American Dreams- News Archive

'Vampire Diaries' Star Finally Divorced -- He Vanted A Prenup ... And It Paid Off!

(12/24/13) "Vampire Diaries" star Paul Wesley is rightfully sucking the joint bank account dry ... we've learned he's getting the lion's share of loot in his divorce from Torrey DeVitto ... a divorce that is now final.

Turns out Paul and Torrey -- who also appeared on the show -- signed a prenup -- obtained by TMZ -- that keeps all their earnings separate ... and he made WAY more than her. On top of that, the prenup provides he gets all the money he fronted for the purchase of their home -- $730,593 -- and she gets what she put in -- a measly $10K.

They were certainly into motor vehicles. He gets to keep the Prius, the Triumph Bonneville chopper and an Audi Q5. She gets an Audi A4.

The couple married back in April 2011 and separated in July. They have no children together.

So who's the sucker now?

'Mob City': Milo Ventimiglia dresses sharp, takes beautiful shots

(12/18/13) On an early morning over breakfast at a oceanside diner in Los Angeles, Milo Ventimiglia of TNT's L.A.-gangster drama "Mob City" is considering what it means to be wearing a suit-and-tie at work.

"I feel like I finally made it," he tells Zap2it. "It's was nice to have two suit-and-tie roles."

In the feature film "Grace of Monaco," set in the early 1960s (and set for release on March 14), Nicole Kidman plays actress Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace after marrying Prince Ranier III of Monaco. Ventimiglia plays her press agent, Rupert Allan.

"So," Ventimiglia says, "the '60s, then you jump back into the '40s for 'Mob City.' It's hard to beat that."

In the six-episode "Mob City," from creator Frank Darabont ("The Walking Dead"), which concludes tonight on TNT, Ventimiglia plays lawyer Ned Stax, an outwardly respectable lawyer who works as a fixer for Los Angeles ganster Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke), and fought in World War II with LAPD Detective Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal), a former Marine.

"It felt right," says Ventimiglia, 36. "It felt good to put on the suit; it felt good to put the hair back. it felt strangely good to sit and hold a Scotch and cigarette and just speak beautiful words -- a grown-up role.

"I understand that I still can fit in that realm of, 'You look younger,' but I'm trying to get as close to my age as I can."

When he's not acting or producing -- he's the star and an executive producer for the Web series "Chosen," on streaming-video service Crackle -- and sometimes while he is, Ventimiglia indulges his love of photography. He did the same thing at on the set of "Mob City."

Click here for a Bello magazine slide show of his black-and-white shots (he advises viewing them in landscape format).

"My first real conversation with Frank," says Ventimiglia, "I'm in a fitting. I've got my pants off, shirt on, waiting for a hem or something. Frank's sitting there; we're just talking about the character. I said to him, 'Frank, I know I'm only working two days in the pilot for 13, but do you mind if I just hang out? I want to be a part of all this.' 'Yeah, pal, no problem, hang out.'

"Then, the next conversation, I said, 'Frank, I do a lot of photography. Do you mind if I, while I'm hanging out, bring my cameras and shoot the pilot?' 'No.' In fact, he gave me one of his cameras, a Hasselbad XPan,, which is panoramic.

"Every day, I would show up; I would dress 1940s -- fedora, suspenders, everything. I had three cameras on me all the time: two film, one digital. And [co-star] Alexa Davalos did the same thing. We would be there every day just shooting photos."

Interestingly, Davalos' character, Jasmine Fontaine, Teague's enigmatic ex-wife, is also a photographer. In an interview, Davalos said that some of her black-and-white shots were in the set for Jasmine's apartment.

Ventimiglia pulls out his iPhone and starts a slideshow of his beautiful, moody shots of backstage life and the show's characters.

"I printed them out for Frank," he says, "and I printed them for Jon and some other people. I would take pictures of Eddie Burns [who plays gangster Bugsy Siegel] and Jeremy Luke while we were on set. I shot the pilot.

"Back on 'Heroes,' I did portraits of everyone that no one's ever seen."

Even though he's known for being in front of the camera, Ventimiglia seems to get much more out being behind it.

"I feel like I live my life through photography," he says, "seeing things, hanging onto images."

But while Ventimiglia does share some shots online, it's only a small percentage of the total.

"Even though I take a ton of photos," he says, "I don't post them. This sounds horrible, but I want to do something old-fashioned, like a book. I feel like, with social media and with online content, it's so easily disposable, that people will just cycle through things. It's different than holding something in your hands.

"Still, I've got my Kindle Paperwhite; I've got my iPad; I've got my computer, my iPhone and all that. I still use it for work and business and all that, but there's something about shooting on film and holding a print, reading a book.

"I've got an old typewriter that I bang out on, on occasion. I remember where I come from."

Revenge Casting Scoop: NYPD Blue Star to Play Conrad's First Wife With "Secrets That Will Blow You Away"

(12/11/13) Something wicked this way comes!

As if the return of Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta), her husband's mistress, wasn't enough for Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) to deal, we've exclusively learned that Conrad's (Henry Czerny) first wife is set to come to the Hamptons to stir up some trouble for the Grayson family.

And the lady cast to play the woman scorned by Conrad and Victoria? Gail O'Grady! E! News has exclusively confirmed that the NYPD Blue and American Dreams star will take on the role of the former Mrs. Grayson, who will arrive in town in episode 13.

Divorced from Conrad, who left her for Victoria, for over 25 years, O'Grady's "West Coast posh" chararacter will surprise her former hubby and Victoria when she arrives in town unexpectedly.

"That's someone who has always been out there and now we're pretty much planning on having her introduced at some point in time," Revenge showrunner Sunil Nayar recently spilled of Conrad's first wife. "We're pretty excited about the part and she brings with her secrets that will also blow you guys away that are going to be great."

Aside from NYPD Blue, which she starred on for six years, O'Grady has also appeared on hit shows such as Boston Legal, Desperate Housewives and Hawaii Five-0. Her last series regular role was on the CW's shortlived cheerleading drama Hellcats.

Revenge airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Milo Ventimiglia, Katee Sackoff Star In Indie 'Tell'

(11/23/13) Milo Ventimiglia and Katee Sackoff lead the ensemble cast of Tell. The indie centers on Ethan Tell (Ventimiglia), a small-time crook who makes a big score then gets busted. But the money is never recovered, and upon his release from prison, Tell is confronted by a greedy ex-wife, the partner he betrayed, his parole officer and two corrupt cops — all looking for their piece of the loot. Director Juan M.R. Luna’s film also stars Robert Patrick, Jason Lee, Alan Tudyk, Faizon Love and John Michael Higgins. It’s produced by Kevin Mann, Matt Perniciaro and Christopher Boyd of Haven Entertainment and Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff of DiVide Pictures. Mauricio Betancur, Rick Matros and George Voskericyan exec produce.

Zac Efron, Brittany Snow, Julianne and Derek Hough Hit Haunted Hayride-See the Pic!

(10/11/13) (Photo) Hollywood loves Halloween!

Zac Efron, Brittany Snow, Julianne Hough, Derek Hough and a handful of friends headed to L.A.'s Griffith Park on Thursday, Oct. 10, for the opening of the Hollywood's Haunted Hayride.

In one shot, Zac—who completed a rehab stint this past April—hangs onto a candy apple and his pal Brittany. (Don't start playing the couples game here! Britt is dating Teen Wolf's Tyler Hoechlin.)

Derek, whose girlfriend Nina Dobrev did not appear to be part of the festivities, Instagrammed a smiling, happy shot of himself and his famous friends. "Great time last night with great friends," he wrote Friday. "Love this time of year."

Nina's not missing out on all the fall fun, though! Earlier this month, she and her Dancing With the Stars beau stepped out for the first time as a couple at Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights at the Roosevelt Hotel. Julianne also joined the pair, along with Lily Collins, Selena Gomez, Emile Hirsch, Francesca Eastwood and Beacher's Madhouse founder Jeff Beacher.

Paul Wesley Dating Former Vampire Diaries Costar Phoebe Tonkin

(9/26/13) (Photo) Love bites—unless you're Vampire Diaries stars Paul Wesley and Phoebe Tonkin, that is. The actors "have been dating since July," a source tells E! News. The lovebirds haven't exactly been keeping a low profile, as they were seen "cozying up to each other" and "kissing" during a Comic-Con party.

Wesley, 31, had already called it quits with wife Torrey DeVitto before he began dating Tonkin. "Their split was not yet public," the source says of the former spouses, who tied the knot in April 2011 and announced their breakup in July 2013.

Us Weekly, which broke the news about Wesley and Tonkin's relationship, reported that the new couple went on a double date with Ben McKenzie and Shelley Hennig at Soho House on Saturday, Sept. 21.

"Paul and Phoebe were 100 percent romantic—they were across the table from Ben all cozied up on the couch kissing each other," an insider told the magazine. "She had her head on his chest."

The PDA parade won't be a problem on The Vampire Diaries set, given that 24-year-old Tonkin has been cast in The Originals, a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries. Both shows premiere Thursday, Oct. 3, on The CW.

DeVitto—a former Vampire Diaries guest star best-known for her TV roles on Army Wives, Pretty Little Liars and One Tree Hill—has been busy working on a documentary , The Road to Hope, which focuses on child caregivers who have been orphaned by an AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Oops! Brittany Snow Mistaken for Britney Spears While Accepting an Award

(9/11/13) Oops—let's hope this doesn't happen again.

Brittany Snow was accidentally mistaken for Britney Spears at the Glamour and Investigation Discovery's Inspire a Difference Awards Monday night at the Edison Ballroom in New York City, according to Just Jared.

The blond beauty was being honored for her charity work with Love Is Louder at the ceremony, which also saw Emily Deschanel and Kristin Chenoweth accept accolades for their respective charity work.

But before Snow stepped up to the podium, the president of Investigation Discovery apparently told the crowd he was presenting an award to Britney Spears before continuing to list Snow's credits and work (perhaps he had Brit Brit's bangin' bikini bod on his brain?).

The 27-year-old actress reportedly took the moniker mix-up in stride, jokingly introducing herself as the pop icon before talking about her charity organization.

Of course, Chenoweth also couldn't help but poke some fun at the mishap when she accepted her award for her work with Maddie's Corner, belting out a line from Spears' hit "Oops!...I Did It Again" as she took the stage.

After the ceremony, Kristin took to Twitter to show her appreciation for the event in addition to praising both Emily and Brittany for their do-gooding efforts.

"Incredible event. Incredible cause. INCREDIBLE WOMEN @Brittanysnow @emilydeschanel," she wrote.

To which Snow replied: "@KChenoweth @emilydeschanel so great meeting you. Honored to be among you last night. Congrats!"

'Pitch Perfect' cast to reunite for holiday a capella album

(8/14/13) Fans won't need to wait until 2015 for the Barden Bellas to reunite. According to Universal, a "Pitch Perfect" a capella album is on the way this holiday season.

The news was first revealed in an MTV interview with Hana Mae Lee. She teased during the chat that she'll be singing a "very special song" on the upcoming record.

"There are Christmas classics," Lee says. "I'll be singing 'Silent Night.' I'm pretty sure it's going to be all a cappella. You know, for our 'Pitch Perfect' soundtrack, it's all a cappella -- even the percussion. It's all us, so it's going to be sweet though because it's going to sound like there's other things, but it's all us."

In other aca-mazing news, "Pitch Perfect 2" is definitely coming out in 2015. Meanwhile, the Anna Kendrick track "Cups (Pitch Perfect's When I'm Gone" is No. 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Oh, and stars Anna Camp and Skylar Astin are dating in real life.

Vampire Diaries' Paul Wesley and Torrey DeVitto Divorcing

(7/30/13) Paul Wesley and Torrey DeVitto are divorcing after two years of marriage, People reports.

According to Wesley's rep, the couple "have decided to amicably split. They will continue to remain good friends."

After meeting in 2007 on the set of Killer Movie, Wesley and DeVitto married in April 2011 and found ways to continue working together. The Pretty Little Liars actress joined The Vampire Diaries in a recurring role as Meredith Fell in Season 3 and continued to make appearances throughout last season.

Wesley won't be the only one with an ex on set this year. Co-stars Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder ended their three-year romance in the spring.

Brittany Snow Signs With Magnolia Entertainment

(7/29/13) Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect, Hairspray) is expanding her management team. She’s signed with Magnolia Entertainment where she’ll be repped by Kimberlin Belloni and Shelley Browning. Snow, who’s also got features The Potters and There’s Always Woodstock on her docket, was also cast in the lead on Fox and WB TV’s redeveloped legal comedy The Assistants opposite Stephen Root and Catherine O’Hara. She will continue to be repped by ICM and PJ Shapiro.

Comedy 'The Assistants' Extends Cast Member Options As Fox Eyes New Pilot

(6/26/13) Warner Bros has extended the options of three series regulars from its Fox comedy pilot The Assistants: Brittany Snow, Stephen Root and Catherine O’Hara. Also picked up is recurring guest star Jillian Bell, who is a regular on another show, Comedy Central’s Workaholics. The decision to extend options, which expire at the end of the week, was made with an eye toward re-piloting the project, though there has been no formal new pilot order from Fox yet. Written by Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer based on the blog and book To My Assistant by Lydia Whitlock, The Assistants is set in a busy Manhattan law firm where the assistants have vowed that if they ever get to the top, they will never treat their assistants the way they’ve been treated by their bosses. The single-camera project was an early favorite of Fox brass, who were very high on the cast, mainly the actors who have now been extended. The Assistants factored into the network’s series pickup conversation, and though it didn’t get the nod last month, Fox left it in consideration. The Assistants is produced by Lin Pictures and WBTV, with Bilsing-Graham, Kreamer, Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz executive producing.

ABC Family's 'Melissa & Joey' Gets Season 3 Back Order, Renewed For Fourth Season

(5/28/13) ABC Family is banking on Melissa & Joey. Ahead of the series’ Season 3 premiere tomorrow, I’ve learned that the network has given the comedy starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence a back order, bringing the third season to 20 episodes. Additionally, ABC Family has ordered a 20-episode fourth season, making Melissa & Joey the network’s first comedy to reach 100 episodes. The additional Season 3 episodes will air in 2014. “One hundred episodes is a great accomplishment for any series and we are thrilled to give Melissa And Joey the opportunity to achieve this milestone, as they’ve delivered hundreds and hundreds of laughs over the seasons,” said Kate Juergens, EVP Programming and Development and Chief Creative Officer, ABC Family.

