Today's News: Our Take


IT HAD TO HAPPEN

I can see the casting call now. Wanted: Fiftysomething actor with big muscles, funny accent and cyborg-like qualities. A&E Network announced Thursday that it is developing a TV movie about Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for California governor and his 1973 quest to become Mr. Olympia. Production is slated to get underway in the spring. In the meantime, if you fit the above description, send a head shot and cover letter to Extreme Makeover and keep your fingers crossed. read more

Chainsaw Massacre's Fearless Star


Actor Eric Balfour — star of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (opening Oct. 17) — just keeps popping up on TV. He's been Claire's psycho, drug-addicted boyfriend on Six Feet Under and a computer geek on 24. But wait, what about his role on Jerry Bruckheimer's much-hyped WB series, Fearless?

"Fearless is still coming," Balfour insists to TV Guide Online, "but we don't have a date right now."

The much maligned — albeit with good reason — pilot featured Balfour as an FBI agent partnered with Rachael Leigh Cook, who plays a woman born without the gene to feel fear. Sound like a sketchy premise? Perhaps that's why the former fall series got bumped to the murky land of midseason. But Balfour insists that other forces were at play behind this scheduling decision.

"We haven't shot more than the pilot," the 26-year-old points out. "Basically, what happened was [executive producers] read more

WHERE THERE'S A WILL...

Former SNL funnyman Will Ferrell has landed the coveted role of Darrin in Nora Ephron's big-screen remake of Bewitched. Jim Carrey had expressed interest in the plum part, but he apparently passed. Nicole Kidman, meanwhile, is still attached to star as Samantha. read more

SHORT CUTS

Fox has picked up That '70s Show through the 2004-05 season... Oscar winner Emma Thompson will play ethereal and eccentric professor Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. read more

BOB TUNES DELAYED

Bob Guiney's horrific cover of "Open Arms" on Wednesday's Bachelor may be coming back to haunt the serial smoocher. TV Guide Online has learned that Guiney's debut CD 3 Sides — which was slated to be released this week through Amazon.com — is being delayed until February 2004, at the earliest. Word is Guiney is heading back to the studio for more singing lessons, er, I mean, recording work. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Recalled California governor Gray Davis will be on hand to present the Top Ten List on tonight's Late Show with David Letterman. And just in case the embattled politico starts to mess up before he's done, Mary Carey will be waiting in the wings to finish the list. read more

Idol Star Goes Gay for Pay


American Idol lullababe Tamyra Gray is going from thespian to lesbian. The Boston Public grad will play a sapphic singer who develops a crush on Rachel True's Mona character on the Nov. 3 episode of UPN's Half & Half. The 24-year-old crooner admits she had some reservations about making her sitcom debut with such a "challenging" role.

"In the beginning [I was a little apprehensive], but mostly because I didn't know the other actress, Rachel, who I was playing side-by-side with," she tells TV Guide Online. "But it's kind of lighthearted, so it wasn't so bad. It wasn't bad at all, actually; it was pretty easy."

In the story, Mona tries to sign a hot new singer named Zora (Gray) to Delicious Records, but the hetero-leaning exec quickly realizes that the artist is sporting designs on more than just a lucrative album deal. "My character on Boston Public was a little shy," Gray says. "[Zora] is much more outgoing and read more

KEEN EDDIE RETURNS

Mark Valley — the star of Fox's short-lived summer series Keen Eddie — has signed on to play an L.A. detective in the ABC pilot Joe Green and Eugene, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The role of Eugene — Joe's inept brother — has not yet been cast. The potential series is being helmed by Eddie creator Joel Wyman. In other development news, the writer and director behind Armageddon (Shane Salerno and Michael Bay) are reuniting to create a character-based crime drama for ABC. read more

FriendsIt's a shame this week's...

Friends It's a shame this week's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cameo was wasted on the unwatchable Good Morning, Miami when Ross is an obvious candidate for the Fab Five treatment. Kyan would have shown him how to use the spray-on tanning booth. And what was the point of Jennifer Coolidge's guest spot? She's hilarious in Best in Show and Legally Blonde, but for a moment I thought I was watching Anna Nicole Smith.

Survivor: Pearl Islands Drake wins the reward challenge but lets Morgan win the immunity challenge and votes off Burton instead of that Harpo Marx on speed, Jon. Y'all better hope Rupert doesn't come back from Morgan's camp a cannibal.

Threat Matrix I popped in during a Survivor commercial break to find the gang trying to contain an ebola epidemic spread by an infected dog while Kelly Rutherford's trapped in a yellow hazmat su read more

APOLOGY ACCEPTED?

Maryland's first lady Kendel Ehrlich has officially apologized to Britney Spears for saying she wanted to shoot the pop tart. Through her rep, Ehrlich — who made the crack during a speech last week about domestic violence — invited Spears "to come to Maryland so that she could apologize in person and have a benefit conference for domestic violence programs." Rumor has it Spears will accept the invite only if Ehrlich agrees to make out with her for a few minutes afterwards. read more

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