Today's News: Our Take


Maria Shriver announced Tuesday that she will return to work at NBC News whether or not hubby Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes California's next governor. "I've been working for 26 years," she said. "Journalism is a passion of mine." read more


The Motion Picture Assoc. of America has ruled that Hollywood studios can no longer send Oscar voters videos or DVDs of films vying for awards consideration. MPAA President Jack Valenti says some of last year's screeners were copied and illegally pirated. Now, Academy members will have to get up off their lazy butts and go to a movie theater. And me? I may actually have to buy my family Christmas gifts this year. read more


An Oct. 28 trial date was set in the case pitting Rosie O'Donnell against Gruner + Jahr USA, the publisher's of her now-defunct Rosie magazine. O'Donnell claims she was denied editorial control while G+J says the former talk-show host acted unprofessionally and irresponsibly. Incidentally, O'Donnell's court date falls just four days after her Boy George-headlined Broadway musical Taboo begins performances. That has to suck. read more


Madonna is being sued by the son of late photographer Guy Bourdin, who claims the pop superstar-turned kiddie author's "Hollywood" video copied at least 11 of his father's photos published in French Vogue from the 1950s to the '80s. Samuel Bourdin is seeking unspecified damages. read more


ABC is developing a drama series based on last year's woefully underrated Al Pacino-Hilary Swank thriller Insomnia. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the potential series would pick up two years after the film left off. read more


Talk shows from Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Osbourne finished in a Nielsen dead-heat in their second weeks on the air. The new gabfests notched a 1.5 rating to rank as the season's highest-rated new syndicated offerings. Oprah and Dr. Phil, meanwhile, saw their premiere-week ratings soar 18 percent over last year. read more


Plus-size comedian Louie Anderson has been admitted to a Los Angeles hospital for an unspecified heart problem. However, a rep for the 50-year-old performer insists Anderson did not suffer a heart attack. read more


Ridley Scott loves his epics. The Gladiator helmer has sealed a deal with 20th Century Fox to direct the Crusader-era saga Kingdom of Heaven, Variety reports. The pic revolves around a young blacksmith who becomes a knight and helps defend Jerusalem against the Crusaders. And when he's not busy with that, he meets and falls in love with a princess. (If only it were that easy...) read more


Here's some "TV News" scoop from the current issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale now): Don't feel too bad for Matt Kennedy Gould, the ultimate practical-joke victim on Spike TV's faux reality romp The Joe Schmo Show. According to a show insider, the affable lug will walk away from the Oct. 28 finale with a six-figure check and other prizes — just enough to keep the producers from going straight to hell. read more


Bolstered by strong debuts for Two and a Half Men, Joan of Arcadia, Cold Case and The Handler, CBS won the first week of the new TV season among total viewers. The Eye network averaged 14 million viewers, followed by NBC (12.6 million), ABC (10.6 million), Fox (6.0 million), the WB (4 million) and UPN (3.4 million). NBC was tops in all major demo categories (including adults 18-49), while ABC was the only network showing any growth over fall 2002. Other freshman series showing early promise include NBC's Las Vegas and The Lyon's Den (tied at No. 31) and ABC's Hope & Faith (No. 34). Last week's top five shows overall were CSI, Friends, ER, Law & Order and Everybody Loves Raymond. read more

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