Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Peter O'Toole will be presented with an honorary Oscar during the 75th anniversary Academy Awards on March 23... Harvard University has chosen Anjelica Huston and Martin Scorsese to receive its annual Hasty Pudding awards, given to celebs who've made a "lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment." read more

SAG DAY IN HOLLYWOOD

Nominations for the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced this morning and Chicago scored a field-best five nods, including best cast, best female actor (Renée Zellweger), best male actor (Richard Gere) and best supporting actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah). The Hours followed close behind with four nods, including best cast, best actress (Nicole Kidman), best supporting actress (read more

THE LOWEDOWN

NBC apparently isn't holding a grudge against Rob Lowe for quitting The West Wing. The network has tapped the ex-Brat Packer to star in and produce a new legal drama pilot titled Lyon's Den, Variety reports. He'd play an "idealistic attorney trying to make his mark on the world while struggling to escape the shadow of his powerful father, a state senator." read more

Question: What is the real ...

Question: What is the real name of Cedric the Entertainer? Is he the guy in the funny Budweiser commercials? — Harold, Glendale, Cal.

Televisionary: Cedric Kyles. And yes (though they're technically Bud Light ads).

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MED DEAD

CBS has pulled low-rated dramas Presidio Med and Queens Supreme from its lineup and will kick off a second nine-episode edition of Star Search beginning Feb. 19. In other reality news, NBC has ordered seven more episodes of the dreadful Meet My Folks. read more

OH, MWAH!

Joe Millionaire continues to be money in the bank for Fox. Monday night's episode — which introduced the word "Mwah... " into the venacular — attracted more than 20 million viewers and delivered Fox its largest audience ever in the Monday-at-9 pm hour. In case you missed it, Evan gave 25-year-old loan officer Melissa Jo ("MoJo") the boot, leaving just three gold-diggers — Sarah, Melissa M. and Zora — to vie for his affections. We're going to give the edge to Sarah, who disappeared into the woods with Evan and, um, slurped him. Our favorite moment: When Melissa M. outright confessed to Evan that she was a "mercenary." (She meant to say missionary.) Talk about priceless. read more

Question: What night did The ...

Question: What night did The Love Boat and The Dukes of Hazzard air? Friday or Saturday? — Shawn, Athens, Tex.

Televisionary: The Dukes raised hell on Friday nights from January 1979 to August 1985. The Boat was a capital ship for an ocean trip on Saturdays from September 1977 to May 1986, before switching to Fridays for the final four months of its voyage. If you're a schedule fanatic (and even if you're not), you'll find fall prime-time line-ups going all the way back to 1953 in our What Was On feature.

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IDOL CONTROVERSY

The Pentagon is denying reports that it kept an enlisted Marine from being sent overseas so that he could audition on American Idol. On Wednesday's show, Lance Cpl. Joshua Gracin — a supply specialist at Camp Pendleton — impressed Simon and Co. with a performance of Frank Sinatra's "All or Nothing at All." In a statement, the Marine Corps insist that Gracin's unit was not scheduled to go to the Middle East. read more

Question: My co-worker and I ...

Question: My co-worker and I have a bet. She says that The Mary Tyler Moore Show had the most spin-offs in TV history. I say it's Happy Days. Who's right? Whoever wins has to cover the other person's shift for President's Day weekend. — Scott S.

Televisionary: Technically speaking, you're both wrong, Scott, though you're closer than she is.

First of all, let's define spin-off. The classic definition is a show whose main characters were regulars on the parent show (so that would pretty much disqualify the various Law &#038 Order shows, for example).

Going by that, All in the Family is the spin-off king, with three series directly spun off (Maude, The Jeffersons, read more

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE...

Prosecutors in Michigan may issue an investigative subpoena this week that would "compel" Aretha Franklin to answer questions about the fire that destroyed her home last October. Investigators allegedly have tried at least three times to interview the singer about the blaze, which has been ruled as arson. Franklin, however, is not a suspect. read more

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