Melissa & Joey follows local politician and former wild child Mel Burke (Hart) who employs down on his luck “manny” Joe Longo (Lawrence), as she raises her teenaged niece (Taylor Spreitler) and nephew (Nick Robinson). Guest stars for the upcoming third season include Sterling Knight, Shannon Elizabeth, Trevor Donovan, Marla Sokoloff, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Jaime Pressley, and Doris Roberts, who will be appearing in two episodes as Joe’s grandmother. Executive producing the series are Bob Young & David Kendall, Paula Hart, Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence. Melissa & Joey posted ABC Family’s highest comedy debut ever in total viewers. Boosted by new companion Baby Daddy, the comedy’s second season eclipsed Season 1 in several key demos, such as Adults 18-49, Women 18-34, and Viewers 12-34.

Vanessa Lengies on Leaving Glee and Landing a New Sitcom

(5/20/13) Fox's Glee will be a little less sweet next season now that Vanessa Lengies, who plays Sugar, has landed a regular role on the midseason ABC sitcom Mixology. "Getting to play Sugar Motta was one of the biggest opportunities of my life, and I met some of the most fantastic people, but I was being hired per episode," Lengies says about why she made the switch. "I loved getting to be there and dancing around, but I didn't really have much of an opportunity to act."

On Mixology, Lengies will play a bubbly waitress named Kacey. "For an actress who really hasn't gotten to act for two years, it was like letting a wild dog out of its cage," says the elated star, who received congratulations from Glee pals Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale and Heather Morris.

And since Mixology doesn't debut until 2014, Lengies hopes she'll be able to give Sugar a proper send-off next fall. Her exit pitch: "I would love to have them introduce a time machine and ­reveal that Sugar was a visitor from the future."

Pitch Perfect Star Brittany Snow: I Found Out About Sequel on Twitter!

(4/20/13) Brittany Snow (ex-Susan, Guiding Light) says she had heard some talk about a Pitch Perfect sequel being developed, but there was never anything nothing official—until she checked Twitter the other day!

Universal announced earlier this week that a follow-up to the college musical was a go and set for a release in 2015.

"I literally found out through Twitter," Snow, who played Chloe in Pitch Perfect, said at the premiere of Call Me Crazy, her new Lifetime movie (airing April 20) about mental illness. "I had my little secrets that people were telling me, but I didn't really know until...somebody tweeted me that it was happening."

If she is in talks to reprise her role, Snow isn't saying. "I hope I'm in it," she said. "Maybe people should rally together to get me in it!"

MTV Movie Awards 2013: Winners

(4/15/13) Best Musical Moment: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean and Hana Mae Lee -- "Pitch Perfect"

Milo Ventimiglia Joins Jason Statham in ''Heat'' Remake

(4/12/13) Milo Ventimiglia has been cast in a lead role opposite Jason Statham in "Heat," a remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds movie of the same name.

Ventimiglia ("Heroes") will play Danny DeMarco, a role portrayed by Neil Barry in the original. Danny is the son of a prominent businessman with ties to a mobster and casino owner named Baby. Given his father's connections, arrogant Danny believes himself to untouchable and travels with two bodyguards to make sure he remains untouchable.

Statham is taking over for Reynolds as a recovering gambling addict who finds work providing protection to his friends.

William Goldman, author of the novel the original film was based on, once again wrote the adapted screenplay for the flick being directed by Simon West ("The Expendables 2"). SJ Pictures, Quad Productions and Current Entertainment are producing.

Ventimiglia will next be seen on the big screen as a frat boy tormenting Adam Sandler in "Grown Ups 2," and co-starring with Nicole Kidman in the winter release of "Grace of Monaco."

Ventimiglia is repped by CAA and Management 360.

CBS Renews 'Elementary', 'Blue Bloods'

(3/27/13) CBS kept the tradition of renewing most of its slate in one fell swoop. Demonstrating its signature stability, the network has picked up most of its current series for next season, with two major exceptions: veteran Criminal Minds, which is in the midst of renegotiations with the cast, and freshman Vegas, which will get a tryout on Friday later this spring. Renewed for next season are freshman drama Elementary; critical darling The Good Wife; comedies 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly; and drama procedurals NCIS: LA, Person Of Interest, The Mentalist, Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods. The nine join previously renewed The Big Bang Theory (part of a three-year pickup), How I Met Your Mother for a final season, and veterans NCIS and CSI, picked up when their stars Mark Harmon and Ted Danson, respectively, re-upped their contracts. Additionally, CBS said it continues negotiations with Warner Bros TV for another season of Two And A Half Men. Also picked up for next season are unscripted series The Amazing Race, Survivor and Undercover Boss and newsmagazines 60 Minutes and 48 Hours.

Not surprisingly, MIA from CBS’ early renewal list again is perennial bubble comedy Rules Of Engagement. With the series recently hitting the 100-episode mark, the deals for the main cast up and most of them off to do pilots, it seems highly unlikely that Rules would continue, though I hear a short final installment is a possibility. With the key players on Criminal Minds, including stars Thomas Gibson and Joe Mantegna, all embroiled in difficult negotiations as their contracts come up this season, CBS is playing it conservatively with no early renewal, though the crime drama is fully expected to return. As for Vegas, a lot will depend on how the series does in the Friday 9 PM slot this spring.

Dick Clark Estate -- Donating $1 Million to College Frat

(3/14/13) The ghost of Dick Clark is on double secret probation ... because TMZ has learned the legend earmarked $1 MILLION of his fortune for his college frat ... and that's a lot of beer.

According to legal docs filed by the Clark Estate trustees, Dick gave the loot to the Delta Kappa Epsilon Foundation in New York, which handles finances for the frat's chapters around the country.

Dick passed away last April ... and various money issues are still being hashed out.

FYI, Clark was a DKE bro while he attended Syracuse University from 1947-1951.

Other famous Dekes include George W. Bush, Teddy Roosevelt, Joe Paterno, and George Steinbrenner.

Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!

Brittany Snow's Glow-in-the-Dark, Rave-Themed Birthday Bash

(3/13/13) (Photo) Brittany Snow's 27th birthday was Pitcher Perfect!

The actress, joined by beau Tyler Hoechlin, rounded up a slew of her former big-screen costars on Saturday to help her celebrate another year.

Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Kelley Jakle, Alexis Knapp and Adam DeVine were among the musical comedy's actors to attend Snow's glow-in-the-dark, rave-themed bash at the Mack Sennett Studios in Hollywood.

Other celebrities who showed up for the festivities included Nikki Reed and hubby Paul McDonald, Julianne Hough, Nina Dobrev and Rumer Willis.

"There was a deejay, soundstage, fog blowers and all," a partygoer tells PEOPLE. "Guests danced the night away while tossing their glow sticks in the air. Brittany was in great spirits and mentioned that she wished Anna Kendrick could have been there, but she was at SXSW."

During the party, which went from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., guests sipped on drinks by Voli light vodka and watched a reel on the birthday girl's Love Is Louder charity. And the night didn't end without a special mini chocolate cake.

@Brittanysnow Thank you all for the sweet birthday messages. So honored & grateful. So funny #HappyBirthdayDJSnow is a thing. Haha.

Brittany Snow To Star In Fox Pilot 'To My Assistant'

(2/26/13) Brittany Snow (ex-Susan, Guiding Light/ex-Meg, American Dreams) has been cast as a lead in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot To My Future Assistant. Written by Sherry Bilsing-Graham & Ellen Kreamer and directed by Peyton Reed, Assistant revolves around the assistants at a big New York law firm who band together as a family to help each other cope with the obnoxious overbearing bosses who test their sanity on a daily basis. Snow, repped by ICM Partners and attorney PJ Shapiro, will play Jen, a super-ambitious young woman who can’t stand being a legal assistant for another day and hopes to snag an associate lawyer position at her firm now that she’s passed the bar. The actress, who recently recurred on Fox’s Ben & Kate, joins Catherine O’Hara, Joe Egender and Melissa Tang.

Vanessa Lengies In ABC's 'Mixology'

(2/20/13) Adam Campbell, Craig Frank and Vanessa Lengies have been cast as three of the leads in ABC’s high-concept single-camera comedy Mixology, directed by Larry Charles from a script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Set in the world of a sexy Manhattan bar, Mixology, from ABC Studios, chronicles the exploits of singles, five guys and five girls, in search of love — all over the course of one night. Campbell, Frank and Lengies will play three of them. Campbell, repped by ICM Partners, Mary Putnam and Jeff Bernstein, plays Ron, a former Internet hotshot who is now deeply in debt after his startup went bust. Frank plays Cal, always the hottest and the dumbest guy in the room. Lengies plays Kacey, a hyper-positive personal trainer by day and a waitress by night.

Pilot Season: Virginia Madsen Joins the Cast of NBC's Hatfields & McCoys

(2/12/13) The McCoy family of NBC's modern-day Hatfields & McCoys is starting to take shape: Virginia Madsen has joined the McCoy clan, TVGuide.com has learned.

Set in present-day Pittsburgh, a startling death reignites the feud between these two American legendary families, which was also recently dramatized in the Emmy-winning History Channel miniseries of the same name. Unleashing decades of resentment, the blue collar McCoys will put the Hatfields' wealth and power at risk as they go to war for control of the city.

Madsen, whose credits include Sideways, Hell on Wheels and A Prairie Home Companion, will play Eloise McCoy, the matriarch of the family who is a self-educated woman with a tough background.

Eagle Eye scribe John Glenn will write and executive-produce with Charlize Theron.

Dick Clark's Flintstones House -- Price Slashed Because No One Wants It

(2/12/13) Dick Clark's Flintstones-themed house in Malibu is apparently an unsellable freak of architecture -- because after nearly a year on the market ... no one's bought it ... and now, the asking price has been heavily discounted.

The house was originally listed last March -- a month before Dick passed away -- for $3.5 million. It's remained unsold ever since, and now the price has been dropped by $250,000 ... to $3.25 million, this according to our friends at Curbed LA.

The home -- currently owned by Dick Clark's estate -- isn't a bad deal ... even if you hate the house itself ... because it sits on 23 acres of prime Malibu real estate with a 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands, Boney Mountains, and Serrano Valley.

Maybe he shoulda built a Jetsons house.

'Castle' interview: Gail O'Grady talks about going full-'Housewives' in 'Reality Star Struck'

(2/11/13) We have all known for a long time that there isn't too much "reality" in reality television. Thus, it makes sense that a fictional, scripted show like "Castle" could easily incorporate a fake reality program into its stories. When one of the stars of "The Wives of Wall Street" is murdered in the "Reality Star Struck" episode, every wife is a suspect.

Gail O'Grady ("NYPD Blue," "American Dreams," "Desperate Housewives") is guest-starring on the show as one of the catty and possibly murderous women of the show. We spoke to her recently about the role.

Who will you be playing?

Gail O'Grady: First of all, it was a blast playing it.

I play Margot, who is a makeup mogul. She started a makeup company after the Wall Street crash, after the husband lost everything. So the wife stepped forward. She's smart and conniving and kind of gets the deal of how she's supposed to be on this show.

Did Margot kill her co-star?

Gail O'Grady: They're all suspects after the murder.

Why did you decide to take the role?

Gail O'Grady: I actually took the role sight-unseen without seeing a script. I spoke to the producer, and he described the role to me and also I had worked with the director a couple times before... I was in. I'm also a fan of the show -- I love Stana and Nathan.

Do you watch any of the "Real Housewives" kinds of shows yourself?

Gail O'Grady: I know they're very popular but I don't. I've never been pulled in by them. I have friends that love the shows, but I'm more of a "Downton Abbey," "Dexter," "[Desperate] Housewives" fan. The only reality show that I do tune in for is "Shark Tank."

Would you consider trying to be a reality star someday?

Gail O'Grady: No, because I think my life would probably bore them to tears. Nobody wants to see somebody going to bed at 8:30, 9 o'clock.

"Reality Star Struck" airs on Monday, Feb. 11 at 10pm on ABC.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013 on ABC

(11/28/12) Ryan Seacrest hosts the year's biggest celebration at the crossroads of the world when Carly Rae Jepsen and Neon Trees join headliner Taylor Swift performing live in Times Square, on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013," MONDAY, DECEMBER 31 on ABC.

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas returns to host the west coast party, featuring performances by Brandy, Flo Rida, Karmin, OneRepublic, Pitbull and even more artists to be announced at a later date for both east and west coast parties.

The New Year's festivities kick off at 8:00 p.m., ET with a two-hour celebration of Dick Clark, hosted by Fergie and Jenny McCarthy, "New Year's Rockin' Eve Celebrates Dick Clark." The special celebrates, through clips and reminiscences, the legendary television personality and producer who rang in the New Year for four decades and launched and nurtured the careers of countless artists. Ryan Seacrest makes a special appearance.

Beginning at 10:00 p.m., ET, Ryan Seacrest will host "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013" from New York, with Jenny McCarthy returning to interview the revelers in Times Square. Some of America's hottest artists and groups will perform throughout the night. The bi-coastal events will include over 5 1/2 hours of special performances and reports on New Year's celebrations from around the globe, and Ryan Seacrest will lead the traditional countdown to midnight from Times Square in New York City.

The complete lineup on Monday night, December 31 is:

8:00-10:00 p.m., ET -- "New Year's Rockin' Eve Celebrates Dick Clark"
10:00-11:00 p.m., ET -- "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013"
11:30 p.m.-1:08 a.m., ET -- "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013, Part 1"
1:08-2:12 a.m., ET -- "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013, Part 2"

Ben and Kate Casting Scoop: Brittany Snow to Guest Star as a Love Interest for...

(11/9/12) Talk about pitch-perfect casting!

Pitch Perfect star Brittany Snow has landed a multi-episode arc on Fox's new hit comedy Ben and Kate, E! News can exclusively reveal.

So which lucky Ben and Kate guy will get to romance Snow's character?

