Today's News: Our Take


DEN DONE?

Rob Lowe may want to see if there are any job openings at The West Wing. NBC has pulled the ex-Brat Packer's new drama The Lyon's Den off the schedule for November sweeps. A second helping of Law & Order: Criminal Intent will air in its place. The show is expected to return in December, but for how long? (That was a rhetorical question.) On a more positive note, the Peacock has picked up freshman sitcoms Whoopi and Happy Family for a full season. read more

FORGET THE ALAMO

Disney's big-budget re-telling of The Alamo has been delayed from Dec. 25 to April to give director John Lee Hancock more time to complete the movie. The film stars Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid. read more

JUSTIN TIME

Justin Timberlake has signed a deal with ABC Sports that calls for the singer-hottie-comic to star in the network's NBA promotional campaign and write the theme music for its hoops coverage. In addition, the 'N Syncer will serve as a special NBA correspondent. read more

SHORT CUTS

Britney Spears's North American tour will kick off March 3 in a city yet to be announced... The Adventures of Indiana Jones — The Complete DVD Movie Collection sold 1.1 million units during its first week in stores to become the best-selling film boxed-set of all time... TNT has acquired off-network rights to CBS's Without a Trace for $1.35 million an episode. The cabler can begin airing Trace reruns once a week next fall... The season finale of The Joe Schmo Show attracted 3.4 million viewers, giving Spike TV its highest-rated show ever. read more

SYD, MEET VICIOUS

Alias spy Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is about to encounter a truly frightening foe: the boss from The Office. Ricky Gervais, who plays insecure egomaniac David Brent on the BBC America comedy, will guest-star on an upcoming episode as a "juicy, horrible, evil" villain, says the actor, who's set to tape his appearance in early 2004. "[Alias creator] J.J. Abrams is a fan of The Office and offered to write me a part," he says. In fact, Abrams is tailoring the role to Gervais' gift for subtlety. "A good bad guy doesn't have to be arch, over-the-top, mustache-twirly," Abrams adds. "A good bad guy needs to be smart. And certainly, Ricky is smart." Translation: Expect lots of awkward silences. (For more "TV News" scoop, pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine, on sale Monday!) read more

SURPRISE!

Ashton Kutcher better hope he's not getting Punk'd by A.C. Nielsen. The second-season premiere of Kutcher's celeb prank-a-thon on Sunday drew 3.6 million viewers — its best ratings ever. (Was it just me, or did Missy Elliott quickly figure out she was getting punk'd?) read more

NOT-SO ENDLESS LOVE

Lionel Richie isn't dancing on the ceiling this morning. The R&B singer's wife, Diane Alexander, filed for separation Wednesday after nearly seven years of marriage. They have two kids, a 9-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. read more

HE'S STILL THE MAN

Speaking of American Idol, Clay Aiken's debut album Measure of a Man held on to the top spot on Billboard's album chart despite suffering a 64 percent dip in sales. Measure sold 225,000 for a two-week total of 838,000. Rod Stewart's As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook Part II entered the chart at No. 2 with sales of 212,000 copies. read more

That '70s Show I love this show...

That '70s Show
I love this show for two reasons. One, it's hilarious, and secondly, because the bad clothes make me grateful to have missed the whole bell-bottom thing. So welcome back, gang. The sixth-season opener did not disappoint. The Grease number was a riot. Eric chose to stay home and help Red recuperate. And Ashton Kutcher in the fat suit has never been funnier. Keep it up, Demi. Oh, and Mila Kunis, get yourself a pair of those black spandex pants. You do look great in them.

It's All Relative
Alias's CIA stick-in-the-mud Victor Garber as a flaming party planner? That beats all, except maybe Lenny Clarke's Mace getting a hands-on exam from a gay doctor. But hey, some would consider that just luck. Thankfully, we got them both, along with a costume party that looked a lot like Frasier's Halloween bash a few seasons ago. Though I think this gathering was actually more butc read more

Is Diane Dating Jack?

In Lifetime's On Thin Ice, Diane Keaton plays a desperate, widowed mom who resorts to selling methamphetamines to keep food on her family's table. Keaton, 57, says she wanted to play the gun-toting, crystal-smoking character — based on a real woman who's now in the witness protection program — to bring attention to the plight of poverty-line parents. "I don't understand how these people get by," she says. But Keaton hasn't left lighter fare behind. She stars with Jack Nicholson in the romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give (opening Dec. 12). And there's talk of an off-screen romance, too...


TV Guide Online: In On Thin Ice, you load up a shotgun and let the bad guy have it. Did you need firearm training?
Keaton:
Yes I did. I hated it. It's a scary thing to have a gun in your hands. They should be left alone.

TVGO: Th read more

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