Today's News: Our Take


Kelley Defends The Practice


When The Practice creator David E. Kelley acted as judge and jury last spring, firing much of the Emmy-winning drama's cast, it shocked Hollywood. But this took a personal toll on the veteran producer, who says he endured several sleepless nights struggling with his decision. "It was very tough on a human level," he says. "I was kinda wishing that the show had been cancelled, rather than have to do that."

Instead, faced with ABC's decision to cut the show's $6.5 million-an-episode budget by half, Kelley ultimately decided to ax many of the series' most popular stars, including Dylan McDermott and Lara Flynn Boyle. With the exception of McDermott — whose $300,000-per-episode fee proved too rich a deal for the newly cash-strapped series — Kelley kept the actors whose characters he felt had the most storyline potential going into the series' eighth season. The lucky survivors: Camryn Manheim, Steve Harris, Michael Bada read more

CHARMED, ANYONE?

Sandra Bullock is developing an hourlong drama for CBS that's basically an offshoot of the 1998 film Practical Magic, which starred Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Like the movie, the TV show will revolve around two sisters who struggle with the blessing/curse of magical abilities, Variety reports. And just to be clear, Bullock will produce — not star in — the potential series. Of course, a few more Murder by Numbers and that could all change. read more

WE WANT PROOF

Do you believe in life after tour? Cher apparently does, because the diva is finally ending her oft-extended Living Proof farewell tour on Halloween night in Toronto. That's the same city where the tour began, like, 14 years ago. read more

MADONNA IN THE ZONE

After their MTV kiss, Madonna and Britney Spears got into bed together. That is to say, the pop tarts are recording a duet titled "Me Against the Music" for Brit's fourth album, Get in the Zone. The single goes out to radio stations on Sept. 30. As previously reported, the release of the album itself has been delayed indefinitely. read more

MUSIC KUDOS

American Music Awards nominations are out! In the male pop-rock artist category, American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is competing with the big boys — Kid Rock, John Mayer and Justin Timberlake. Meanwhile, Celine Dion snagged two nods: The one for favorite adult contemporary artist puts her up against Cher and Norah Jones. The other, for fave female pop-rock artist, has her vying with Avril Lavigne and J.Lo. Eminem got nods for favorite male rapper and the 8 Mile soundtrack, while Sean Paul and Missy Elliott also are up for hip-hop honors. read more

H2... OH NO HE DIDN'T!

A 40-year-old man has been charged with attempting to cut off the water supply to illusionist David Blaine, who is spending more than six weeks holed up in a glass box beside the River Thames in London. Stephen Field allegedly climbed nearby scaffolding and tried to cut through water pipes attached to the box. Blaine is 10 days into his 44-day stint. read more

SEX SELLS

A whopping 7.7 million viewers watched Sunday's mini-season finale of Sex and the City, during which Mikhail Baryshnikov was introduced as Carrie's (Sarah Jessica Parker) latest beau. (Note to Big: You've got nothing to worry about, dude.) That was the comedy's second most-watched episode ever. The show returns with eight final episodes in January. Meanwhile, Sex's impressive climax helped boost the debut of Carnivale, which drew 5.3 million viewers — HBO's best series bow to date. read more

FAREWELL

Actor-singer Sheb Wooley, best known for his work in Westerns like High Noon and for recording the No. 1 hit "Purple People Eater," died Tuesday of leukemia. He was 82. Wooley also appeared in some 50 TV shows, including The Lone Ranger, Rawhide, The Mod Squad and Murder, She Wrote. read more

STAIN REMOVED

Miramax has delayed the release of its upcoming Nicole Kidman-Anthony Hopkins drama The Human Stain from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31, TV Guide Online has learned. Rumor has it the studio postponed the the highly anticipated film just to annoy me. read more

COME TO PAPA, YOU LITTLE %$#*!

Foul-mouthed thesp Colin Farrell and his galpal, model Kim Bordenave, became the proud parents of a baby boy, born Friday in Los Angeles. Farrell was not present for the birth because he was in Morocco shooting Oliver Stone's upcoming Alexander the Great epic. The little guy will be named when his pa returns home. read more

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