Today's News: Our Take

Music To A Country's Ears

Bruce Springsteen, he whose name is synonymous with "Born In The USA," on Friday night came to mourn with the USA. As the opening act for "America: A Tribute To Heroes" — the live telethon broadcast on dozens of networks to benefit the families of those victimized by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — The Boss used the all-too-aptly titled "My City Of Ruin" to urge this country to "Come on, rise up."

And sure enough, from there on, scads of performers — over 80 in total — rose up for the star-spangled television event. One by one, and sometimes in pairs, celebrities from all crafts were revealed from shadows to pay spoken tribute to those who lost their lives and those rescue workers who strive to find lives. To kick off the evening, Tom Hanks quoted United flight 93 passenger and apparent hijacker attacker Jeremy Glick, saying, "We're going to try to do something." And though, as Hanks added, the stars on hand were "not heroes, merely artists, read more

How West Wing Won Over Dreyfuss

He has portrayed a senator (in The American President), the Commander in Chief (in the TV-movie Fail Safe) and a secretary of state (in an upcoming TV-movie about the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan). As such, it's fitting that what ultimately led Academy Award-winner Richard Dreyfuss to star in CBS's The Education of Max Bickford (premiering Sunday at 8 pm/ET) was television's acclaimed look at White House life.

"The West Wing was pretty persuasive," says Dreyfuss of what made him commit to a series. "When I realized that one could write like that about a subject like that, and that the quality could remain so high, my fear went down."

In fact, it is Dreyfuss's hope that Max Bi read more

Gonzo the Great: The TV Guide Online Interview

At the MuppetFest! convention being held shortly to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Muppet Show, there will be spectacles galore. Squealing children... eye-popping exhibitions... heartwarming performances. But perhaps no sight at the Pasadena (Calif.) Civic Center will prove to be as memorable, or as poignant, as that of a little bird with purple plumage, a crooked beak and a fearless gleam in his eye that he probably would never realize all heroes possess. That's right — Gonzo the Great may not be able to fly, but, by always aiming for the clouds, in his own unique way, he soars.
read more

Tragedy Affects Men in Black 2

The sequel to Will Smith's Men in Black — currently in production and slated to bow July 4, 2002 — was to feature a rip-roaring special effects finale, set at the foot of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, the destruction of the towers in last week's terrorist attack required director Barry Sonnenfeld to alter his climactic scene in the interest of good taste.

"It's so slightly different," Sonnenfeld tells TV Guide Online, denying talk of a major script rewrite. "The ending took place at the base of the World Trade Center and will now take place at some other New York icon, but we hadn't shot any of the ending."

MIB 2 was mostly filmed on location in Man read more

Musicians Aid in Relief Effort

As the nation struggles to come to grips with last week's devastating terrorist attacks — the worst in U.S. history — artists such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Britney Spears are stepping forward to lend some much-needed support.

Jackson currently is writing and producing an all-star "We Are The World"-type ballad and will donate all proceeds generated by its worldwide distribution to the relief effort. "I believe in my heart that the music community will come together as one and rally to the aid of thousands of innocent victims," said Jackson, who hopes to raise $50 million. "There is a tremendous need for relief dollars right now, and through this effort each one of us can play an immediate role in helping to comfort so many people."

Spears, Destiny's Child, M&#253a, 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake and Backstreet Boy read more

MTV Tackles Osama bin Laden

Longtime MTV newsman Kurt Loder's Manhattan crib is located three blocks from where the World Trade Center's Twin Towers once stood, and he admits his neighborhood has been transformed into a "horrific, terrible" mess. What's more, as a result of his pad's proximity to the crime scene, he's only been allowed to return once since last Tuesday.

"I can't get home. I'm sort of locked out and I just don't know what's going on," he sighs to TV Guide Online. "I was back once Friday night for 15 minutes and gathered up some clothes and then I had to leave again." Miraculously, Loder adds, his apartment escaped with little damage. "But there's like a half inch of dust over everything because we left the windows open," he explains, adding that the inconvenience is but a small price to pay. "I feel very, very fortunate."

As it is, Loder probably wouldn't have been spending much time at home this past week anyway. The author and former Rolling Stone editor is b read more

Entertainment Newsmags Show Respect

In any other week, Yasmine Bleeth's recent arrest on alleged drug charges would command big headlines on the syndicated entertainment shows Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and Extra. But in the wake of last Tuesday's horrific terrorist attacks, such celebrity scandals are being tossed aside like yesterday's news.

"We're not touching Yasmine Bleeth," Access Hollywood executive producer Rob Silverstein insists to TV Guide Online. "It's not something we're interested in. If none of this ever happened, of course, that's something we would cover. But we don't think stories like that are appropriate at this time."

While Access, ET and Extra have been pre-empted by news coverage in much of the country since Tuesday, most affiliates were expected to return to normal programming this week. And in addition to the Bleeth blackout, Silverstein says viewers tuning in can expect a kinder, gentler Access read more

Hoof-and-Mouth Disease Strikes Buffy

In anticipation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's highly anticipated November sweeps musical episode, Michelle Trachtenberg — who plays the eponymous supergirl's kid sister Dawn — isn't taking voice lessons, but rather, practicing her pleading.

"I begged [series creator] Joss Whedon not to have me sing as much [as everybody else]," she tells TV Guide Online. "I'll dance, though. I love dancing, so he was checking to make sure of my ballerina skills. I'm like, 'Why, exactly?'"

Perhaps, besides tailoring Trachtenberg's rockin' role to her aptitudes, Whedon is gauging her surefootedness in case Sarah Michelle Gellar ever gives up kicking butt. "I've been asked if a spinoff or a continuation [of read more

The Story Behind the Emmy Delay

The decision to delay the 53rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards for three weeks — from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 — marks a first in Emmy history: Never before has a news event delayed TV's biggest night. But clearly, never before has there been a news event quite like last Tuesday's deadly terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C.

"In the past, TV academy leaders always decided, in the great Hollywood tradition, to go on with the show no matter what happened — even in 1980 when no stars showed up because of an actors' strike," notes award show expert Tom O'Neil, author of The Emmys and host of showbiz-awards website "But this year Emmy leaders were afraid that it might look heartless of Hollywood to carry on with a posh party for itself and bestow gold trophies for best comedy actor and actress at a time of national mourning."

There was n read more

TV Nets Scour Content

As television networks scramble to remove any inappropriate programming content related to Tuesday's deadly terrorist attacks, HBO is admitting that it dropped the ball when it came to Sunday night's broadcast of the 1994 action flick Drop Zone. The film stars Wesley Snipes as a U.S. Marshall thwarting a international drug plot. One scene features a brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner.

"This one obviously was missed," an HBO rep sighs to TV Guide Online. "We have pulled 11 movies so far from HBO and Cinemax channels. We apologize that we overlooked this one. The people in scheduling are in the process of still pulling other programs from the schedule for the upcoming weeks. I guess there are so many to go through and screen."

Last week, HBO made the decision to yank print and on-air promotions for its World War II epic Band of Brothers. However, the 10-part Sunday series h read more

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