Today's News: Our Take


'TIS THE SEASON

Today may be the first day of spring, but in Hollywood, it's still pilot season. Here are the latest castings: Oscar-nominated Gosford Park actress Helen Mirren has landed a lead role in CBS's Washington D.C. drama Georgetown; former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jennie Garth is joining the cast of an untitled WB comedy set in Manhattan; and ex-Murphy Brown regular Grant Shaud will play an unlucky dad in the Fox sitcom Oliver Beene. Finally, Billy Baldwin (the cute one) is poised to make his TV series debut in the CBS cop drama R.U.S.H. read more

SHORT CUTS

CBS is developing a half-hour comedy series based on the hit indie Tortilla Soup... Rod Stewart's 21-year-old son, Sean, was arrested on drug and disorderly conduct charges Saturday outside of Hollywood's Viper Room, the same club where River Phoenix died... Survivor: Marquesas was last week's most-watched show with 20 million viewers. Fox's Celebrity Boxing ranked No. 9 with 15.5 million viewers. read more

END QUOTE

"I told the Queen that winning an Oscar pales into insignificance. This is insurmountable." Ben Kingsley's reaction to being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday. — Michael Ausiello read more

RICHTER SCALE

The premiere of Fox's Andy Richter Controls the Universe got a decent sampling last night. The well-reviewed single-camera comedy averaged 9.7 million viewers and easily won its 8:30 pm/ET timeslot in all key demos. read more

REAL GIRLFIGHT

Michelle Rodriguez, who played an up-and-coming boxer in the 2000 flick Girlfight, was arrested over the weekend on charges that she attacked her roommate at the Jersey City, N.J., home they share. The alleged victim, who has not been named, claims Rodriguez punched her and pulled her hair. The 23-year-old actress — whose latest film, Resident Evil, opened Friday — pleaded innocent Monday to charges of simple assault and harassment. She was released on $2,500 bail. read more

CAN HE GO BACK TO ALLY NOW?

Robert Downey Jr.'s recovery got a major boost Tuesday when a judge told the troubled actor that he was pleased with the progress he has made in drug rehabilitation. Downey — who next month is slated to begin work on a feature adaptation of the BBC series The Singing Detective — is due back in court for another progress hearing July 19, at which time drug charges against him may be dismissed. read more

RAYMOND LOVEFEST

Everybody Loves Raymond, and apparently, that includes Hollywood. On Sunday, April 29, CBS will air Everybody Loves Raymond: The First Six Years, an hour-long special that will "feature celebrity fans and not-so-famous faces talking about their families and how the series relates to their own lives." Celebs scheduled to appear: Ron Howard, Larry King, Norman Lear, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Martin Short, Billy Bob Thornton and read more

ONLY FOUR DAYS AWAY...

Oscar ballots are due today by 5 pm, at which time PricewaterhouseCoopers will tabulate the results and place the winners' names in sealed foil-lined envelopes. Ballots received after the deadline are ineligible. In other words, hurry up! read more

FEMBOT ALERT!

Crikey! Today show sweetheart Katie Couric will make a cameo appearance in Austin Powers 3 (opening July 26). "I play a prison guard," she tells Access Hollywood, "and one tough prison guard at that." Oh, behave! read more

HBO Takes More Heat for Project Greenlight


Add first-time filmmaker Pete Jones to the list of folks seeing red over HBO's documentary series Project Greenlight.

"I go to these speaking engagements and a lot of kids come up to me and say, 'After seeing the show, I don't think I want to get into movies,'" Jones laments to TV Guide Online. "That's frustrating to me. I hoped they would say, 'If this schmo can go make a movie, then I can go put some money together and make a movie myself.'"

Project Greenlight chronicles the making of Stolen Summer, the indie comedy Jones directed after his script won Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's screenwriting contest. Like the film's stars, read more

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