Today's News: Our Take


BLAKE UPDATE

Robert Blake won't face the death penalty if he is convicted of killing his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. Instead, prosecutors announced on Thursday that they'll seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole. read more

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE

Happy Days alum Henry Winkler has been named one of two new executive producers of Hollywood Squares — which will kick off its fifth season this fall without Whoopi Goldberg in the center square. Joining Winkler behind the scenes is veteran awards show producer Michael Levitt. read more

OUT ON BAIL

Robert Blake posted $1 million bail on Friday for bodyguard Earle Caldwell, who's charged with conspiring to kill the actor's wife. "He's an employee and a friend and Robert felt responsible for him," Blake's attorney Harland Braun said. read more

SHORT CUTS

Tuesday's episode of MTV's The Osbournes notched a new ratings high. The show averaged nearly 8 million viewers, up from 6.3 million the previous week... Rosie O'Donnell has been selected to receive the 2002 Montblanc Arts Patronage Award, which honors individuals who have enhanced arts and culture... Syndicated series Crossing Over with John Edward has been picked up for a second season. read more

JEWEL INJURED

Pop singer Jewel broke her collarbone and a rib on Wednesday after being thrown from a horse at the Texas ranch of her boyfriend, rodeo star Ty Murray. Although the 27-year-old was not hospitalized, she will have to wear a collar and a sling for about a month. A European tour that was slated to kick off on May 10 in Italy is in doubt, but she's expected to proceed with her U.S. tour, scheduled to begin June 14 in Tampa. read more

SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT

Sheryl Crow's new CD, C'mon C'mon, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's album chart with 185,000 copies sold. R&B singer Ashanti's self-titled disc held on to the No. 1 spot with sales of 190,000. Celine Dion's A New Day Has Come dropped to No. 3. read more

Noah Wyle: ER's New Top Doc


It took eight years, but Noah Wyle is on the verge of becoming ER's new chief of staff. With Anthony Edwards checking out on May 9, Wyle soon will be the show's longest-running cast member.

"I've been very curious to see what it will be like to carry the show the way Tony's been carrying it for [eight] years," the 30-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "To find myself having incrementally climbed up the call sheet and now arriving at the number-one spot... I'm very excited at the challenge of being at the center of the ensemble that I've given a third of my life to."

Contractually, Wyle is committed to ER for two more years — through the show's tenth season. After that, he'll most likely look to be discharged. "There's something nice about ten years in my head. It's a nic read more

YOU BE THE JUDGE

The French figure-skating judge at the center of the Winter Olympics ice scandal will speak out on Sunday's 60 Minutes. Marie-Reine Le Gougne will give her first interview to Ed Bradley. read more

THE PLOT THICKENS

Two stuntmen who worked with Robert Blake on Baretta will testify that the actor tried to hire them to kill his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, Blake's lawyer confirmed on Wednesday. "The problem with these witnesses is, if this is true, why didn't they call the police?" attorney Harland Braun asked. "Often these kinds of witnesses have some problem in their history or they want to jump on a big case to be in the spotlight." read more

CASTING COUP

Alleged shoplifter Winona Ryder soon may be stealing the spotlight on NBC's Saturday Night Live. According to reports, the actress — who co-stars in the new Adam Sandler comedy Mr. Deeds (opening June 28) — is in talks to host an upcoming episode. Ryder would likely use the opportunity to poke fun at her legal troubles. NBC had no comment. read more

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