Today's News: Our Take


BYE, DEAN

Don't hold your breath for that Rory-Dean reunion on Gilmore Girls. The WB has tapped Dean's portrayer, Jared Padalecki, to headline its upcoming MacGyver update. read more

SIMMER DOWN NOW!

MTV's week-long "MC Battles" contest was scrapped Monday after the huge crowd gathered at the network's Times Square studio became unruly. Two police officers were injured during the melee and four people were arrested for disorderly conduct. In addition, one local journalist — who was in the midst of writing his daily "Entertainment News" column when the mini-riot broke out — was extremely distracted by all the sirens blaring outside his midtown office. read more

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD

Alton Williams, one of the stars of MTV's The Real World: Las Vegas, was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with assault and resisting arrest after he took a swing at a bar manager during a North Carolina fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Court TV's TheSmokingGun.com reports. The 23-year-old was accompanied to the squad car by girlfriend and fellow RW castmate Irulan. That's, like, so romantic. read more

FAREWELL

Howie Epstein, a former bass player for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, died Sunday of a suspected drug overdose. He was 47. read more

SPEAKING OF JOE MILLIONAIRE...

Buoyed by an above-average Joe as well as the return of American Idol, Fox claimed its first ever sweeps-month victory among adults 18-49. CBS, meanwhile, was tops in total viewers. February sweeps concludes Wednesday, at which point we can all resume normal living. And for me, that means watching TV and eating. read more

ALL HER CHILDREN

Live spitfire Kelly Ripa gave birth to her third child, son Joaquin Consuelos, on Monday in New York. The former All My Children star broke the news this morning when she called into Live with Regis & Kelly. "We are the proud parents of a healthy baby boy," she told Regis. "We can't wait to bring Joaquin home to meet all of our friends and family." Ripa and hubby Mark Consuelos also have a 5-year-old son, Michael, and a 1-year-old daughter, Lola. read more

WE SAW THIS COMING...

MSNBC has pulled the plug on Phil Donahue's low-rated talk show after six months on the air. His final show runs Friday night. "We're proud of the program and we're disappointed that the show was not able to attract the viewership we had hoped for and expected," said MSNBC president Erik Sorenson. "We thank Phil and his staff for their dedication, commitment and passion." read more

WE WERE DUPED AGAIN, FOLKS

During last night's excruciatingly tedious Joe Millionaire "aftermath" episode, Evan and Zora came face-to-face for the first time since taping the finale last November. And judging by their rather icy interplay, absence clearly didn't make their hearts grow fonder. Still, the couple — who decided to split their $1 million prize money — said they plan to pursue a relationship. Er, then again, that's not what Zora said on this morning's Live with Regis &#038 Kelly, where the substitute teacher revealed she thought Evan had better chemistry with some of her female rivals — then pointed out that he and she live on opposite coasts, but will "hopefully stay friends." read more

DREAM TEAM

Oscar frontrunner Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt are in talks to star in the action-adventure Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The duo would play a bored married couple who discover they are enemy assassins hired to kill each other. Meanwhile, Kidman's ex, Tom Cruise, is in negotiations to star in and produce Columbia's upcoming remake of the 1942 comedy I Married a Witch. Danny DeVito is on board to direct the project, which is slated to begin production toward the end of the year. read more

THE LOWEDOWN

Rob Lowe — who makes his final appearance on The West Wing tomorrow night — will star in TNT's upcoming miniseries remake of the Stephen King novel Salem's Lot, Variety reports. The former Brat Packer will play a journalist who returns to his New England hometown, only to discover that it has become infested with vampires. That bites. Get it? Vampires have fangs... which they use to bite. It's a joke people, lighten up! read more

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