Today's News: Our Take


SCARY DROP

As expected, my grandmother's scathing review of Scary Movie 3 put a significant dent in the film's box office. In its second weekend of release, the horror spoof grossed $21.1 million — off a staggering 56 percent from its record-breaking opening. Still, the flick managed to hold on to the No. 1 position — although it was nearly beaten by Disney's Brother Bear, which expanded to wide release and climbed to No. 2 with a solid $18.5 million. Rounding out the top five: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (No. 3 with $10.9 million), Radio (No. 4 with $10.2 million) and Runaway Jury (No. 5 with $6.9 million). read more

KATIE'S BIG GET

Katie Couric has scored an exclusive interview with disgraced New York Times plagiarist Jayson Blair. The chat will air in March and coincide with the publication of Blair's memoir, Burning Down My Master's House. read more

SUNDAY CBS at 75 CBS's...

SUNDAY

CBS at 75
CBS's self-congratulatory special had a ton of clips; but what it had the most of was uncomfortably long and strangely timed reaction shots of the celebrity audience. (Hey, there's Loni Anderson saying something we can't hear to Howard Hessman! Look, the guy next to Dennis Weaver just took a sip of water!) Still, it was a treat to see footage of shows that I've only heard about, but have never seen before, like Our Miss Brooks and The Jack Benny Show. And John Schneider and Tom Wopat each deserve a new car with doors that actually open for singing all those theme songs.

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XIV
It's become more of a Halloween tradition than throwing eggs at passing cars (although that's still popular too).
The Opening:

  • Bart (in a Charlie Brown costume): "Good grief, this candy's terrible. Circus peanuts, raisins, nicoti
  • read more

    ON THE MEND

    Siegfried & Roy magician Roy Horn has been taken off the critical list and moved from Las Vegas's University Medical Center to UCLA hospital. "Roy's condition — as a result of his accident on Oct. 3 — is serious, but his vital signs are stable," UCLA said in a statement. read more

    Blair Witch "Spells" It Out


    Four years ago, three actors went into the woods and came out with The Blair Witch Project, the most crudely shot — and, arguably, most lavishly admired — independent film in, like, ever. And, according to leading lady Heather Donahue, even if the godawful sequel hadn't killed the franchise, there could never have been another Project anyway.

    "On a regular set, you've got all these [crew members], and you have to be working on their schedule, because they've all got their jobs to do," she explains to TV Guide Online. (Well, duh.) "On Blair Witch, it was just the three of us out there. So we pretty much made that movie however we damn well pleased!

    "If we wanted a break, we took a break," she continues with a laugh. "When we were ready to shoot a scene, we shot a scene. We didn't have to do a million takes or take anybody's direction; we just read more

    Creepers "Haunts" Ed Star


    The original Jeepers Creepers freaked out a whole lotta people (us included), and none more so than Ed's Justin Long. But it wasn't what he saw while playing the creature feature's embattled protagonist that gave him nightmares, it was what we didn't see.

    "The hardest scene for me to do in that movie," he tells TV Guide Online, "was the one right after I saw all that scary scary stuff [in the Creeper's stiffs-stuffed lair]. We all really wanted to make it authentic... to make that fear as real as possible. I didn't know how I was going to do it. It was the kind of experience that leaves a [gray] streak in your hair" — &#224 la JoBeth Williams in Poltergeist.

    Nonetheless, the junior achiever was determined to give himself read more

    SYD, MEET VICIOUS

    Alias spy Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is about to encounter a truly frightening foe: the boss from The Office. Ricky Gervais, who plays insecure egomaniac David Brent on the BBC America comedy, will guest-star on an upcoming episode as a "juicy, horrible, evil" villain, says the actor, who's set to tape his appearance in early 2004. "[Alias creator] J.J. Abrams is a fan of The Office and offered to write me a part," he says. In fact, Abrams is tailoring the role to Gervais's gift for subtlety. "A good bad guy doesn't have to be arch, over-the-top, mustache-twirly," Abrams adds. "A good bad guy needs to be smart. And certainly, Ricky is smart." Translation: Expect lots of awkward silences. (For more "TV News" scoop, pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine, on sale Monday!) read more

    HO HO HELP!

    Seeking a funky (and possibly scary) alternative to traditional holiday TV specials? VH1's A Kid Rock Christmas will feature lotsa music and random stars like the Pussycat Dolls, Carmen Electra, Sopranos starlet Drea De Matteo and Kid Rock's mom. Filmed in Kid's hometown of Detroit, the 90-minute jingle-jammin' special debuts Dec. 14 at 9 pm/ET. read more

    UNMASKED

    Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are slated to reprise their roles in a sequel to The Mask of Zorro, Variety reports. Filming is expected to get underway in the spring. read more

    MORE RENEWALS

    ABC has extended full season, 22-episode orders to all of its freshman comedies: Hope & Faith, I'm with Her, It's All Relative and Married to the Kellys. In addition, new dramas 10-8 and Threat Matrix have also been picked up. And what about Karen Sisco? An ABC rep tells me four more scripts of the show have been ordered and "we are talking to the studio." Translation: If those ratings don't spike soon, it's a goner. read more

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