Today's News: Our Take


FIRED

Nearly 23 million viewers watched Donald Trump fire 24-year-old sex kitten Katrina Campins on The Apprentice last night — the show's largest audience to date. Campins' ouster narrows the field to five contestants: Kwame, Troy, Amy, Bill and Nick. read more

LEGAL BILL

William Shatner is expected to join the cast of ABC's in-the-works Practice spinoff starring James Spader. Last week, the Star Trek icon kicked off a multi-episode arc on The Practice. read more

SHORT CUTS

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ crossed the $300 million mark at the U.S. box office Thursday... With Martha Stewart headed for the slammer, CBS has ordered 10 episodes of a reality competition that aims to find the next diva of domesticity, Variety reports... ABC Family has acquired rerun rights to the WB's Smallville. read more

FriendsAmerica, by selecting "The...

Friends America, by selecting "The One Where No One's Ready" as the No. 3 favorite episode of all time, my faith in you has been renewed. I love this one from the show's sublime third season, which I personally think is one of the series' strongest years. I love the real-time aspect of the episode, a device that keeps the urgency of the plotline about uptight Ross's vain attempts to get the rest of the gang ready to attend a dinner at which he's giving a speech. In a mere 20-something minutes, Chandler and Joey duke it out over the rights to an armchair, a battle that includes pirated cushions, wardrobe sabotage (Joey: "I'm Chandler. Could I be wearing any more clothes?" Chandler: "That is so not the opposite of hiding someone's underwear!") and the revelation of Mr. Tribbiani's proclivity to forgo skivvies ("I'm not going commando in another man's fatigues.") Then there's Monica's meltdown at hearing ex-boyfriend Richard's voice on the answering machine read more

SPLITSVILLE

The three-year romance between Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz has come to an end. The couple — who met on the set of 2001's Vanilla Sky — "broke up at the end of January and it's amicable," confirms Lee Anne DeVette, Cruise's sister-turned-gofer-turned-publicist. Let's all observe a moment of silence for Tomelope... Okay, moment's up. read more

CHING-CHING

There's bad news and even more bad news awaiting Law & Order fans this morning. The bad news: A major character is leaving NBC's long-running drama. And the even more bad news: It ain't Elisabeth Rohm's Serena Southerlyn. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jerry Orbach — who spent 12 years on the beat as Det. Lennie Briscoe — will depart the show at the end of the season. However, there's buzz that the veteran actor may take a role on the upcoming fourth installment of the franchise, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, which will follow a criminal case from arraignment to the jury's verdict. read more

Buffy's Angel Reunion Nixed


Bloody hell! This bites! This sucks! Whichever vampire pun you choose to express your feelings on the subject, the sad fact remains: Sarah Michelle Gellar will not be resurrecting Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Angel's swan song after all. As foreshadowed in this week's issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale now), the in-demand actress' busy schedule was a deal-breaker. But that's only half of the story.

You see, Gellar wasn't asked to appear in the series finale, she was invited to return for the third-to-last episode (airing May 5). Unfortunately, when that hour was being shot, she was in Tokyo working on the supernatural horror film The Grudge and, obviously, quite unavailable. However, she was free to pick up stakes in the spin-off's capper (airing May 19). So why isn't she doing that installment? Executive producer Joss Whedon didn't want Angel's send-off to "revolve around a guest star," he says simply. "We will de read more

SHORT CUTS

A&E Network has started production on Growing Up Gotti, a reality series featuring mob daughter-author Victoria Gotti and her three sons... Spider-Man 2 doesn't open until June 30, but Sony Pictures Entertainment is already confirming a May 2007 launch date for Spider-Man 3. read more

Vegging Out with a Mad Man


Contestants on Sci Fi's surprise reality hit, Mad Mad House, would go pale if they ever bumped into their endearing and diverse hosts in a dark alley. But the "alts" themselves can't get enough of one another. In fact, resident naturist Avocado tells TV Guide Online that, although production wrapped ages ago, he still often lets vampire Don turn him into a creature of the night. "Last time we hung out, we went to a goth club — that's his scene, you know? You go out at 2 am and you're out until 5. But we really hit it off."

The money-grubbing "normal" folks with whom Avocado & Co. bunked weren't nearly so easily won over. However, the frequent birthday-suit model soon learned that the way to their minds was through their stomachs. "I made a lot of raw foods for them — stuff that was incredibly tasty and nutritious," says the off-screen author of Eating for Beauty. "By the 10th episode, there was a dramatic shift [in the menu], b read more

IT'S HIP TO BE SQUARE

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Lost in Translation star Scarlett Johansson, who will voice a character in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (opening Nov. 19). She'll play a new character named Mindy, daughter of undersea leader King Neptune. read more

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