Today's News: Our Take


AMERICAN TRAGEDY? HARDLY

Here's something to sing about: Fox is sparing us another round of American Juniors. The network has officially taken the planned second edition of its summer reality dud off the fall schedule. There's no word on what will replace the show, but anything will be a marked improvement. read more

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

A memorial mass was held Wednesday in North Hollywood, Calif., to remember legendary entertainer Bob Hope, who died on July 27 at age 100. Among the 900 guests in attendance were President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty, former first lady Nancy Reagan, as well as actors Mickey Rooney, Kelsey Grammer, Barbara Eden, Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter and Tom Selleck. read more

EARTH'S IDOL

American Idol is going global. According to USA Today, Kelly Clarkson will face off against Idol champs from around the world — including the first winner of U.K.'s Pop Idol — in a two-hour special to air near Christmas. The winner will be announced the following week, but viewers cannot vote for their countrymen. No fair! read more

JIMMY SMITTEN WITH TV

Star Wars bit player Jimmy Smits is heading back to the small screen in search of another meaty role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the L.A. Law/NYPD Blue alum has inked a deal with Warner Bros. Television to develop a series. Speaking of Smits, here's a juicy little tidbit: The actor was reportedly offered the lead role last year in CSI: Miami, a part that ultimately went to Smits's NYPD Blue predecessor, David Caruso. read more

RATINGS ROUND-UP

Fox's The O.C. hit yet another Nielsen high Tuesday night. In its fourth outing, the prime-time sudser attracted 8.6 million viewers — up from 8 million the week before. As a result, Fox has ordered six additional scripts of the show. In other Tuesday ratings news, Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy notched a best-yet 3.1 million viewers, and ESPN's new football drama Playmakers scored 2.6 million viewers in its debut — an improvement over the network's typical prime-time audience. read more

SEND IN THE CLONES

Buoyed by the hit single "Frontin," The Neptunes Present ... the Clones entered Billboard's album chart at No. 1 with 249,262 copies sold. Jessica Simpson's In the Skin, meanwhile, debuted at No. 10 with sales of 64,000 units. read more

JUSTIN AND MTV 'N SYNC

Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay and Beyonce Knowles were the big winners at last night's 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Elliott's "Work It" was named video of the year and best Hip-Hop Video, while Timberlake, Coldplay and Knowles won three moon men apiece. For the real winners and losers at Thursday's 20th anniversary VMA telecast, click here. And for red carpet scoop, click here. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews is relocating from New Jersey to California to cover the ongoing recall election madness. From Sept. 1 through the election on Oct. 7, the show will broadcast live from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. In the meantime, go read that spicy story about Arnold — now! This column will be here when you get back. read more

DON'T GO FISH

Director Tim Burton's highly anticipated next film Big Fish has been delayed to give Sony execs time to market it properly. Originally scheduled for release on Nov. 26, the pic will now open in select cities on Dec. 18 before going wide on Jan. 23. read more

BLURRING THE LINE

The CIA is making a play for Alias spybabe Jennifer Garner. According to Reuters, the government agency has approached the actress about appearing in an official recruitment video geared to university graduate students. Chase Brandon, a film industry liaison for the CIA, says, "We feel that Miss Garner, both in character as agent Sydney Bristow and as herself, embodies the intelligence, enthusiasm and dedication that we're looking for." Plus, she's hot! read more

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