Today's News: Our Take


24 HIRES

Several new faces will be clocking in on 24 this season. Film thesp Wendy Crewson (What Lies Beneath) has signed on for eight episodes, playing a possible love interest for one of the show's leading men. (I'd tell you which one, but then I'd get in big trouble.) Newcomer James Badgedale, meanwhile, has been cast as a young CTU agent partnered with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). read more

THE BIG 6-0

Rolling Stones icon Mick Jagger rang in his 60th birthday Saturday with a private bash in Prague. Didn't get an invitation. read more

SWEET CAMEO

American Idol champ Kelly Clarkson will guest star as Brenda Lee in an episode of NBC's American Dreams to air this season. Clarkson will sing Lee's hit "Sweet Nothings." read more

PARTY OF FOUR

Aaron Spelling is developing an hourlong drama series for the WB starring Full House grad Lori Loughlin. "It's called Summerland," Spelling tells TV Guide magazine in the current issue, on sale now. "It's about a single girl (Loughlin) whose sister and brother-in-law are killed in a fire, and [she ends up having] to raise their three kids." The show, which Loughlin pitched to Spelling herself, could air as early as midseason. read more

DEATH OF A LEGEND

Legendary entertainer Bob Hope — whose remarkable career spanned seven decades and encompassed vaudeville, radio, stage, television and film — died Sunday night of pneumonia at his home in Toluca Lake, Calif., two months after his 100th birthday. In a statement, President Bush said Monday that "the nation lost a great citizen" with Hope's passing. "Bob Hope served our nation when he went to battlefields to entertain thousands of troops from different generations. We extend our prayers to his family. God bless his soul." A&E, meanwhile, will air a two-hour Biography on Hope tonight at 8 pm/ET. For a tribute to Hope, penned by one of the comedian's former writers, click here. read more

LEGAL BRIEF

David E. Kelley has recruited another movie star to help resuscitate The Practice. In what The Hollywood Reporter is calling his "first major television commitment," Chris O'Donnell has signed on to do a three-episode arc on the ABC legal drama. He'll play Brad Stanfield, a man who stands accused of murdering his pregnant wife. (Hmmm... where have I heard that before?) The O'Donnell news follows the casting of Sharon Stone, who will also appear in a multi-episode story arc this season. read more

SHORT CUTS

Brit director Mike Newell (Donnie Brasco) is in talks to helm the fourth installment of the Harry Potter film franchise, Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire... The team behind Broadway's Hairspray will bring another John Waters film — 1990's Cry-Baby — to the Great White way, Variety reports. read more

SAD NEWS

Director John Schlesinger — an Oscar winner for 1969's Midnight Cowboy — died on Friday morning in Palm Springs, Calif. The 77-year-old, who suffered a stroke in 2000, has faced deteriorating health in recent weeks; he was taken off life support at Desert Regional Medical Center on Thursday. Schlesinger's diverse body of work includes Billy Liar, Darling, Marathon Man, Sunday Bloody Sunday and Cold Comfort Farm. His final film was 2000's The Next Best Thing. The out and proud gay director is survived by his lover of 30 years, photographer Michael Childers. read more

HANK LIVES

Hank, Peggy and the other animated yokels of Arlen, Tex., can breathe a sigh of relief. Fox has renewed King of the Hill for a ninth year, through the 2004-2005 season. read more

Joey's All the Rage at NBC Press Tour


NBC kicked off its portion of the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood, Calif., on Thursday by announcing that it had struck a deal with Matt LeBlanc to star in Joey, a Friends spinoff centered around TV's most lovable dimwit. "I spoke to Matt last night, and he is over the moon," Peacock entertainment prez Jeff Zucker told reporters, "Needless to say, we are too." But before you could shout, "How you doin?", reality set in: Since Jennifer Aniston is not taking part in the show, doesn't it essentially rule out a happy ending for Joey and Rachel — not to mention spoil a story that has galvanized viewers for the better part of two years? For answers to those questions — as well as scoop on read more

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