Today's News: Our Take


ONCE AGAIN

Former Once and Again star Billy Campbell is headed back to the tube. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor has signed a deal with Fox to headline his own drama series for fall 2004. read more

JUSTIN TIME

Justin Timberlake has signed a deal with ABC Sports that calls for the singer-hottie-comic to star in the network's NBA promotional campaign and write the theme music for its hoops coverage. In addition, the 'N Syncer will serve as a special NBA correspondent. read more

Tru CallingEliza Dushku sees dead...

Tru Calling Eliza Dushku sees dead people. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer refugee plays a med student with the ability to see the events leading up to untimely deaths (an apparent side effect of watching her mother being murdered in front of her when she was little) who races against the clock every week to change another victim's fate. Considering her lifeless performance, Dushku should feel right at home in her new workplace: the morgue.

Friends Christina Applegate delivers another hilarious appearance as Rachel's snotty sis Amy. Having the Emmy winner return this final season was a no-brainer (literally and figuratively), but I'm a bit taken aback by this snarky exchange about Rachel and Amy's other sister, Jill, played by Reese Witherspoon: Amy: "Mom said she [Jill] gained like, 15 pounds." Rachel: "Hips or thighs?" Amy: "Ass and face." Rachel: "I thought she was on Atkins." Amy: "She was, but the ca read more

MAGNUM FOR PRESIDENT

Tom Selleck has been tapped to play President Eisenhower in A&E's upcoming two-hour TV movie about the buildup to D-Day. In other casting news, USA Network has signed former Superman Dean Cain to play accused murderer Scott Peterson in The Perfect Husband, its telepic about the disappearance and death of Laci Peterson. read more

BABY BEATLE

Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills are the proud parents of a baby girl, Beatrice Milly McCartney, born Tuesday at a London hospital. "She is a little beauty," the 61-year-old former Beatle said. "We couldn't be prouder." According to reports, Beatrice was born three weeks premature and delivered by Caesarean section. This is the couple's first child. McCartney has three adult children from his marriage to Linda McCartney, who died in 1998 of breast cancer. 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

MAGIC CONCEPTION

Charmed sorceress Holly Marie Combs reveals in the next issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale Monday) that she is expecting her first child with longtime boyfriend David Donoho in April. And, like magic, her character, Piper, is going to discover during February sweeps that she's pregnant, too. But since the good witch has no steady, who's the daddy? "Who says there is a father?" teases executive producer Brad Kern. (Well, you got me there.) read more

TIME CHECK

Fox's 24 kicked off its third season Tuesday night with 11.6 million viewers. Although the real-time drama was down 14 percent from last year, it still managed to lead the hour among adults 18-49 (tied with ABC's combo of According to Jim and Less Than Perfect). Ironically, the night's big winner was a lovable loser named Charlie Brown. ABC's telecast of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown attracted 13.2 million and scored the best kids rating for a broadcast program since Fox's finale of American Idol last May. Way to go, Chuck! read more

Ed Asner's Santa Complex


Ho, ho, ho! How ironic that Ed Asner — best known as TV's tough, gruff Lou Grant — has carved a professional niche for himself by playing, of all roles, jolly old St. Nick. If you recall, he donned Kris Kringle's red suit for the 1996 TV movie The Story of Santa Claus and 1999's Olive, the Other Reindeer. Next up, he plays the North Pole's head honcho in the new Will Ferrell comedy, Elf (opening Nov. 7). That was one sleigh ride he'll never forget.

"This is about the eighth time I've [played Santa]," Asner tells TV Guide Online. "It is really old hat. But [my Elf character] is the ne plus ultra Santa, and all of the others were preparation for this!

"I'm delighted that it paid off nicely," the 74-year-old actor adds. "None of them were as much fun as this. From the script to the director and the ensemble cast, t read more

KOOSH BALLS, ANYONE?

Rosie O'Donnell's court battle against Gruner + Jahr USA over the demise of her Rosie magazine is scheduled to get underway today in a Manhattan courtroom. To keep things light and bouncy, Rosie plans to cut away to John McD and the DLT during the lulls. read more

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