Today's News: Our Take


PAGING OSCAR...

In a surprise move, the traditionally indie-skewing New York Film Critics Circle chose a veritable blockbuster — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King — as the top film of 2003. Bill Murray was named best actor for Lost in Translation and Hope Davis won best actress for American Splendor and The Secret Lives of Dentists. The New York Film Critics Online, meanwhile, singled out Lost in Translation as the year's best movie. read more

HEADING NORTH

Late Night with Conan O'Brien is headed to Toronto in mid-February to shoot a week's worth of episodes. Local officials are hoping the exposure will revive tourism, which has slumped in the wake of the SARS outbreak read more

REMEMBERED

Actress Jeanne Crain, who earned an Oscar nomination in 1949 for playing a black girl passing for white in the controversial film Pinky, died Sunday of a heart attack at her Santa Barbara home. She was 78. read more

BEST IN TV

The American Film Institute also gave props to the small screen, naming Alias, Angels in America, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, Joan of Arcadia, Nip/Tuck, Playmakers, Soldier's Girl, 24 and The Wire as the year's best in TV. read more

SundaySurvivor: Pearl Islands...

Sunday

Survivor: Pearl Islands
Jonny Fairplay, a sore loser unable to deal with falling on his butt in the final immunity challenge, is voted out: That's what you get for having a living grandma, Lie Boy. (However, I must say that though he's the closest thing to Tolkien's Wormtongue I've ever seen in the real world, I don't hate him for the fibbing as much as the "peace out.")

Lill? She deserved to lose for the creepy Village of the Damned/Omega Man effect she achieved whenever the night-vision camera was on. That and referring to herself in the third person so damned much. Mike can't stand that.

Good for Sandra. And may Rupert live out the rest of his days doing commercial and animation voice-over work.

Survivor: Pearl Islands Tribal Buff offer
You're gonna pay 2 read more

LAWSUITIZZLE

Actress Doris Burns is suing rapper Snoop Dogg over an episode of his MTV show Doggy Fizzle Televizzle that she claims showed her having sex with another actor. Burns' suit accused Snoop and MTV of breach of contract, fraud, invasion of privacy and defamation. She is seeking unspecified damages. read more

MOURNED

Keiko, the beloved killer whale who starred in the Free Willy movies, was buried Monday in a private ceremony in Norway. The six-ton orca died Friday of pneumonia at age 27, which is considered old for a captive whale. read more

American Dreams Come True


There's good news and better news for fans of NBC's superlative period piece, American Dreams. First, although last season, resident heartthrob Will Estes joked that executive producer Jonathan Prince "has ways to kill all of us off!" G.I. JJ Pryor will not become a casualty of the war.

"JJ's is the story of survival," the boss explains to TV Guide Online. "Just as the Pryors are a family that will survive the '60s and a marriage that will make it through difficult times, so the story of Vietnam is told through the eyes of a boy who will come home to his family. And not only will he have changed, but so will they."

"Expect to see [ex-Bandstand dancer] Jimmy Riley, who joined the Marines last season," he adds. "Expect to meet a new cast of good-looking Marines in JJ's unit, 'the Untouchables.' And expect to see Vietnam accurately portrayed as a place in which men and boys fought hard to stay alive, to fight for their country an read more

Who's That New Girl on 24?


When Mary Lynn Rajskub was cast on 24 as high-strung techie Chloe O'Brian, she scored more than just a cool TV gig — she landed a swift kick in the bootay. The comic genius — probably best known as Janeane Garofalo's successor on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show — says the show's frenetic pacing has spilled over into her real life.

"I try to act like my life is 24," she tells TV Guide Online. "I'm like, 'What's going on?!' And in my head I separate things into little boxes. It's been good for my life because I was very lethargic before. I'm really getting s--t done right now."

The serial thriller has given her career a shot of adrenaline, too. Despite steady employment, Rajskub (pronounced RAY-skub) has skirted mainstream success with bit parts in such films as Road Trip, Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde 2. Her role as Adam Sandler's sister in Punch Drunk Love got the a read more

American Dreams Come True


There's good news and better news for fans of NBC's superlative period piece, American Dreams. First, although last season, resident heartthrob Will Estes joked that executive producer Jonathan Prince "has ways to kill all of us off!" G.I. JJ Pryor will not become a casualty of the war.

"JJ's is the story of survival," the boss explains to TV Guide Online. "Just as the Pryors are a family that will survive the '60s and a marriage that will make it through difficult times, so the story of Vietnam is told through the eyes of a boy who will come home to his family. And not only will he have changed, but so will they."

"Expect to see [ex-Bandstand dancer] Jimmy Riley, who joined the Marines last season," he adds. "Expect to meet a new cast of good-looking Marines in JJ's unit, 'the Untouchables.' And expect to see Vietnam accurately portrayed as read more

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