Today's News: Our Take


KOOSH BALLS, ANYONE?

Rosie O'Donnell's court battle against Gruner + Jahr USA over the demise of her Rosie magazine is scheduled to get underway today in a Manhattan courtroom. To keep things light and bouncy, Rosie plans to cut away to John McD and the DLT during the lulls. read more

HARRY SITUATION

A Washington doctor believes the latest Harry Potter book may be messing with kids' heads. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Howard Bennett wrote that he has seen three children complain of headaches while reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In each case, the headache went away only after they finished the novel. The moral of this story, kiddies? Reading bad. TV good. read more

MAGNUM FOR PRESIDENT

Tom Selleck has been tapped to play President Eisenhower in A&E's upcoming two-hour TV movie about the buildup to D-Day. In other casting news, USA Network has signed former Superman Dean Cain to play accused murderer Scott Peterson in The Perfect Husband, its telepic about the disappearance and death of Laci Peterson. read more

MORE RENEWALS

ABC has extended full season, 22-episode orders to all of its freshman comedies: Hope & Faith, I'm with Her, It's All Relative and Married to the Kellys. In addition, new dramas 10-8 and Threat Matrix have also been picked up. And what about Karen Sisco? An ABC rep tells me four more scripts of the show have been ordered and "we are talking to the studio." Translation: If those ratings don't spike soon, it's a goner. read more

DEN DONE?

Rob Lowe may want to see if there are any job openings at The West Wing. NBC has pulled the ex-Brat Packer's new drama The Lyon's Den off the schedule for November sweeps. A second helping of Law & Order: Criminal Intent will air in its place. The show is expected to return in December, but for how long? (That was a rhetorical question.) On a more positive note, the Peacock has picked up freshman sitcoms Whoopi and Happy Family for a full season. read more

MAGIC CONCEPTION

Charmed sorceress Holly Marie Combs reveals in the next issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale Monday) that she is expecting her first child with longtime boyfriend David Donoho in April. And, like magic, her character, Piper, is going to discover during February sweeps that she's pregnant, too. But since the good witch has no steady, who's the daddy? "Who says there is a father?" teases executive producer Brad Kern. (Well, you got me there.) read more

TIME CHECK

Fox's 24 kicked off its third season Tuesday night with 11.6 million viewers. Although the real-time drama was down 14 percent from last year, it still managed to lead the hour among adults 18-49 (tied with ABC's combo of According to Jim and Less Than Perfect). Ironically, the night's big winner was a lovable loser named Charlie Brown. ABC's telecast of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown attracted 13.2 million and scored the best kids rating for a broadcast program since Fox's finale of American Idol last May. Way to go, Chuck! read more

FORGET THE ALAMO

Disney's big-budget re-telling of The Alamo has been delayed from Dec. 25 to April to give director John Lee Hancock more time to complete the movie. The film stars Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid. read more

HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES

Ben Affleck has signed on to play legendary college hoops coach Don Haskins in the Disney feature Glory Road, Variety reports. Haskins made history in 1966 when he led the all-black Texas Western team to the NCAA championship, where they beat an all-white team from Kentucky. The project reunites Affleck with his Armageddon/Pearl Harbor director Michael Bay, who is producing the flick. (Let's hope he does a better job with this one.) read more

BABY BEATLE

Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills are the proud parents of a baby girl, Beatrice Milly McCartney, born Tuesday at a London hospital. "She is a little beauty," the 61-year-old former Beatle said. "We couldn't be prouder." According to reports, Beatrice was born three weeks premature and delivered by Caesarean section. This is the couple's first child. McCartney has three adult children from his marriage to Linda McCartney, who died in 1998 of breast cancer. read more

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