A Fox rep confirms that Snow will guest star in a minimum of two episodes as the cute Lila, a love interest for Tommy (Echo Kellum) who has a good sense of humor. The two will have a meet-cute: They meet while she's walking her terrier!

While Snow has been heating up the big screen, including memorable turns in the recent hit Pitch Perfect as well as Hairspray, she's no stranger to TV. The actress starred on NBC's beloved American Dreams and Harry's Law, and played a young Lily (Kelly Rutherford) in Gossip Girl's '80s-set episode.

Ben and Kate has performed well and recently earned a full-season order from Fox, along with The Mindy Project. The comedy's most recent ep garnered 3.1 million viewers and a 1.4 in the demo.

Ben and Kate airs Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on Fox.

Taylor Swift will headline "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve

(11/9/12) Ten-time American Music Award winner Taylor Swift will headline "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013," performing live in front of a crowd of an estimated 1 million people in Times Square just before the ball drops on MONDAY, DECEMBER 31 on the ABC Television Network. She headlines the biggest party of the year, fresh from the record-breaking success of her blockbuster new album, "RED."

Lauded by The New York Times as "one of the most important pop artists of the last decade" and by Rolling Stone as "one of the few genuine rock stars we've got these days," Taylor Swift is a six-time Grammy winner and is the youngest winner in history of the music industry's highest honor, the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. With the 2012 release of her album "RED," she is the only female artist in music history (and just the fourth artist ever) to twice have an album hit the 1 million first-week sales figure. She holds the record for the biggest digital sales week ever for a song by a woman, and for the second-largest song sales week overall, as well as the worldwide iTunes record for highest ever first-week album sales.

"I remember meeting and listening to Taylor Swift perform before she even had her first single. I was blown away by her talent and just knew that she would be a huge success," said Ryan Seacrest. "Taylor is truly this year's global star and is the perfect artist to ring in the New Year for us at the crossroads of the world."

The New Year's festivities kick off at 8:00 p.m., ET with a two-hour live special featuring a tribute to Dick Clark, hosted by Fergie and Jenny McCarthy, "New Year's Rockin' Eve Celebrates Dick Clark." The special celebrates, through clips and reminiscences, the legendary television personality and producer who rang in the New Year for four decades and launched and nurtured the careers of countless artists. Ryan Seacrest makes a special appearance.

Beginning at 10:00 p.m., ET, Ryan Seacrest will host "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013" from New York, with Jenny McCarthy returning to interview the revelers in Times Square. Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas will return to host the Los Angeles-based portions of the specials. In addition to Taylor Swift, some of America's hottest artists and groups will perform throughout the night. The bi-coastal celebration will include over 5 1/2 hours of special performances and reports on New Year's celebrations from around the globe, and Ryan Seacrest will lead the traditional countdown to midnight from Times Square in New York City.

The complete lineup Monday night, December 31 on ABC is:

8:00-10:00 p.m., ET -- "New Year's Rockin' Eve Celebrates Dick Clark"

10:00-11:00 p.m., ET -- "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013"

11:30 p.m.-1:08 a.m., ET -- "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013, Part 1"

1:08-2:12 a.m., ET -- "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2013, Part 2"

TNT Orders Six Episodes of Frank Darabont's Period L.A. Noir Drama

(10/17/12) The ambitious L.A. noir drama developed by The Walking Dead's Frank Darabont has landed a series order at TNT. The cable network has ordered six episodes of the untitled show, which stars Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal as Joe Teague, an ex-Marine turned LAPD cop during the city's rough-and-tumble 1940s.

The show is based on the John Buntin book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City, which focuses on the battle between gangster Mickey Cohen and legendary L.A. police chief William Parker. Darabont (who mixes fictional and real-life figures from the era) takes a look inside the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles cops and villains in the 1947, the heyday of L.A. noir and scandals (such as the Black Dahlia). Darabont wrote and directed the pilot, which was shot earlier this year.

"I've loved noir my whole life, and I've always wanted to go into that area of storytelling. I'm a huge Raymond Chandler buff, which is actually why I grabbed this book off the shelf at LAX in the bookstore as I was about to get on a flight," Darabont told TV Guide Magazine earlier this year. "It seemed right up my alley. I read it on the flight, and then the following day after I couldn't put the darn thing down."

Darabont first came up with the character of Joe Teague — and as soon as Bernthal could sign on, he did. "He's caught in that moral gray zone between the William Parkers of the world and the Mickey Cohens of this world," Darabont said of the character earlier this year. "And what a great, fun gray zone to be in. Caught, as he puts it, between the white hats and the black hats."

Another former Walking Dead castmember, Jeffrey DeMunn, plays Det. Hal Morrison, who heads up the LAPD's new mob squad; Jeremy Strong (Lincoln) is Det. Mike Hendry, Morrison's second in command; Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives) stars as Capt. William Parker, Teague's boss; and Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) plays Ned Stax, who fought alongside Teague during World War II but who now works as a lawyer with connections to the mob.

Ron Rifkin (L.A. Confidential) is also on board as Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron; Pihla Viitala (Tears of April) is Anya, the head bartender at Bunny's on Central Avenue; and Alexa Davalos (Clash of the Titans, The Mist) plays Jasmine, a woman with a mysterious past. Thomas Jane (Hung) guest stars as Bugsy Siegel in the pilot, while Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) guests as comedian Hecky Nash.

"This series is an intense, exciting drama that takes viewers back to a truly fascinating time in the history of Los Angeles," says Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "They have woven an engrossing tale of heroism in the face of greed and corruption."

Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Elliot Webb (Tall Time Tales) executive produce with Darabont. TNT Original Productions is producing the show.

Humor, music are in 'Pitch Perfect' harmony

(9/27/12) The spirited a cappella singing in Pitch Perfect makes a predictable, feather-light coming-of-age film irresistibly fun.

Inspired by the increasingly popular phenomenon of college a cappella groups and based on the 2009 non-fiction book Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin, Pitch Perfect (* * * out of four; rated PG-13; opens Friday in select cities) showcases this campus subculture in all its eccentricities while capturing the cutthroat rivalry among its singing members.

Pitch Perfect will fill the bill nicely for those who yearn for the glory days of Glee, enjoy fast-paced, nerdy snarkiness and have a soft spot for tales of rhythmic scholastic activities, as in Drumline or Stomp the Yard.

Beca (Anna Kendrick) goes to college against her will, prodded by her professor father. What she really wants to do is produce music. Her first move is to get a job at the campus radio station, where she meets fellow music aficionado and warbler Jesse (Skylar Astin). A flirty friendship is born.

Beca is roped into joining The Bellas, an all-girl a cappella group, by the gung-ho Chloe (Brittany Snow), who hears her singing in their dorm shower. Soon, Beca becomes a key member of this group of lovable, motley, musical misfits.

The best of the bunch is Amy (Rebel Wilson), who calls herself "Fat Amy," since she figures others will behind her back. Her dance moves are hilarious, and her singing is powerful. Then there's Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), an Asian girl so seemingly demure that she speaks in scarcely audible whispers. (But what she's actually saying is comically offbeat.)

Cast as an alt-girl, Beca attempts to take The Bellas in edgier directions, moving away from their traditional harmonies and staid arrangements to incorporate new mash-ups. She and Aubrey (Anna Camp), the uptight leader of the group, inevitably lock horns.

The Bellas take on the all-male Treblemakers (which Jesse joins) in the national competition, and in between the pop confections, we get the funny quips of commentators John (John Michael Higgins) and Gail (Elizabeth Banks).

"There's nothing that makes a woman feel more like a girl than a man dressed up as a boy," Banks babbles to Higgins.

Kendrick, who is also currently co-starring in End of Watch, proves her versatility and projects an upbeat affability. The filmmakers were wise to hinge the film on her likable, if mildly misunderstood, outsider character. The sisterly bonds of friendship forged between Beca and her singing mates are just as important as the results of their big Lincoln Center sing-off.

Pitch Perfect's engaging malange of pop songs and cheeky dialogue makes for good-natured fun.

Rachel Boston Joins Lifetime's Witches of East End

(9/19/12) Rachel Boston will star opposite Jenna Dewan on Lifetime's new pilot Witches of East End, TVLine.com reports.

Boston will play Ingrid Beauchamp, the quirky, yet smart sister of Dewan's Freya Beauchamp. The show is set in North Hampton and tells the story of Freya and her sister, who are unaware that they have magic powers until Freya becomes engaged to a rich philanthropist and their mother (Julia Ormond) is forced to tell them about their gifts.

Lifetime ordered the Witches of East End pilot earlier this summer for 2013. It's based on the best-selling novel by Melissa de la Cruz.

Boston's credits include American Dreams, In Plain Sight, Grey's Anatomy and the short-lived CBS comedy The Ex List.

CBS considers bid for Dick Clark Productions

(8/10/12) CBS Corp is considering a bid for Dick Clark Productions and would join other bidders including "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, who have until August 31 to make offers, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Entertainment company CBS is in a group of four to six bidders who have moved to a second round of discussions with Dick Clark Productions chief executive Mark Shapiro, said the sources, who are not authorized to speak publicly.

The company produces the "Golden Globe Awards" show and the New Year's Eve broadcast created by its late founder Dick Clark.

Other bidders include private equity firm Colony Capital, which owns film studio Miramax; private equity firm Guggenheim Partners; and Core Media Group, which holds the rights to the Elvis Presley brand and produces "American Idol," said one of the sources.

Shapiro and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, chairman of Dick Clark Productions, are asking $350 million for the company, which also produces the "American Music Awards", the "Miss Universe Pageant" and the Fox TV show "So You Think You can Dance."

Seventeen potential bidders received deal books with the company's financial information from The Raine Group, a boutique investment bank running the process, said one of the sources.

CBS considered bidding for the TV rights to the "Golden Globe Awards" in 2010, its Chief Executive Leslie Moonves has acknowledged. NBC broadcasts the show.

CBS also owns the rights to the "Grammy Awards" music show and the "People's Choice Awards."

A CBS spokesman said it was the company's policy to "not comment on rumor or speculation."

Representatives for Colony and Ryan Seacrest declined to comment, and officials at Dick Clark Productions and Core Media did not return emails and calls seeking comment.

Seacrest, 37, is building a media empire through his own production company. Aside from "Idol," he hosts a morning radio show; produces "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" for the E! cable TV network; and contributes to NBC's "Today" show and summer Olympics coverage.

In January, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, which control Clear Channel Communications, announced a $300 million commitment to acquire and develop properties with Seacrest's company. Clear Channel also took a minority stake in Seacrest's company.

Core Media Group is run by Marc Graboff, former chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.

Colony Capital is an investment firm.

Dick Clark Productions retained Raine after a judge ruled in April in favor of the company's deal to keep the "Golden Globe Awards" it produces on NBC through 2018. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn, which sponsors the TV and film awards, had argued that it should have been consulted before the deal was made.

Clark, who founded the company in 1957, sold his majority stake to Mosaic Media Group in 2002.

Joey Lawrence Gets His Daughters a Puppy

(8/3/12) He's not a contestant on this fall's all-star edition of Dancing With the Stars, and that's a good thing for Joey Lawrence. The DWTS alum and his family are in the midst of house training their new puppy Leo.

"He's [pooping] everywhere," Lawrence told PEOPLE at the Total Recall premiere Wednesday in Hollywood."But I did teach him to come, sit, and stay within the first week. It was unbelievable, and he's really smart."

The Melissa & Joey star says his daughters – Charli, 6, and Liberty, 2, – started asking for a pup after watching one too many flicks with dogs in them.

"It was those Bud Air pictures that did us in," he says with a laugh.

Choosing the breed of dog was easy, Lawrence says, "I grew up with goldens. We always had goldens or Labs."

Joey Lawrence: Why I Turned Down Dancing with the Stars

(8/2/12) Been there, done that.

That's how Joey Lawrence seems to feel about Dancing with the Stars – as the actor, 36, says he declined an invitation to return for this fall's all-star season.

"I did it. It was good for me," Lawrence told PEOPLE at Wednesday's Los Angeles premiere of Total Recall. "We got to the end there, and it was down to me, Emmitt [Smith] and Mario [Lopez], and it was good."

Smith, 43, won that third season of DWTS in 2006, and he is back for the all-stars show – which Lawrence says he doesn't really understand.

"Emmitt apparently feels the need to have another mirror-ball trophy," he says with a laugh. "It should be all runner-ups. I don't think any champions back in the mix makes any sense. If you don't win, then you've done worse than you did the last time ... I think to throw champions in the mix is weird, unless it's all champions."

Lawrence, who was paired with Edyta Sliwinska and finished third in his season, is rooting for someone in particular this time around – another Joey.

"Joey Fatone is a friend of mine, and he went out the same time that I did," Lawrence says. "He went out third [in season 4], so I would love to see him win this time around."

'Parenthood': Sarah Ramos reduced to guest-starring role as Haddie heads to college

(7/10/12) The "Parenthood" Season 3 finale left a lot up in the air when it came to Haddie's (Sarah Ramos) college aspirations, particularly because her dad, Adam (Peter Krause), passed up an opportunity that could have helped pay her tuition.

Don't worry, Haddie fans -- the good news is, she's going to college. The bad news is that means that Ramos won't be around Berkeley as much next season. Zap2it has confirmed that Ramos' role in Season 4 will be reduced to a guest-starring level as Haddie pursues her East Coast dreams.

Haddie will, however, be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we'll see how college (and a little space from the Braverman madness) changes her. We're also hearing that her mom, Kristina, may be getting some bad news from her doctor this season, which will certainly impact Haddie as well.

Before she leaves for school, Haddie will get face time with the whole clan when they decide to take a family portrait in the Season 4 premiere. To say that hijinks ensue would be an enormous understatement.

Ramos was nominated for an ALMA Award last week, for favorite TV actress in a supporting role.

Joey Lawrence: My Daughters Talk Loud, Like Me

(6/9/12) (Photo) It's enough to make Blossom blush!

Sitcom star Joey Lawrence donned the famous Chippendales bowtie and not much else on Friday for a performance with the legendary male review at the Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on Friday night.

Lawrence, 36, who starred alongside Mayim Bialik on the '90s hit Blossom and is now opposite Melissa Joan Hart on ABC Family's Melissa & Joey, will be showing off his ripped physique while performing with the Chippendales for a special limited engagement that goes until June 24.

