Today's News: Our Take


SINGLE SENSATIONS

New reality fare dominated the ratings race last week, with Fox's Joe Millionaire and ABC's The Bachelorette finishing No. 7 and No. 10 respectively. CBS's revival of Star Search also performed well, ranking No. 24 on Wednesday and No. 25 on Thursday. Overall, the Eye Network — buoyed by another first-place finish from CSI — won the week with an average 12.7 million viewers. NBC was a distant second, followed by ABC and Fox. read more

SLUMMING IT

ABC has announced the lineup for its upcoming Survivor-esque reality series I'm a Celebrity — Get Me Out of Here!, and it's a pretty scary group! The C-list castaways include: model Tyson Beckford, "Downtown" Julie Brown, Olympic champ Bruce Jenner, Robin Leach, Melissa Rivers, actress Alana Stewart and Howard Stern's infamous sidekick, Stuttering John. An eighth cast member will be announced at a later date, which probably means producers are still trying to coax Andrew Shue out of retirement. The show, which will be set Down Under, will air live over 15 consecutive nights next month. read more

TOWNSHEND ARRESTED

Who guitarist Pete Townshend was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children after police conducted a search of his London home and office. However, the 57-year-old rocker has not been charged with a crime. Under British law, suspects can be arrested first and charged later. Over the weekend, Townshend admitted that he paid to access a child porn site, but said he only did so for purposes of research. "To fight against pedophilia, you have to know what's out there," he said. "If I did anything illegal, I did it purely for research. I am not a pedophile." read more

STUNT CASTING ALERT!

The Eye is staging some February sweeps casting stunts. Cheers alums Kelsey Grammer and Ted Danson will enjoy a reunion of sorts when Grammer visits Becker on Feb. 16. Meanwhile, Tyne Daly reunites with Cagney & Lacey co-star Sharon Gless, who guests on Judging Amy's Feb. 11 episode. Rosie O'Donnell also visits Amy as a family court judge on Feb. 25. read more

EDIE FALCO ALERT!

You can fuhgetabout seeing new episodes of The Sopranos anytime soon. Production on the show's upcoming fifth (and likely final) season, scheduled to begin in March, has been delayed so that James Gandolfini can shoot the DreamWorks comedy Surviving Christmas opposite Ben Affleck. As a result, HBO's mob drama probably won't return until January 2004. read more

Mutants and Monsters and Babes... Oh, My!


Good news, guys — we're finally being guaranteed some action! (Sorry, not that kind.) Starting Saturday with Control Factor, a brain-scrambling government-conspiracy thriller starring Firefly roughneck Adam Baldwin and Elizabeth Berkley, the Sci Fi Channel will premiere two high-octane, low-budget original pictures per month on Saturdays at 9 pm/ET.

"Sci Fi has always done what we refer to as 'mayhem every seven minutes' — very fast-moving flicks that have aliens, creatures, monsters... any form of threat," network president Bonnie Hammer explains to TV Guide Online. "The movies generally have some moral dilemma involved, but the truth is, they [exist] purely for the sake of the chaos. And we've done extraordinarily well with them."

How extraordi read more

TELLIN' IT LIKE IT IS

So we've heard rumors that ex-CSI: Miami castmember Kim Delaney had trouble reciting the scientific jargon on the show. But yesterday at the TCA press tour, CSI star Marg Helgenberger basically confirmed it! Asked why she thought Delaney fell short at playing a forensics investigator, she said: "With all due respect for Kim — she's an acquaintance of mine — the [police] procedural stuff is not for everybody. Not every actor can pull it off." Ouch! read more

WELL, IT'S NOT THE GRAMMYS

The American Music Awards got dissed big-time last night as some of the kudofest's biggest winners — Eminem, the Dixie Chicks and Creed — were MIA. One exception was Ashanti, who was on hand to accept trophies for favorite new pop/rock and R&B artist. Backstage, the singer said she was "happy to be here, happy to be nominated. It's a very prestigious award." Well, viewers didn't seem to agree: Ratings for this year's show were down 20 percent compared to 2002. Meanwhile, nominations for Britain's top music award, the Brits, came out Monday, and Eminem will compete against Bruce Springsteen, Moby, Beck and Nelly for best international male solo artist. Best female solo artist nods went to Missy Elliott, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and Pink. Winners will be announced Feb. 20. read more

GREAT, ANOTHER DATING SHOW!

American Idol's judge dread, Simon Cowell, is developing a dating show for CBS that will combine elements of Idol, Sex and the City and The Bachelorette, Variety reports. Titled Cupid, the series — slated to debut this summer — will revolve around a young single woman who sets off across the country to audition prospective mates. Although Cowell will serve as the show's producer, he will not be seen on camera. Sure, now he's worried about overexposure! read more

SCORE ONE FOR ABC

A judge ruled on Monday that ABC can move forward with a new reality series that strands celebrities in the middle of nowhere, despite protests from CBS that it was too similar to Survivor. I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! will air live from Australia for 15 consecutive nights next month. read more

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