment of silence in memory of Bennifer. read more

GOTCHA!

The plot thickened Thursday in Hollywood's ongoing screener saga. The FBI arrested an Illinois man, Russell Sprague, in connection with an Internet piracy ring that allegedly can be traced back to Academy member/actor Carmine Caridi. According to reports, Caridi had been sending his Oscar screeners over the past three to five years to Sprague, who transferred them into digital format and put them online. Oh, so that's how you do it. read more

FRIENDS FLAP

NBC has decided that, well, maybe Friends isn't the "best comedy ever" after all. The network promised Thursday not to rerun a much-criticized promo in which it used that phrase to refer to the departing hitcom. An NBC spokeswoman concedes that the spot "went overboard." She'll get no argument from Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, who last week expressed his dismay at the ad. "I don't blame them for saying that," he said. "Although, we all know it's not true." read more

THE WRITE STUFF

Bend It Like Beckham, Lost in Translation, Dirty Pretty Things, The Station Agent and In America will compete for best original screenplay at the Writers Guild of America's annual awardsfest on Feb. 21. In the best adapted screenplay category, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will face-off against Seabiscuit, American Splendor, Cold Mountain and Mystic River. read more

FriendsNot one but two reruns?!...

Friends Not one but two reruns?! Yeah, you'll be there for me. In April.

Steve Harvey's Big Time The ever-smug comedian continues to mock his guests (he's more sincere hawking Burger King's Chicken-Caesar sandwich) on this variety show, which tonight should be called Steve Harvey's Big Top since all but one of his acts belongs in the circus. Among tonight's gems: an Eastern European who manipulates a bow and arrow with her feet; a South American woman who swings from a pole by her hair; and an American hula-hoop champion. All of a sudden, Cirque de Soleil ticket prices seem reasonable.

Tru Calling Nash Bridges' Jodi Lyn O'Keefe guest-stars as Tru's former best friend, whom she has to save from drowning at their five-year high-school reunion. Though the still-painful old wounds and rivalries and are melodramatically accurate, I have two major quibbles: My five-year reunion, which I'll never forgive my mom for read more

FAREWELL, CAPTAIN

Bob Keeshan — who charmed kids as TV's Captain Kangaroo for 36 years — has died after a long illness. He was 76. On his iconic childrens' show, Keeshan played a gentle, grandfatherly man with a bowl haircut, whose "Kangaroo" nickname came from the deep pockets in his signature cardigan sweater. Over the years, he hung out with puppets, told knock-knock jokes and won six Emmys along the way. read more

GREEN GIANT

Even though Shrek 2 doesn't open for another four months, DreamWorks is fast-tracking production of a third installment, in which the lovable green ogre tackles the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Meanwhile, Variety reports that the studio is also hard at work on Shark Tale 2, even though the first Shark Tale doesn't debut until October. read more

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

MTV's Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica kicked off its second season Tuesday with its most-watched episode yet, attracting an estimated 4.7 million viewers. That helped boost the debut of 'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave, which notched a decent 3.3 million viewers and ranked as MTV's highest-rated series premiere among viewers 12-34. read more

TV DISH

The TV Guide Channel relaunches today with all-new programming — including What's On, featuring TV Guide Online's Watercooler columnists, Daniel R. Coleridge and Michael Peck in their very own segment. Look for the dishy duo's Watercooler chatter twice a week on What's On, debuting tonight at 7 pm/ET (check local TV Guide listings). read more

CRIKEY! THAT WAS A CLOSE ONE

Kooky Crocodile Hunter/baby-dangler Steve Irwin dodged a bullet Thursday when Australia's Office of Workplace Health and Safety decided not to bring charges against him for holding his 1-month-old son while feeding one of his crocs. Let this serve as a lesson to everyone: You will not be punished for using your children as croc bait. read more

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