Joey Lawrence: My Daughters Talk Loud, Like Me

(6/1/12) As his daughters grow older, Joey Lawrence can start to see which parent 6-year-old Charleston and 2-year-old Liberty are really taking after.

“They’re very passionate; they talk a lot. They talk real loud, which is sort of my M.O. I guess,” he tells PEOPLE with a laugh.

Despite growing up in a house full of boys, raising girls has come easily to the star, who’s found a niche with each of his little ones.

“Libby loves trains, so Santa Claus for Christmas brought her the [Chuggington Chugger] train table and all the Chugger train tracks,” he says. “That’s all she wants to do. We do that and I read to her — she loves these little Dr. Seuss books. She likes to ride with me in my car.”

Meanwhile, big sister “Charli and I go to the movies, and I help her with her homework; we play the piano together,” Lawrence says. “We play with Barbies and Color Me Mine and it’s fun.”

While his daughters are his first priority, the actor also makes time for his other baby, the ABC Family series Melissa & Joey, on which he stars and serves as producer. The show’s second season premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m., but filming of its third was pushed back when costar Melissa Joan Hart announced she’s expecting her third child.

“It’s not my baby,” Lawrence jokes, adding, “She just wants to take the time, have her little one and then come back to work.”

Joey Lawrence -- Whoa, I'm a Stripper!

(5/17/12) Joey Lawrence is taking it all off ... or most of it at least ... because the 90s heartthrob just inked a deal with the man-stripper crew at Chippendales in Vegas.

A rep for the beefcake brigade tells TMZ, the 36-year-old former "Blossom" star will don the legendary bow tie ... and not much else ... for a special engagement at the Rio from June 7th-24th.

We're told Joey will sing, dance ... the "whole nine yards."

Joey's celebrity MC predecessors at the famed strip show include 98 Degrees singer Jeff Timmons and former "Bachelor" star Jake Pavelka.

It's unclear how much Lawrence is getting paid for the gig -- but in those parts, there's only one currency ... singles.

CBS' Fall Schedule: Two and a Half Men Shifts to Thursdays; The Mentalist to Sundays

(5/17/12) Two and a Half Men is Thursday-bound.

CBS is moving the sitcom from its longtime Monday home to Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c, following Chuck Lorre's other hit comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Taking Men's place on Mondays at 9/8c is 2 Broke Girls, which will be preceded by new comedy Partners.

The Mentalist is also on the move, shifting into the Sundays-at-10 slot vacated by the canceled CSI: Miami. The Sherlock Homes update Elementary will get The Mentalist's old spot on Thursdays at 10/9c.

Fellow new dramas Vegas will air on Tuesdays at 10/9c, with Made in Jersey on Fridays at 9/8c, pushing CSI: NY up an hour.

Held for midseason: new shows Friend Me and Golden Boy, and new reality series The Job.

The network "hasn't made a decision" yet on Rules of Engagement, CBS said Monday.

Check out the full schedule:

MONDAY
8/7c: How I Met Your Mother
8:30/7:30c: Partners (New)
9/8c: 2 Broke Girls
9:30/8:30c: Mike & Molly
10/9c: Hawaii Five-0

TUESDAY
8/7c: NCIS
9/8c: NCIS: Los Angeles
10/9c: Vegas (New)

WEDNESDAY
8/7c: Survivor
9/8c: Criminal Minds
10/9c: CSI

THURSDAY
8/7c: The Big Bang Theory
8:30/7:30c: Two and a Half Men
9/8c: Person of Interest
10/9c: Elementary (New)

FRIDAY
8/7c: CSI: NY
9/8c: Made in Jersey (New)
10/9c: Blue Bloods

SATURDAY
8/7c: Crimetime Saturday
10/9c: 48 Hours Mystery

SUNDAY
7/6c: 60 Minutes
8/7c: The Amazing Race
9/8c: The Good Wife
10/9c: The Mentalist

Dick Clark Death Certificate Prostate Surgery Before Heart Attack

(4/23/12) Dick Clark underwent prostate surgery the day before he died from a heart attack ... this according to the death certificate obtained by TMZ.

According to the death certificate, doctors performed a transurethral resection of the prostate for benign prostatic hyperplasia on April 17. The procedure is usually performed when the prostate is so enlarged, it makes it extremely difficult to urinate.

The certificate shows ... Clark died from acute myocardial infarction -- the technical term for a heart attack. He also suffered from coronary artery disease.

The document also notes that Clark suffered from acute urinary retention -- a condition caused by a benign prostatic hyperplasia ... which is why he underwent surgery on the 17th.

TMZ broke the story ... Clark died from a massive heart attack at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica on April 18. He was 82.

TV Guide Network to Honor Dick Clark with New Special

(4/20/12) In the wake of Dick Clark's death, TV Guide Network will celebrate the life and career of the radio and television personality with a half-hour special Dick Clark: American Music Pioneer.

Airing Saturday, April 21 at 7/6c, the special will be hosted by Marc Istook, who will look back at the American Bandstand host's life, from his days on the long-running variety show to his career as a top producer for such events as the Golden Globes and the American Music Awards. The special will also include interviews with friends and former co-workers.

The man behind Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve died Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at 82 years old.

Dick Clark to be cremated

(4/20/12) The family of Dick Clark have chosen to cremate the beloved TV mogul's remains and scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean in lieu of a traditional funeral service.

The veteran broadcaster, 82, passed away on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack.

A slew of celebrities, including close friends Kenny Rogers and Betty White, have been paying tribute to the late star, but they will not get the opportunity to bid farewell to Clark at a memorial ceremony - his grieving relatives have chosen to pay their own respects to the late star in their own private, low-key way, according to ETonline.com.

Clark fortune estimated in 'hundreds of millions'

(4/19/12) Dick Clark married music and television long before "American Idol." But his legacy extends well beyond the persona of the laid-back host of "American Bandstand" whose influence can still be seen on TV today.

He was the workaholic head of a publicly traded company, a restaurateur, a concert promoter and real estate investor. Clark, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday at age 82, left behind a fortune and is the model of entertainment entrepreneurship embodied today by "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest.

"Work was his hobby," said Fran La Maina, the longtime president of Dick Clark Productions Inc.

La Maina started as the production company's financial controller in 1966. He estimates Clark amassed a fortune that reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

"He had this never-give-up attitude. He was a great salesperson and a task master," La Maina said.

Clark was one of the early pioneers of the idea that a public company can be formed around an entertainer's personal appeal. By the time La Maina went to work for him, Clark already had three shows on air: "Swingin' Country," ''Where the Action Is," and, of course, "American Bandstand."

He promoted more than 100 concerts a year back when promoters, not bands, called the shots. His roster included The Rolling Stones and Engelbert Humperdinck. In the 1970s, he launched shows like the "American Music Awards" and "New Year's Rockin' Eve" — shows that are highly valued by advertisers because fans still want to watch them live in an age of digital video recorders.

At one point, he hosted shows on all three major TV networks, including "The $20,000 Pyramid" on ABC, "Live Wednesday" on CBS and "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes" on NBC. All the while, he was hosting shows "Dick Clark's Countdown" and "Rock, Roll & Remember" on the radio and running a business.

"He had boundless energy and a remarkable ability to do innumerable things at any given time," La Maina said.

By the time it went public in 1987, Dick Clark Productions had several thousand employees, had launched a restaurant chain with Clark's name on it, and ran a communications-promotion business. Revenue exceeded $100 million a year and the company was profitable.

His daily schedule was daunting, even when Clark was in his late 50s and 60s, according to longtime board member Enrique Senior, a managing director at Allen & Co. who helped Dick Clark Productions go public.

Senior remembers taking a peek at Clark's schedule after meetings.

"It frankly was the schedule of a 20-year-old," Senior said. "This guy was a dynamo. I've never seen anybody who would be so personally involved in everything he did."

Despite its profitability, the business didn't always keep pace with Wall Street's quarter-by-quarter demands. Clark decided the company should be taken private by a third party, even though, according to Senior, "he could have taken the company over by himself."

"He said, 'I want a third party to do it so there's no question that I'm taking advantage of the shareholders.'"

In 2002, the company was taken private for $140 million by a consortium led by Mosaic Media Group Inc.

Instead of cashing out, Clark sold a portion of his 70 percent stake, while reinvesting the rest with the new ownership group and staying on as CEO. He voluntarily accepted $12.50 per share when other shareholders got $14.50. Usually, company founders seek the highest premium in a buy-out.

"He wanted to reward the people that were loyal to him and who entrusted him with the stewardship of their capital," said LeRoy Kim, another Allen & Co. managing director who guided the transaction. "He was a different type of entrepreneur. He was an incredible man."

Clark suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk and led to a reduced role at the company.

In 2007, the company was sold again, this time to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and his private equity firm RedZone Capital, for $175 million. Clark sold the remainder of his stake. He remained connected to the company only through his annual appearances on the New Year's Eve show.

Over the years, Clark invested in other assets outside the production company, including multiple properties in Malibu, according to Senior, Dick Clark Productions lawyer Marty Katz and others.

He paid nearly $15 million for a 12-acre oceanfront estate in Malibu known as Gull's Way in 2002, according to the Los Angeles Times. He had offices and his home in Malibu.

In his later years, Clark was trying to sell shows "just like any other independent producer," said his publicist, Paul Shefrin.

Senior said Clark would still be coming up with new show ideas today if he could.

"I never ever saw a side of him that would make me think he was a narcissist or egoist or that he needed to be in front of a camera in order to feel accomplished," Senior said. "It was all one thing for him. I don't think he really cared as long as he was involved."

Despite recent legal tussles involving Dick Clark Productions — including a running dispute over who has the rights to the Golden Globe Awards — Clark's personal integrity has been "untarnished" over the years, Katz said.

Seacrest said in a statement that Clark "has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life."

"I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel," Seacrest said. "When I joined his show in 2006, it was a dream come true to work with him every New Year's Eve for the last six years. He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I'll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me. He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him."

Dick Clark: 10 Ways He Changed Pop Culture Forever

(4/19/12) Will anyone be as influential over pop culture as Dick Clark was? Not likely.

Yes, musicians like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson revolutionized popular music, and TV owes its very bones to innovators such as Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin.

But it's tough to find one man who straddled all of that, launching so many touchstones of pop culture over so many decades:

1. Dancing to the Hits: In 1957, Clark's American Bandstand show debuted nationally. Every single weekday afternoon until 1963 (and then weekly until the early 80s) kids would tune in to watch their peers dancing to their favorite pop acts. The format inspired a string of descendants from Soul Train to Britain's Top of the Pops.

2. Discovering the Stars: Any pop star who broke big between 1960 and 1990 owes thanks, in part, to Clark. The alumni list includes Madonna, Elvis, John Mellencamp, Rod Stewart, Prince and Jon Bon Jovi, among many others.

3. Making New Year's Eve Cool: Before the 1970s, New Year's Eve was a more staid affair, at least for Americans, who were used to watching big band act Guy Lombardo every Dec. 31. Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve changed that, bringing in younger acts. In recent years, Christina Aguilera, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg and Janet Jackson, among many others, have joined him to watch the ball drop.

4. Building the Pyramid: One of the first quiz programs to offer a huge cash prize in under a minute, the seminal game show debuted with Clark at the helm in 1973. Other hosts eventually took over, and the show met its sunset in 2004. But thanks in part to Clark, Pyramid remains one the most decorated of its kind, with nine Daytime Emmys, second only to Jeopardy!

5. Pranking the Rich and Famous: Clark coproduced the show TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, which debuted in the 1980s. The series featured, among other gags, pranks on big stars. It wasn't the first of its kind—Candid Camera pulled jokes on TV, too, mostly on ordinary people—but Clark's show was certainly one of the most influential; call it a prototype for Punk'd. The idea is still wildly popular; Bloopers is set to return to television this fall.

6. Crowning DJs as Kings: Clark started off as a radio DJ on Philadelphia's WFIL station. During those years, WFIL decided to follow a rising trend: having their DJss, such as Clark, announce and talk over the records they were playing. The result: DJs as stars in their own right, a phenomenon we still see today.

7. Popularizing Top 10 Countdowns: Today we see countdowns as an essential part of pop culture. But that wasn't always the case. At the end of every edition of his Dick Clark Show, which aired in the late 1950s, Clark would count down the top 10 records for the coming week. The gimmick inspired countdowns aplenty, including David Letterman's iconic Top Ten lists.

8. Rolling Out The American Music Awards: The more populist version of the Grammys would not have come to be without Clark. Since 1973, fans have been able to directly reward their favorite musicians by voting for the AMA winners.

9. Exploring Radio Syndication: Clark was among the first to try it, launching a radio countdown show in 1963. The show lasted for less than a year, but would be credited as one of the earliest attempts at radio syndication, which is now common practice.

10. Redefining Agelessness: There's a reason why Clark was known as "the Oldest Living Teenager." For years, comedians anchored jokes on Clark's seeming eternal youth, and they weren't just talking about his tastes in Top 40 music. Even The Simpsons has made hay from Clark's inability to crack; its 10th Treehouse of Horror special reimagined Clark as an ageless robot disguised as a human.

Dick Clark's biggest impact was personal

(4/18/12) He showed us how to dance, what music to listen to, and gave us something to do on New Year's Eve.

For generations of Americans, Dick Clark was more than just a TV host; he was the person who helped shape key memories in our lives.

In judging Clark's accomplishments, some might use his giant television empire as the benchmark: He made millions of dollars as a television entrepreneur, showing far more business savvy than you'd expect from someone with a slightly derisive nickname, "America's oldest living teenager." Game shows, award shows, bloopers, the American Music Awards — hours of television were filled by Dick Clark Productions, and Ryan Seacrest's career follows Clark's blueprint.

But for most Americans, their memories of Clark are personal. He came to them in their living room with "American Bandstand," counting down the hits, introducing the latest dance moves and hair styles, and chatting up the pop act of the hour who would stop by lip-synch their new songs.

Or they would join him on New Year's Eve, a friendly face for the dateless, or those who just wanted to stay away from the crowd. His other television institution, "New Year's Rockin' Eve," is still going strong at age 40. Lady Gaga was the star of Clark's last New Year's show this winter.

