Today's News: Our Take


THIS ISN'T FAIR

Even diehard Harry Potter fans may find this an unfair trade-off. The WB will air a two-minute, 17-second trailer for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — but you have to sit through Thursday night's stinky season premiere of Family Affair (8-9 pm/ET) in order to catch it. That's right, the preview will run at some point during the show's debut. read more

REVENGE OF THE NERD

SpongeBob SquarePants better watch his back! Last Friday night at 8:30 pm/ET, Nickelodeon scored its highest-ever ratings for a series premiere with Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Nick credits last fall's popular Neutron feature film with boosting the cartoon's successful debut (4.3 million viewers). read more

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER...

As television commemorates the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks today, the industry got a pat on the back for its 9/11 coverage at last night's News and Documentary Emmy Awards. CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings both won awards for stories about 9/11 and its aftermath. ABC News chairman Roone Arledge, meanwhile, was given a first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. Overall, CBS won seven Emmys, followed by ABC (six), CNN (four) and NBC (three). read more

WHITNEY ALL WET

Whitney Houston has run afoul of the law again — this time for leaving her N.J. mansion's lawn sprinklers on at night. According to Newark's Star-Ledger newspaper, the singer was issued a court summons for violating the state ban on watering lawns and washing cars during a drought. She could be fined up to $1,000. "Whitney is very conscious about the environment," insists her publicist, who says Houston wasn't even home when the excess H2O was spilt. read more

Formula One: Time Travel Returns!


The fall TV season has only just begun, yet you might well find yourself crying, "Reruns already?!" Why? Although ABC's That Was Then and WB's Do Over differ a bit in tone — the former is earnest to a fault; the latter, sweetly goofy — the comedies have the same premise: grownup gets zapped back to the 1980s to relive his adolescence. And the parallels go way beyond greed-decade music cues and retro fashions.

THAT WAS THEN
Hapless hero: Travis, an almost-30-year-old door salesman, wonders, "Is it wrong when an 11-year-old is cooler than you?"
Shock treatment: Travis wakes up in 1988 after lightning sends a jolt of electricity through his stereo headphones.
Dorky sidekick: Travis breaks it to tress-obsessed chub Pinkus that he eventually goes bald.
Dream girl: A poster of Heather Thomas hangs on Travi read more

DID FREDDY SCARE HIM AWAY?

Actor Jason Ritter — who currently appears in the nation's No. 1 film Swimfan — has replaced Brad Renfro as the lead in Freddy vs. Jason. Creative differences reportedly led to Renfro's exit. read more

LEWIS UPDATE

According to reports, a dizzy spell is what caused comedian Jerry Lewis to drop out of a London charity performance Sunday night. The 76-year-old — who is suffering from pulmonary fibrosis — is planning to return to the U.S. read more

MAKE ROOM ON THE MANTEL

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has selected Oprah Winfrey as the first recipient of its new Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. Tom Hanks will present Winfrey with the honor at the 54th annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony Sept. 22. read more

BIGGER NOT ALWAYS BETTER

George Lucas announced Monday that he plans to remaster Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones to be shown in IMAX theaters beginning Nov. 1. "You couldn't find a movie better suited for the IMAX format," said 20th Century Fox exec Bruce Snyder. Ron Howard's Apollo 13 is the first film to be digitally remastered for IMAX screens. Apollo 13 — The IMAX Experience premieres Friday in Los Angeles. read more

DETOUR

It's official: 'N Sync singer Lance Bass has been grounded. The Russian Space Agency informed NASA via fax on Monday that the 23-year-old won't be flying to the international space station next month. Producers promoting Bass's space journey failed to come up with the $20 million fare. read more

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