Today's News: Our Take


ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET... RENEW!

In what ABC is calling an "unprecedented move," the network has jumped the gun on the new fall season and renewed seven of its current series for another year. The returning shows include: 8 Simple Rules... , According to Jim, Alias, George Lopez, Less Than Perfect, Life with Bonnie and My Wife and Kids. NYPD Blue already received a pick-up last year. read more

FREE MAN

Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, jailed in December for alleged parole violations, was released from the slammer on Tuesday after a California prison board gave him credit for 61 days in custody. The Death Row Records founder was ordered to perform 200 hours of anti-gang community service. read more

BIG FAT RATINGS

Monday's debut of My Big Fat Greek Life averaged 22.9 million viewers for CBS, making it the highest-rated launch of a comedy on any network since NBC's Jesse in 1998. The show moves to its regular Sunday, 8 pm, time slot this weekend. Is it just me, or was My Big Fat Greek Wedding the most overrated movie ever?! read more

SAFE BET

The network bidding war over Heather Locklear has ended, and NBC has emerged the victor. The in-demand actress has signed with the Peacock Network to play a divorced mother of two kids in a sitcom tentatively titled Once Around the Park. Heather, if you're reading this, I'm a big fan. I even liked you on Going Places. read more

BADA BLING

Sopranos stars Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Drea de Matteo, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler have secured substantial pay raises for the show's upcoming fifth season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actors will now make around $60,000 an episode — with Imperioli earning closer to $80,000. They had been pulling in $15,000-$25,000 an episode. read more

FAREWELL, BUFFY

Vampire pun alert! This sucks, folks: Sarah Michelle Gellar will exit Buffy the Vampire Slayer in May to pursue her film career full time, TV Guide Online has learned. UPN and 20th Century Fox declined to comment, but sources confirm that the 25-year-old actress has informed series creator Joss Whedon that she will not be renewing her contract beyond this season. For the complete story, click here.. read more

HICK HUNT?

Sen. Zell Miller is accusing CBS of peddling "bigotry for big bucks" for developing a reality show based on The Beverly Hillbillies. In a fiery speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, the Georgia Democrat called on the network to scrap the idea, which would transplant a rural family to Beverly Hills and then show them acting like fools. Sounds a lot like Beverly Hills, 90210 to me. read more

THEY CALL YOU MR. PERSONALITY BECAUSE...

Fox may have found its next Joe Millionaire. The network is planning a new reality show that poses the question: Is love more than skin deep? The seven-episode series, titled Mr. Personality, will involve a woman choosing a mate from a group of men, all of whom have their faces disguised. As the program progresses, the single gal ultimately narrows her choice to one man. At that point, she finally unmasks the dude — and prays to God he doesn't look like Marilyn Manson. Mr. Personality will debut later this season. read more

DEAD MAN TALKING

In his first jailhouse interview, accused murderer Robert Blake insists he is — surprise! — an innocent man. The former Baretta star — whose exclusive chat with Barbara Walters airs tonight on 20/20 (10 pm/ET) — says that he doesn't fear spending the rest of his life behind bars because he is already "a dead man." Blake faces a preliminary hearing today that will determine whether he must stand trial. read more

IF THEY CAN'T MAKE IT WORK...

The fairytale is over, folks. Joe Millionaire's winning bachelorette Zora confirms to TV Guide Online that she and Evan have broken up. "We're just friends," the 29-year-old wannabe nurse reveals. "I realized almost immediately after the taping of the final episode [last November]... that it wasn't meant to be." Well, then why did the famous couple give the impression on Monday's Aftermath special that they were forging ahead with a relationship? "I think we were just overwhelmed by the situation," she offers. "I think it was really nice being reunited; we were both genuinely happy to see each other. But there was also some editing done that gave the viewer more hope than there was." Damn you, Fox. Damn you! read more

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