Today's News: Our Take


Kevin Smith — best known for his role as Lucy Lawless's love interest in Xena: Warrior Princess — died Friday in China after falling during production of a film. He was 38. read more


George Michael's gotta have faith that justice will prevail: Thieves burglarized the pop star's London mansion last Wednesday, making off with his $114,000 Aston Martin sports car and $140,000 in paintings, jewelry and clothing, according to the News of the World tabloid. No arrests have been made. read more


"I cannot absorb living in a world where I have an Oscar for best actress and Denzel doesn't have one for best actor." — Julia Roberts, handicapping this year's best actor Oscar race (in which Washington is nominated for Training Day) in Newsweek. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge read more


You know things look bleak for Fox's low-rated college comedy Undeclared when producer Judd Apatow starts mailing TV critics preview tapes with S.O.S. notes attached. As he did before NBC cancelled Freaks and Geeks, Apatow issued this latest plea along with an emergency tape of Undeclared's last two episodes of the season — airing March 5 and 12 on Fox. "We really like them," Apatow writes. "Keep them. They're collector's items. If you like Undeclared and would like to help us avoid the ax, please write about our little show." His note dramatically ends, "Pray for us." But Lord knows, since Fox bumped the last episode (guest starring Ben Stiller) from February sweeps — opting to burn it off in March instead — Undeclared probably hasn't got a prayer. read more


Former Dynasty hellraiser Joan Collins, 68, got hitched for the fifth time Sunday in London, marrying 36-year-old Percy Gibson. Sources say the emotional ceremony brought the erstwhile Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan to tears. You can see for yourself in an upcoming issue of OK! magazine, which nabbed exclusive rights to the pics. read more


Now this is what we call a sweeps stunt: ABC's sublime sudser, One Life to Live, will go live for a whole week in May — and executive producer Gary Tomlin is praying for gaffes galore. "If we get through the entire week without some terrible mistake, I'll be a genius — and I will have failed miserably because tuning in to see something go wrong is what tweaks viewer interest," he tells TV Guide soap columnist Michael Logan in the Feb. 23 issue (on sale now). "And that's fine with me." The big event is set for May 13-17. read more


An HBO spokesperson is denying a report that Britney Spears is set to play Samantha's sex-crazed niece on an upcoming episode of Sex and the City. The rep says the story — which appeared in the New York Post — is "not true." Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha, also appears as Spears's mom in Crossroads. read more


Paul McCartney reportedly is in talks to perform one night only at Las Vegas's MGM Grand Hotel for $4 million... 'N Sync, Christina Aguilera, Bon Jovi, Charlotte Church, Gloria Estefan and Harry Connick Jr. will headline Sunday's closing ceremony for the 2002 Winter Olympics... The Coen brothers' black and white pic The Man Who Wasn't There nabbed the best feature film photography award Sunday from the American Society of Cinematographers. read more

Question: There were episodes ...

Question: There were episodes of I Dream of Jeannie that featured an invisible dog that did not like Major Nelson. What was the dog's name and who did it belong to? — Sean M.

Televisionary: Once again I'm faced with a reader who doesn't need help, but rather seeks to confound me with a question he foolishly believes to be a stumper.

Trifle not with my TV powers, mortal — you bark up the wrong tree. The I Dream of Jeannie dog's name was Djinn Djinn; he was only invisible part of the time; he belonged to Jeannie (Barbara Eden) and he didn't discriminate in terms of hatred. He despised all uniformed men since, Jeannie explained, the palace guards were unkind to him in past years.

In his appearances on the show, the vicious little beast shredded many a pant leg and was once turned into a porcelain statue when one of Jeannie's spells went awry, as they were wont to do. He also became a proud papa read more


Pierce Brosnan (aka 007) sustained a knee injury Friday in London while working on the latest James Bond pic. The actor — who will be sidelined for two weeks — was shooting an "action sequence involving water" at the time. Producers insist the film will still be released in November as scheduled. read more

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