Today's News: Our Take


REVENGE OF THE NERD

Average Joe runner-up Adam Mesh is getting a second chance at reality romance. NBC announced today at the TCA press tour that Mesh will star in Average Joe: Adam Returns, a four-part series premiering March 15 in which the endearing sad sack gets a chance to find the woman of his dreams. But according to the network's entertainment president Jeff Zucker, the contestants will not all be Average Janes. "It's a [regular] dating show with Adam in the middle," he says. "The women will run the gamut." read more

SOMETHING'S GOTTA BE DONE

A copy of the romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give that was sent to an Oscar voter has surfaced on the Internet, prompting the Motion Picture Association of America to gloat, "Told ya so, told ya so, tol, tol, tol, tol, tol, told ya so." As you'll recall, the MPAA banned screener DVDs and videos because of piracy concerns, but partially lifted the ban after filmmakers protested. read more

GAY FOR PAY

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger are in talks to play cowboy lovers in Ang Lee's adaptation adaptation of the E. Annie Proulx novella Brokeback Mountain. The story chronicles the intense relationship between two Wyoming stockmen. Carson Kressley, meanwhile, is in negotiations to hang around the set and watch. read more

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS...

Emotions ran high — actually, more like medium — when the cast and producers of NBC's Friends gathered on the show's set Tuesday for a farewell press conference with TV critics. As they prepare to shoot their final scenes next Friday, "We're like very delicate china and we're speeding toward a brick wall," said Jennifer Aniston. Added Lisa Kudrow: "It's a deeper loss than I was expecting." Among the interesting tidbits that came out of the nearly hour-long Q&A: NBC president Jeff Zucker denied that he offered the cast $2 million apiece to star in a reunion special, but joked that he's prepared to give them $4 million; Courteney Cox, who is due to give birth in July, is already showing; David Schwimmer may di read more

8 Simple Rules Drat! Somehow,...

8 Simple Rules
Drat! Somehow, I thought David Spade had been cast into the TV abyss when NBC canceled Just Shoot Me. Now here he is, playing Cousin CJ — who's just like JSM's Dennis Finch, except he's scraggly, unshaven and dressed like a sloppy slacker. So Spade basically looks the way he does off camera. Scary, but true. I know, 'cause I see him around Los Angeles all the time. You'd be surprised how many of your fave stars leave the house lookin' like trash when they're not working. Not that Spade's one of my faves. He's peddling the same sleaze-with-a-heart-of-gold shtick on 8 Simple that he was in JSM, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and... everything else he's ever done. Are you as over it as I am? I'm also getting over 8 Simple's revolving door of B-listers since John Ritter's passing. Sorry, but a TV series with too many guest stars is like a woman wearing too many accessories: She looks very insec read more

DOUBLE OUCH!

Sharon Osbourne revealed on her gabfest Monday that Ozzy's collarbone had to be replaced by a rod following his all-terrain vehicle accident last month in England. She also said that he nearly had to have an arm amputated. It remains unclear whether Ozzy's real-life ordeal will be featured on The Osbournes, which returns to MTV with five all-new episodes on Jan. 27. read more

8 SIMPLE KUDOS

The episode of ABC's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter that dealt with the death of John Ritter's character has been nominated for a DGA award for best comedy series direction. The episode, helmed by James Widdoes, will face off against three installments of HBO's Sex and the City and one episode of Will & Grace. On the drama side, Six Feet Under took three of the five nominations. The two other slots went to 24 and The West Wing. Winners will be announced Feb. 7. read more

WITHOUT A TRACE

Actor-writer Spalding Gray (Swimming to Cambodia) has been reported missing after disappearing from his Manhattan home over the weekend. The 62-year-old has a history of depression. read more

Frasier Finale Scoop!!

Now that the whole Frasier mystery has been solved — NBC finally confirmed Monday that the Emmy-winning comedy would end its 11-year run in May — we can all concentrate on more important things. Like, how will the show wrap things up? Will Frasier find true love with actress Laura Linney? Will Niles and Daphne get their own spin-off? And will Kelsey Grammer follow up his role of a lifetime by snagging Nathan Lane's on Broadway? Phew, that's a lot of questions. Luckily, TV Guide Online was on the show's Hollywood-based set for Monday's farewell press conference/luncheon to get all the scoop &#151 and then some. That's right, there's even more.

Will Frasier at last get the girl — any girl?
"It's possible," Grammer told reporters. "He's a terrific guy. And as he's mellowed through the years, I think he's a little bit easier to get along with." Ent read more

Top Model's Janice Strikes Again!

"When we started thinking about judges, Janice Dickinson was one of the first people who popped into my head," says Tyra Banks, host and executive producer of UPN's America's Next Top Model (tomorrow at 9 pm/ET). "I'd never met her, but I'd heard the stories." One of the world's first supermodels (she claims to have invented the term), Dickinson lives up to her diva-may-care reputation with her merciless commentary on Top Model — and while talking with us. Meow!

TV Guide Online: What do you bring to the show?
Dickinson:
Real-life experience, know-how, and a lot of frickin' fire. People want to get into brawling matches with me because I'm brutally honest. I feel I'm saving the girls a lot of time by telling them A) You're too fat, B) You're too old, C) You're too short. Tyra's way too nice. I'm not.

TVGO: Do you consider yourself the Simon Cowell of Top Model?
Dickinson:
I look much better than Simon in a thong. read more

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