Today's News: Our Take


THE SHOW WILL GO ON

After much "introspection and discussion," ABC has decided to continue production of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter despite the sudden death of its star John Ritter. Instead of recasting Ritter's role, producers will write his death into the show. At a press conference today, ABC chairman Lloyd Braun announced that the network would air the three episodes that Ritter completed sequentially beginning with next Tuesday's season premiere. The show will then take a brief production hiatus and "future episodes, once we come back onto the air, will take viewers into the Hennessy household as they experience the loss of a father and construct a new life together." In a statement, Ritter's real-life wife, actress Amy Yasbeck, supported the network's decision. "John always dealt with anything that life threw at him with humor," she said. "He believed in this show and its message that a strong family can get through anything. He felt so lucky to be work read more

AND THE BRAGGING RIGHTS GO TO...

The battle to land the first TV interview with former POW Jessica Lynch is over — and Diane Sawyer has been declared the victor. ABC will air the Sawyer-Lynch chat on Nov. 11, Veteran's Day. It's also the same day Lynch's tell-all lands in bookstores, not to mention the second week of November sweeps. Meanwhile, on Nov. 14, Lynch will take her PR tour to CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. What, is NBC chopped liver? For that answer, click here. read more

IT'S ABOUT TIME

Jennifer Coolidge — best known for her hilarious scene-stealing supporting turns in American Pie, Legally Blonde and Best in Show — is headed to the small screen. NBC is developing a sitcom for the actress, with the hopes of getting it on the air as early as next fall, Variety reports. read more

MY EYES! I CAN'T SEE!

Playboy.com is searching for the sexiest women at Wal-Mart for an upcoming photo spread. "Wal-Mart employees have a reputation for being cheerful and now Playboy.com is giving them a chance to smile for the camera," the company said in a press release. "Playboy.com wants Wal-Mart's sexiest assets to roll back their clothes and pose nude." Nothing against the discount giant, but this sounds suspiciously like an Extreme Makeover casting call in disguise. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

Suzanne Somers was just about to pitch John Ritter a project that would have reunited the Three's Company roomies for the first time in two decades. "It's a romantic comedy [called] The Dumbheads," she tells me. "It's a feature [film], and I wanted us to end up together in the end. I was going to play Dumb and he was going to play Dumber. It would have been great; it would have worked." read more

GLAAD TIDINGS

According to a just-released study by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), of the approximately 674 lead and supporting characters appearing on prime-time broadcast television, only 11 are gay, lesbian or bisexual. "That's only 1.6 percent of the prime-time population," says GLAAD spokesman Scott Seomin. "Hardly representative of the real world." However, GLAAD cites the upcoming ABC sitcom It's All Relative — featuring a gay couple in a long-term relationship — as a major step forward. And it would be an even bigger step forward were it not so awful. read more

SERENA MOURNS

Tennis ace Serena Williams was in Toronto completing work on an episode of the Showtime drama Street Time over the weekend when news broke that her older sister Yetunde Price had been shot to death. The aspiring thesp immediately flew to Los Angeles to grieve with her family, leaving the fate of the Oct. 22 installment up in the air. Incidentally, Serena's Street Time gig is turning into a cursed production. Producers already delayed the episode's shoot from early August after Serena tore a tendon in her knee. read more

RECALL DRAMA

It looks like the circus will be in town for a few more months, folks. A federal appeals court ruled Monday that the California recall election — starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gary Coleman and porn actress Mary Carey — cannot proceed as scheduled on Oct. 7 because some votes would be cast using outdated punch-card ballot machines. The ruling could delay the election until March 2. God help us all. read more

HOPE FLOATS BACK

Sandra Bullock is slated to reprise her role of Accident Amy on ABC's George Lopez this season — probably during May sweeps. Miss Congeniality — who serves as one of the sitcom's exec producers — played George's klutzy co-worker in two previous outings. "She's fallen off the roof, we've lit her on fire," laughs Lopez, "so we've got to figure out what else to do to her." Whatever you do, please don't cast her in _______. To complete the riddle, proceed to your local newsstand, buy the current issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale now) and flip to my "TV News" column. Then, jump up and down three times and scream, "I miss Felicity!" At that point, prepare to receive your next clue... read more

7th Heaven If you're one of those...

7th Heaven
If you're one of those people who've been hanging with the Camdens since 1996, God bless you. Cause I'm not. I haven't watched since Lucy was as young as Ruthie. And, Lord help me, sticking through the eighth season premiere was a trial for my TV soul. I couldn't take Simon's incessant sulking. Yes, he hit and killed a schoolmate with the family car. But it was, as was said seven times in the first 30 minutes, "an accident!" Then there's young Lucy who's married and living in an apartment over the garage? Trauma! Plus she and her hubby Officer Kevin Kinkirk want to have a baby — or as they like to say "do something life affirming." And what's up with Mary possibly living with and carrying the baby of recently homeless Carlos — aka Latin pop star Carlos Ponce?

Dr. Pepper
Ok. Cyndi Lauper's Dr. Pepper commercial is jammin'. But who is Anastacia? And why does she look and sound like Taylor read more

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