"American Bandstand" was a simple idea blessed with perfect timing. Television was new in the early 1950s, and a Philadelphia station began showing a version of a teen dance party in the afternoon. Clark, a DJ in the city, took over as host in 1956.

It soon went national. One of the country's biggest generations, the post-World War II baby boom, was heading into their teen years, itching to dance to this new sound of rock 'n' roll.

Clark spun the hits, as the camera panned to kids trying out the freshest dance moves. It was a required stop for the day's hitmakers, and exposure on "American Bandstand" could send a song soaring up the charts. He'd ask an audience member to listen to a couple of brand-new songs each week and rate their hit potential, launching the immortal phrase: "It's got a good beat, and you can dance to it."

The show moved to Saturday afternoons in 1963, and continued to wield great influence. Chubby Checker's "Twist" dance craze owed much to the teens shown gyrating on "Bandstand."

The music changed, but "Bandstand" kept an open mind. Clark was a big fan of Michael Jackson and his family. Later video clips showed him awkwardly interviewing members of Talking Heads about their cerebral punk sound. In the early 1980s, former Sex Pistol John Lydon brought his new band P.I.L. to "Bandstand" and they wreaked havoc, bringing the audience onstage and not even pretending to play their instruments or sing along to their music.

Maybe they were trying to "punk" Dick Clark, as a later generation might say, but don't miss the bigger point: They showed up to be on his show.

MTV eventually killed "Bandstand"; people didn't need a once-a-week appointment to see people dance to songs on TV when they could watch music videos at any hour. The show's influence didn't disappear: MTV's "Total Request Live," big in the boy band era, was simply "Bandstand" for another generation (with a much shorter shelf life).

But Clark still remained a presence in most people's lives, albeit on a more occasional basis, with his "New Year's Rockin' Eve." When it arrived in the early 1970s, it represented a generational change. Television had stuck by bandleader Guy Lombardo for New Year's long after his shelf life was over, and viewers needed something new.

Clark's party brought all of the fun, but none of the cold winds or spilled champagne. He showed the ball drop in Times Square and let people watch excited celebrants from the warmth of their living rooms, but of course, with a musical soundtrack. Al Green, Helen Reddy and Three Dog Night performed at the first "New Year's Rockin' Eve."

It remains the most popular New Year's Eve program to this day.

Even after a severe stroke affected Clark's ability to speak clearly and Seacrest joined him as co-host, Clark still made it a point to show up every year at Times Square, tenderly kissing his wife to celebrate another year. The show never remained frozen in time, either. Clark always brought on the hottest stars; Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber were among his more recent revelers.

It's a holiday tradition that will live on without him, but forever defined by him.

Dick Clark Candlelight Vigil at American Bandstand Theater

(4/18/12) Dick Clark will be honored tonight with a candlelight vigil outside of the theater he founded in Branson, Missouri ... TMZ has learned.

A rep for the theater tells us ... the staff, along with several D.C. fans, are planning to gather outside of the theater before tonight's performance to honor the entertainment legend.

We're told the people at the theater are also dedicating tonight's show to Dick's life and legacy.

FYI -- Dick opened the theater in 2006 ... and it contains the largest collection of D.C. memorabilia in the world.

President Obama Dick Clark Changed Television ... FOREVER

(4/18/12) President Barack Obama has released a statement on the passing of Dick Clark ... praising the entertainment mogul as an innovator who "reshaped the television landscape forever."

"With `American Bandstand,' he introduced decades' worth of viewers to the music of our time," Obama said.

He added, "[Clark] reshaped the television landscape forever as a creative and innovative producer and, of course, for 40 years, we welcomed him into our homes to ring in the New Year."

"But more important than his groundbreaking achievements was the way he made us feel -- as young and vibrant and optimistic as he was."

"As we say a final `so long' to Dick Clark, America's oldest teenager, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends -- which number far more than he knew."

RIP Dick Clark: Madonna, Janet Jackson,Quincy Jones, Katie Couric & More Luminaries Pay Tribute

(4/18/12) (Video) When she appeared on American Bandstand in 1984, Madonna told Dick Clark that she wanted to "rule the world."

Well, she went on to do just that for the better part of the last 25 years, but the fact that people still remember that moment to this day is also a tribute to Clark and the pop-music-driven show he ruled for 40 years.

"Rest in peace Dick Clark," the Material Girl tweeted, along with a link to her famous interview, upon hearing that Clark had died suddenly this morning at 82.

Be they in music, movies, TV or politics, celebs and organizations of all stripes joined Madonna in paying their respects to the TV legend.

"This is a sad day," Barry Manilow said in a statement. "He was a dear friend, supporting me and my music for all of my years in the business. A great businessman and a true gentleman. An inspiration. My heart is so heavy now."

Wrote Smokey Robinson: "I loved Dick Clark. He was so instrumental in my career as well as all the other Motown acts and so many others in the recording business. Good bye my friend, rest in peace."

"I'm one of the lucky people who can say that I knew Dick Clark personally," Kenny Rogers said in a statement. "Dick produced almost every awards show I was on during the 80's, and he constantly encouraged me toward success. He will be missed by everyone—especially by those who knew him well."

"Dick Clark will be truly missed," tweeted Fergie, who has hosted the concert segments of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest since 2006. "We will carry on his legacy every New Year's Eve."

"I had the opportunity to work with & be awarded by Mr. Clark," wrote Bret Michaels. "Condolences to his family he'll be missed!"

"Dick Clark changed the face of musical television," noted Janet Jackson. "He was wonderful to many artists including our family. We will miss him. God bless."

"Another sad day. This world is losing too many fine people. Live for the moment. Treasure your memories. Blessings to you all," Jermaine Jackson wrote. "Dick Clark always came to our dressing pre-show to make sure we were okay and catered for. Big hearted. One-of-a-kind. Will be missed...#DickClark played a very special role in our lives, involved in our first concerts as J5,"He was like family. What a man. RIP my friend."

"Rest in Peace my good friend Dick Clark," Quincy Jones wrote. "A pioneer who's mark on American culture will be felt forever."

"Dick Clark was such an institution and inspiration," tweeted Katie Couric. "Not ashamed to say I loved American bandstand when I was a kid!"

Nor was Ice T: "I'm old enough to remember watching James Brown on American Bandstand.. Dick Clark was the man! RestInPeace."

Marie Osmond recalled thinking, during her first appearance on Bandstand in 1974, that "Dick Clark was the most handsome man in show business. In 1998, when he created and produced the Donny & Marie talk show, I realized that was truly the hardest working man in show biz. And, now in 2012, I will always remember him as one of the most honorable men in show business. Thank you, Dick, for every great way you encouraged me in my career. You are loved."

Added brother Donny Osmond, who also succeeded Clark as host of the game show Pyramid: "The industry lost a legend today, but I feel like I've lost a very close friend. Dick was a mentor to me, and not just through American Bandstand and The American Music Awards. Dick played an important role as producer in the creation of the Donny & Marie Talk Show. But, my most special memory of Dick was when he appeared as a contestant on his well-established television game show, Pyramid, which I was privileged to host for two years."

"Dick Clark was a great friend, true legend, & a master journalist," tweeted Larry King. "Nobody did what he did better. It was a pleasure to be in his company."

"What a career Dick Clark had! What a life!" added fellow multitasker Anderson Cooper. "My thoughts are with his family and friends."

Moving through the generations, a tweet from the Jonas Brothers read, "You'll continue to be an inspiration to us all Dick Clark. Thanks for the amazing rockin years you were with us. You'll truly be missed."

"So sorry to hear about the passing of the incomperable [sic] Dick Clark," added Nick Lachey. "Few people have left such an impression on our industry as he did!#rip."

"RIP Dick Clark many years of joy on TV and never forget nye 95' when I was still in HS," tweeted Joey Fatone.

Even when he wasn't on camera, Clark was a heavy hitter in the air space where good television met music.

"Dick Clark's dedication to the world of music—and the country format in particular—helped raise the profile of the Academy of Country Music, beginning with him hosting the Awards in 1969 and later, as our Executive Producer," read a statement from the ACM. "He was an energetic leader in establishing the Academy as a television presence and helped expand the reach of the genre overall, always bringing new talent to the viewers he loved so much. We are proud that his lasting legacy continues four decades later, with his son, R.A. Clark, producing our Awards. He will be greatly missed."

Grammys honcho Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement: "Recording Academy Trustees Award recipient Dick Clark was an entertainment icon, bringing music into the homes of millions of Americans over his nearly 60-year career. His shows American Bandstand and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve blazed new trails in pop music and became pivotal celebrations of music on television, spotlighting both established and emerging artists. Our deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, friends, fans, and all who have enjoyed his great contributions to music and entertainment. He will be terribly missed, and his legacy will live on forever."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose metropolis was taken over by Clark & Co. every Dec. 31, said: "Times Square is considered the crossroads of the world in no small part because Dick Clark's New Year's Eve celebrations there were beamed across the globe. I remember one New Year's Eve, he and I stood in Times Square marveling about how much the area—and the City—had improved over the years. But Dick Clark never had to change—he was a great entertainer who stood the test of time. Generations of Americans grew up with Dick, and yet he seemed forever young. His spirit will always live on in Times Square, and in hearts of millions of New Yorkers."

The New Years Rockin' Eve team vowed via Twitter: "Dick Clark was a pioneer, entrepreneur, showman, icon, legend. The first to truly integrate music and TV. We will march on with his vision."

Dick Clark: The World's Oldest Teenager? More Like, the World's Most Perfect Host

(4/18/12) You didn't have to be a teenager to watch American Bandstand. You don't have to be a stadium headliner to vote for the American Music Awards. And, going on for decades now, you haven't had to be at a swanky party to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Dick Clark, who died Wednesday at age 82, took the big, unruly world, and made it a part of your living room.

Even more uniquely, he made you part of the big, unruly world.

Teenagers were a scary species, and their love of Elvis Presley a troubling development when Clark, a former radio deejay, took American Bandstand from a local Philadelphia station to the TV nation in 1957.

The show helped make youth, their music and even Presley, who was seen on the first coast-to-coast broadcast, both desirable and influential—a 90-minute-long, weekday primer in hair styles, clothes styles and dance moves.

In true Clark style, though, Bandstand wasn't a clique; it was a community of everybody. According to Clark, only 25 percent of the audience was comprised of actual teens, while fully half was old enough, and then some, to vote.

New Year's Rockin' Eve was the flipside of Bandstand.

Launched in 1972, it made the champagne-soaked holiday safe for young viewers who previously had had to make do on Dec. 31 with beautiful music from big bands, and with little sense of the holiday's fireworks.

"People are interested in what is happening in Times Square," Clark said decades ago—and he was right. The scene has long since become the focal point of New Year's Eve coverage, and despite all the like-themed Rockin' Eve rivals, and even after Clark passed the mic to Ryan Seacrest in the early 2000s, it is Clark's innovation that stands above the rest in the Nielsen ratings.

In 1973, another twist from Clark: the American Music Awards.

Before the People's Choice Awards, and much longer before the MTV Movie Awards, and the rest, it was Clark's idea to open up the awards show to the young, to the old and, above all, to the fans, whose votes decided the winners.

Clark wasn't surprised when the AMAs overtook the Grammys for popularity in the 1970s. "After all, we're airing the American people's opinions," he said.

Along the way, during a career that spanned Presley to Justin Bieber, Clark also made TV that was just plain entertaining: the game show The $20,000 Pyramid, and its inflation-adjusted variations, which he hosted; TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, which he fronted alongside Ed McMahon, and which punked stars while Ashton Kutcher was in grade school; and the Golden Globes, which he began producing in the wake of the show's Pia Zadora scandal, and which he successfully rebranded as a party as much as an Oscar-season stop.

Clark was famously called the world's oldest teenager, but that wasn't quite right. While he looked younger than his years, he didn't act it.

He acted like the perfect ambassador, bridging genres and generations. He acted liked the perfect host.

And maybe it wasn't an act. Maybe he was.

Celebrities Tweet Reactions to the Passing of Dick Clark

(4/18/12) Dick Clark wasn't just the host of American Bandstand or the face of New Year's Eve. He was an icon in the field of broadcasting, a household name, an avuncular figure and even the punch line for jokes about longevity. With his passing from a heart attack Wednesday, celebrities have taken to Twitter to celebrate his life and mourn his loss:

Ryan Seacrest: I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Larry King: Dick Clark was a great friend, true legend, & a master journalist. Nobody did what he did better. It was a pleasure to be in his company.

Anderson Cooper: What a career Dick Clark had! What a life! My thoughts are with his family and friends.

Neil Patrick Harris: For ever, Dick Clark... So long.

David Boreanaz: My father did a lot of work with Dick Clark @Jim_Gardner. He remembers the moments at AM/Philadelphia and the days at WOLF-AM, SYR, NY.

Denise Richards: My heart goes out to Dick Clark's family and loved ones.... we lost a legend.. #RIPDickClark

Joan Rivers: Very sad to hear about Dick Clark. What a great life. What a great career. Relevant until the end. He will be missed!

Snoop Dogg: REST IN PEACE to the DICK CLARK!! U were pioneer n a good man!! Thank u sir

Al Roker: I got to meet him many times. I was meeting w/Dick in his office as the OJ verdict was announced. It was surreal

Mario Lopez: Just heard the news of Dick Clark... It was truly an honor to have worked with him, learn from him and to be able to call him a friend. He was a great man and an even better friend. The word legend is thrown around a lot, but it's never more appropriate than when used in describing Mr. Clark. He was a real inspiration & influence in my life. I will dearly miss my friend... Rest well DC

Marlee Matlin: So sorry about passing of Dick Clark. A man with the gift of discovering talented musicians he also was a consummate producer/lovely man RIP

Questlove: Dick Clark. A Great Philadelphian. Thank You Very Much! (later) Guys I'm aware Clark is [from] NY, but the show that brought him national attention "the Philadelphia way" American Bandstand makes him one of us.

