Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski (The Pianist) is developing a big-screen remake of the Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist... Jack Valenti, chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America for the past 38 years, announced Tuesday that he will retire in a few months. read more

RUNWAY WINNER

As expected, Tyra Banks named 23-year-old baby-sitter Yoanna House America's Next Top Model on last night's finale. The former plus-sized beauty beat out Mercedes and Randy, er, I mean Shandi. House wins a contract with IMG Models, a spread in Jane magazine and a Sephora catalogue cover. read more

IMPOSSIBLE NEWS

Writer-director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile) will pen the script for Mission: Impossible 3. He replaces Robert Towne, who wrote the first two installments of Tom Cruise's spy franchise but who now has opted to focus on his upcoming adaptation of Jan Fante's Depression-era novel Ask the Dust. read more

ON THE SCENE

Former Providence star Melina Kanakaredes is ditching New England for the Big Apple. The actress has been cast opposite Gary Sinise in CBS' latest CSI spin-off, CSI: New York. She'll play the show's lead female forensic investigator. As previously reported, 24's Vanessa Ferlito has also been taped for CSI's Gotham branch. For more on Ferlito's new gig — and the scoop behind her abrupt exit from 24 — click here. read more

AND THE LOSER IS...

The Academy of TV Arts and Sciences has axed the outstanding classical music/dance program award from this year's Emmys under a new directive that calls for the elimination of categories no one really cares about. Up next (we hope): Outstanding supporting actor/actress in a miniseries. Man, those two are a snooze. read more

America's Next Top Model After...

America's Next Top Model
After glimpsing the many fears and neuroses of the final three — Shandi, Mercedes and Yoanna — I couldn't really root against any of 'em. Though somehow, I just knew Shandi wouldn't win. Not because I'm holding her constant weeping or her two-timing or her trashy candy-store robbing past against her. Oh, no, I am not one to judge. Shandi just wasn't confident enough, was she?

It had to be Yoanna and Mercedes in the final runway showdown. And what a fabulously apropos way to wrap this second season. They were both fierce. Though I gotta say, despite Yoanna's spookily symmetrical features, I was with Janice Dickinson all the way: I really hoped Mercedes would win! I knew she wouldn't, but I wanted this spunky spitfire to emerge victorious. (By the way, how many times did girlfriend refer to Yo as a "bitch" in this episode? I lost count.) Mercedes wanted it so badly. She strutted dow read more

FILM FACTOR

E! Entertainment is partnering with the producers of Fear Factor on a reality show in which contestants re-create memorable stunts and scenes from the movies and TV, Variety reports. E! has also picked up Dr. 90210, a series that shadows the life of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. read more

DEAD ALIVE

Sunday's series premiere of HBO's Deadweight, er, I mean Deadwood averaged 5.8 million viewers. It was the cabler's most-watched series debut in history. By comparison, the September launch of HBO's far-superior Carnivale netted 5.3 million total viewers. (Now, nobody better be talking smack about my Carnivale.) read more

GOOD NIGHT, SEATTLE

Amid laughter, tears and lots of highbrow banter, Frasier's storied 11-year run came to an end late Tuesday when cast and crew taped the sitcom's final episode in Hollywood. The hour-long finale airs May 13 on NBC. In related news, Lifetime has acquired exclusive cable rights to Frasier for $600,000 an episode. The Markie Post network can begin airing reruns of the sitcom in March 2006. read more

HOT PROPERTY

Michael Jackson is suing a New Jersey man for more than $10 million, claiming that he is illegally selling such private Jackson family memorabilia as personal financial documents, medical records, private contracts and Jesus Juice-stained bibs on the Internet. According to court papers obtained by The Smoking Gun, Jacko says Henry Vaccaro obtained the merchandise through a bankruptcy sale involving the entertainer's parents and has no right to sell them. read more

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