Today's News: Our Take


PAGING SAMMY JO...

ABC has greenlit a two-hour telepic that will chart the behind-the-scenes rise and fall of the classic '80s sudser Dynasty. But the network insists the project — slated to air during May sweeps — will not be a juicy tell-all like last season's Three's Company dishfest. "We realized we can't do that; it's been done," ABC longform VP Quinn Taylor tells Variety, noting that there wasn't much friction on the set, anyway. "Linda Evans was baking cookies for the cast." The fact that they were laced with Liquid Drano and all intended for Joan Collins is neither here nor there. read more

THE CRITICS SPEAK

There's no disputing The Lord of the Rings' victory at Saturday's Critics' Choice Awards, where Return of the King snagged wins for best picture, best director, ensemble cast and composer. Other winners included Sean Penn (best actor for Mystic River), Charlize Theron (best actress for Monster), Tim Robbins (best supporting actor for Mystic River) and Renee Zellweger (best supporting actress for Cold Mountain). In the past, the event served as a good barometer of Oscar success, which has to suck for poor Diane Keaton. read more

RUMOR PATROL

A Friends rep is denying a report that NBC has agreed to pay Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer $2 million apiece to shoot a 90-minute reunion special to air in November 2004. The rumored get-together was supposedly going to be taped right after production wrapped later this month on the hitcom's final episode and show the gang getting together for Thanksgiving dinner. read more

PARTY TIME EXCELLENT!

Michael Jackson's family, friends and fans are organizing a support rally to coincide with the pop star's arraignment Friday on child molestation charges. Busloads of supporters will be dropped off at the courthouse in Santa Barbara, and by supporters I mean soap fans who thought they were spending the day with Cruz and Eden. read more

SundayNFL Playoffs: Colts at Chiefs,...

Sunday

NFL Playoffs: Colts at Chiefs, Packers at Eagles
I nearly owed my fellow Eagles fans an apology. You see, I realized years ago that my teams always lose whenever I actually watch the game, so out of altruism I've skipped truly important matchups to neutralize my curse. Crazy? Syracuse lost to Indiana by one point in the 1987 NCAA hoops championship. I watched. I purposely didn't in 2003, but couldn't resist and turned the game on near the end. Sure enough, the Orangeman damned near blew the lead and that was only because I wasn't tuned in long enough for my bad mojo to build up a full head of steam. Then there was the Phillies' loss to the Bluejays in the 1993 World Series, which, again, I watched.

So despite wanting to skip the Packers-Eagles game, I selfishly decide not to incur my boss' wrath and do my job, thus choosing career over fandom, and the Birds squeak it out in overtime. I almost killed it for everyone, just read more

BOURNE AGAIN

Matt Damon's espionage thriller The Bourne Identity was the top DVD/VHS rental of 2003. Catch Me If You Can ranked second, followed by Signs, Sweet Home Alabama, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and The Ring. read more

DIG THIS

Buffy alum Michelle Trachtenberg is so headed to HBO's Six Feet Under for a four-episode arc. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress is in talks to play a pop singer protected by Keith (Michael St. Patrick). In related news, Trachtenberg has signed on to play a figure skater the Disney comedy Ice Princess. read more

ALL TALKED OUT

The talk show biz has suffered another casualty. The Wayne Brady Show has been canceled after two low-rated seasons. The Disney-owned gabfest — which picked up two Daytime Emmy Awards last year — will remain in production through May. Adding insult to injury, Brady will likely be replaced next fall by The Tony Danza Show. That's gotta sting. read more

COINCIDENCE?

The cancer doctor being sued by ex-Beatle George Harrison's family is so out of work. According to reports, Dr. Gilbert Lederman has been replaced as head of the radiation oncology unit at Staten Island University Hospital. But an attorney for the physician insists the move had "absolutely nothing to do with George Harrison or any issues concerning patient care." The suit accuses Lederman of forcing an ailing Harrison to autograph a guitar. read more

Emmy Buries Six Feet


Don't look for Six Feet Under to kill the competition when nominations for the 56th annual Prime-time Emmys are announced in July. The HBO drama, which led last year's Emmy derby with 16 nods, kicks off its fourth season in June — which is outside the Academy's eligibility period for 2004 honors. HBO's been in this situation before: Emmy also declared The Sopranos ineligible when its fourth season was delayed until Sept. 2002.

While waiting two years for another Emmy fix may seem like a fate worse than death, SFU creator Alan Ball doesn't see it that way. "I don't really think about those things that much," he says. "I'm very fortunate in that the show has been so honored, so it becomes less important. It's always nice [to be recognized], but it's not the point... it's not the reason. [Besides], we'll be eligible next year."

In the meantime, Ball is hard at work on the show's new season. Although tight-lipped about specifics, he d read more

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