Andy Cohen: RIP Dick Clark! The broadcasting legend will remain a teenager in our memory forever. #Bandstand

Donnie Wahlberg: Very saddened by the loss of a true legend... Mr Dick Clark. #ripDC

Seth Green: So saddened by Dick Clark's passing- an innovator, a legend, a man who believed in the greatness of humans. #ThankYou

Yvette Nicole Brown: Heartbroken :( #NothingElseToSay

"Weird" Al Yankovic: Such sad news. RIP Dick Clark. http://twitpic.com/9bd5uf

Chris Harrison: Just heard the sad news about the passing of Dick Clark. A legend in our game!

Holly Robinson Peete: #RIP Dick Clark. Always so nice Employed me many times. I will miss you Dick. Prayers to Kari and the family #Legend

Russell Simmons: Dick Clark was eternally young. No matter what culturally phenomenon was happening, he always embraced it. RIP... http://bit.ly/JI4pMr

Wayne Brady: RIP Dick Clark. Being able to do the New Year's special w him was an honor. A TV pioneer and extraordinary business man. God Bless.

Shawn Ryan (The Shield creator): Hope Dick Clark's somewhere spinning a hip new single for the kids and ringing in the New Year.

Dick Clark Dies at Age 82

(4/18/12) Dick Clark, the legendary radio and television personality who hosted American Bandstand and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, has died. He was 82.

Clark died after suffering a massive heart attack, his rep said in a statement to The New York Times.

Not only was Clark an enduring presence in front of TV cameras for six-plus decades, he was a power behind them as a producer and head of Dick Clark Productions.

Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., he began his career in radio in upstate New York before moving in 1952 to Philadelphia radio station WFIL-AM, which had a sister TV station that started a show called Bob Horn's Bandstand. He sometimes subbed as host, and when Horn left, Clark took over. He hosted the show, renamed American Bandstand, from 1956 to 1989. The program went national on ABC in 1957, moving to the West Coast in 1964, a year after going from daily to weekly. For a generation of teenagers, it was an after-school staple — something you rushed home for.

Over the years, he introduced numerous music stars' first TV appearances, including Buddy Holly, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5 and Madonna. His signature sign-off: a military salute, while saying: "For now, Dick Clark ... so long."

The creator of the American Music Awards in 1973, Clark also was instrumental in the rehabilitation of the Golden Globes. The awards had been discredited by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's questionable selection process, alleged taste for paid junkets and swag as well as reports that Pia Zadora's husband "bought" her a "Newcomer-of-the-Year" Globe in 1981.

In 1972, he started Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC, then an upstart challenger to that holiday's established TV star, Guy Lombardo, and now of course the longest-running show in a crowded field of programming. After suffering a stroke in December 2004, he was unable to host the festivities as he had the previous 32 years (except for 2000 when ABC News took over); he returned as a co-host in 2005, passing the mantle of primary host to Ryan Seacrest.

The reaction to his return was decidedly mixed, as some viewers expressed discomfort in watching as Clark — whose speech had been affected — struggled to count down the seconds to the New Year, and TV critics expressed the opinion he no longer was up to the job. Stroke survivors and their advocates, though, hailed him as a role model.

Before his stroke, Clark — a 1993 inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — was the subject of jokes for decades about he seemed to preternaturally stay young a la Dorian Gray.

One of the many ingenious Gary Larson cartoons in The Far Side carried the caption: "Suddenly, on a national talk show in front of millions of viewers, Dick Clark ages 200 years in 30 seconds." In Francis Ford Coppola's Peggy Sue Got Married, time traveler Kathleen Turner makes a crack about how "that man never ages." And in a 1999 episode of The Simpsons about Y2K fears, Clark melts and is shown to be a robot after a computer glitch at midnight.

While others, including standup comedians, long had a field day about his apparent agelessness, Clark could play along at his own expense, like in a Police Squad! episode in which he buys a secret youth cream.

For decades, it felt like Clark always was on TV. If not Bandstand, then he was hosting various versions of Pyramid, for which he earned three Daytime Emmys as Best Game-Show Host, and other game shows. He received four other Emmys, including one for lifetime achievement. A 1999 Peabody Award winner, he had programs on all three major networks at the same time in the 1980s. One was TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes (co-hosted with Ed McMahon).

Married three times, Clark is survived by wife Kari Wigton of 35 years, and three children from his first two marriages.

Dick Clark: 'American Bandstand' and more clips from his storied TV career

(4/18/12) Dick Clark's television career spanned most of the medium's history. And thankfully, a lot of it has been collected online, so we can look back at "American Bandstand," long-past "New Year's Rockin' Eves" and more.

Clark, who died Wednesday (April 18) at the age of 82, hosted "Bandstand," "New Year's Rockin' Eve," several incarnations of the game show "Pyramid" and "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes," among others, over an on-camera career that started in the mid-1950s. He also produced those shows (except for "Pyramid") and dozens of other series and specials, including the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards and "So You Think You Can Dance," through his Dick Clark Productions.

He'll probably be most associated with "Bandstand," which he hosted for more than 30 years and earned him the nickname "America's Oldest Teenager." Below are three clips from the show: Introducing Link Wray's "Rawhide" (probably from 1959), interviewing Stevie Wonder in 1969 and talking with a young John Travolta in 1976.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3Next up is the ball drop from the first "New Year's Rockin' Eve" special, which ushered in 1973. Note that Clark (who's only heard, not seen) doesn't do the countdown we now associate with the broadcast (and also the rather funky version of "Auld Lang Syne").

VideoFinally, for the man who co-created "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes," are two gaffes Clark himself made as host of "Pyramid" in the mid-1980s. Rest in peace, Mr. Clark.

Video.

Ryan Seacrest: Dick Clark 'is in a better place ... He will be missed greatly'

(4/18/12) Television legend Dick Clark passed away Wednesday (April 18) at the age of 82. "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest was a longtime friend of Clark's and really considered him to be a mentor in his rise to fame.

At the top of the "Idol" broadcast Wednesday night, Seacrest led with, "We can't begin tonight's show without acknowledging the passing of a television pioneer and my dear friend Dick Clark. Without Dick, a show like this would not exist. He will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family. I know that he is in a better place, saying, 'Hey, let's get on with the show, OK?' You got it boss."

Seacrest was visibly holding back tears as he wished his friend well. A sad day for fans everywhere. May he rest in peace.

RIP, Dick Clark.

KISS: REMEMBERING OUR FRIEND DICK CLARK

(4/18/12) "As a little boy I sat transfixed to our television every afternoon and Saturday night watching American Bandstand. Dick Clark was the face of rock and roll and it's best ambassador. His decades of successes both in and outside of the music industry are unparalleled. He championed KISS when others turned away and was instrumental in breaking us through his show "In Concert". Through the years Dick was always available when I had a question or wanted guidance. Dick Clark was the rare exception who was a bigger person in real life than the public image or legend that was also to be his legacy. I will remember him with great respect and gratitude." - Paul Stanley

Piers Morgan Tonight - CNN 4/18/12

(4/18/12) Tonight: Dick Clark, 1929 – 2012 - This evening, "Piers Morgan Tonight" remembers TV icon and music pioneer Dick Clark. Tune in for a live hour dedicated to "America's Oldest Teenager."

Dick Clark Dead at 82

(4/18/12) Time sadly caught up with Amercia's youngest teenager.

Dick Clark, the iconic TV host and producer who put younger folks to shame with his work ethic and energy until he was slowed by a stroke eight years ago, has died. He was 82.

He suffered what his agent, Paul Shefrin, described as a "massive heart attack" this morning while at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, where he was recovering from an outpatient procedure he has last night.

"Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful," Shefrin said in a statement. "He is survived by his wife Kari and his three children, RAC, Duane and Cindy."

And, needless to say, generations of fans who could have picked any decade and tuned into Clark on radio or TV.

From the pioneering song-and-dance series American Bandstand—the format of which is still being copied to this day—to his annual Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve, the New York native was a fixture of the entertainment scene.

Blue Bloods: Will Jamie's Big Save Blow His Cover?

(4/6/12) It's not often that a good deed will put you in jeopardy, but that's exactly the situation Jamie finds himself in on Blue Bloods.

On Friday's episode, the youngest crime-fighting Reagan (Will Estes), who's been working undercover all season as Jimmy Reardon tailing the Sanfino mob family, saves a baby from a burning building. His heroics immediately set off a media frenzy, which threaten his undercover identity should his name and photo be released.

"I don't think Jamie was thinking that far ahead in that moment of how it could affect his cover," Estes tells TVGuide.com. "He ended up in a situation where he made a split-second decision and he ran in and got the baby out. I think he felt like he was doing his job and doing what anyone in that situation with the ability to do would do. But then it becomes abundantly clear that this is gonna be a huge complication. He can't have his face all over the news and papers and TV while undercover."

The solution to the department's headache? Jamie's dad and police commissioner Frank (Tom Selleck) realizes that he could pin the rescue on Sgt. Renzulli (Nick Turturro) because Jamie had handed the baby to him before stepping out of the blazing building. That will satiate the public's appetite and protect Jamie — though denying him much-deserved recognition for the biggest save of his nascent career.

"I honestly don't think he misses the attention," Estes says. "Yeah, he deserves it, but most people who work in that capacity are sort of embarrassed to get that kind of attention. It's nice to get the accolades, but I think he just feels like he was doing his job. ... I think what he's most concerned with is that he caused a mess for his dad. It's a recurring theme that his children, being police officers and a district attorney, get scrutinized for anything they do because they're the police commissioner's kids. I think Jamie feels bad about continuing to cause that problem for his dad, but I don't think he has any regrets about that moment. He did save a baby's life. I'm sure he feels great about that. I just don't think he wants the medal for it."

Similarly, Renzulli doesn't want to take credit for Jamie's actions, but agrees to the cover-up. "It sounds like a great thing, but for a proud police officer, it's actually a difficult thing to do — to take credit for something that's not due," Estes says. "You want credit where it's due. You may not get that, but you don't want it where it's not due."

But having Renzulli play the hero means he must be clued in to Jamie's undercover work. The news doesn't exactly sit well with him, as he feels — being Jamie's partner and training officer — he should've been told.

"Something like undercover work, you can't go around talking about it!" Estes says. "It's the wrong thing to do. Also, you don't tell people because it protects them. But the nice thing is ... I asked one of our advisors [if Renzulli's reaction] is realistic and he said yeah. When you're partnered with someone, you grow close and trust each other. He said it's natural for you to be angry about getting left out, but at the same time, the undercover person can't tell anybody. It's a cool validation to have as an actor that going into a scene, it makes sense to someone who's been on the job."

So now that Jamie has side-stepped that cover-blowing landmine, will he be able to finish his assignment once and for all? As of last month, Jimmy Reardon was "retired" after narrowly escaping danger at the hands of the Sanfinos when he got "arrested" for the death of mobster Johnny Tesla (Tom Lipinski).

"It comes back around and Jimmy Reardon isn't totally out of the woods," Estes says. "There are people he's worked with that pop again. Jimmy disappeared and people wanna know where he went. He's not retired. When the mob's looking for you, you're definitely not retired!"

'Blossom': Mayim Bialik & Joey Lawrence reprise characters for Old Navy

(3/22/12) WHOA!

Mayim Bialik and Joey Lawrence are both on successful TV series -- "The Big Bang Theory" and "Melissa & Joey," respectively -- but they're not too cool for their roots. The former stars of the best '90s series ever, "Blossom," have reunited for Old Navy in a new TV spot.

Basically, the idea is that Blossom has been hired as Old Navy's "chief floral officer" for their new line of spring duds... and she's accompanied by her brother Joey. We miss his flowing hair, but he gains points for "Whoa"-ing like no time has passed at all.

Between his signature catchphrase and her perfectly '90s hat, we've almost been convinced to buy the dresses. Though we'd rather purchase the robot bees, to be honest. (Video)

CBS renews 18 shows

(3/14/12) While pilot season is in full swing, it's important for the networks to remember they have a whole bunch of shows already on the air. CBS, the top-rated network in prime time, did just that as they announced the return of 18 of their evening programs for the 2012-13 season.

In a statement, Nina Tassler head of CBS Entertainment says, "This large-scale renewal is testimony to the strength, stability and success of a deep and diverse roster of top-rated programming."

On the comedy side, the network renewed "2 Broke Girls" and "Mike & Molly." CBS had previously announced multi-year pickups of "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory."

As for dramas, CBS picked up "NCIS," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "Hawaii Five-0," "Criminal Minds," "CSI," "Person of Interest," "The Mentalist," "Blue Bloods" and "The Good Wife."

The network also renewed reality show "The Amazing Race" and "Undercover Boss" in addition to the previously picked up "Survivor." "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours" will also be back.

While "Two and a Half Men" didn't receive an immediate renewal, the network says they are in "preliminary discussions." This likely means that Ashton Kutcher wants more money. Also missing from this list is "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: New York."

Dick Clark Selling 'Flintstones' Pad (Dinosaur Not Included)

(3/2/12) Dick Clark is selling a house that sits on 23 acres of land -- and although the listing says it's located in Malibu, it looks like it's straight out of Bedrock. Willlllmmmaaaaa!!!!!

The legendary home sits atop a bluff and has a complete 360 degree view of the Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands, Boney Mountains, Serrano Valley. Despite its size, it's only a one bedroom home, so Pebbles and Bam Bam will have to find their own place to live.

The house also features a bar, breakfast area, dining room, living room, patio and wine cellar ... and it's a steal at just 3,500,000 clams!

Yabba dabba do!!

Pilot Season: Brittany Snow to Co-Star in NBC's 1600 Penn

(2/24/12) Brittany Snow (ex-Susan, Guiding Lught) has been cast in NBC's new presidential pilot 1600 Penn.

The comedy centers on the most ordinary family in the world — who just so happen to live at the White House. Snow will play Becca, the overachieving and perfectionist daughter of the president who helped raise her younger siblings. As previously announced, Book of Mormon's Josh Gad will play Skip, her gregarious and clumsy older brother.

Gad will also write and executive-produce the pilot with Modern Family's Jason Winer.

Besides her breakout role playing Meg Pryor in American Dreams, Snow previously starred in John Tucker Must Die, Hairspray, and Harry's Law.

