Today's News: Our Take


Chatting with Felicity's Odd Couple


What's a surefire sign that Felicity's unlikely lovers Sean and Meghan have arrived? Producers tapped an Oscar-nominated actress to play their shrink! Tootsie thesp Teri Garr has been cast as the couple's eccentric relationship therapist in an episode to air during May sweeps. Still, success hasn't gone to the heads of the character's down-to-earth portrayers — Greg Grunberg and Amanda Foreman. During a break from shooting Felicity's season finale on-location in downtown Los Angeles (hint: someone graduates), the duo chatted with TV Guide Online about the impending strike, Jack & Jill and the real reason behind Felicity's miraculous turnaround.
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BOX-OFFICE WAR

Talk about a monster battle. Sony is releasing its Julia Roberts romantic comedy, America's Sweethearts, on July 20 — the same day Universal unleashes Jurassic Park 3, Variety reports. "We think we're the big romantic comedy alternative for July," says Sony marketing and distribution president Jeff Blake. read more

SHORT CUTS

Fox has pushed back the broadcast premiere of Star Wars: Episode I &#150 The Phantom Menace from April 29 to November, citing a soft advertising market as the cause... Meanwhile, CBS has delayed its Jack and the Beanstalk miniseries — slated to bow next month — until later this year due to post-production delays... Country singers Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw plan to marry on Sept. 29, they announced Tuesday on Live with Regis and Kelly... Gary Oldman's third wife, Donya Fiorentino, has filed for divorce after four years of marriage. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge read more

RICKY'S NEW ROLE

Latino pop star Ricky Martin is poised to play the lead role in a musical version of Zorro on London's West End stage, Britain's Sun newspaper reports. According to the tabloid, not only is Martin close to sealing a deal to portray the swashbuckling swordsman, but British singer Robbie Williams is interested in writing music for the show. read more

LOVE HURTS

UPN has to be broken-hearted over the lackluster debut of its new reality show Chains of Love last night. According to preliminary Nielsen data, Chains came in dead last during the 8 pm hour — 30 percent below Buffy the Vampire Slayer and just six percent above the network's four-week average in that timeslot. read more

STONE STALKER STOPPED

Attorneys for Sharon Stone are no longer seeking a permanent restraining order against her stalker, The Associated Press reports. Last month, the actress got a temporary order against Agostino P'omato, 32 — who turned up on her doorstep in Los Angeles insisting he'd "come all the way from Italy to marry her." (Stone, for the record, is already wed to San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein.) Legal action was halted after the mentally ill P'omato was taken home to Italy by his family. read more

RATINGS ROUND-UP

Even two big jackpot winners on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire could not ignite ABC for the week ending April 15, with CBS's "Must-Now-See" Thursday keeping the network on top with an average of 12.37 million viewers — 2.53 million more than ABC. Of the Big Three, NBC remained the weakest link, with 2.33 million less viewers than this week last year. Although consistency was the word at Fox, weblets UPN and the WB both dipped from year-ago viewing levels. The top five shows of the week were: Survivor: The Australian Outback, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Millionaire, CSI (repeat) and Everybody Loves Raymond. read more

ROSIE'S PRO CHOICE

Ailing talk show host Rosie O'Donnell will host Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday after all. O'Donnell — who cancelled the gig when her doctors advised her not to fly as she recovers from a staph infection in her surgically repaired left hand — changed her mind because of her "dedication to kids," the Los Angeles Times reports. Meanwhile, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch star Caroline Rhea will meet with Warner Bros. execs this week to discuss the possibility of taking over O'Donnell's talk show when she leaves next year, according to the New York Post. read more

REBA, GET YOUR GUN

Country singer Reba McEntire — currently earning rave reviews for her turn as Annie Oakley in Broadway's Annie Get Your Gun — will star in and executive produce a CBS TV-movie version of the Irving Berlin revival, Variety reports. Since McEntire assumed the role from Bernadette Peters in January, ticket sales for the Broadway production have quadrupled. "It's a natural fit," said Howard Braunstein, an exec from Jaffe-Braunstein Films, which is producing the project. "She's the toast of Broadway right now. You don't see that very often — someone who defines a role like she has." Barring a prolonged actors' strike, the Annie pic could debut during February sweeps 2002. read more

Survivor's Nick Strikes Back


Call him the anti-Jerri. Or the poor-man's Gervase. Or the Survivor contestant most likely to sign an endorsement deal with Delaware's Travel and Tourism office. (Yawn...) Or, if you're like his fellow castaways, call him dead weight. But chances are, whatever name you hurl at 23-year-old Harvard law student Nick Brown, he's already heard it since getting booted from Survivor: The Australian Outback earlier this month. In an exclusive chat with TV Guide Online, the Washington native lashes back at his critics, and opens up about getting aroused Down Under, the Outback feuds that just won't die and whether or not Law & Order will be restored without leading lady Angie Harmon.
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