Today's News: Our Take


It looks like Will & Grace's central gay character, Will (Eric McCormack), is getting a leading man of his own: It's Patrick Dempsey, most recently seen in Scream 3, but best known for playing charming geeks in '80s teen flicks like Can't Buy Me Love and Loverboy. Dempsey guest stars in the Nov. 9 episode as Matthew, a Banana Republic shopper who catches the eye of salesboy Jack (Sean Hayes). Expect the storyline to take a Cyrano-style turn, with Jack using Will's well-chosen words to impress his crush, who — you guessed it — ends up taking a shine to Will himself. The actor's spokesperson says Will & Grace has only hired him for a single episode, but reserves the option to bring him back for two more. Dempsey, meanwhile, will also reprise his role as Sela Ward's mentally disabled brother in the Thanksgiving episode of ABC's Once & Again, which airs Nov. 21. And early next year, he'll co- read more


NBC's Monday night Malcolm in the Middle rip-off, Tucker, has become the first casualty of the 2000-01 fall TV season. The network has cancelled the low-rated, critically reviled sitcom and put its lead-in, Daddio, on hiatus. The 8 pm hole will temporarily be filled by another edition of Dateline NBC. The news wasn't all bad for The Peacock: Despite losing to ABC in total viewers, NBC came out on top last week among adults 18-49. Meanwhile, the premiere of David E. Kelley's Fox drama, Boston Public, got off to a strong start Monday night, winning its timeslot in total viewers (13.9 million) and in most key demos. The return of Ally McBeal netted 13.2 million viewers, down 17% from last season's premiere. read more


Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Seth Green has been cast in America's Sweethearts opposite Billy Crystal, John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Variety reports. The film follows a Hollywood publicist (Crystal) into the movie press junket from hell; Green plays the flak being groomed to replace him. read more


The Ontario, Canada attorney general's office is investigating whether Eminem's misogynistic, homophobic lyrics violate the country's hate-crime law. According to MTV News, self-proclaimed "media violence" critic Valerie Smith filed a criminal complaint with the Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit, charging that the rapper's songs "Kim" and "Kill You" violate Canada's "public incitement of hatred" code. If the attorney general agrees with Smith, Eminem — who gave a performance at the Toronto SkyDome — could face prison time. read more

Will & Grace Love Triangle!

Producers of Will & Grace are making good on their promise to take their central gay character, Will (Eric McCormack), out on a few dates this season. But as Max Mutchnick, the show's cocreator/executive producer, explains, the road to romance will be paved with land mines... all of them named Jack (Sean Hayes).

"Very early on in the season, Will and Jack find that they're dating the same guy," Mutchnick tells Out magazine. "And right before Christmas, we do a story where Jack gets a new job at a store and meets a guy there that he's very taken by. But the guy seems a little too advanced for Jack. He uses big words like delicatessen and meticulous. Jack asks Will to come and help him speak to this guy through the headset system that Jack uses at the store.

"He puts Will into a Cyrano story," continues Mutchnick, "where the guy falls in love read more

Earth's Final Conflict?

Filmmaker Nora Ephron is denying reports that the release date of her latest film, Lucky Numbers, starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow, was pushed back from July 14 to this Friday to distance it from Travolta's summertime dud, Battlefield Earth.

"That isn't really true," Ephron tells TV Guide Online. "The reason the movie was postponed was that it had just finished shooting. Before we did the movie, [Paramount] said, 'We want this movie in July.' And I said, 'Well, you're not going to get it.' They said, 'Well, we're just going to announce it.' I said, 'Don't announce it, because it's not going to be ready. I don't cut a movie in eight weeks.'

"So, they announced it and eight weeks later I said it's not ready," she adds. "Then they pushed it [back] and everyone went, 'Oh, it's because of Battlefield Earth. But it was never going to be ready."

As it is, Ephron explains that Numbers, a dark comedy loosely based on read more

The Lost Bedazzled Scene

In Bedazzled, Brendan Fraser plays a mind-boggling array of characters, including a Colombian drug lord and a guy so sensitive, he bursts into tears at the sight of a sunset. Unfortunately, audiences won't see the actor's favorite persona — a drugged-out rock star.

"I was doing a rocker who was a cross between Oasis and the guy from Supergrass," Fraser tells TV Guide Online, adding that the doomed sequence was very involved. "I went onstage before thousands of extras in a stadium in downtown L.A., ... lip-synching a song written by the guy from Metallica. Forget acting; it was all about rock and roll!"

Apparently, Dick and Jane moviegoer weren't dancing in the aisles. As Fraser explains, when his alter ego wasn't performing, he was backstage, scarfing down pills, throwing up and engaging in a fairly explicit sex act on a table. "He was pretty vile," he concedes. "It sort of became our homage to Sid and Nancy, [but] test audienc read more


Robert Downey Jr. isn't the only troubled celeb seeking refuge on Fox's Ally McBeal this season. Anne "my spaceship awaits" Heche will appear in three episodes of the David E. Kelley dramedy in January, playing a flirtatious client of Cage's (Peter MacNicol). According to USA Today, Ellen DeGeneres's ex will begin filming the story arc this week. read more


Liza Minnelli remains in serious condition in a Florida hospital where she is suffering from encephalitis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the brain. Neurologist Maurice Hanson said the 54-year-old entertainer appeared to be out of danger. "She was quite sick and in very serious condition," he said, "but is now recovering well, and we expect to release her in a few days." read more


Former Pee-Wee Herman Paul Reubens will host the TV version of the hit CD-ROM game You Don't Know Jack after all, Variety reports. Reubens had backed out of the long-in-the-works ABC game show to pursue other interests, but producers found a way for the actor to juggle Jack as well as additional projects. read more

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