Today's News: Our Take

TV's Cissy Grows Up

Kathy Garver, who played perky teen Cissy on Family Affair, admits she feels a touch of sadness whenever she catches reruns of the enduring 1960's family sitcom.

"It does bring a sadness to me but, then again, there's that memory that lives on and is right there and that I can go to," says Garver, 52, one of only two surviving cast members from the popular series (she's joined by John Whitaker, 40, who played TV brother Jody). Despite the deaths of three key cast members — Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot and Anissa Jones — Garver remains hopeful that there will someday be a reunion movie based on the series.

The actress-producer told TV Guide Online at the recent Hollywood Collectors and Celebrities Show that she's currently trying to win rights to produce the Family Affair pic. Rights to the project were most recently held by Sid and Marty Krofft, the producers behind the legendary 1970s kid's show H. read more


Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha has quit the band, saying in a statement that the group's "decision-making process has completely failed. It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us, collectively, as a band, and from my perspective has undermined our artistic and political ideal." Rage guitarist Tom Morello told MTV News he agreed that "the decision-making process has broken down for everyone," but added that the remaining members are sticking together. "I have no hard feelings, and we wish Zack well with his [solo] project. But everyone is excited about the 29 tracks we have in the can, and some of it will be released in the fall." read more

Spacey Almost Backed Out of Forward

Kevin Spacey's first reaction after reading the script for his latest film, Pay It Forward (opening Friday), was that in the wrong hands it could be a disaster.

"I liked it immediately, but I was very nervous about it," the two-time Oscar winner admits of the movie in which 12-year-old Haley Joel Osment tries to save the world by committing random acts of kindness. "What worried me was the 'goo' factor — the overly sentimental potential of a film, which could be perceived as, 'Oh, they're trying to do a do-good movie and it has that kind of movie-of-the-week quality.'

"I wanted it to be real and I wanted it to be moving," he continues, "but moving in a way that would be genuine and not push buttons for the sake of pushing buttons."

To his relief, Spacey quickly discovered that the movie's director, Mimi Leder (Deep Impact), as well as co-star Helen Hunt, were equally as concerned about the potential for too much sap. "We al read more


Woody Allen has come up with a title for his latest film, previously referred to only as The Untitled Woody Allen Project. The auteur has opted to call his next comedy The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. The project, currently filming in New York, stars Allen, Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, Dan Aykroyd, Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride) and David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H). — Michael Ausiello read more


Say it ain't so! John Travolta is threatening to make a sequel to Battlefield Earth, one of the biggest — and most joked about — flops since Ishtar. "The bottom line is that I feel really good about it," Travolta says to the Los Angeles Times about last summer's Scientology-inspired turkey. "I am so thrilled, believe it or not, at the outcome because I didn't believe I could get it done." When he was asked whether there will be a Battlefield Earth 2, he replied, "Sure. Yeah." Like. Hell. read more


Four-time Tony Award winner Gwen Verdon, best known for originating the role of Lola in Damn Yankees on Broadway, died Wednesday of natural causes at age 75. Verdon, whose big break came in 1954, when she was cast in Cole Porter's Can-Can, was married to late, great choreographer Bob Fosse. In tribute to the co-star of Ron Howard's Cocoon(1985), Broadway theaters dimmed their lights at 8 pm on Wednesday. read more


The world's most famous hamburger cook is being skewered by members of the striking Screen Actors Guild. Dave Thomas, Wendy's founder/chairman/pitchman, shot a nonunion commercial and has resigned from SAG . According to Variety, Thomas previously said he would wait to shoot new Wendy's ads, until the strike against advertisers was over. "Dave has changed his position on this issue because, although he respects SAG's position, he also believes he has a greater responsibility to the 200,000 employees who work for Wendy's," Wendy's rep Denny Lynch said. read more

Furlong's Life Behind Bars

Edward Furlong confesses it was "scary as hell" filming the scene in the gritty prison drama Animal Factory (opening in select cities Friday), in which his character is raped by Tom Arnold's. Actually, prior to shooting, Furlong couldn't understand why actor-director Steve Buscemi chose the affable comic actor to play his attacker.

"You put Tom Arnold in that situation, and [he's] a scary-looking guy — he can be big and ugly and psycho-looking," the 22-year-old actor tells TV Guide Online. "But in life, he's very nice; he's very sweet."

The former T2 star says it was also strange working with oddball actor Mickey Rourke, who spent two days on the set of Animal Factory, playing a cross-dressing prisoner. "I didn't recognize him at all," he says. "I remember the read-through we did; everybody was saying, 'Mickey Rourke was so good.' I was like, 'That was Mickey Rourke?!'"

During the shoot, Furlong found himself read more


Singer-turned-actress Julie London, who topped the charts in 1955 with the single "Cry Me a River," died on Wednesday at age 74. London, who was in declining health since suffering a stroke five years ago, is probably best remembered as nurse Dixie McCall on the '70s television drama Emergency!, which ran from 1972 to 1977. read more


Round One of the Sheen family face-off is history, and the winner is... unclear. In their first head-to-head Wednesday-night duel, Martin Sheen's NBC drama, The West Wing, beat Charlie Sheen's debut on ABC's Spin City in total households. However, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings, the season premiere of Spin came out on top in several key demos, including the coveted adults 18-49 bracket. What's more, Spin was up 8 percent over last year's opener, when Michael J. Fox was still the star. Elsewhere, the second episode of Bette held up well at 8 pm, finishing behind only Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. Conversely, NBC's Titans continues to shrink. The Aaron Spelling soap came in a distant third in its time period. read more

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