Today's News: Our Take


Shawn Ryan, creator/exec producer of The Shield, has signed a $6 million pact with FX to continue helming the acclaimed drama for another two seasons. Variety calls it the "most lucrative writer deal in the history of basic cable." (Sopranos creator David Chase calls it chump change.) Season Three of The Shield is slated to launch in January. read more


A 71-year-old New York woman is suing The Rosie O'Donnell Show for $3 million claiming she was injured when a staffer flung a rubber ball at her during a Nov. 29, 2001 taping. Lucille DeBellis, who was a member of the show's studio audience, claims the ball hit her "squarely in the mouth, causing her to suffer pain and swelling, as well as bleeding in her gums." (O'Donnell herself is not named as a defendant.) read more


The process of restaffing ABC's The Practice has begun. Producer David E. Kelly has tapped James Spader to replace exiting leading man Dylan McDermott. Additionally, Rhona Mitra (Sweet Home Alabama) is also in talks to join the firm. read more


Michael Jackson has settled a $12 million lawsuit that was filed by his former financial adviser, his lawyer said Wednesday. Myung-Ho Lee of Union Investment Corp. claimed the singer owed $12 million in unpaid fees. Had the case gone to trial, juicy details concerning Jacko's financial affairs would likely have been dangled over a fifth floor balcony for all the world to see. read more


Warner Bros. has secured the rights to turn '80s action-adventure series The Fall Guy into a feature film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Somewhere, Heather Thomas is desperately trying to remember the name of her agent. read more


Miramax will unspool a new version of Chicago in theaters next month to hype the musical's August DVD release, Variety reports. The re-release will feature a song-and-dance number cut from the original. We're betting it's "Class," the axed duet between Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones. read more


Former Angel leading lady Charisma Carpenter is hooking up with Joe Millionaire's Evan Marriott — well, sort of. Marriott will play one of several single guys courting Carpenter's title character in the upcoming ABC Family telepic See Jane Date. Among her other suitors: Antonio Sabato Jr., Zachary Levi (Less Than Perfect) and Geoff Stults (7th Heaven). The comedy — which co-stars Charmed sorceress Holly Marie Combs read more


TV news giant David Brinkley, who during his five decade-long broadcasting career won 10 Emmys, three Peabodys and, in 1992, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, died Wednesday night at his home in Houston of complications from a fall. He was 82. Brinkley began his career at NBC in the late '50s as a political reporter. He eventually went on to co-anchor the evening news, first with Chet Huntley and later with John Chancellor. In 1981, he joined ABC news as host of This Week with David Brinkley, a post he held until 1997. "For those of us who were privileged to work with him over his long and outstanding career, we know that he set a shining example for everyone in broadcast journalism," ABC News President David Westin said. "ABC News has a richer heritage because of his many contributions to the the network." read more


Baz Luhrmann's acclaimed (if snooze-inducing) Broadway musical La Boheme will close June 29 after a disappointing seven-month run and $6 million in losses... Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni are in talks to play a married couple in Spanglish, the latest romantic comedy from James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets), Variety reports... Nicole Kidman is attached to star in 20th Century Fox's big-screen adaptation of Deborah Scroggins's novel Emma's War: An Aid Worker, a Warlord, Radical Islam, and the Politics of Oil — A True Story of Love and Death in Sudan. But what's the movie about? read more

How Franky Got to Hollywood

Former bouncer, running back and electronic-poker technician Franky G. had zero films to his credit when he auditioned to play an ex-con in Manito (opening Friday in select cities). And that was a good thing. What helped the 40-year-old Brooklyn native deliver a buzz-worthy performance was real life experience — not to mention a body that won't quit!

"I had a friend of mine who is similar to Junior," he tells TV Guide Online. "He's now a born-again Christian with a wife and a kid and lives in Queens. He showed me some of the Bronx areas where he dealt drugs. He did five years in prison. When I read this script, I thought of him a lot."

Franky guesses his years as a semi-pro football player have given him an edge (and that chiseled physique) in his new career. "The roughness of [football] disciplined me a lot," he explains.

Not that Hollywood has been especi read more

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