Today's News: Our Take


Ed Lightens Up


NBC's Ed is about to turn viewers into weight watchers. In September, Michael Genadry, who plays heavyweight high schooler Mark Vanacore, underwent gastric bypass surgery, and already he's dropped 70 pounds. Now, on Tuesday's episode (airing 8 pm/ET), the 24-year-old's character will submit to the procedure, which essentially reduces the size of one's stomach. "I started off over 450, and now I'm under 400," Genadry says proudly. "I don't see a difference, but everyone around me does."

Count exec producers Jon Beckerman and Rob Burnette among that number. So amazed were they by Genadry's transformation that they felt obliged to incorporate it into Mark's story. "We didn't want to mislead the audience [into thinking] that it would be possible for somebody like Michael to lose such a large amount of weight so quickly," explains Beckerman. "If we just portrayed this as if he went on Weight Watchers, w read more

Rupert Everett: Bond Another Day?


Before signing on to Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan debated whether he cared to wear James Bond's tux for a fourth time. Names of potential Bonds were furiously bandied about, with many pegging Brit actor Rupert Everett as the next 007. However, MGM and Day director Lee Tamahori reportedly shied away from casting an openly homosexual man in the role. Did they fear moviegoers — who best know Everett as Julia's charming gay pal in My Best Friend's Wedding — would refuse to accept him as Ian Fleming's famously womani read more

Without a Trace's Eric Close: Cursed No More!


We don't want to jinx Eric Close, but it looks like the Without A Trace star finally is free of that pesky Nielsen curse. This FBI missing persons drama is his seventh TV series, and it's holding steadily in second place against ER on Thursday nights. Thus, it's faring far better than his other six shows — none of which survived past season one. In his latest tête à tête with TV Guide Online, the deliriously sweet smell of success has Close spewing clichés left and right!

"Patience is a virtue," he beams. "Good things come to those who wait. None of [my other shows] were bad projects. People liked them. They had followings, but there are so many factors that go into a show's [success], and I think one of the biggest things that's helping us is our timeslo read more

Hidden Hills Star Shares Her Secrets


Actress Paula Marshall is hiding something. While she stars on NBC's comedy Hidden Hills — as a wife and mother in complete control over a chaotic suburban household — she's no June Cleaver. "Except for the cool clothes, my real life is night and day," admits the 38-year-old. "I'm not married and have no children, so I'm acting my butt off!"

But the Rockville, Md. native is used to stretching away from her own reality. She's been a romance counselor on the short-lived, but critically-acclaimed Cupid; a private eye on David E. Kelly's Snoops; and an NYU student reporter who "outs" George and Jerry in a classic Seinfeld episode. Not that there's anything wrong with that. "I've been on a lot of shows, and I don't plan on going anywhere," she chuckles. "I want to star in The read more

LAW AND DISORDER

Baby-dangler Michael Jackson turned up in a California courtroom Tuesday to resume testifying in a $21 million lawsuit over canceled millennium concerts. Instead of a nose bandage, the freaky singer arrived this time sporting a pair of crutches. Apparently, he was bitten by a spider. "It is real bad," he told reporters. "If I showed it to you, you'd be shocked. It hurts very much." Not as much as a five-story fall would, of course. read more

24 First Lady's Dressed to Kill


As 24 fans discovered last night, President Palmer's duplicitous ex-wife Sherry is back in her husband's crosshairs. And making matters worse, TV's Lady Macbeth arrived on the scene armed with something far more unnerving than a new ulterior motive: a killer makeover.

As the character's portrayer, Penny Johnson Jerald, tells TV Guide Online, looking good is the best revenge. "If my man dropped me, I would certainly want to look better than I did last year," laughs the actress, who says she worked with 24's hair and make-up experts to create a more sophisticated, sexy — "less presidential-looking" — Sherry. "I was really careful about the hair, because last year, Sherry had very '80s hair. So, I decided to go with very '90s hair — very straight and bouncy. I also wanted to soften the eyes, the face, not make her so hard looking.

"She's a divorcée now," a read more

WILL AL GORE MAKE A CAMEO?

Will Smith has been tapped to star in I, Robot, a futuristic thriller based on Isaac Asimov's 1940s short-story collection. According to Variety, Smith will play a detective trying to stop robots from taking over the world. In other Hollywood casting news, Rob Schneider is in final talks to star in The Adventures of Sinbad the Insurance Salesman, a comedy about a lovelorn insurance employee who meets the girl of his dreams. read more

Party of Five Starlet Grows Up


Graduating from child starling on a popular TV show to "serious" adult actor is always a tough task. (Think Todd Bridges or Justine Bateman!) But though Lacey Chabert — who played violin virtuoso Claudia Salinger on Party of Five — has never landed in prison or drug rehab, she's had her share of stumbling blocks.

"I was on [the cover of] Stuff magazine about three years ago," the 20-year-old admits, wincing with regret. "But that was a different time. That's not the direction I want to go now. I'm not a person who's like, 'Hey, I'm a vixen now!' That's not me, and that magazine was not a representation of me at all."

While Chabert knows the racy lad mag wasn't her wisest move, it was an attempt to convince America that she's no longer a baby. "I think any transition is difficult," she acknowledges, "especially when I was in someone's living room going through puberty eve read more

LAWBREAKER

Looks like Marla Sokoloff is trading legal briefs for satin hot pants. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Practice actress has signed on to headline a new ABC drama project that centers around a teen pop star. read more

CHOICE KUDOS

Nominations for the 29th Annual People's Choice Awards were announced today, and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Spider-Man will duke it out for favorite motion picture. On the TV front, the fave new drama series contenders are CSI: Miami, Everwood and Presidio Med, with best new comedy nods going to Bernie Mac, Cedric The Entertainer Presents and 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter. The usual suspects dominated the acting slots in both the film and TV categories, so we won't bore you with those. The read more

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