Today's News: Our Take


AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

Kimberley Locke got the boot on last night's American Idol, leaving Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard to vie for the championship next week. Speaking of Idol, this week's Joshua Gracin interview has been pushed back due to some scheduling issues. God willing, we'll have that for you next week, in addition to a Q&A with Locke. As always, if you have questions for Ms. Locke, send them to me via the link at the bottom of this page. Extra consideration will be given to those folks who give a shout-out to my trusty copy editor, Sabrina Rojas Weiss. read more

TO LAUGH OR CRY?

Contrary to rumors, UPN will not be replacing its entire lineup next season with 'round-the-clock coverage of the Yule Log. The struggling network's fall schedule features a new comedy block on Tuesdays, replacing Buffy and the short-lived spooker Haunted. On Wednesdays, Enterprise stays put at 8 pm, but The Twilight Zone has been cancelled and replaced with Jake 2.0, a drama about a National Security agent-turned superhero. Among the new comedies: All of Us, a laffer based on Will Smith's life; The Opposite Sex, a romantic comedy starring singer Eve; Rock Me Baby, starring Dan Cortese as a radio DJ; and the male buddy sitcom The Mullets. read more

SHORT CUTS

Snoop Dogg and Method Man have signed on to star in the MGM comedy Soul Plane, described as an urban take on Airplane... Actor-comedian Tommy Chong (of Cheech and Chong fame) pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia. Chong, who recently appeared on That '70s Show, admitted to selling a line of marijuana bongs and pipes through his company, Nice Dreams Enterprises. read more

Ewan McGregor's Nude Attitude

If there's one thing Ewan McGregor will never be accused of, it's coyness. Asked if he's ever been like his playboy character in the retro sex comedy Down With Love — i.e. deceiving a woman in order to seduce her — he says: "I'm a man. I've never drugged anyone for a f---. I can quite seriously say that. [But] I've confused them emotionally."

That, however, was a long time ago, so don't expect the married father of two to remember any details. Instead, he offers a few candid quips on Love (which co-stars Ren&#233e Zellweger and opens Friday) and his big-screen future (more nudity is likely, but Porno isn't).

On Down With Love, which pays homage to the '60s films of read more

BACK IN THE FLESH

Hannibal Lecter is turning into a regular Jason Voorhees. Author Thomas Harris and producer Dino de Laurentiis are collaborating on yet another Hannibal movie. This time, the film will focus on the cannibal's youth, tracking him from age 12-25. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Jennifer Garner — who made an appearance at ABC's Upfront presentation yesterday in New York — filed for divorce from hubby Scott Foley on Friday. According to the papers, the couple's separation date was listed as March 23 — the same day Garner turned up solo at the Oscars. But on March 24, Garner's rep insisted to TV Guide Online that "everything's fine [with her and Scott]." So, either Garner's publicist was A) a big fat liar, B) a big fat liar, or C) a big fat liar. What do you think? Cast your vote via the link at the bottom of this column. read more

Frog Takes Big Leaps This Fall


WB Entertainment President Jordan Levin was in high spirits at his network's fall presentation Tuesday in New York — and it wasn't only the Frog's huge ratings leap this season that made him grin. There was Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum and his raunchy, apparently impromptu stand-up act; a moving clip reel and farewell appearance by the Dawson's Creek cast; and, a nervous (and awkwardly lisping) Rose McGowan trying to seduce the mostly-male audience by playing the ditzy card — all amidst endless talk about the importance of targeting teen viewers.

But the star of the show was, of course, the WB's new fall schedule, which features a relocated Smallville, dramatic changes on Thursday and Friday, and the return of read more

WATCH OUT, JAY

Katie Couric may have a future in late night. Couric's job-swap with Jay Leno Monday netted the Tonight Show its best ratings in nearly three years. The Leno-anchored Today show, meanwhile, also got a slight bump, scoring its best Nielsens since March 20. (Couric's Paula Abdul impersonation made me giggle, by the way.) read more

REVEALED

E! Entertainment's celeb magnet Jules Asner — who will depart the cable network later this month — married director Steven Soderbergh over the weekend. There's a joke in there somewhere, but for the life of me, I can't find it. read more

ABC Goes for Laughs Next Fall


ABC sees comedy as its key to the future. The Disney-owned network's fall prime-time schedule will include four new comedies, as well as renewals for all four comedies launched in the 2002-2003 season. When you add in My Wife and Kids and According to Jim, ABC will have a total of 10 sitcoms come autumn, more than any other network.

In hopes of cementing its reputation as the comedy network, ABC plans to reclaim Friday as the night for family-friendly sitcoms. This new era of TGIF sitcoms will skew a bit older than the back-in-the-day slate that included Full House and Family Matters. "It makes sense for ABC to go heavy into comedy, especially TGIF," says Steve Sternberg, senior V.P./director of audience analysis at MAGNA Global USA, a major media buying firm. "But read more

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