Today's News: Our Take


Somewhere, Dennis Miller is sad. The 33rd season premiere of ABC's Monday Night Football — featuring Al Michaels and John Madden's debut in the booth — scored the franchise's best season-opening ratings among young adults in three years. Of course, that was no thanks to its Drew Carey Show lead-in. The veteran ABC comedy got off to a disappointing start in its new Monday timeslot, notching its worst ratings ever among adults 18-49. read more


This Week host George Stephanopoulos and his wife, Alexandra Wentworth, welcomed their first child, daughter Elliott Anastasia, on Monday. read more


Prosecutors in the Winona Ryder shoplifting case have filed a motion to admit evidence of alleged previous misdeeds by the actress. Ryder is expected to be in court on Thursday, when a judge will set a trial date. read more


Even diehard Harry Potter fans may find this an unfair trade-off. The WB will air a two-minute, 17-second trailer for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — but you have to sit through Thursday night's stinky season premiere of Family Affair (8-9 pm/ET) in order to catch it. That's right, the preview will run at some point during the show's debut. read more

A Happy Ending for Farscape?

Lost-in-space Farscape hero John Crichton was supposed to have had two more years to find his way home. But since the news broke Friday that he and his intergalactic gang of fellow felons will find their starship in dry dock at the conclusion of the cult hit's fourth season, executive producer David Kemper just might turn out to be the only person ever to know for sure how their journey winds up.

"We're a year ahead of what fans are seeing," he explained to TV Guide Online before being informed that the end of the road was right around the corner for the Sci Fi Channel series. "If I were told tomorrow we have six episodes [left], I'd have a hard time getting to where we would need to be."

While the charismatic former Star Trek scribe could tell Earthling Crichton how to get back to where he once belonged, giving him specific directions might be tougher than translating Delvian to English. "I know whe read more


A congressional committee today urged the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation into whether Martha Stewart lied about receiving insider information before selling her ImClone stock. The domestic diva has denied that she did anything wrong. read more


With nearly 23 million viewers tuned in, last Wednesday's American Idol finale — in which Kelly Clarkson triumphed over Justin Guarini — easily ranked as the week's most-watched show. Tuesday's penultimate episode attracted 18.7 million viewers for a second place finish. The one-two punch helped Fox win the week in every major ratings category — the first time the network has done so without the Super Bowl or World Series. In related news, 20th Century Fox has expressed interest in producing that much-buzzed-about American Idol movie. According to Variety, the pic would feature Clarkson and Guarini, and mix "real-life adventures with scripted hijinks." read more


As television commemorates the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks today, the industry got a pat on the back for its 9/11 coverage at last night's News and Documentary Emmy Awards. CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings both won awards for stories about 9/11 and its aftermath. ABC News chairman Roone Arledge, meanwhile, was given a first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. Overall, CBS won seven Emmys, followed by ABC (six), CNN (four) and NBC (three). read more


Whitney Houston has run afoul of the law again — this time for leaving her N.J. mansion's lawn sprinklers on at night. According to Newark's Star-Ledger newspaper, the singer was issued a court summons for violating the state ban on watering lawns and washing cars during a drought. She could be fined up to $1,000. "Whitney is very conscious about the environment," insists her publicist, who says Houston wasn't even home when the excess H2O was spilt. read more


On Monday night, Justin Timberlake's public appearance at an L.A. radio station ended in tragedy. An unnamed 21-year-old woman waiting in line to see the pop star was killed when Cameron Duty, 23, allegedly backed his pickup truck into a crowd of fans, Reuters reports. Duty reportedly had been arguing with someone in line beforehand; he's been arrested and charged with murder, hit and run and drunk driving. read more

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