Today's News: Our Take


TICK, TOCK...

It looks like time finally ran out for President Palmer. On last night's riveting 24 finale, one of the evildoers behind last season's assasination attempt against Dennis Haysbert's commander-in-chief resurfaced during the final moments to finish the job. Shortly after Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) successfully averted World War III, Palmer became the victim of a (seemingly lethal) bioterrorist sneak attack. (Let's hope his final act as president will be to give Jack's demon-spawn daughter a big wet kiss.) The kicker climax apparently sets it up so Season Three will cover the day after this season's — in other words, 48 consecutive hours. That's gonna really suck for Jack. For Matt Roush's take on the episode, click here. read more

GOOD FRIENDS

Thursday's Friends season finale ranked as last week's top-rated show. The 70-minute episode attracted 25.5 million viewers — its largest audience since Jan. 30 — and helped the Peacock score a narrow victory over American Idol-fueled Fox among adults 18-49. read more

TREE PEOPLE

Ashton Kutcher, Kirsten Dunst and Joaquin Phoenix are in talks to star in The Woods, the latest spooky feature from M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, Signs). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pic is set in 1897 and revolves around a close-knit community and the mythical race of creatures that resides in the woods around them. Let me guess: They're blue, stand three apples tall and reside in mushroom houses. read more

RAYMOND SOARS

Everybody Loves Raymond ended its season on a high note. Monday's wedding-themed season finale attracted nearly 23 million viewers, making it the night's top-rated program. NBC also got solid results from its Martha Stewart telepic, which averaged 14 million viewers and ranked as the season's No. 1 TV movie among adults 18-49. And believe it or not, some 17 million Clay/Ruben fans sat through Monday's dull American Idol profile special. read more

IDOL RECAP

If Simon's prediction holds true, Clay Aiken will be crowned the next American Idol this evening on Fox (8-10 pm/ET). Aiken's rousing rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" last night brought the crowd to its feet, and had Judge Cowell gushing, "I think that performance could win you the competition." Ruben Studdard, meanwhile, had what can only be described as an off night. Imagine that. (Same goes for Paula Abdul, whose feedback was more nonsensical than ususal. "You really found the matrix of that song," she told Clay.) Who do you think will win? Vote now! read more

STILL THE (CHOSEN) ONE

In the last couple of seasons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has had bigger problems than blood-suckers and demons. (Humorless scripts? Scary!) But in last night's series finale, creator Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed, completely redeemed himself. By the end of the hour, Willow's witchcraft had turned the potentials into Slayers; Buffy had told Spike that she loved him and hinted that she still hoped to grow old with Angel; Spike, Anya, Amanda and preacherman Caleb had bought the farm (so, that's why Whedon lied to me about Spike going to Angel ); and, best of all, the Scoobies had begun to resemble the gang with whom we fell in love. Oh, and do we really need to mention that they saved the world? Thought not. For Matt Roush's take on the episode, read more

SHORT CUTS

Reese Witherspoon has signed on to star in Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, a big-screen mother/daughter saga based on NPR correspondent Jacki Lyden's memoir of the same name. Meryl Streep has expressed interest in playing her manic depressive mom... Lily Tomlin has been named this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for humorists... Rapper Camoflauge was fatally shot Monday while walking with his toddler son outside his Savannah, Ga., recording studio. He was 21. No arrests have been made. read more

A Cheers Reunion? We'll Drink to That!


Ever since last call on Cheers, we've longed to go back where everybody knows our name (or at least Norm's name). So it is with a great deal of excitement that TV Guide Online announces that soon we'll be able to do just that — by checking out the classic sitcom's first season on DVD (in stores today). What did you think we meant? A real reunion of the original cast? Don't make us laugh until we cry in our beer!

"So many people ask [whether there's been talk of getting together again]," says Shelley Long, who played uppity waitress Diane Chambers from 1982-87. "But no, there hasn't. Everybody's pretty much doing their own thing. We check in with each other in various ways... [though] none of us have really spent much time with each other.

"Most of us did NBC's 75th anniversary [special] last spring, and that was fun, but we didn't really have read more

SIGN OF THE TIMES

The pink slips are flying at the law firm of Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt. Six actors from ABC's The Practice — including Dylan McDermott and Lara Flynn Boyle — won't be returning to David E. Kelley's legal drama in the fall. According to Kelley, "economic and creative realities" (read: the show's declining Nielsens) forced him to slim down the cast. Also gone: Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Marla Sokoloff and Chyler Leigh. Kelley is expected to add some new faces to the ensemble, which now fea read more

Do You Hate Survivor's Jenna?


Swimsuit model Jenna Morasca trod a rough road to win Survivor: The Amazon. At 21, she's the youngest Survivor winner ever — if not the most popular. She and her blonde best pal, gym teacher Heidi Strobel, didn't gain many fans this season, thanks to their immodest "Don't Hate Me 'Cause I'm Beautiful" philosophy of life.

"I don't know that it will ever be totally forgotten," Morasca tells TV Guide Online. "Or if people will ever stop hating us. [Heidi and I] do what we can, and we can only do so much to try and convince people about ourselves."

Hearing-impaired contestant Christy Smith didn't much help matters by dubbing them her "evil stepsisters." Thus, Morasca was stunned at the finale, when Christy contributed one of six votes leading to her landslide win. "Believe me, I was just as shocked as the whole viewing audience," she admi read more

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