Today's News: Our Take


STONES THROW A SPECIAL

The Rolling Stones will star in their first live TV concert special for HBO next January, the network announced today. The event will be broadcast on Jan. 18 from New York's Madison Square Garden — one of the last U.S. stops on the group's current Licks World Tour. "The Rolling Stones are truly the world's greatest rock and roll band, and we're delighted that they've chosen HBO for this live TV concert event," gushed Nancy Geller, HBO's senior vice president of original programming. The tour coincides with the Oct. 1 release of Forty Licks, a two-CD collection featuring 36 Stones classics and four new songs. read more

LIVE WIRE

Matt Damon will host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on Oct. 5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be the musical guest. read more

MUPPETS ROCK

HIV-positive Muppet Kami — set to debut on South Africa's version of Sesame Street Sept. 30 — was unveiled for the first time Tuesday, and guess what? The world didn't come to an end. The 5-year-old mustard-colored, vest-wearing orphan was described as healthy, affectionate and a little shy. We'd like to add that's she's also cute as a button. read more

GOOD WOOD

The WB's new drama Everwood enjoyed a solid debut Monday night, averaging 7.4 million viewers. The seventh season premiere of 7th Heaven, meanwhile, averaged more than 9 million viewers — its best season opener to date. read more

PUBLIC PERSONA

American Idol loser Tamyra Gray may prove to be the show's biggest winner after all. The up-and-comer is in talks to join the cast of Fox's Boston Public for a multi-episode arc. If a deal is finalized, Gray — who landed a record contract with the producers behind Idol — could debut by November sweeps. Meanwhile, Gray is in Las Vegas this week taping Fox's Idol reunion special, airing Monday. Among the show's highlights: Winner Kelly Clarkson will sing a duet with her idol, Reba McEntire. In other American Idol news, runner-up Justin Guarini will not fly back to Bethlehem, Pa., to fight a traffic ticket stemming from a March car accident in which he rear-ended another vehicle. The 23-year-old was scheduled to appear in court today, but his lawyer says, "flying across the country is a little extreme for a traffic ticket." read more

SHOW HIM THE DOOR

The exodus over at CBS's Early Show continues. Weatherman Mark McEwen is leaving the morning program in October. The news follows the recently announced departure of co-host Jane Clayson. read more

ROSIE STOPS THE PRESSES

Ex-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell — who turned McCall's into Rosie in April 2000 — has quit the magazine. Its last issue comes out in December. Blaming publisher Gruner + Jahr for gradually usurping her editorial control, she told reporters: "I cannot have my name on a magazine if I cannot be assured that it will represent my vision and ideas." While neither side is suing yet, Gruner sure sounded litigious in a recent memo to its employees: "It is truly shocking and disappointing that Rosie would walk away from her obligations... In doing so, she destroys the value of the business we created and violates the conditions of our binding contract... Rosie cannot simply ignore that obligation." (Them's fightin' words!) read more

Everwood: Too Gooey for Its Own Good?


Some critics have scolded the WB's new father-son drama Everwood — which debuted last night following the season premiere of 7th Heaven — of pouring on the sugar a little too thick. Monday's mostly positive TV Guide Online review accused the series of being a "bit excessive and sentimental," but USA Today went a step further, saying it features "every sappy TV clich&#233" under the sun (read: ghosts, narrators, eccentric townsfolk — oh my!)

Not surprisingly, Everwood's leading man Treat Williams, who plays a big-time doc trying to reconnect with his son, scoffs at the namby-pamby charge. "I've seen some shows on TV that I think are impossible to watch," he tells TV Guide Online. "On the contrary, Everwood allows itself to be e read more

SHORT CUTS

ABC has ordered a pilot for a cop drama set in Alaska. The Circle is being targeted for a fall 2003 debut... NBC has greenlit a second, 13-episode season of Crime & Punishment to air next summer... Cheers alum John Ratzenberger has been cast as one of the nine Pennsylvania coal miners in ABC's upcoming TV movie about last July's miraculous Quecreek miner rescue... No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani wed longtime beau Gavin Rossdale Saturday in London... Denzel Washington will be honored by American Cinematheque at its annual dinner Dec. 5. read more

FREDDIE'S EXPERIMENT

Matinee idol Freddie Prinze Jr. is moving in on wife Sarah Michelle Gellar's territory. Prinze will make a rare small-screen appearance Thursday night on the season premiere of the WB's Jamie Kennedy Experiment (9 pm/ET). Prinze and Kennedy turn an acting class into a seminar for a robot-worshipping cult. read more

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