Today's News: Our Take


BEENE BACK

The second season of that '60s show, Oliver Beene, kicks off Feb. 8 at 7:30 pm/ET on Fox. If you're just dying of anticipation and can't wait — anyone? — the comedy's season premiere "sneak previews" right after American Idol on Feb. 4. read more

SIBLING STUNT

WB's Everwood has tapped Douglas Smith — the real-life brother of series lead Gregory Smith — to play a high school wrestling champ battling bulimia in the Jan. 26 episode. read more

RUSH WANTS IT HUSHED

After denying Rush Limbaugh's motion to keep his medical records sealed, a Florida judge turned around and resealed them again on Wednesday. That gives the radio talker's attorneys 15 days to appeal the court's original decision to let prosecutors seize his health information. The prosecution argues that it pertains to their criminal investigation of his prescription drug abuse; Limbaugh's camp says it's a violation of his constitutional right to privacy. read more

WANNABE THESPS

American Idol champ Ruben Studdard will make his "acting" debut in a February episode of UPN's One on One. Not to be outdone, Studdard's Idol "rival" Clay Aiken will guest-star in a late-January episode of NBC's Ed. They'll both play themselves. read more

DHARMA'S BACK

Actress Jenna Elfman will guest-star on two February sweeps episodes of CBS' Two and a Half Men playing a "smart, sexy, possibly crazy, but definitely mysterious woman" who comes between Charlie and Alan. read more

THE SISCO TREAT

When ABC relaunches its ratings-challenged gem, Karen Sisco, in March, Carla Gugino's U.S. Marshal will mix a little pleasure with her business. "There will be a romantic story [involving] someone from her past," reports exec producer Bob Brush, who also plans to "set up more conflict between Karen and her dad (Robert Forster)... [all] to put her through some emotional journeys." ABC is sending Sisco on a trip as well: The network is expected move the show to Sunday nights, where it will be paired with fellow tough-chick drama Alias. Predicts Brush: "[They'll] be great together." read more

DAVE SPREADS HOLIDAY CHEER

David Letterman dropped in on U.S. troops in Baghdad, Iraq on Christmas Eve. According to the The Associated Press, the Late Show host — along with his bandleader Paul Schaffer and goofball Biff Henderson — visited with sick and wounded U.S. soldiers in a combat hospital. He also palled around with servicemen in one of Saddam Hussein's wrecked palaces. Letterman paid a similar holiday visit to troops in Afghanistan last year. read more

KISS THE COOK

She's All That star Rachael Leigh Cook, 24, is engaged to Spider-Man 2 actor Daniel Gillies, 27. No wedding date's set yet, but it'll be the first marriage for both thesps. Meanwhile, there's still no word if Cook's delayed WB series Fearless — about a lady crimefighter who lacks the gene to feel fear — will ever air. read more

GRAMMYS FOR GRANDPARENTS

Musicians Van Cliburn, the Funk Brothers, Ella Jenkins, Sonny Rollins, Artie Shaw and Doc Watson will all get lifetime achievement awards at the 2004 Grammy Awards. Music's biggest kudofest airs live Feb. 8 on CBS. read more

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Bawdy comic Lenny Bruce, who died in 1966, has been granted a posthumous pardon by New York Gov. George Pataki. Back in 1964, Bruce's love of potty humor earned him a misdemeanor charge of "giving an obscene performance" in a Manhattan nightclub. "Freedom of speech is one of the greatest American liberties," Pataki said in a statement. "I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve." Well, it's about #&*$% time! read more

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