Today's News: Our Take


WHO'S STILL WATCHING?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus's new NBC comedy Watching Ellie may have had a strong debut last week, but ratings for the second episode on Tuesday dropped by 28 percent. Still, Ellie managed to win its time period among adults 18-49. read more

EVERYBODY KNOWS HIS NAME

Did you forget that Frasier is a spinoff of NBC's hit show Cheers? An upcoming episode — titled "Cheerful Goodbyes" — will school you in sitcom history with guest stars from Dr. Crane's fave Boston bar, TV Guide Online has learned. The plot has Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) visiting Beantown to convince Cliff (John Ratzenberger) not to retire and move away — much to the dismay of Carla (Rhea Perlman) and Norm (George Wendt). read more

TOO CLOSE TO HOME?

Carolyn Condit, wife of embattled Rep. Gary Condit, is threatening to sue NBC over an episode of Law & Order that featured a Chandra Levy-esque plot. Mrs. Condit — who says the Feb. 6 installment implies that she killed Levy — is demanding a public apology. However, it doesn't look like she's going to get one. Responds an NBC rep: "The show is fictional." read more

FEAR SEARCH

Calling all B-list celebs: Fear Factor is planning a third edition of star-studded shenanigans — and they're desperate! "We are actively soliciting new celebrities right now," Matt Kunitz tells TV Guide Online. "We're going to have a big full-page ad that's coming out in Variety on March 11, where we're challenging managers and agents who think that their clients have what it takes." FF's second celeb edition airs Monday. Later this month, the show heads to the beach for a live stage version on MTV's Spring Break. read more

LUMP SUM

A federal judge has awarded ex-Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith $88 million dollars in her legal battle against the son of her late, 90-year-old hubby, J. Howard Marshall, over his estate. "This is a complete victory for my client," Smith's attorney Philip Boesch said. "This shows me that even if you have an army of lawyers and unlimited funds you don't always win." read more

Sarah Paulson Has Faith


Despite a harsh reception from critics, NBC's Leap of Faith enjoyed a surprisingly strong debut in its post-Friends timeslot. To leading lady Sarah Paulson, numbers are what counts.

"I feel that reviews don't really kill TV as much as they do movies and things," the Jack and Jill alumna tells TV Guide Online. "Because [TV]'s free, people make their own decisions about what they want to watch and it doesn't really matter. In fact, great reviews can't keep a show on the air and bad reviews can't kill one, really, unless nobody's watching."

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But critical warnings aside, people are tuning in to Faith, aka Sex and the City lite. Naturally, that read more

Creek Hunk in "Mourning"


Dawson's Creek beauty Katie Holmes may not be in any hurry for the past-its-prime WB drama to come to an end, but her co-star, Joshua Jackson, certainly is. "I'll miss the guys, but I'm ready now for the next portion of my life," he tells TV Guide Online. "I'm 23 years old. I'm ready to have those nine months of my life back and be able to travel and do whatever it is I want to do."

Although the WB has yet to decide whether the teen soap will return in the fall for a sixth season, its Wednesday night companion — Felicity — has already been expelled. Jackson has a sinking feeling that Creek could be next on the Frog's hit list. " read more

BATTLE FOR THE NETWORK STAR

While Ted Koppel is still stewing over David Letterman's possible move to ABC, CBS has reportedly offered the late-night host $31.5 million a year to stay put. The figure is half-a-million more than the Alphabet network was offering. Stay tuned... read more

THE CAT'S OUT OF THE BAG

Former SNL star Mike Myers is getting in touch with his feline side by signing on to play the title character in the live-action version of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat, according to Variety. The flick reunites the Austin Powers star with Universal-based producer Imagine Entertainment — the same company that recently settled a lawsuit with Myers over the collapse of his film Dieter. read more

ALANIS LEADS THE PACK

Alanis Morissette's new Under Rug Swept album debuted at No. 1 with 215,000 copies sold last week. Grammys have also translated into dollars for a few lucky trophy winners: The bluegrassy O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack leapt to No. 2 with sales over 200,000. Plus, Aussie Kylie Minogue's Fever sold like hotcakes at No. 3, and "Fallin'" diva Alicia Keys saw her Songs in A Minor rise to No. 4. read more

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