Today's News: Our Take

All-American Boy's Big Date

How big a stud is American Dreams co-star Jamie Elman? Although the quick-witted Canuck doesn't wind up with leading lady Charisma Carpenter in the ABC Family romantic comedy See Jane Date (premiering Saturday at 8 pm/ET), he tells TV Guide Online, "I'm one of the few guys who ends up with any girl. Let's put it that way."

Considering that the TV movie's rogues' gallery of bachelors includes Antonio Sabato Jr., Evan Marriott and Less Than Perfect funnyman Zachary Levi, that's really sayin' something. Even more im read more

Threat Matrix Promises PC Terrorists

As the success of 24 has proven, America is ready to see TV tackle terrorism. But the creators of ABC's new drama Threat Matrix (debuting Sept. 18 at 8 pm/ET) are walking on eggshells nontheless. Exec producer Daniel Voll says one of his top concerns is making sure the show portrays Muslims in a fair way; and that means there will be good guys and bad guys of every color and creed.

"We just have a feeling that the world of terrorism is an equal-opportunity employer," Voll says. "We're tracking down everything from SARS to following stories out of Iraq, to being on college campuses. And sometimes we'll end up finding that the perpetrators will be kids in Nebraska. So we don't go into this with a formal definition of what we think a terrorist looks like."

Case in point: Producers cast Arab-American actor read more

I SPY A... D'UH!

Alias fans, you may want to sit down for this: Jennifer Garner is dating her leading man Michael Vartan! The official confirmation — which came as a complete shock to no one — was issued by Garner's spokeswoman, who told Us Weekly that the pair "were friends and they recently started dating." Garner split from her hubby, ex-Felicity star Scott Foley, last April, but according to Us, she and Vartan didn't start dating until Alias resumed production two weeks ago. It's not a lie if you believe it. read more


Jay Leno has invited all 135 candidates running for California governor — including Arnold, Gary, that blonde porn star and a number of other D-listers — to appear on NBC's Tonight Show on Sept. 22. "We have 300 seats," Leno says, "we'll let everybody in." Just to be safe, NBC may want to hire extra security that night to guard the petty cash drawer. read more


ER's top doc Noah Wyle may be taking some time off this fall, but his commitment to NBC's long-running hospital drama is hardly wavering. Wyle has extended his ER contract for another year, through the 2004-05 season. The new pact also calls for the actor to direct two episodes of the show. read more


A Los Angeles shutterbug who took topless pics of Cameron Diaz before she became a big star was charged Wednesday with trying to extort $3.3 million from the actress. John Rutter is accused of forging Diaz's name on the release; he faces up to six years behind bars if convicted. Does this mean we can't see the nudie pics? read more

Hilary Duff Breaks Her Silence

As evidenced by her sexy "So Yesterday" video, actress-turned-pop star Hilary Duff is so ready to put Lizzie McGuire behind her. But the 15-year-old — who this spring parted ways with Lizzie when talks with Disney broke down — doesn't think her edgy new image will alienate her core tween-girl fan base. "It's not, like, crazy," she says of the video for the single, which is currently No. 2 on the charts. "I'm not taking my clothes off or anything." Fair enough. But still, it's safe to say a new, more grown-up day has dawned for Duff. In addition to her first solo album Metamorphosis (due Aug. 26), the Texas native has two movies in the works (Cinderella Man and Cheaper by the Dozen), is planning a series of music specials for the WB and is about to launch an ambitious fashion and merchandise line. Lucky for us, she took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to chat about t read more


Former Roseanne patriarch John Goodman has signed a deal with CBS to headline a sitcom targeted for fall 2004, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This would be the actor's first starring TV role since his ill-fated Fox comedy Normal, Ohio flopped in 2000. The premise of the new show is still being hammered out. read more


HBO is divorcing itself from Marriage, Steven Bochco's much-talked-about upcoming drama series set almost entirely in the bedroom of one couple's New York City apartment. After viewing the pilot, the network "had serious reservations about whether it could be sustained as a series," an HBO rep tells Variety. Bochco, meanwhile, is developing a new cop drama for ABC — a possible successor to NYPD Blue, which is entering its 11th (and possibly final) season this fall. read more


Christina Applegate will reprise her role as Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) self-centered kid sis Amy on Friends this November. In the episode, Amy is urgently called upon to babysit Rachel's infant niece Emma. read more

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