Today's News: Our Take


SOPRANOS SPOILER!

If you haven't watched last night's Sopranos yet, stop reading now! Ralphie Cifaretto — the wiseguy played by actor Joe Pantoliano — finally met his maker on Sunday's episode. And in case you were wondering, Tony (James Gandolfini) did the deed. Incidentally, while chatting it up with Conan O'Brien on a recent Late Night, Pantoliano bet the host $10,000 that his alter ego would survive the season. No word if O'Brien plans to collect. read more

SECURITY, INTERRUPTED

A copy of Winona Ryder's "pre-conviction report" containing information about her financial status, medical history and other personal information was stolen from L.A. County's Probation Department, authorities confirmed on Friday. Police suspect someone swiped the report to sell to the tabs. In other Winona news, newly released court transcripts reveal that the actress was suspected of stealing from Barneys in New York and Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills prior to her arrest at Saks Fifth Avenue last December. Ryder was convicted Wednesday of felony grand theft and vandalism in the Saks incident. read more

FIGHTIN' WORDS

Liza Minnelli and hubby David Gest are lashing back at VH1 over the demise of their planned reality show. In a statement released Friday, the couple accused the show's crew of mistreating them and ruining their Manhattan crib. Late last month, VH1 announced that it was axing Liza and David because producers weren't given the "cooperation and access" they were promised. To that, Minnelli responds: "We didn't hide anything... Listen, I came out of the womb and somebody slapped me on the ass, and I've been in the public ever since." read more

UP A CREEK

Dawson's Creek star Joshua Jackson was arrested and charged with drunkenly assaulting a security guard at a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C. The 24-year-old actor allegedly grabbed the 40-year-old guard around the neck and struck him. Jackson posted $1,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on the misdemeanor charge on Dec. 4. A Creek crew member was also arrested and charged with being disruptive and possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Creek films in nearby Wilmington. read more

DAWN OF A NEW DAY

Online video rental service Movielink.com goes live today with 170 titles available for download. Backed by five major studios, the site represents Hollywood's latest effort to squash movie piracy. read more

Tide Turns for TV's Jake


Having done just about everything right so far, NBC's critically acclaimed freshman drama Boomtown makes yet another smart move Sunday night: Producers have wisely plucked hunky '80s TV crimefighter Joe Penny (Riptide, Jake and the Fatman) out of semi-obscurity to guest star as a washed-up actor who, ahem, once played a popular TV cop in the '80s. How closely did art imitate life in this case?

"I have to admit, it was a pretty ballsy move on my part," Penny tells TV Guide Online of accepting the job. "I thought, 'Are people going to think that I am a washed-up actor too — especially if I do it well?' But I said, 'That's their problem.' That stuff doesn't bother me.

"Once I saw the part, I really wanted to be involved in it," adds the 46-year-old, who, save for recent roles on The Sopranos and in the CBS telepic Two Against Time, ha read more

Will & Grace: Where the Beaux Are

Stop us if you've heard this one before. On second thought, don't — we know you've heard it so often that by now, you can't possibly believe it. Nonetheless, Will & Grace executive producer Jhoni Marchinko insists to TV Guide Online that at the end of the season, lovelorn singleton Will Truman (Eric McCormack) will finally hear those three magic words: You've got male.

What's more, as hard-up as Will is, Marchinko is determined to find him more than a boyfriend; she wants to introduce him to a truly significant other. To that end, she says that she and her cohorts are on a manhunt for "a good, interesting actor" — and not necessarily an A-list sweetheart like onetime guest flirt Michael Douglas. "I don't think we're going to look for a big stunt. I always like it when somebody that used to be kind of famous [gets cast in a plum part]. That way, you can revive their career."

In read more

GET REAL

Former Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star Don Johnson has formed his own TV production company. Among his first projects? The One Minute Millionaire, a reality show Variety describes as a cross between Survivor and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. read more

Romance for Harry Potter Stars?


During the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Emma Watson — who plays know-it-all Hermione Granger — faced many a challenge, including being turned into a cat and petrified. But the scene that caused her the greatest hardship was the one which required her to — yikes — hug a boy! And not just any boy: The 12-year-old actress had to wrap her arms around Harry Potter himself — fellow Brit Daniel Radcliffe.

"It [made me] cringe," Watson squeamishly admits. "It's weird to hug somebody in front of 300 kids and everybody else in the whole entire world."

Luckily, her 13-year-old co-star was a perfect gentleman. "He was really nice about it," she notes of Radcliffe. "You'd think he mi read more

RATINGS ROUND-UP

CBS and NBC split top honors in the ratings last week, with the Eye network winning among total viewers and the Peacock placing first in the key adults 18-49 demo. Meanwhile, Fox — which saw many of its season premieres delayed due to the World Series — was back in the Nielsen game in a big way. Buoyed by strong returns for The Simpsons and 24, the network ranked second in adults 18-49. The top five shows of the week were: CSI, Friends, ER, Law & Order and Everybody Loves Raymond. read more

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