Today's News: Our Take


MOURNED

Former CBS CEO Laurence Tisch, who ran the network from 1986-95, died Saturday of complications from gastric cancer. He was 80. read more

SURVIVOR'S SUPER DEBUT

The next installment of CBS's Survivor, featuring all-stars from the first seven editions, will premiere Feb. 1 following the Super Bowl, USA Today reports. The network won't confirm the list of participants, but TV Guide Online has learned that Deb Eaton will not be back. read more

ELFIN MAGIC

Will Ferrell's Elf edged out Russell Crowe's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World to claim top honors at the weekend box office. In its second week of release, Elf climbed to No. 1 with $27.2 million — off just 12 percent from its impressive debut. The well-reviewed Master and Commander came in a close second with $25.7 million, slightly above expectations. The same can't be said for The Matrix Revolutions (No. 3 with $16.3 million), which plummeted 66 percent from its disappointing opening. Also excreting flop sweat: Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which debuted at No. 5 with $9.5 million. Note to Brendan Fraser: Why? read more

SUNDAY The American Music Awards...

SUNDAY

The American Music Awards
All right, who had Justin Timberlake and Fleetwood Mac in your annual American Music Awards office pool? Huh? Yeah, you're gloating proudly today, aren't ya? But whoever bet that Macy Gray would ramble on about how "p----d off" she was that she didn't get nominated is surely cleaning up right now. Anyway, here are some other noteworthy moments:

  • Host Jimmy Kimmel's ban on thanking God in acceptance speeches. "God does not watch television," Kimmel pronounced, "and if he did he certainly wouldn't be watching this show." (I may be alone in this, but I found Kimmel's biting introductions refreshing. Like this one for Monica and Heather Headley: "Our next two presenters have been performing since they were young enough to date Rod Stewart.")
  • Clay Aiken on winning the Fans' Choice award: "I'm kinda used to second place."
  • Luther Vandross' mot
  • read more

    SHORT CUTS

    NBC is ending its four-year partnership with the Pax Network and parent company Paxson Communications... CBS confirmed Thursday that it will air a one-hour special chronicling Michael Jackson's career on Nov. 26, the final night of sweeps... Wednesday's 60 Minutes II (8 pm/ET) profiles Felix Dennis, whose Dennis Publishing is responsible for such magazines as Maxim, Stuff and Blender. read more

    DALY NEWS

    Carson Daly, who started out as a radio DJ in Los Angeles, is developing an as-yet untitled comedy series for NBC set at an urban radio station, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The sometime TRL host is on board to executive produce but will not star in the project. read more

    MOM'S AWAY

    Alias villainess Lena Olin seems to be taking her role as Jennifer Garner's absentee mom, Irina Derevko, a little too literally. As reported in the new issue of TV Guide magazine, the actress nixed a deal to return this season despite the fact that, as a source close to the negotiations puts it, "every single one of her demands were met by ABC and the producers." Among her initial requests: "Sharon Stone-type money," says an insider, referring to the unprecedented $100,000-per-episode salary the Basic Instinct star reportedly pulled in for her recent Practice stint. ABC declined to comment, as did Olin's camp, but Alias exec producer J.J. Abrams is holding ou read more

    Seven Silly Questions with Lisa Simpson

    Little, pointy-haired Lisa Simpson has been America's favorite eight-year-old for nearly 14 years. (Hey, wait a minute...) And this Sunday on The Simpsons (8 pm/ET), Homer's little girl gets political — and musical — when she runs for class president. Thankfully, like any media-savvy candidate, she's exceedingly gracious in the face of even the silliest questions.


    TV Guide Online: You seem to have recently found a knack for singing and musical theater. Kermit the Frog did "It's Not Easy Being Green." Would you consider a rendition of "It's Not Easy Being Yellow"?
    Lisa Simpson:
    I would never try to hop on Kermit's lily pad. Plus, I don't want to get Miss Piggy mad at me.

    TVGO: When you get older, if you had to date Bobby Hill, Elroy Jetson or Linus Van Pelt, which would it be?
    Simpson:
    They're all dorks. I've got a huge crush on SpongeBob SquarePants, but Mom wants me to marry Richie Ric read more

    An American Tragedy


    We were horrified when NBC's 1960s-set gem, American Dreams, bumped off stalwart Henry's wife late last month. (We optimistically thought the cancer patient would recover!) But imagine how series regular Jonathan Adams felt: Not only did he have to say good-bye to his on-screen better half, but her loss was his gain. Since the plot twisted, he has been given especially meaty material and has risen to the occasion, playing to the hilt his character's heartbreak and resilience.

    "I got kind of upset with myself," he admits to TV Guide Online, "because last year, when [executive producer] Jonathan Prince and I were discussing it, I got a little bit happy. 'They're going to kill my wife! Yea!' As far as [dramatic possibilities for Henry], I thought it was wonderful. It just felt really weird."

    The suddenly-single parent will need every ounce of his strength, not to mention his restraint, in this Sunday' read more

    Russell Crowe: An Extra's Foe


    Ahoy, mates! Today in theaters, Russell Crowe debuts in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. But did he take his authoritarian role as a British naval captain too seriously? Apparently, Crowe ran a very tight ship on the set, barking orders left and right — even though director Peter Weir was the one in charge!

    "The directors that hire me [do so] because they know that I fully understand what the gig is about," the 39-year-old Aussie says. "They know that I'm going to take a certain amount of pressure off of their hands, and that I'm fully willing to take on a certain amount of responsibility. Peter is a very capable and confident director, and he's not threatened by that."

    Crowe dubbed himself Master over an enormous cast of extras, cracking his whip to make the period film look as realistic as possible. "I said [to Weir], 'There a read more

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