Today's News: Our Take


Annabella Sciorra's Sopranos Secret


Last season, fans of The Sopranos were stunned to learn that Tony's unstable ex-mistress, Gloria the Mercedes dealer, had committed suicide. That it happened offscreen made us suspicious. Why waste an opportunity to bring back Annabella Sciorra by having Tony hear of her demise, instead of playing out the high drama before viewers' eyes? It didn't make sense!

"No, it wouldn't make sense," the 39-year-old Sciorra teases TV Guide Online. "Well, you didn't see her do it, did you? And nobody saw her do it."

So it's possible Gloria might not be dead? "I can't discuss it," she says. "It's a possibility, yeah." Later in our Sopranos tête-à-tête, Sciorra lets it slip that "we're" not starting filming again until February — so Gloria's return sounds like more than j read more

Ka-Pow! Batman Wings it Back to TV


Here's a twist on the increasingly popular TV reunion: Legendary dynamic duo Adam West and Burt Ward — who became pop culture icons via their respective roles as Batman and Robin in the classic '60s series Batman — are reteaming for an upcoming CBS special that is neither a clip-filled retrospective nor a cheesy sequel chronicling the superheroes' much-later years. No, Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt is a tongue-in-cheek comedy adventure in which West and Ward, playing themselves, stumble upon a diabolical plot to steal the original Batmobile from a charity benefit. Talk about silly!

"We decided to do something that was fresh, innovative," says West, "a modern-day caper with [me] and Burt and maybe with an occasional allusion to or reference to some of read more

The WB's Surreal Soiree


Many people say to me, "Party Boy, you have the best job in showbiz." Well, it is fun mingling with the stars at posh parties. It's also nice — however humbling — to stroll the red carpet on the way in, and be mistaken for an actual celeb! This happened on Saturday night at the WB's winter mixer for the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood. Lined up behind crowd-control barriers, fans screamed for TV faves like Smallville's Tom Welling, Sabrina's Melissa Joan Hart and the Stults brothers from 7th Heaven. Clearly confused by my 90210-sized hairdo, two teenage girls insisted on shaking my hand, even after I swore to them, "I'm not on a show!"

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THEM'S THE STAKES

Here's the best news to hit Broadway in years: The simply awful Michael Crawford musical Dance of the Vampires will close Jan. 25 after just 56 performances. Good riddance! In other theater news, Tony winner Heather Headley (Aida) is engaged to former New York Jet Brian Musso. read more

CASTING SCOOP!

7th Heaven is looking to score a perfect 10 with viewers this February. TV Guide Online has learned that Bo Derek will guest star on a Valentine's Day episode airing Feb. 10 playing the mother of Kevin and Ben (George and Geoff Stults). Meanwhile, series regular Jeremy London will get a visit from his twin brother Jason in the Feb. 3 episode. It's the first time the siblings will appear side-by-side on TV. read more

Jessica Simpson's Bridal Ride


If you're the typical American female — or Jack from Will & Grace — two of your most common girlie daydreams are: "Omigod, what if I were a pop starlet?" and "I wanna be the bride at a lavish wedding." Well kids, Jessica Simpson got to be both when she recently wed 98 Degrees frontman Nick Lachey! Look for the couple to relive their nups for your vicarious pleasure on InStyle Celebrity Weddings (airing Jan. 21 at 8 pm/ET on NBC).

While they're teen idols, Jessica and Nick — who are 22 and 29, respectively — aren't teens themselves. They seem pretty earnest about setting a good example for their younger fans. "If anything," Nick says, "I'd hope our relationship just offers an example of what a good relationship and real love can be like. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to do wh read more

CASE CLOSED

Estranged lovebirds Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson have settled their bitter custody dispute involving sons Brandon, 6, and Dylan, 4. Terms of the agreement were not made public, but Anderson's attorney said it "contains everything you could possibly think of about how to raise the children and where they will live." Geez, could you be more vague? read more

Dr. Joyce Brothers Gets Real

Analyze this, Dr. Joyce Brothers: There are currently six — count 'em, six — reality programs on the networks' schedules, and we can't bear to miss a single one. What does that say about us? We've "grown up with television," she tells TV Guide Online. "[You've] grown up spectators to other people... to other people's baseball playing and other people's football playing... " And, for that matter, other people's hot-tub canoodling and beach-blanket bickering. As a result, says the celebrity shrink, "Some [viewers] think that what goes on on television is much more interesting than real life itself. We've grown a whole generation of spectators." Is that all? Well, what if we favor one show over another? Ah, now that's a different story. Since the doctor is in, let the head games begin.

If you like Joe Millionaire (Mondays, 9 pm/ET, Fox)... Chances are, you're a Dear John-letter recipient whose wrath rivals that of any wom read more

Arsenio Hall Escapes Dog Pound


After years of virtual invisibility, Arsenio Hall is back in the TV game, hosting "not your father's" Star Search for CBS (Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 pm/ET). And the 47-year-old ex-late nighter confesses that as far as gigs go, well, this one is a piece of cake. (No offense, Ed McMahon.)

"[As] the host, you're just the glue," he told reporters at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood. "You're the ring master for this live circus, and anybody can do it. You don't have an opinion; you read a teleprompter, and you try to look for an opportunity to throw in an ad-lib with the audience."

For their final judgment, the aspiring singers, comedians and models turn to the glib opinions of regular judges Ben Stein read more

SEX SELLS

Nicole Kidman's streak of great film roles continues. The Hours star is in talks to play "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss in Pay the Girl, an upcoming movie chronicling her life story, Variety reports. "This should be like Pretty Woman, but with the visual energy and excess of Scarface," says Fleiss, who sold the rights to her story to Paramount, where the film is being produced. "All of the madam movies have been like B-level porn or they've been boring. The world I was living in was not boring." There's no word if Charlie Sheen will make a cameo. read more

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