Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Joshua Gracin's marine duties have forced him to back out of American Idol's 39-city tour, which kicks off July 8 in St. Paul... The second season of 24 will be released on DVD Sept. 23... My Big Fat Greek Wedding director Joel Zwick is in talks to call the shots on the live-action Fat Albert feature... Former Golden Girl Rue McClanahan has dropped out of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the upcoming Broadway comedy co-starring Mark Hamill. According to a statement, she decided "to pursue other opportunities." read more

SORRY, CHARLIE

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle got its wings clipped at the box office over the weekend. Despite a No. 1 opening, the much-hyped sequel grossed a disappointing $38 million — well below expectations and $2 million less than the first film's debut haul in 2000. The Hulk also experienced a major shortage of green. After debuting at No. 1 last week, Ang Lee's incredible failure lost a staggering 70 percent of its business to take in $18.4 million for No. 2. Also suffering from atrocious word of mouth: From Justin to Kelly, which slipped 78 percent in week two. (In related news, atheists everywhere are considering the possibility that there may be a God after all.) Finding Nemo bucked the downward trend, holding strong at No. 3 with nearly $14 million. The Disney/Pi read more

BIG DEAL

As promised, CBS today announced the surprise twist at the center of Big Brother 4 (debuting July 8 at 8 pm/ET): Some of the housemates will be stunned to discover that they're competing against ex loves. "No reality show has ever done what we're about to do," says exec producer Arnold Shapiro. "The result is unpredictable. The only certainty is that everyone involved will be shocked and will likely have to re-think their strategy." Truthfully, that's not the only certainty. For example, I know for a fact I won't be watching. read more

TARZAN SWINGS INTO ACTION

Screenwriter John August, the scribe behind the Charlie's Angels films, has inked a seven-figure deal to pen a live-action big-budget feature version of Tarzan for Warner Bros., Variety reports. The film bears no relation to the upcoming WB series Tarzan and Jane, starring mute Calvin Klein model Travis Fimmel. read more

HOLLYWOOD MOURNS

Legendary actress Katharine Hepburn, who won a record four best actress Oscars during her remarkable half-century long career, died Sunday at her home in Connecticut. She was 96. The cause of death was "simply complications from old age," her brother-in-law, Ellsworth Grant, told Reuters. Known as the first lady of American cinema, Hepburn picked up her first Academy Award in 1933 for Morning Glory; she also won for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter and On Golden Pond. Her last film was the 1994 remake of Love Affair, starring Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. "With the passing of Frank Sinatra, and the death of Jimmy Stewart, she really was the last of that breed of Hollywood royalty," says her biographer, Christopher Andersen. "And she was by far the greatest." read more

UPN'S GAME

UPN has ordered six episodes of Game Over, TV's first prime-time computer animated series. Slated to debut early next year, the show centers on an ordinary suburban family who live in an alternate video game universe inhabited by action heroes, monsters and cartoon characters. Marisa Tomei and Patrick Warburton are among the actors lending their voices to the project. read more

NEW BRO

Chris Penn has been tapped to replace comic-actor Brian Haley in David E. Kelley's upcoming CBS drama The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H. The series revolves around three brothers, played by Randy Quaid, John Carroll Lynch and Penn. Haley was let go earlier this month after Kelley decided to reconceive the character. read more

COLLECTING DUST

Colin Farrell and 2 Fast 2 Furious star Eva Mendes have signed on to play love-struck immigrants in 1930s Los Angeles in Ask the Dust, Robert Towne's big-screen adaptation of John Fante's period classic, Variety reports. read more

DOCTOR'S ORDERS

Scott Foley may have found just the project to resuscitate his career: NBC's Scrubs. As reported in the July 5 issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale today), the former Felicity geek — whose sitcom A.U.S.A. arrived D.O.A. last winter — is set to reprise his first-season role as Elliot's ( Sarah Chalke) neurotic beau in at least six episodes this fall. According to sources, producers were interested in bringing him on full time, but the soon-to-be-single actor had already committed to appear on Broadway in Richard Greenberg's The Violet Hour (opening Oct. 16). read more

PORT CHUCKED

After six years of struggling ratings, Port Charles has been cancelled. The General Hospital spinoff's half-hour format "posed significant financial challenges," said Brian Frons, ABC's newly appointed daytime president. "This was an extremely difficult decision." Since its 1997 kickoff, PC has searched for its niche, ultimately adopting the Latin telenovela style of short-term story arcs, and even introducing gothic plotlines ripped off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Still, the news is surprising, since PC was nominated for best show at this year's Daytime Emmys — for the first time in the soap's entire run. PC's final airdate is Oct. 3. For more, read Soaps News. read more

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