Today's News: Our Take


PUCKER UP

Dawson's Creek is featuring another boy-on-boy smooch — but this one apparently is the real deal. On the May 2 episode, the show's token gay hunk, Jack (Kerr Smith), shares a steamy kiss with b.f. Toby (David Monahan), TV Guide Online has learned. But unlike last year's much-ballyhooed season-ending buss between Jack and Ethan (Adam Kaufman) — which ended up being a big bust — a source insists that this latest pucker will sizzle, not fizzle. read more

SHORT CUTS

Philip Baker Hall and Shirley Knight (As Good as It Gets) have been tapped to play SNL alum Cheri Oteri's parents in her upcoming CBS sitcom, Variety reports... Joining the list of casualties left in Judge Judy's wake, syndie courtroom series Judge Mills Lane has been axed. Judge Mills Lane, who bangs his cranky gavel for the last time this summer, will resume his old jobs as a lawyer and boxing promoter back home in Reno, Nevada... Actress Beatrice Straight — who won a best supporting actress Oscar for playing William Holden's wife in the 1976 TV satire Network — has died at 86... Lions Gate Prods. is developing a sequel to American Psycho, last year's dark comedy-thriller starring Christian Bale, Variety reports. This time around, Mila Kunis (Get Over It) will star... The Who's Roger Daltrey will play a Catholic priest in the upcoming TNT seri read more

SHORT CUTS

Actor David Graf, best known for his role as Officer Tackleberry in the Police Academy movies, has died at age 50. Graf collapsed of cardiac arrest at a family wedding in Arizona on Saturday... Kevin Olmstead — a 42-year-old Michigan engineer — hit the $2.18 million jackpot on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire last night. It was the biggest TV quiz show prize in history... Fox has renewed its late-night sketch comedy series Mad TV for two more years, according to The Hollywood Reporter... Oscar winner Joel Grey will play an underworld god in the season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Variety reports... Singer James Taylor and wife Caroline "Kim" Smedvig-Taylor are the parents of twins, delivered last week by an unnamed surrogate mother. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge read more

RATINGS ROUND-UP

With Survivor, CSI and the Monday night NCAA Basketball Championships in the mix, CBS took the week ending April 8 with 1.06 million more viewers than second-place ABC (12.50 vs. 11.44 million). Mired in third place remains NBC, which was hindered by yet another series low for Saturday's XFL (2.13 million). Fox ranked fourth, followed by the typically last place UPN and the WB. The top five shows of the week were: Survivor: The Australian Outback, NCAA Basketball Championships, CSI, Law & Order and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Tuesday). read more

Why Morgan Freeman Won't Kiss the Girl


What does it say about Hollywood sensibilities when not having sex leads to a scandal? Well, that's exactly how Morgan Freeman has caused a dust-up with his current suspense thriller, Along Came a Spider. Though James Patterson's novel of the same name finds his signature gumshoe Alex Cross (Freeman) and federale Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter) having a passionate affair, Freeman and director Lee Tamahori decided to make the cops' relationship more paternal in the film version.

"I thought that [the sexual relationship] was the detraction of the book," declares Freeman, who hunts for a deranged kidnapper in this second installment in the Cross series. "In the final analysis, he looked pretty stupid — and not like the bright guy he was supposed to be — if he was being led around by the short hairs."

Spider — which grossed a respectable $16.7 million at the box office last weekend — is facing the same accu read more

O YES

Hollywood's modern-day remake of Shakespeare's Othello will finally see the light of day. O — which features several high-school murders — was delayed numerous times, in part due to the rash of school shootings. However, indie studio Lions Gate Films has acquired U.S. rights to the pic from Dimension Films, and plans to release it in August on 1,500 screens. The controversial update stars Julia Stiles, Mekhi Phifer, Martin Sheen and Josh Hartnett. read more

SYMPATHY BOUQUET IN ORDER

Pop legend Elton John may have to cut back on his floral budget. Reuters reports that the eccentric 53-year-old lost a multi-million-dollar court battle against his former accountants and an ex-manager in which he claimed they mismanaged his finances. During the course of the hearing, details of John's extravagant lifestyle were made public — including how he once spent £293,000 on flowers during a 20-month period. read more

WEDDING BELLS

Spring has sprung — and celebs are catching wedding fever! Former Suddenly Susan star Brooke Shields wed writer-producer Chris Henchy on Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California last week. This marks the second marriage for Shields, who was previously hitched to tennis pro Andre Agassi. Meanwhile, Entertainment Tonight reports Minnie Driver and Josh Brolin have become engaged after a courtship of slightly more than two years. (Josh is the son of James Brolin, aka Mr. Barbra Streisand.) And a CBS rep confirms that Survivor: The Australian Outback's Elisabeth Filarski is engaged to Boston College football quarterback Tim Hasselbeck. read more

SCARY DEAL

Acting legend Marlon Brando will make a cameo appearance in the upcoming sequel to Scary Movie in a deal that could pay him $1 million. In what is being touted as the 77-year-old Oscar winner's first "flat-out comic role," Brando will play a priest who performs a "supernatural exorcism." The film is slated to open July 4. read more

Felicity: She Shoots, She Scores


After a four-month winter break, Felicity — the WB's little college dramedy that could — returns in exactly one week with the first of six new episodes and an answer to the loaded question: Who was gunned down at the title heroine's holiday mixer? Unfortunately, it's a puzzle some fans have already solved.

"We were shooting a scene the other day at the library, and there were a lot of extras [on the set] and our new prop guy was explaining to them who the [victim(s)] was," groans leading lady Keri Russell. "I was like, 'Oh great.' Every single one of those 20 kids are going on the Internet right now, saying, 'I know who it is.'"

Well, the fact that anyone actually cares who got shot is a marked improvement over a year ago, when Felicity — still on the mend after a disastrous move to Sunday nights — was itself knocking at death's door. "I was 100 percent sure we were cancel read more

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