Today's News: Our Take


MIAMI NICE

CSI: Miami is shaping up to be the biggest hit of the new fall season. The second episode of CBS's forensics spinoff attracted nearly 20 million viewers on Monday — that's off only slightly from the show's blockbuster debut the previous week. CBS's new comedy Still Standing, meanwhile, stormed out of the gate. The blue-collar sitcom averaged 18.1 million viewers and held 82 percent of its Everybody Loves Raymond lead-in. read more

Did NBC Diss Rob Lowe?


West Wing fans recently got their first glimpse of what President Bartlet's White House staff will look like when Rob Lowe exits in March. An NBC promo leading into last Wednesday's two-hour season premiere featured practically every member of the show's regular cast — with the exception of the ex-Brat Packer. Has the phasing-out of deputy communications director Sam Seaborn already begun?

"Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, Rob was unable to attend NBC's big promo shoot that occurs once at the beginning of each [season]," an NBC spokeswoman tells TV Guide Online. "This explains his absence from the cast promo you saw Wednesday night.

"Rob will be included in [future] on-air promos for specific episodes," she adds, "which will use clips from The West Wing to promote upcoming shows." (Lowe's camp confirms that he was in Canada s read more

OH, BEHAVE!

Val Kilmer is breaking into the adult film biz. The actor has been cast as late porn king John Holmes in Wonderland, a movie that depicts Holmes's involvement in an early '80s quadruple homicide, Variety reports. Also in talks to join the cast are Lisa Kudrow, Christina Applegate and Kate Bosworth. read more

RATINGS SHMATINGS

The first week of the new fall season is history, and the big winners were CBS, NBC and the WB. CBS — buoyed by strong starts for CSI, CSI: Miami and Everybody Loves Raymond — was tops in households and total viewers. NBC, which had the week's most-watched show with Friends (33 million viewers), was No. 1 in all key demos. (NBC also scored with the Sunday premiere of American Dreams, which won its timeslot with 13.3 million viewers.) But the big story remains the huge year-to-year increases posted by the little Frog network that could. Compared to last fall, the WB is up 69 percent among young adults. "They can thank 7th Heaven, Everwood read more

Birds' Fine-Feathered Superfriends


Can we please get a big "Oh, you poor dears!" for the superbabe crime-fighters of the WB's glossiest new guilty pleasure, Birds of Prey (making its debut Oct. 9). Not only is the dynamic trio entrusted with the thankless job of cleaning up New Gotham without Batman's help, but they do their perp-busting while wearing to-die-for duds that are better suited for bar-hopping than leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

For instance, no Joker... er, joker... would argue that Ashley Scott looks anything but arresting in the corseted dominatrix outfit she wears in the premiere. However, says the newcomer, who plays the Huntress, the love child of the Caped Crusader and Catwoman: "I couldn't breathe [in that gear]! It's sexy, but good God, is it uncomfortable!

"And to fight in... " she continues. "Well, it's not very realistic."

We'll s read more

ON THE MEND

Oscar-winning thesp George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke) was released from an Idaho hospital on Monday following heart bypass and hip replacement surgery. The 77-year-old's condition reportedly is improving steadily. read more

MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR

Courtney Love and Universal Music Group have finally buried the hatchet: The two sides announced Monday that they have settled their lawsuits against each other. Love, the widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, was released from her Universal contract. In exchange, Universal won the right to release new Nirvana material, including a compilation album with a never-before-released track, a box set, and a rarities album. read more

MARK BURNETT'S ANGRY

CBS is hoping to thwart ABC's attempt to stage its own version of celebrity Survivor. The Eye Network and the producers of Survivor are threatening legal action against ABC if it moves forward with plans for a U.S. version of the hit British series I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!, which drops a bunch of B-list celebs in the middle of nowhere and forces them to fend for themselves. read more

FAREWELL

Walter H. Annenberg, the founder of TV Guide magazine who later served as ambassador to Great Britain, died today at his home in Wynnewood, Pa., of complications from pneumonia. He was 94. Annenberg, the son of publisher Moses Annenberg, inherited The Philadelphia Inquirer and two racing publications from his father and went on to build Triangle Publications, the first home of TV Guide magazine, into a multibillion-dollar business. He gave billions of dollars to charity and endowed the communication schools at the universities of Pennsylvania and Southern California. read more

SOUL SEARCHING

Boris Kadjoe — star of Showtime's Soul Food — is quitting the show after this season. "I'm moving on," he tells TV Guide Online. "There are many other things that have opened up for me that I want to do." read more

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