Today's News: Our Take


ABOUT A PROFIT

Fox has ordered a sitcom pilot based on the hit Hugh Grant comedy About a Boy targeted for fall 2003, Variety reports. The TV version will differ from the movie in two ways: The action will shift from the U.K. to New York and Grant will not be the star. read more

I-SPY A FLOP

Eddie Murphy probably isn't feeling the Christmas spirit today. The debut of the actor's new action comedy I-Spy was trounced over the weekend by The Santa Clause 2. Spy grossed a paltry $14 million and opened at No. 3, behind Santa (No. 1 with $29 million) and the horror smash The Ring (No. 2 with $18.5 million). Last weekend's top flick, Jackass: The Movie, fell to No. 4 with $13.1 million. Ghost Ship rounded out the top five with $6.6 million. read more

THAT EXPLAINS IT

Finally, we've got the skinny on how Today show weatherman Al Roker lost nearly 100 pounds. Last March, he underwent gastric bypass surgery — the same procedure that helped Carnie Wilson slim down. "I have a much better relationship with food [now]," he tells USA Today. "I'm not sneaking. I'm eating out in the open. I enjoy my meals." Roker's surgery was filmed, and the entire Nov. 12 edition of Dateline NBC will be devoted to the operation. read more

SHORT CUTS

NBC is developing an improv series in which actors pose as couples in therapy. The show, titled Significant Others, will likely debut this summer... Reese Witherspoon's Type A Films production company has signed a two-year production pact with Universal, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The romantic comedy Sports Widow could be Witherspoon's first film under the deal. read more

BABE IN THE CITY

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick have named their newborn son James Wilke Broderick — in honor of Broderick's father, late actor James Broderick. The Sex and the City actress left Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital Friday, four days after giving birth to the 6-pound, 8-ounce boy. read more

BIG DEAL

NBC has agreed to purchase the Bravo cable network from Cablevision for $1.25 billion. The Peacock Network plans to develop NBC/Bravo crossover projects, including reality shows, new series and specials. "There are a lot of people out there producing independent work that we can't put on our network right now because it doesn't fit with the programming or there's not room in the schedule," says NBC's chief executive Bob Wright. "A lot of that work could be done for Bravo. I think it's a great place to work with new talent, concepts and ideas." read more

PEACOCK STUFF

Billy Baldwin apparently isn't holding out for that Sliver sequel. The actor has been tapped to headline an hour-long ABC family drama pilot titled The Rackets, based on Thomas Kelly's novel about New York City politics. Filmmaker Sydney Pollack is among the show's producers. read more

CLOSER TO A VERDICT

The defense in the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial is expected to rest today, and the jury could begin deliberations within hours afterward. On Friday, a defense witness testified that a Saks security guard said he was making up evidence to "nail" the actress. read more

POTTER PREMIERE

Late actor Richard Harris was remembered at Sunday's London premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. "He would have liked to have been here tonight," Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) told The Associated Press. "He liked a good party. We did some very emotional scenes together. It is very hard." Harris — who died late last month of Hodgkin's disease — played Professor Albus Dumbledore. Chamber of Secrets opens stateside on Nov. 15. read more

REMEMBERING JAY

A public viewing for late Run-DMC DJ Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell will be held today at the Jay Foster-Phillips Funeral Home in Queens, N.Y. He will be buried Tuesday at Fern Crest Cemetery. The 37-year-old was shot to death on Wednesday. No arrests have been made. read more

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