Pilot Season: Heroes Alum Milo Ventimiglia Joins Frank Darabont's TNT Pilot

(2/21/12) Heroes alum Milo Ventimiglia has signed on to star in Frank Darabont's new TNT drama pilot L.A. Noir, Deadline reports.

The drama chronicles the dangerous underbelly of Los Angeles in the '40s and '50s, namely, the battle between gangster Mickey Cohen and L.A. police Chief William Parker. Ventimiglia will play Ned Stax, a young former marine who served with Joe Teague during WWII. In L.A., Stax is a lawyer being groomed to be a fixer for the mob.

As previously reported, The Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal is in early talks to join the project in the role of Teague, which could mean the end of his character Shane on the AMC series.

Glee's Vanessa Lengies on Sugar's Big Breadstix Bash and McKinley's New Love Triangle

(2/14/12) Move over, Sam and Shane. There's a new romantic rivalry heating up the hallways of McKinley High on Glee just in time for Valentine's Day.

"Sugar is going to be in the middle of a love triangle," Vanessa Lengies tells TVGuide.com. "Rory and Artie fight back and forth the entire time for Sugar's hand."

In Tuesday's episode (8/7c, Fox), Sugar's dad throws her a huge party at Breadstix — soon to be renamed Sugar Shack — in honor of her favorite holiday. All of New Directions is invited to the bash — but not without one stern marching order from their hostess: No singles allowed!

The warning is odd considering Sugar herself has been riding solo since she first popped up in September. However, her sudden desire for a date will bring out both Rory and Artie's A-games when they each try to win her heart — in true Glee style — with song. "Kevin McHale's serenade was one of the hottest things that I've seen on the show," Lengies says. "He used to be in a boy band and I grew up completely obsessed with boy bands. He just pulled out every move that was fully engrained in my childhood and teen years."

Suffice it to say, there's a clear winner of the Sugar showdown in Lengies' eyes. "Damian [McGinty]'s such a great guy. The other day, I had a really hard day on set because of family issues and he totally comforted me," Lengies says. "But Sugar, in my mind, was definitely won over more by Artie."

No matter who gets the last dance, New Directions' newest power couple won't last long. "My take is that Sugar doesn't even care about being in a relationship. She just cannot be seen single at this party," Lengies says. "But I really never know what the producers have planned."

Glee producers have been keeping Lengies on her toes all season. Since appearing in the Season 3 premiere in what was supposed to be a one-time role, producers have kept asking her back one episode at a time. (She has now appeared in nine of 13). Consequently, Sugar has slowly evolved from a tone-deaf punch line into a recurring character infamous for splitting up the glee club. However, Lengies insists Sugar's diva antics are behind her. "When she joined the glee club, she just realized that's that what she loves to do. Sugar represents the people out there who maybe can't sing, but love it," Lengies says. "I'm only realizing this now because I didn't know she was going to stick around this long. This character just embodies what Glee is, because it's all about acceptance.

Although the continued gig has been a pleasant surprise, the arrangement isn't without a few hitches. For instance, Lengies booked a family vacation unaware that Sugar had been written into the Michael Jackson tribute episode and subsequently had to miss the big episode. "It's like earning a new job every week," she says excitedly. "Did I make it? Did I not? I don't know!"

Lengies' last series role, on TNT's now-canceled HawthoRNe, was a one-episode appearance that turned into a three-season job, so she's more than happy to put in the extra work. "I practiced all weekend for regionals," she says of the extensive choreography. "I'm not a dancer, but I want to make sure that I don't let anybody down."

Her Glee future remains unclear, but Lengies is embracing the moment nonetheless. "During HawthoRNe, I was constantly trying not to be too outrageous and keep it serious. This has been so refreshing for me because it's such a good outlet for the inner me to just be," she says. "That's the whole point of Glee anyways — to just be who you are and that's enough. I really feel that way on set."

Who do you think Sugar should pick? Artie or Rory?

Dick Clark: Rockin' it on New Year's since 1972

(12/27/11) Ask Dick Clark for his top memories of his iconic New Year's Rockin' Eve show and he ticks off a handful.

"There have been many memorable moments," says Clark, 82, whose annual televised celebration marks its 40th anniversary this year.

"The year of the Iran hostage crisis, the ball almost didn't drop," he says; in 1980, the owner of One Times Square wanted to cancel to protest Iran's detention of 52 Americans. "Then, of course, there was the millennium," Clark says. "The most nerve-racking would have to be the first New Year's Eve after the 9/11 tragedy."

Musical moment? "It would be difficult to pick my favorite. One of the most memorable has been Barry Manilow, who has performed his song It's Just Another New Year's Eve several times."

It began on a 'Bandstand'

In an e-mail interview with USA TODAY (Clark was slowed by a stroke in 2004 that impaired his speech), he reminisced about NYRE's longevity and colorful history. "Strangely enough, New Year's Rockin' Eve probably began on Dec. 31, 1959, when we broadcast a New Year's Eve version of (the music/variety show) American Bandstand from WFIL in Philadelphia on ABC," Clark says. "The actual first formal telecast was on NBC Dec. 31, 1972. It was hosted by Three Dog Night, with performances by Helen Reddy, Al Green, and Blood, Sweat and Tears."

The whole idea, he says, was to offer younger viewers an alternative to CBS' annual telecast of bandleader Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, whose audience skewed somewhat older.

It's now known as Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest, and Clark has handed off the heavy lifting to the American Idol host. This year, the show has been expanded to include its anniversary party, a bicoastal two-hour special beginning Saturday at 8 ET/PT on ABC. The East Coast host is Jenny McCarthy; in the West, it's Fergie of the Black-Eyed Peas. And Clark and Seacrest will host the traditional broadcast from Times Square beginning at 10, with performances by Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Hot Chelle Rae and Justin Bieber with Carlos Santana. The celebration includes a special performance by Beyoncé from the London leg of her tour.

"It's fun to join in this festive occasion and become a part of such a massive event," says Clark, who, despite his health problems, has no plans to retire. "I enjoy the annual appearance, though I wish my delivery was as easy as it used to be. I'm encouraged by the many people who tell me I'm an inspiration to them." He says he tries to keep a positive attitude "and attack every day with the thought things are going to get better."

'A pinch-myself moment'

Seacrest, who joined the show Dec. 31, 2005, says he was a fan growing up in Atlanta. "I remember being in awe of the big event in Times Square and dreaming big and thinking someday I want to go to New York and see the ball drop. I don't think at the time that I thought I'd be doing that standing there with him in Times Square. To this day, it's a pinch-myself moment."

A TV wunderkind in his own right —Ryan Seacrest Productions produces hit shows including Keeping Up With the Kardashians— Seacrest says he has modeled his career in part on the example Clark set and considers him a visionary. "He was always a great host, but he always had his eye on the business as well, and I admired that.

"What I've learned about this show is that the beauty of it, the tradition and the simplicity are the reasons it's so successful," Seacrest says. He and Clark plan to continue bringing in exceptional live performances in years to come — past years have included Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Taylor Swift— while keeping in mind the crucial midnight moment.

"The magic of that ball drop is always going to be the main event," Seacrest says. "To dress it up and embellish it with some of the biggest stars in music would be my goal."

Joey Lawrence Is Shirtless and Ripped: Photos

(10/20/11) (Photo 1, Photo 2) There's no question that Joey Lawrence has, uh, Blossomed since his days as a '90s TV star.

The actor, who currently has a hit with ABC Family's Melissa and Joey, put his flawless physique on display Thursday afternoon during a shirtless workout at a park in L.A.

Lawrence, 35, who typically sports a closely-cropped buzz cut, showed off new longer locks – and muscles galore – during his exercise outing.

Whoa, indeed.

American Dreams Actor Heads to The Secret Circle

(10/13/11) Breaking: A hot actor is coming to the CW. You're shocked, we know, but that network really could use some eye candy, no?

We've learned that a very attractive American Dreams alum will be paying a visit to Chance Harbor's coven of witches on The Secret Circle and has a close connection with one of our resident witches. A family connection. Dun-dun-dun!

So who's the new guy in town? And who is he related to?

Melissa's cousin is coming to town!

We've exclusively learned that Arlen Escarpeta, best known for his portrayal of Sam Walker on American Dreams, is set to play Holden (Catcher in the Rye reference?), Melissa's relative who is no stranger to Chance Harbor.

Holden is described as smart, funny and great looking (obviously), but a difficult past has made him tough inside and out. He's set to make his return to the witchy town in episode nine.

While we can't tell you what brings Holden to town, we can tell you that you might find out why he decides to pay a visit after watching tonight's episode, Slither, which you can see two scenes from right here.

Escarpeta recently appeared in the horror films Final Destination 5 and Friday the 13th, so he'll feel right at home on the increasingly scary Secret Circle.

The Secret Circle airs tonight at 9 p.m. on the CW.

'Harry's Law' and Brittany Snow address cyber bullying and teen suicide

(10/10/11) (Video) Wednesday's episode of "Harry's Law" addresses a disturbing, and highly timely issue when Harry (Kathy Bates) is asked to defend a teen cyber-bully whose cruel blog drives a closeted lesbian classmate to commit suicide.

Following the suicides of teens like Jamey Rodemeyer and Tyler Clementi, who were tormented by peers because of their sexuality, the episode examines the fault of the bully, as A.D.A Kim Mendelsohn (Camryn Manheim) charges the blogger - the self-titled "Queen of Snark" - with negligent homicide.

Brittany Snow, who will exit the series this season, is the co-founder of Love is Louder, an anti-bullying charity, so the episode has a particular resonance for her. Snow recorded the PSA below, which will follow Wednesday's episode. "If you've ever felt mistreated or misunderstood, there is hope, and there is help," she says in the video, below. "I can tell you, it gets better, and love is louder than hate."

Watch the episode, titled "Queen of Snark," on Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.

Joey Lawrence Pays $1,000 to Rescue a Dog from Australia - Whoa!

(10/9/11) Joey Lawrence doesn't mind shelling out a small fortune to own a little Tiffany.

Filming a movie in Australia, the Melissa & Joey star stopped by a local shelter and spotted a true jewel: a female black Labrador-Australian heeler mix.

"She was just the most amazing little thing ever," he told PEOPLE at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards presented by Cesar Canine Cuisine.

"We had to bring her home. It cost me, like, $1,000 to get her into the country, but it was worth it. She's just an amazing animal."

The dog, later named Tiffany, got her moniker from one of Lawrence's movie locations, a boat with the same name. When shooting wrapped, it was time to pay up – and deal with some red tape.

"You know how the regulations work here," he said. "We had to ship her in and she had to go to a special hangar at LAX."

Once at her new home, Tiffany got a new best friend in Lawrence's other dog, a golden retriever named Dakota. And despite her high price, Tiffany turned out to be very low maintenance.

"Balls. They love their tennis balls," Lawrence said of his dogs' favorite toys. "Don't waste your money on all the trinkets or the $50 case of balls. They gnaw, they rip off all the stuff, getting them down to just the rubber."

Blue Bloods Meets the Mafia: It's Going to Get Dangerous for Jamie

(9/23/11) Last year, Will Estes compared Blue Bloods's Blue Templar story line to The Godfather. This year? He'll be dealing with a crime family on the show.

"Isn't it funny how things turn out?" Estes tells TVGuide.com. "I'm really excited because there's a lot to tap into in organized crime and it's something that could work really well for us."

In the Season 2 premiere, Jamie (Estes) will go on his first undercover assignment at a bar — sniffing out whether it's selling drugs and alcohol to minors — and ends up befriending the mysterious Noble (Eric Morris), a member of the Sanfino family. But Jamie only learns this later when his dad, Frank (Tom Selleck), brings up their meeting.

"Frank finds out Noble thanked Jamie for helping out at the bar and Jamie says, 'How do you know this?' And Frank says, 'His phones are tapped. He's part of a Mafia family,'" executive producer Leonard Goldberg says. "So inadvertently, Jamie has become friends with one of those guys. The guy has been trying to call him to thank him and invites him out for another night, and it's a big risk and decision for Jamie — he decides he's going to remain friends with him to see how far it goes."

Goldberg and his fellow producers are also playing a waiting game with the story line. The hope is for it to be a running arc through the season, like how the Blue Templar/dirty cops one was last year. While fan interest in the Blue Templar story somewhat waned toward the end of Season 1, Goldberg doesn't think that will be the case here.

"The Blue Templar was a mystery and [that involves doling out] pieces of information at a certain pace, here and there. This one is not a mystery," Goldberg says. "We know they're a crime family, so it's about what can happen if you're involved with one. I think this will be a more intriguing story for Jamie and the fans. As it progresses, I think it's going to turn out well. We're going to see a lot of Jamie. It's going to get dangerous for him. He'll still be doing work as a police officer, but [the Sanfino arc] is going to overtake him."

Complicating matters is the fact that Jamie meets Noble's sister, who as Goldberg describes, is "a very, very attractive sister" and may either be a Mafia princess or a good girl. "As far as I know now, they're not dating or anything yet, but I'm hoping something comes together," Estes says.

Though neither Goldberg nor Estes feels Blue Bloods needs a running story to keep viewers hooked, they both believe it plays into the "drama" component of the series. "I think episodes of Blue Bloods very much stand on their own a lot of the time, but it's not just a procedural," Estes says. "The show's nature is more character-driven, so for us, as actors, it's nice to have a continual story that we can pick up from week to week, instead of just moving from case to case. That's what makes us unique."

After creators Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess left the show in May, rumors flew that the duo butted heads with CBS over the network's wish to make the show more of a procedural. Goldberg denies the reports and assures that the show is not any more or less of a procedural than it was last year.

"It's a family drama first and foremost," he says. "Yes, we have a police story, but what makes our show different is the family aspects of it. When we read all the mail we get and when we test the show, the audience is most interested in what happens with the family whether in their personal lives or involving a case like perhaps with this one. It's the emotion that makes it different. They always [name] the dinner scenes as their favorite."

As for those famous Reagan family dinner scenes, they're still around this year — but not as often.

"We haven't shot one for every episode, but the ones we've shot are great," Estes says. "There are no big fights yet, but there's a pretty big moment for Tom in one. He does something he's never done before at the dinner table, so keep your eye out for that."

Blue Bloods premieres Friday at 10/9c on CBS.

