Today's News: Our Take


WHASSOUP?

Friends is hosting a Talk Soup reunion this November. Former Soup stirrer Greg Kinnear will play a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who also happens to be the ex-lover of Ross's gal-pal Charlie (fellow Soup survivor Aisha Tyler). What's next? A cameo by VH1 fixture Hal Sparks? (That was a joke, not a suggestion.) read more

MYSTERY QUOTE SOLVED

On Tuesday, I asked readers to try and name the D-lister who was overheard on the Emmy red carpet saying, "I just took the Mensa IQ test, and I was down seven points from last year. I think I've been [in this business] too long." Among the guesses that poured in: Geena Davis, Kathy Griffin, Melissa Rivers, Evan Marriott and (ouch!) Sharon Stone. However, not a single person correctly ID'd the genius in question: Access Hollywood correspondent Tony Potts. Of course, in hindsight, that D-list clue was a bit generous. My bad. read more

EXTREME MAKEOVER

Here's some "TV News" scoop from the current issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale now): That '70s Show has found its new Laurie. Mad TV funny gal Christina Moore will step into the platform shoes of Fez's bride, originally played by Lisa Robin Kelly. In other casting news, Beverly D'Angelo is joining the cast of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a legal aid attorney who clashes with the new ADA (Diane Neal). read more

SHORT CUTS

Lakeshore Entertainment is developing a sequel and a prequel to last weekend's top flick Underworld... DMX's new CD Grand Champ entered Billboard's album chart at No. 1 with 312,000 copies sold. read more

TUESDAY RATINGS

Buoyed by the return of late John Ritter's sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (17 million viewers), ABC won the first Tuesday of the new season among adults 18-49. Rules also gave a boost to the premiere of new comedy I'm with Her, which attracted 13.1 million viewers. Elsewhere, CBS's JAG spinoff Navy NCIS averaged a respectable 12.4 million viewers, and NBC's relocated Law & Order: SVU easily beat ABC's NYPD Blue and CBS's Judging Amy at 10 pm. The WB's new teen drama One Tree Hill, meanwhile, fouled out with a lousy 2.8 million viewers. read more

Ed You know, quirky's kind of...

Ed
You know, quirky's kind of old, but I gotta throw some love to our boy Ed. Finally, after three seasons of foreplay, the goofball bowling-alley lawyer stepped up and got his freaky-deaky on with Carol. And you know what? It works! This has got to be the best coupling NBC has going for it (you'll understand later tonight, trust me). Oh, and the guest spot by Mo Rocca as "the weird-ass breeder" who rooked Mike and Nancy was inspired. Get this man a contract!

Hilary Duff's Island Birthday
Wow, this like totally reminds me of my, like, 16th birthday party. Except instead of Hawaii, it was like, in my parents' backyard. And instead of surfing and greeting fans, I like, ate cake and stuff. Granted, I may be a few weeks over the pop moppet's demo group, but hearing Hil describe "singing as being totally different than acting" made me want to sit her down and explain who Jennifer Love Hewitt was. And why Carson Daly read more

BILLY IS BACK

This morning in Beverly Hills, Oscar breathed a huge sigh of relief. Why? Funnyman Billy Crystal has been asked back to host the 76th Annual Academy Awards. If you're keeping track, this will be his eighth time at bat. "When [producer Joe Roth] called, I didn't hesitate," Crystal said. "He has such a passion for the show, I felt I could have a great time doing it again. It was either this or run for governor." ABC airs the Oscars on Feb. 28, 2004. read more

SENATOR FRASIER

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger's political fervor rubbing off on fellow celeb Kelsey Grammer? The 48-year-old Frasier star is hinting that when he's done acting, he may run for the U.S. Senate in California. "If you have the good fortune to become wealthy doing what you love to do, what happens is, you now have an obligation to give back in some way," he said on Fox News Channel's Hannity &#038 Colmes. Not just yet, though. Grammer still plans to pursue other acting gigs after wrapping Frasier's final season. read more

Robert Duvall's Second Wind


In Secondhand Lions, Robert Duvall plays a lifelong adventurer and World War I vet who hates retirement in rural Texas. The 72-year-old actor calls the role a stretch, since he's busier than ever these days. He works plenty and often jet-sets to Argentina with his girlfriend, 31-year-old actress Luciana Pedraza.

"Lately, I'm getting a lot of scripts," says Duvall, who recently co-starred in Kevin Costner's Western, Open Range. "They approached me to do a remake of The Old Man and the Sea, to play the old Cuban fisherman. A lot of things are coming my way now. Maybe, in some ways, more than even when I was younger.

"With my career, I can work right up until the end, till they wipe the drool off my chin," he chuckles. "An athlete can't do that. My father was a military man. He retired at 50 and did other things, but he never really felt fulfilled. If you're creative, you try to do things to live longer."

Duvall is read more

Temptation Host's "Hardcore" Gig


Though Mark L. Walberg has hosted romance-centered reality series such as Temptation Island and Anything for Love, he also really likes home-improvement shows like While You Were Out. So what better gig for him could there be than presiding over House Rules, the new TBS offering (premiering Oct. 10 at 8 pm/ET) that combines the excitement of room makeovers with the intensity of competitive soon-to-be-weds.

"This show is so cool," he tells TV Guide Online, with so much enthusiasm that he almost makes us forget he's not the least bit impartial. "First of all, it's hardcore redecoration. They're knocking out walls! It's not like Trading Spaces, where you throw some paint and fabric up and buy an art piece.

"Plus, there are relationships [under pressure]," he continues, "in the sense of how stressful it is to be under the gun, timewise and moneywise. Even just picking out paint color... Boy oh boy, that's stressful for these read more

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