Today's News: Our Take


MUCH BLING FOR NELLY

After three weeks, rapper Nelly's Nellyland still sits atop the charts, with a hefty 1.5 million discs sold. Red Hot Chili Peppers debuted in second place — a career highpoint for the L.A. rockers — with their eighth album, By the Way, which has sold 281,948 copies. read more

CBS UNDER FIRE

A multiethnic coalition has issued a "Report Card" for TV's ethnic diversity — on-screen and behind the camera — and given CBS a failing grade. The group specifically criticized CBS's president, saying: "Leslie Moonves was never that interested in significantly increasing opportunities for Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans. Now, he appears to have lost interest altogether." In a statement, CBS called this a "biased and distorted attack," citing its minority employees in high-level exec positions and efforts to cultivate minority talent. Of all the broadcast nets, Fox got the highest score, a mere C. read more

NOW, A WORD FROM OSCAR...

All that talk about the Oscars moving from March to February apparently wasn't much ado about nothing: Variety reports that the 2004 Academy Awards will almost certainly air a month earlier, on Feb. 29. "I think you could consider this a done deal," Academy executive director Bruce Davis said. read more

CSI Gets Personal... Finally


What's the biggest difference between CBS's powerhouse forensics drama CSI and the network's upcoming fall spinoff CSI: Miami? Unlike the homebodies from Sin City, David Caruso and his band of South Beach sleuths will get a life.

"On CSI, our characters [are] introverts, they're science geeks," executive producer Carol Mendelsohn told reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. "The characters on Miami [are] more extroverted; they actually have a life. When work ends, they go out and eat. They just don't go home to their little apartments, open up the Journal of Forensic Science and dive in."

Consequently, viewers can look for evidence of romantic sparks between Caruso and leading lady read more

THE TABLES HAVE TURNED

Remember Trista Rehn? She's the 29-year-old physical therapist who got rejected by Alex Michel on ABC's surprise hit The Bachelor. Well, it's Rehn's turn to do the rejecting: ABC announced today at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., that the Miami native has been selected to headline The Bachelorette. The six-episode series — which will follow the same format as The Bachelor except Rehn will humiliate 24 men until she finds that one special guy — will debut in January. read more

P. DIDDY IN CONTROL

When MTV's Making The Band II debuts on Oct. 12, there'll be some changes made, y'all. Instead of manufacturing a bubblegum boy band like O-Town, the 10-episode series will invent its own hip hop/R&#038B style group. Who'll guide the rookie rappers toward stardom? None other than music mogul P. Diddy himself. "This show will be a wild ride. No tricks or gimmicks — just P. Diddy reality," he boasted in a statement. "I have been creating stars since I was 19 and this show will give insight into what it takes to be at the top." read more

ATTENTION PASADENA FANS

Tired of waiting for Fox to air the final original episodes of its seemingly-dead soap Pasadena? Well, so is the show's executive producer, Mike White. As series star Dana Delany tells TV Guide Online, White is considering editing the remaining nine hour-long episodes into a Mulholland Dr.-esque feature film. "He's thinking about it," she confirms. "We really should do that. We have so much footage that it could easily be made into a feature." read more

MOVE OVER SUSAN LUCCI...

Former Dynasty diva Joan Collins is joining the cast of CBS's Guiding Light for a six-month stint, Variety reports. Collins — tapped to play ruthless matriarch Alexandra Spaulding — will make her daytime debut in September. read more

SHORT CUTS

Annabella Sciorra, so brilliant as James Gandolfini's psycho mistress on HBO's The Sopranos, has joined the cast of CBS's midseason drama Queens Supreme... Cult cartoon The Ren & Stimpy Show is coming back to cable TV with six new episodes set to air on TNN next spring. read more

PILOT ERROR?

An autopsy has revealed that the pilot of the plane that crashed in the Bahamas last year — killing singer-actress Aaliyah, himself and seven others — had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his body, The Associated Press reports. Incidentally, 12 days before the accident, Luis Antonio Morales Blanes was sentenced to three years probation for crack cocaine possession. read more

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