Today's News: Our Take


Big Changes Afoot at Sabrina


The departure of Caroline Rhea from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch has given producers an excuse to revamp the aging WB comedy. Though the already-wrapped season finale only accounts for the departure of Rhea — who's replacing talk show host Rosie O'Donnell next season — a newly-appointed showrunner has decided to make other castmembers disappear as well: Beth Broderick (Aunt Zelda), David Lascher (Josh) and Trevor Lissauer (Miles) will all be gone next season.

"We didn't know about [Beth and David] until after we shot the season finale, so I think we might need to deal with tha read more

HISTORIC WIN

Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize on Monday for her two-character play, Topdog/Underdog, which made its Broadway debut Sunday night. She's the first black woman to win the drama prize. read more

HOME ON THE RANGE

Onetime box office draw Kevin Costner is directing his first film since 1997's megaflop The Postman. The Oscar winner will direct, produce and star in the Western feature Open Range, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Robert Duvall will co-star. read more

PART-TIME EMPLOYEE

Legendary 60 Minutes broadcaster Mike Wallace is scaling back his duties on the long-running CBS newsmagazine — and this time he means it. "The time has come. Come on, I'm an old man," the soon-to-be 84-year-old Wallace tells The New York Times. read more

BOOK SMART

Sorry Oprah, but you snooze, you lose. NBC's Today show is starting its own monthly book club in June to profile "undiscovered" authors, USA Today reports. The selections will be chosen by various best-selling authors. read more

GLADIATOR REUNION

Oscar-winning grump Russell Crowe is in talks to star in the historical drama Tripoli, Variety reports. The film would reunite the actor with Gladiator director Ridley Scott. Tripoli — which is set in the 1800s — tells the true story of William Eaton, an American who helped the heir to the throne of Tripoli overthrow a corrupt ruler. read more

GONE AND DEFINITELY FORGOTTEN

The midseason casualties keep piling up: ABC is putting The Court on "broadcast hiatus" after tonight's episode. Next week, Philly reclaims its 10 pm/ET timeslot. CBS, meanwhile, has canceled AFP: American Fighter Pilot. read more

Simpsons Miser Goes Hollywood


What does Harry Shearer — the voice behind The Simpsons's evil billionaire C. Montgomery Burns, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders and more — do in his off time? Once again, he's skewering the power elite. In Teddy Bears' Picnic (currently in limited release), he takes a comedic look at an exclusive (and rather debauched) retreat for the wealthy, white and male.

Explaining his fascination with rotten rich guys, Shearer — who wrote, directed and exec produced Teddy — simply shrugs: "Growing up in California, you kind of always heard about this a little bit."

Shearer's been out of the director's chair for quite a few years — and focusing the large and diverse cast (including ER's read more

FEEL THE LOVE

ABC has agreed to keep Nightline on the air — and in its current timeslot — for at least two more years, The Associated Press reports. Late Monday, Disney president Robert Iger issued a press release reaffirming the company's commitment to the late-night news show, but made no specific mention of the new deal. "In light of recent events, we want to renew... our support for Nightline," Iger said. "We look forward to working with ABC News to make a strong program even stronger in the coming years." Iger's remarks — his first since ABC offered David Letterman the Nightline timeslot — seem to have appeased anchor Ted Koppel. "It is especially gratifying for me and everyone at Nightline to have questions about the future of the broadcast so warmly and enthusiastically resolved at the highest levels of the corporation," he said. "For our part, my colleagues and I renew our commitment to making Nightline the be read more

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Former Home Improvement star Taran Noah Smith received a nice 18th birthday present on Monday: His $1.5 million trust fund. Smith — who had fought his parents for early access to the money — earned the dough while playing Tim Allen's youngest son for eight years. The actor reportedly plans to start a production company with his 33-year-old wife. read more

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