Today's News: Our Take


HEADING WEST

ABC is developing a one-hour military drama that follows a class of West Point cadets from enrollment to graduation, Variety reports. The potential series is based on the recently released bestseller Absolutely American. As the brother of a Naval Academy grad, I have one thing to say about this project: "Go Navy! Beat Army!" read more

WHERE'S THE LOVE?

Turns out not Everybody Loves Raymond. Brad Garrett, who plays Ray's brother Robert, is refusing to show up for work unless he gets a raise. Garrett reportedly earns $4 million a year, chump change compared to Ray Romano's $45 million annual salary. Anticipating a possible walk-out by Garrett, producers wrote the actor out of the show's first episode. In a statement, reps for Garrett said their client "earns less than 10 percent of Ray's salary and is the lowest-paid member of a grossly underpaid supporting cast." Further complicating matters: Co-star Patricia Heaton, who also may be seeking a pay hike, has called in sick for the past two days — possibly delaying filming of the season premiere until next week. On the bright side, th read more

TIT FOR TAT

Liberal humorist Al Franken lashed back at Fox News on Tuesday over a lawsuit it filed claiming he infringed on its "fair and balanced" trademark by using the phrase in the title of his upcoming book. In the suit, Fox said Franken has become "increasingly unfunny" and called him "shrill and unstable," among other things. Responds the former SNL star: "When I read 'intoxicated or deranged' and 'shrill and unstable' in their complaint, I thought for a moment I was a Fox commentator." read more

SHORT CUTS

Revolution Studios is developing a sequel to Eddie Murphy's hit comedy Daddy Day Care titled Daddy Day Camp, according to The Hollywood Reporter... NBC has given a six-episode midseason order to Come to Papa, a sitcom starring comedian Tom Papa. read more

TASTE DUD

It's been a bad week for Rocco's. After receiving yet another God-awful review in a local New York paper, the eatery at the center of NBC's The Restaurant was cited for six health-code violations, according to TheSmokingGun.com. I'll stick with my Evergreen Diner right here on 47th, thank you very much. read more

The 411 on The O.C.'s MVP


Whether you caught last week's premiere of Fox's fish-out-of-water soap, The O.C., you know very well who Benjamin McKenzie is — or at least you recognize the handsome 26-year-old. His mug has been featured in so many promos for the series that by now, even he is probably sick of seeing himself. Okay, maybe sick is too strong a word; the prime-time newbie is, after all, still pretty fresh off the turnip truck.

His landing the role of Ryan Atwood, a delinquent pauper transplanted to Orange County, home of countless poor little rich kids, "wasn't quite as smooth as me just sort of being dropped off on a bus in L.A. and getting the job the next day," says the lucky star. "But I've been very fortunate.

"[The producers] have really put a lot of faith in me," he continues humbly, "because you can look down my bio and, after about three seconds, you'll realize I haven't done anything. So for read more

Is Noah Wyle Leaving ER?


This fall on CBS's Without a Trace: A Chicago doc vanishes, and Anthony LaPaglia and Co. are the prime suspects!

Don't laugh; it could happen. A rep for rival drama ER confirms that Dr. John Carter will be MIA for several weeks this fall to accommodate portrayer Noah Wyle's request for some time off. "He will be in the first two episodes," says the spokesperson, "and then there will be [an] absence."

According to Wyle's camp, the actor — who is entering his 10th season as the increasingly moody M.D. — expressed a desire to spend more time with his family, including wife Tracy and their 9-month-old son, Owen. "That's something he has discussed with the producers for some time," says his publicist, Eddie Mi read more

SOLEMN OCCASION

The major broadcast networks reportedly are planning a low-key observance of the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Unlike last year, ABC, CBS and NBC have no plans to interrupt their regular schedules in favor of wall-to-wall news coverage. Instead, the networks will devote much of that day's news programs to examining America post-9/11. read more

Amazing Race Clowns Get Serious

In case you were wondering, those noises you heard on Thursday night at around 9 pm were the anguished cries of millions of Amazing Race fans as New York clowns Jon and Al were eliminated from the competish. Plane trouble and bad advice from a travel hotline did in the popular team, who scored an unprecedented 95 percent approval rating on the CBS website. But don't worry too much about the pair — they're still as high-spirited as ever. In fact, they even wore their trademark red clown noses throughout this interview.


TV Guide Online: I'm sure I speak for almost every Amazing Race fan when I say that Thursday's episode was a heartbreaker. Have others told you how hard it was to watch you guys come in last?
Jon:
Absolutely! It's hard to absorb I tell you.
Al: We want to do a retake. A lot of people have come up and said, "You don't understand! You were our team, why did you do read more

VIOLENCE BEGETS LAWSUITS

Two men are suing Sean "P. Diddy" Combs for $25 million each, claiming members of Combs's security team attacked them last August. According to the suit, Thomas Guest and Damon Jackson say they were assaulted at the rap mogul's recording studio in Manhattan. Combs's rep calls the suits "totally baseless." read more

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