Today's News: Our Take


ABC got mixed results from Super Bowl Sunday. Although the game itself averaged more than 88 million viewers — making it the most-watched Super Bowl in five years — only 17 million of those fans stuck around for Alias afterwards. That's one of the lowest ratings ever for a post-Super Bowl showcase. The network's spin? "Despite having the latest start in history for a post-Super Bowl entertainment program, [Alias] hit its highest ratings ever — more than doubling its average audience among young adults and increasing its total viewer delivery by over 8 million viewers." Stop, I'm dizzy! read more


Peter O'Toole will be presented with an honorary Oscar during the 75th anniversary Academy Awards on March 23... Harvard University has chosen Anjelica Huston and Martin Scorsese to receive its annual Hasty Pudding awards, given to celebs who've made a "lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment." read more


CBS has pulled low-rated dramas Presidio Med and Queens Supreme from its lineup and will kick off a second nine-episode edition of Star Search beginning Feb. 19. In other reality news, NBC has ordered seven more episodes of the dreadful Meet My Folks. read more


Prosecutors in Michigan may issue an investigative subpoena this week that would "compel" Aretha Franklin to answer questions about the fire that destroyed her home last October. Investigators allegedly have tried at least three times to interview the singer about the blaze, which has been ruled as arson. Franklin, however, is not a suspect. read more


Joe Millionaire continues to be money in the bank for Fox. Monday night's episode — which introduced the word "Mwah... " into the venacular — attracted more than 20 million viewers and delivered Fox its largest audience ever in the Monday-at-9 pm hour. In case you missed it, Evan gave 25-year-old loan officer Melissa Jo ("MoJo") the boot, leaving just three gold-diggers — Sarah, Melissa M. and Zora — to vie for his affections. We're going to give the edge to Sarah, who disappeared into the woods with Evan and, um, slurped him. Our favorite moment: When Melissa M. outright confessed to Evan that she was a "mercenary." (She meant to say missionary.) Talk about priceless. read more


Nominations for the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced this morning and Chicago scored a field-best five nods, including best cast, best female actor (Renée Zellweger), best male actor (Richard Gere) and best supporting actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah). The Hours followed close behind with four nods, including best cast, best actress (Nicole Kidman), best supporting actress (read more


NBC apparently isn't holding a grudge against Rob Lowe for quitting The West Wing. The network has tapped the ex-Brat Packer to star in and produce a new legal drama pilot titled Lyon's Den, Variety reports. He'd play an "idealistic attorney trying to make his mark on the world while struggling to escape the shadow of his powerful father, a state senator." read more


The Pentagon is denying reports that it kept an enlisted Marine from being sent overseas so that he could audition on American Idol. On Wednesday's show, Lance Cpl. Joshua Gracin — a supply specialist at Camp Pendleton — impressed Simon and Co. with a performance of Frank Sinatra's "All or Nothing at All." In a statement, the Marine Corps insist that Gracin's unit was not scheduled to go to the Middle East. read more


Can acclaimed filmmaker Chris Nolan undo the mess that has become the Batman franchise? Well, Warner Bros. certainly hopes so now that the studio has hired the Memento/Insomnia helmer to direct the Caped Crusader's next big-screen adventure. Memento star Guy Pearce is reportedly one of the new Bruce Waynes being considered. read more


Friends star Courteney Cox has inked a deal with cable's WE: Women's Entertainment to create and produce an interior design show that will focus on couples and roommates whose personal styles clash. Mix It Up is slated to debut in the fall. read more

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