It's official: Late Show host David Letterman has decided to
stay with CBS and not jump ship to ABC. Sources tell TV Guide Online that
Dave signed a five-year contract with the Eye, with options to exit sooner
if he so chooses. On Monday night's show, he joked: "CBS, all of a sudden,
they can't kiss up to me enough — it's crazy. I finally got a get-well
card for my bypass surgery two years ago... When I drop dead, there won't be
this much press." More seriously, he expressed regret for the Damaclean
sword that hung over newsman Ted Koppel's head during negotiations
— ABC now confirms Nightline will stay put. "He is one of a very
small group that represents the highest echelon of broadcast achievement,
without question," Letterman said. "He, at very least, deserves the right to
determine his own professional future."
Spiritual guru Oprah Winfrey has signed a new deal to host The Oprah Winfrey Show through the 2005-06 season, at which point she'll bow out of the talk show arena for good, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The timing of Winfrey's swan song is significant: The 2005-06 season marks the 20th anniversary of The Oprah Winfrey Show's debut in national syndication.
Laura Dern will play a newly-minted poet laureate of the United States on the March 28 episode of The West Wing... Elton John
will be the guest of honor on a special hour-long edition of Last Call with Carson Daly on March 29. Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge
A man ordered to stay away from actress Meg Ryan has been found competent to stand trial. John Michael Hughes who claimed he was married to Ryan is accused of breaking into a Malibu home he believed belonged to her. (It actually was the home of another Ryan family.) Hughes told police he broke in because the Sleepless in Seattle star forgot to leave a house key under the doormat for him.
Uh-oh, Providence fans. Weakest Link quizmistress Anne Robinson will inflict her evil self on NBC's feel-good drama on April 5, TV Guide Online has learned. The episode titled "The Whole Truth" features Dr. Syd (Melina Kanakaredes) having another self-esteem crisis. This leads to yet another bad dream starring the judgmental Robinson. (Sadly, she won't be spelling out "Surrender Syd" in broomstick skywriting.)
Malcolm in the Middle star and current TV Guide cover boy Frankie Muniz is in talks to star as a James Bond-esque teen in the big-screen adventure Agent Cody Bank. According to Variety, the 16-year-old actor would be paid $2 million for his work on the film, making him the highest paid child movie star since Macaulay Culkin was left Home Alone again. The plot of Cody centers on a teen (Muniz) drafted by the U.S. government for covert missions.
For those keeping score, it's Laura Ingalls, 2, and Rhoda Morgenstern, 0. Former Little House on the Prairie child star Melissa Gilbert trounced onetime Rhoda star Valerie Harper in a rerun of last November's voided Screen Actors Guild presidential election. According to results made public Saturday, Gilbert won 57 percent of the vote to Harper's 34. At last night's world premiere of Ice Age at New York's Radio City Music Hall, star Ray Romano, on hearing of Gilbert's triumph, joked to TV Guide Online: "Tell her I won't take any more non-union work."
It was man versus machine at the box office over the weekend, and the heap of metal won. Sci-fi remake The Time Machine opened at No. 1 with $22.5 million, dethroning last week's champ, We Were Soldiers. Although Mel Gibson and his troops slipped to No. 2, Soldiers's $14.5 million gross was down only 29 percent from last weekend. In other debut news, urban comedy All About the Benjamins bowed at No. 3 with $10.1 million. Rounding out the top five: 40 Days and 40 Nights (No. 4 with $7.1 million) and John Q (No. 5 with $6 million).