Today's News: Our Take


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

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

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

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

COPPING A NEW ATTITUDE

David Caruso has had nearly a decade to think about his controversial exit from NYPD Blue, and he now confesses that, well, he did a bad, bad thing. "It's been an interesting nine years... I don't think I could have helped but grow up quite a bit," he told reporters Tuesday at the TCA press tour, where he was out promoting his role in CBS's fall spinoff series CSI: Miami. "While we all understand that I mishandled the NYPD Blue situation quite handily, I've had a number of opportunities... to grow up and realize what has been provided for me, and it's been a very interesting and very powerful ride. It's been great for me." Tell it to Steven Bochco, buddy. For more on CSI: Miami, click here. 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

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

PHIL BEATS CONNIE

Phil Donahue's return Monday night garnered a respectable 1.1 million viewers for MSNBC. The father of TV talk placed second among the cable news competition, beating out CNN's Connie Chung but hooking less than half of Bill O'Reilly's viewership numbers. Just give him time... 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

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

ABC seems to be acknowledging what we've all known for some time: The Practice stunk last season. At the TCA press tour, the network's entertainment president Susan Lyne told reporters that the show's creator and executive producer David E. Kelley will take a more hands-on role this coming season. In other ABC news, NYPD Blue — which unlike The Practice, experienced a creative resurgence last year — will launch its 10th season on Sept. 24 with its 200th episode. A one-hour retrospective will air at 9 pm/ET, leading into the season premiere at 10 pm/ET. read more

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