Today's News: Our Take


WATCH OUT

As those NBC promos have long been teasing, a major character bites the dust on tonight's Third Watch season finale. Tomorrow, the actor in question speaks out about the shocking turn of events in an exclusive interview with TV Guide Online. read more

HELP WANTED

NBC has placed an order for Celebrity Temps, a reality series in which stars trade jobs with regular folk for a day. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first episode will find Carmen Electra babysitting small children. In exchange, the parents of the kids will head for the nearest mirror and stare in it all day. read more

WAR OF WORDS

NBC News correspondent Ashleigh Banfield has ruffled some feathers over at the Peacock network. In a speech last Thursday at Kansas State University, Banfield ripped into television news networks, including her own, for their "glorious" coverage of the Iraqi war. "You did not see where those bullets landed," she said. "You didn't see what happened when the mortars landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me." Responds NBC: "We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks." As punishment, Banfield will be forced to listen to Lester Holt's voice for 24 hours straight. read more

REALITY BITES

Wet T-shirt contests are apparently way overrated. Moviegoers resoundly rejected the much-hyped reality flick The Real Cancun over the weekend. The movie about 16 sex-crazed college students grossed an embarrassing $2.3 million at the box office, bad enough to debut in 10th place. The new murder-mystery Identity fared much better, opening at No. 1 with $17 million and bumping Anger Management to No. 2 ($16 million). Elsewhere, crime caper Confidence bowed at No. 5 with $4.75 million and the Kirk-Michael Douglas drama It Runs in the Family tripped up at No. 9 with $3 million. read more

PLAYING IT SAFE

Blaming Canada's SARS outbreak, Billy Joel and Elton John have canceled a sold-out concert tonight in Toronto. American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and Lisa Marie Presley have also scrapped promo appearances there. read more

CHARMED, SHE'S SURE

Mariah Carey will kick off her Charmbracelet World Tour on June 24 in Osaka, Japan. U.S dates include Anchorage, July 18; Chicago, July 29; Atlantic City, Aug. 10; and Dallas, Aug. 16. Tickets go on sale May 10. read more

CHEW ON THIS

Things are wooking up for the ailing Star Wars franchise. George Lucas has confirmed that actor Peter Mayhew will reprise his role as Chewbacca in the final prequel, Star Wars: Episode III. Mayhew last donned his famous shag carpet costume in 1983's Return of the Jedi. read more

Eloise Star a Real Dr. Dolittle


Don't misunderstand Sofia Vassilieva. The 10-year-old is pleased as punch that, come Sunday evening at 7 ET, avid readers like herself will be glued to their TVs to watch her play the title role in ABC's Wonderful World of Disney adaptation of Eloise at the Plaza, Kay Thompson's beloved book about a matchmaking moppet and her lovelorn nanny (Julie Andrews). But right now, the proud owner of one dog, one cat, "approximately" 27 snails and two worms has a slightly more pressing concern.

"I don't know where my slug is at the moment," she informs TV Guide Online, covering her worry with an infectious laugh. "I had a slug this morning. I think he's somewhere around my backyard."

Ah, such is the life of this rising starlet, a prodigious linguist (she's fluent in both French and Russian) who is quick to reveal that adventure follows her almost as closely as it does Eloise. Even activities that might make us yawn can make her gasp and read more

The Scoop on That '70s Movie


The '70s are remembered for many things: crazy fashions, political scandals, psychedelic rock 'n' roll and, oh yeah, great movies. From The French Connection to Star Wars, Dog Day Afternoon to Apocalypse Now, it was an era overflowing with classic films made by and starring larger-than-life personalities. They (and their movies) are the subjects of IFC's new documentary A Decade Under the Influence, which opens theatrically in select cities today.

Co-directed by Richard LaGravenese and the late Ted Demme, who previously collaborated on 1994's cult Christmas comedy, The Ref, Influence features memorable clips from a myriad of '70s films and new interviews with such screen legends as Francis Ford Coppola, Julie Christie and Robert Towne. "There were some people we couldn't get who I wish we had gotten," LaGravenese confesses to TV Guide Online. "Warren Beatty, Spielberg, read more

OOPSIE

The closed captioning on a recent edition of ABC's World News Tonight erroneously reported that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan — who's currently being treated for an enlarged prostate — was hospitalized for an "enlarged prostitute." Interest rates remained flat on the news. read more

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