Today's News: Our Take


Veteran actress Anna Lee, best known to modern-day audiences as Quartermaine matriarch Lila on ABC's General Hospital, died Friday of pneumonia. She was 91. Lee, who was paralyzed in a car accident more than two decades ago, appeared in more than 60 films, including The Sound of Music, Fort Apache and King Solomon's Mines. She was slated to receive a lifetime-achievement award at Friday's Daytime Emmy telecast. read more


How's Matt LeBlanc doin'? We're betting pretty good after the enthusiastic reception his Friends spinoff Joey received at NBC's fall schedule presentation to advertisers (and me!) Monday in New York. Confident that they have a hit on their hands, Peacock execs screened the sitcom's entire pilot episode for the packed crowd. The consensus? It was warm, clever and, most importantly, funny. The network was stingier when it came to previewing its other new offerings, showing just clips of the 'toon series Father of the Pride (could be fun), crime dramas Medical Investigation and Hawaii (yawn... ), and Heather Locklear's airport-set saga LAX (my advice to NBC: abort takeoff). The highlight of the nearly three-hour dog and pony show — which included appearances by Donald Trump, Conan O'Brien and Tom Brokaw — came when NBC chief Jeff Zucker announced that Scrubs had been r read more


Law & Order has tapped acting vet Dennis Farina (Midnight Run, Get Shorty) to replace Jerry Orbach next season. As previously reported, Orbach is transferring to spinoff No. 3, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, which debuts on NBC at midseason. Although Farina's character is still being fleshed out, exec producer Dick Wolf tells TV Guide Online that the 60-year-old Crime Story star will be playing an "Italian cop who's an iconoclast... and a confirmed bachelor." Adds Farina: "He's going to be a little out of the ordinary." read more


Weekend Update anchor Jimmy Fallon broke some real news on this weekend's season finale of Saturday Night Live. The 29-year-old comic announced at the end of his Update segment that "This is my last show." read more


Brad Pitt's big fat Greek comedy, er, I mean epic, Troy, topped the box office with a good-but-not-great $45.6 million. Insiders speculate that the $200-million flick likely lost some of its opening-weekend audience to Saturday's NBA Playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. Another theory behind the so-so gross: Word quickly spread that the film was as campy as a Clay Aiken concert. Last week's No. 1 movie, Van Helsing, slipped to No. 2 with $20.1 million — a monstrous 61-percent tumble from its $51.8-million bow. read more


ABC doesn't unveil its fall sked until Tuesday, but Variety says that the network will not be renewing bubble shows Life with Bonnie, I'm with Her, Married to the Kellys and — thankfully — It's All Relative. Meanwhile, Variety also hints that CBS — which has its Upfront on Wednesday — may not pick up Monday-night staple Yes, Dear. That noise you hear is Atheists everywhere proclaiming, "There is a God after all!" read more


Gwyneth Paltrow gave birth to a baby girl, daughter Apple Blythe Alison Martin, Friday in London. This is the first child for the Oscar winner and her husband, Coldplay's Chris Martin. There's no word why the couple named their kid after a piece of fruit, although reports say Paltrow endured a "long labor" and, therefore, might have been out of her freakin' mind. read more


It's official: Everybody Loves Raymond will return next fall for a shortened ninth and final season, CBS announced on Sunday — the day before NBC's big fall presentation to advertisers in New York. (That noise you hear is CBS thunder-stealer Les Moonves going, "Mwhahahahahaha!") Taking a page from Friends' book, Raymond will air just 16 original episodes next season as opposed to the traditional 22. "The decision about coming back was always about maintaining the quality, and not feeling like we've overstayed our welcome," says star-producer Ray Romano. "I look forward to being a hapless, sexless husband once again in year nine." (As Summer from The O.C. would say: "Um, overshare!") read more


Sylvester Stallone is suing MGM over its upcoming boxing reality series, The Real Rocky. Stallone, who has his own pugilist project in the works at NBC, accuses the studio and the show's producers of improperly associating the project with his iconic character. The suit also claims that MGM withdrew its support for Rocky VI "immediately upon learning of The Contender and Stallone's role in it." read more


Celine Dion still can't get rid of that pain in the neck. As a result, the diva was forced to cancel her weekend shows at Caesars Palace. (She bowed out of three shows last week for the same reason.) She's expected to resume performances on Wednesday. read more

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