Today's News: Our Take


FOUR MORE YEARS

NBC now confirms that Late Night host Conan O'Brien's show will remain at the Peacock for four more years, through December 2005. "By my thirteenth year," O'Brien quips, "we should really know if this thing works or not." The new deal reportedly doubles his salary to $8 million a year. read more

WILL THERE BE SUBTITLES?

Music legend Bob Dylan — whose latest album, Love and Theft, is up for three Grammys tonight — is in talks to return to the big screen for his first major film role in 15 years, Variety reports. The drama, tentatively titled Masked and Anonymous, would find the 60-year-old superstar playing "a wandering troubadour who is brought out of prison by his former manager for one last concert." Dylan's last major acting role was in the 1987 pic Hearts of Fire. read more

KLEENEX ALERT

Tom Cruise, Oscar nominee Halle Berry and Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker have agreed to be interrogated by Barbara Walters for the ABC newswoman's annual pre-Academy Awards special on March 24. read more

WHEN C-LISTERS ATTACK

Long Island Lolita Amy Fisher will get into the ring with ice vixen Tonya Harding in an hour-long celebrity boxing special for Fox on March 13, USA Today reports. A second bout will feature classic TV rivals Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) and Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) trading punches. What about a third with Alyssa and Shannen? read more

CATCH A FALLIN' STAR

R&B superstar Alicia Keys was the big winner at the 44th annual Grammy Awards, picking up five trophies including Song of the Year ("Fallin'") and Best New Artist. The O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack — which also won in five categories — was named Album of the Year. Frontrunner U2 scored four trophies, including Record of the Year ("Walk On"). For a list of the major winners, click here. Meanwhile, CBS's telecast of the Grammy Awards averaged 19 million viewers, off roughly 20 percent from last year's show. read more

Buffy Alum Soldiers On


This is a big week in the career of actor Marc Blucas. Tonight, after a year-long absence, he reprises his role as Buffy Summers's wholesome ex-beau Riley Finn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (8 pm/ET on UPN). And come Friday, he can be seen on the big screen opposite Mel Gibson in the brutal Vietnam drama We Were Soldiers.

"[The back-to-back gigs are] nice for me and my family," Blucas admits to TV Guide Online, "but the verdict's still out on whether anyone else thinks it's nice or not."

Well, as far as his small-screen comeback is concerned, the modest 6'2" hottie need not worry about receiving a warm reception: Buffy fans have been drooling for Riley's return ever sinc read more

Six Feet Under's Merry Widow


As the recently widowed Ruth Fisher on HBO's Six Feet Under — whose second season debuts Sunday — Frances Conroy is having a mid-life crisis. And loving it!

"She's discovering things about herself and going through experiences she wouldn't have foreseen," Conroy enthuses to TV Guide Online. "It's good for a woman in her position in life." The dysfunctional Fishers don't agree, especially when their mousy matriarch gains newfound assertiveness thanks to a cult-ish self-help seminar. In an appropriately quirky stroke of guest casting, her guru is played by Star Trek Borg Queen Alige Krige.

Look for Ruth to assert herself — and regret it — when she invites her boyfriend, Russian florist Nikolai (Ed O'Ross), to a Fisher family dinner. "Just to read more

Seinfeld Star Miffed at L.A. Story


We think Seinfeld alumna Julia Louis-Dreyfus just cancelled her subscription to Sunday's Los Angeles Times. In the paper's Feb. 10 edition, Times reporter Paul Brownfield penned a scathing article on her husband Brad Hall, who executive-produces her new NBC comedy, Watching Ellie (debuting tonight at 8:30 pm/ET). He basically cites nepotism as the only reason Hall — previously the showrunner of NBC's axed The Single Guy — has his Ellie job. Ouch!

"You know what?" the Times quotes Hall as saying in retort. "I think a lot of it has to do with t read more

HE'S SUCH A BALDWIN!

Alec Baldwin will play a love interest for Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) on an upcoming Friends, TV Guide Online has learned. The episode is tentatively slated to air March 28. read more

DR. LEWIS LOVES NY

Looks like überproducer John Wells has cooked up one of those "crossover events" for his NBC dramas ER and Third Watch. On ER's April 25 episode, a family emergency will summon Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) to New York, where she works with Third Watch paramedics Molly Price, Jason Wiles, Kim Raver and Amy Carlson. Lewis's storyline concludes on Watch's April 29 episode. read more

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