Today's News: Our Take


A MIGHTY DEAL

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have optioned the feature film rights to Mariane Pearl's memoir A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl, which chronicles the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter in Pakistan. Pitt and Aniston will produce the movie through their Warner Bros.-based company Plan B Prods. read more

CHICKEN SHUN

Former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson is joining forces with PETA and urging a consumer boycott of KFC. "If people knew how KFC treats chickens, they'd never eat another drumstick," she wrote in an open letter circulated by PETA. "What KFC does to 750 million chickens each year is not civilized or acceptable. I am calling for a boycott of all KFC restaurants until my friends at PETA tell me that you have agreed to be kinder in your practices." A KFC rep denies that its chickens are mistreated. read more

HE'S IN THE MONEY

Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence is suddenly a very rich man. The brilliant producer-writer has inked an eight-figure deal with NBC to help the network create, develop and exec produce programming over the next four years. Unfortunately, this probably means he's going to leave Scrubs in less capable hands after next season — so enjoy the show while you can folks. read more

SIMPLE CASTING COUP

It's official: Suzanne Pleshette has been cast as James Garner's TV wife on 8 Simple Rules.... They'll play the parents of Katey Sagal's widowed Cate Hennessy in a special hour-long episode airing Nov. 4. Though separated, Cate's folks try to bury the hatchet and help comfort the grieving Hennessy clan after the loss of John Ritter's character, Paul. Pleshette's doing only one episode, while Garner will stick around for at least three more. read more

BAD MEADOW, BAD!

Don't look now Tony, but your daughter is following in your crime-laden footsteps. Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn DiScala (née Sigler) has been tapped to play former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss in USA Network's original movie, titled Going Down: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss. (That's dirty.) read more

SUCCESSFUL PITCH

Revolution Studios has given King of Queens star Kevin James the go-ahead to develop a film about a baseball fan who interferes with a critical play and must deal with the repercussions. Sound familiar? That's because the story was inspired by Tuesday night's playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins, during which a Cubs fan prevented Cubs outfielder Moises Alou from catching a foul ball. The Cubs ended up losing the series, and that's something said fan will be burdened with for the rest of his life! read more

Survivor: Pearl IslandsNew episodes...

Survivor: Pearl Islands New episodes of Must-See TV, CSI and Without a Trace were postponed because of baseball, yet CBS bit the proverbial bullet and aired Survivor as scheduled. Inspired by the visiting Rupert's goodwill (he showed them how to fish and helped them move their shelter to a drier beach), Morgan dusted Drake in the reward challenge. Drake also lost the immunity challenge. I'm sorry, but whatever's left of $1 million after taxes is not nearly enough to entice me to slurp Jeff Probst's seafood shakes. I can barely polish off ceviche; I shudder to think how I'd handle a Bass-o-Matic byproduct. Michelle got the boot. Must have been her sparkly belly button.

What I Like About You Admit it. Game 7 or not, baseball is a slow game, especially early on. (I swear I heard someone tell Tim McCarver to put his cell phone away.) No one gets excited until the last three or four innings, as the end draw read more

Bob Newhart Checks Into ER

It's taken TV comedy vet Bob Newhart 74 years to make his dramatic debut. Sure, he's done serious films, but "generally as the comic relief." So what better place to do full-on drama than our favorite weepy hospital series, NBC's ER? He begins a three-episode stint on Oct. 30 as a visual artist who's distraught over losing his sight. Back on the funny front, he'll be seen as a "very nice" Santa's helper in Will Ferrell's Christmas flick Elf (opening Nov. 7). Here, he chatters with TV Guide Online about his latest adventure.


TV Guide Online: You've won so many awards — Grammys, Emmys, etc. Is there a Bob Newhart Memorial Tribute room in your house?
Bob Newhart:
No, my wife tends to be very modest about my achievements. Much more modest than I. (Laughs) She tends to hide my awards all over the house. Well, in the den, I have my Emmys. But they're in a bookcase. You really have to read more

Bob Newhart Checks Into ER

It's taken TV comedy vet Bob Newhart 74 years to make his dramatic debut. Sure, he's done serious films, but "generally as the comic relief." So what better place to do full-on drama than our favorite weepy hospital series, NBC's ER? He begins a three-episode stint on Oct. 30 as a visual artist who's distraught over losing his sight. Back on the funny front, he'll be seen as a "very nice" Santa's helper in Will Ferrell's Christmas flick Elf (opening Nov. 7). Here, he chatters with TV Guide Online about his latest adventure.


TV Guide Online: You've won so many awards — Grammys, Emmys, etc. Is there a Bob Newhart Memorial Tribute room in your house?
Bob Newhart:
No, my wife tends to be very modest about my achievements. Much more modest than I. (Laughs) She tends to hide my awards all over the house. Well, in the den, I have my Emmys. But they're in a bookcase. You really have to read more

SHORT CUTS

Showtime has greenlit a TV movie based on the Jayson Blair/New York Times scandal... Ludacris's new CD, Chicken N Beer, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart with 430,000 copies sold... Karl Malden will receive the Screen Actors Guild's lifetime achievement award on Feb. 22... Mel Gibson has renamed his controversial religious epic The Passion of Christ because the original title — The Passion — was already claimed by Miramax. read more

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