Estes a player in star-heavy 'Bloods'

(9/22/11) Being part of a big family on Blue Bloods -- with Tom Selleck as the dad and Donnie Wahlberg as the brother, no less -- is not something that comes naturally to Will Estes.

But growing up, Estes was able to "experiment" with a large family, so to speak.

"My parents are from bigger families, I'm not," said Estes, 32. "I have no brothers and sisters, but I have a lot of cousins. So I was kind of able to experience a big family and then go home when I was younger."

But that's the perfect scenario, isn't it? You get to feel the connection to a big family, but then go home to your own bed and not have a brother putting you in a headlock or something.

"And my toys didn't all get broken," Estes said. "I don't know, but it felt like a win-win."

It's a win-win right now for Estes on the cop/family drama Blue Bloods, which returns for its second season Friday, Sept. 23 on CBS and CTV.

Not only does Estes get to work with a famous cast -- which includes Bridget Moynahan, Len Cariou, Jennifer Esposito and Amy Carlson in addition to the afore-mentioned Selleck and Wahlberg -- but Estes' character, Jamie Reagan, is a major player amid all that star power.

"It certainly is an ensemble," Estes said. "For the actors it's a great schedule -- except for maybe Donnie, who works harder than anybody on the show. But for sure, it has been very exciting.

"Tom Selleck is just a presence and an icon, and people love to see him as the commissioner of New York City. I've been told my scenes with Tom are very good, but other actors know this -- when you're working with a great actor, it makes you better. So that's a compliment to Tom when people tell me that sort of thing."

Blue Bloods focuses on the extended Reagan clan, which has been involved in New York City law enforcement for multiple generations. Jamie, arguably the family's golden boy, is a graduate of Harvard law, but he gave that up and came back to be a cop after one of his older siblings was killed in the line of duty.

One of the ongoing story lines in Blue Bloods is whether that was a good decision by Jamie, and if it was, what kind of cop is he going to be?

In the second-season premiere, titled Mercy, Jamie accidentally gets positioned to do some valuable undercover work.

"Jamie is at this bar, making sure it isn't serving alcohol to minors and that there isn't any drug activity on the premises," Estes explained. "But he ends up helping out this one guy, only to discover that he now is friends with someone who has organized crime connections.

"So it looks like Jamie might be able to do a little more undercover work as the season progresses, and I'm looking forward to that."

Coincidentally, while at the bar, Jamie flirts with a character named Mandy, played by Cassidy Gifford, daughter of Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford. Also, Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood guest-star as themselves.

"I guess I don't really feel qualified to answer that question," Estes said when asked why he thinks Blue Bloods connected and survived for a second season when so many other new TV dramas failed last year.

"It is really competitive. And we've done really well on Friday, which traditionally is a tough night for TV.

"My guess and my feel is that Blue Bloods is just a great premise for a show."

Will Estes' cousins must be proud.

'Glee' newbie Vanessa Lengies on Sugar's upcoming revenge (of sorts) and her scary moment with Idina Menzel

(9/21/11) Basking in the Glee glow hasn’t been as easy as one would think for new cast member Vanessa Lengies, who made her debut on the show last night as delusional high schooler, Sugar. As fans (about 8 million of them) were settling down to watch the premiere episode, Lengies was wrapping up a seven-hour dance rehearsal with her new Glee castmates and rushing to make it to her Glee premiere party (thrown by her BFF, Life Unexpected creator Liz Tigelaar). No rest for those who love Wicked.

Slightly rested up (and very sore), Lengies called EW earlier today to chat about her new (somewhat polarizing) role, tease what’s next for the character (scenes with Idina Menzel!), and talk about her surprising heroic moment on set (hint: bagels are dangerous).

EW: So, Sugar is an odd character, and that’s saying a lot considering the collection of characters we have on Glee.

VANESSA LENGIES: What I like about her is that she’s so strange is that everyone — even on set — has ideas about what Sugar should be and do.

Well, once they told you who she was going to be — a talentless, self-diagnosed person with Asperger Syndrome — what did you think of that?

When I got the audition, it was written she was going to be the new bitch. And, well, I have experience playing the bitch role. [Laughs] But I wanted to make her different. When I went in for the audition, [Glee director] Eric Stoltz was in there, and they weren’t sure who Sugar was going to be. And when we were on set, it was the same thing. We tried this and tried that. So I was excited to see the show, too, because I wanted to see what version they were going to go with. It was just really fun. I wanted her to be a little more dynamic.

Were you worried about the Asperger joke at all? That seemed to garner a strong reaction among some viewers.

No, I wasn’t. I think that’s something Glee does very well. It talks about and addresses and touches on issues that are very sensitive to most people, but having the issues talked about on such a high-exposure show, it bring things to people’s conversation. I like that a lot about Glee.

Is that an aspect of the character we’re going to dig into deeper in the next few episodes?

Eric and I had this conversation where we weren’t sure if she has it or…I’m not sure to what degree it is until I see more [scripts]. But we definitely touch on it again. So far, to my knowledge, we don’t go into the depths of Sugar’s background yet, but it is part of her character.

I liked the scene where Schue (Matthew Morrison) told her she couldn’t be in the club and she held her ground in this really delusional way. How is she going to come roaring back from that attempted reality check in the next episodes.

I think she’s talked herself out of it. I think she believes 100 percent that he didn’t know what he was talking about. I think it’s the first time she’s ever been told she was a bad singer. I think, at first, she was a little vulnerable. But she shrugged it off and said, “Fine. I’ll find another way. If you don’t want to work with me, you can be replaced!”

Is she going to be a bitch to the entire club, or focus her efforts on Schue?

It’s a form of revenge. I don’t know what I can say! It’s not the typical way of getting back at people. It’s her own way. And it’s not totally revenge, it’s more like, “No, I’m going to be a star. That’s what’s happening.”

So you were on American Dreams and showed your pipes on there. How was it to turn all of that off for this role?

My trick was just to be as committed as humanly possible to the song. It was much easier to do it in the audition because I was doing it a capella. Then when I got there, Brad [Ellis], the piano guy whose hair I ruffle in that scene, he and I had to rehearse. And it was such a shocker that once he started playing the song on the piano, it was harder for me to try to sing it wrong. I was thinking in my mind, “Why do we need a rehearsal for a bad song?” And then I was, like, “Oh! I understand.” And they did it differently because all the songs are pre-recorded on the show. And they thought it would be best if I did it live. So I just did the whole thing live.

I found the hair ruffle and dance hilarious. Did they tell you to do that or was any of it improv?

Everything was improv. My dance, everything. [Glee choreographer Zach Woodley] was so funny. I love working with him. He had me do it for him, and once it saw it, he was like, “Yeah. You’re good.” [Laughs] So the kicks, the butt wiggle [dramatic tone], ”It just came to me,” as the actors would say.

So do you have any favorite scenes so far? Anything you’re excited for people to see?

Yes, but I don’t know how they’re going to edit it. I don’t know if they’re going to cut my favorite part out or not. I have a scene with Idina, and I was improvising and it turned into this super fun thing. I honestly don’t know what I can say! I tweeted about Idina [when] she choked on a bagel, and I helped her to breathe again — it was super scary! But all the responses were, “OMG! Spoiler!” “OMG! Spoiler!” “Idina Menzel is back on Glee!” And my heart dropped to my stomach because I thought I’d done something really wrong. They’re very hush-hush. But, anyway, the scene we did is in episode 4.

Wait, so she chokes on a bagel in the scene?!

No, that happened in the makeup trailer, where she was eating a bagel. That was real life.

How scary!

It was. But it was funny after.

Yeah, once you realized you hadn’t killed the extremely talented woman.

Yeah, [mocking herself] “Once she was alive, everything was funny!” [Laughs]

Couple Watch

(8/29/11) Brittany Snow and her new boyfriend, singer Matthew Mayfield, spent a few days together at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The pair grabbed dinner at Johnny Smalls, where they shared tapas with friends, bowled in the Real World Suite and checked out Mya's performance at Vanity Nightclub.

Glee Adds American Dreams' Vanessa Lengies

(8/10/11) Glee is adding another new cast member to its roster for Season 3.

American Dreams vet Vanessa Lengies will recur on the Fox musical as Sugar, a spoiled new student described as a cross between a New Jersey housewife and former Glee guest star Molly Shannon, TVLine reports.

Although Sugar can't carry a tune, at least we know Lengies can move thanks to her three seasons on American Dreams dancing on American Bandstand alongside star Brittany Snow.

Lengies, 26, also plays Nurse Kelly Epson on TNT's HawthoRNe and guest-starred on Castle earlier this year. Her casting follows that of Friday Night Lights alum LaMarcus Tinker, who will play Mercedes' new boyfriend this coming season.

Glee returns on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 8/7c on Fox.

2011 ALMA Award Nominees

(7/28/11) The winners will be revealed in an hourlong special airing on NBC Sept. 16. (Eva Longoria & George Lopez host)

Favorite TV Actress – Supporting Role
Maria Canals-Barrera, Wizards of Waverly Place
Constance Marie, Switched At Birth
Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation
Sarah Ramos, Parenthood
Lauren Vélez, Dexter

Manny Happy Returns! Melissa & Joey Renewed for Second Season

(7/12/11) Freshman comedy Melissa & Joey has been picked up for a second season, ABC Family announced on Monday.

The series stars Melissa Joan Hart as a local politician who hires Joey Lawrence as her family's nanny. The season premiere, which launched last summer, was the network's highest rated comedic debut.

"Melissa and Joey have proven to be a comedic powerhouse, with wonderful chemistry that has resonated with viewers in the tradition of great television pairings," Michael Riley, President of ABC Family said. "As our focus on comedy continues to develop, we're delighted to see it return next year as an integral part of the network's expanding slate of original series."

The two actors are both known for hit '90s shows. Hart starred on Nickelodeon's Clarissa Explains It All and later on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, while Lawrence starred on NBC's Blossom. The pair then worked together on the television movie My Fake Fiancé.

Melissa & Joey, which wraps up Season 1 in the fall, will return in 2012.

Harry's Law: Brittany Snow and Aml Ameen Exit

(6/7/11) At Harriet's Law & Fine Shoes, if the shoe fits, wear it. And if it doesn't, you lose two actors.

Brittany Snow and Aml Ameen won't be clocking in when Harry's Law returns for its second season on NBC, TVLine reports.

It was apparently a "mutual decision" with producers, and both actors have been invited to come back as guest stars.

Snow played Jenna Backstrom, the assistant to Harry (Kathy Bates) when she was a patent lawyer, before she traded it in for patent leather at the shoe store. Ameen portrayed Malcolm Davies, whose botched suicide attempt and drug possession case drew Harriet into her current practice. He later worked for her as a paralegal and started dating Jenna.

Harry's Law averaged 9.39 million viewers in its first season. When it returns in the fall, it relocates to Wednesdays at 9/8c, leading into Law & Order: SVU.

Sarah Ramos to star in indie film "Predisposed"

(5/13/11) Sarah Ramos, one of the stars of the TV series "Parenthood," will be indisposed for part of her hiatus with indie movie "Predisposed."

Ramos will star with Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo and Tracy Morgan in filmmaker Phil Dorling's drama.

The movie focuses on a drug addict mother (Leo) and her piano prodigy son (Eisenberg), as she prepares to enter rehab and he into Juilliard. Ramos will play the girl who garners the affections of Eisenberg's character. (Morgan is playing a hapless drug dealer named Sprinkles.)

The movie is due to start shooting next month in New York City.

Ramos is best known for playing Haddie Braverman, the daughter of Monica Potter and Peter Krause in "Parenthood." The show just got picked up for a third season on U.S. network NBC.

Blue Bloods' Will Estes: The Blue Templar "Ends Here and Now"

(5/13/11) Most season finales involve cliff-hangers and a long, grueling summer of guessing games for fans, but Will Estes assures us that won't be the case for Blue Bloods.

"I heard about a show one time — I think it was a soap — where they were having a nightmare of a time renegotiating everyone's contracts," Estes, who plays Jamie Reagan, tells TVGuide.com. "So the writers and producers came up with the cliff-hanger of a crazed gunman bursting into the hall and opens fire with an automatic weapon and then it cuts to black. That made it a lot easier to renegotiate contracts because anybody could've been dead. I can tell you that will not happen to us! There is no cliff-hanger at all. You won't have to worry about us."

Instead, on Friday (10/9c on CBS), the family cop drama will wrap up its season-long arc of the Blue Templar — the rogue group of NYPD officers that killed Jamie's late brother, Joe, who was working with the FBI to investigate it. Jamie, who was approached by FBI agents in the pilot to finish what Joe started, had left his crime-fighting family out of the loop all season — until last week when he told Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) after his gun went missing and he was nearly killed driving with faulty brakes.

"I think it was something that he kept to himself because... he felt like joining the FBI investigation would be betraying his family," Estes says. "But gradually Jamie's been made a target. They've tried to kill him. I think at that point, if you're that big of a target and your family's that big of a target, then it's time put something together to try to stop them."

Led by their father, police commissioner Frank (Tom Selleck), the Reagans crack down on the secret society via a big drug bust on dirty cops in connection with the Templar. While speculation has run rampant over who is in the Templar, Estes promises none of the members are the Reagans. This is in spite of, as we've seen, a Blue Templar pin inside Danny's safe and photos of Henry (Len Cariou) and Templar members.

"It's an old little organization, but it's turned into something different," Estes says. "The Reagans are the good guys! Rest assured. Erin Reagan [Bridget Moynahan] is not dirty! She's a good ADA. There isn't a betrayal on any inter-familial level, but there's a betrayal there between members of the force that are our friends on the force who were not known to be involved."

The most obvious suspects would be Det. Malevsky (Michael T. Weiss) and Lt. Bello (Nick Sandow), who have been making shady phone calls regarding Jamie in recent weeks. They're very involved," Estes teases. "It's very cat-and-mouse. I think it's an exciting finale. I think the audience is going to respond to it. There are big, sort of, iconic juxtapositions. Cops always fight the bad guys, but when the bad guys are cops, that's always tough. They're confronting them and the Blue Templar's got to come down."

Because Jamie's a target of the Blue Templar, he is "less in involved than he'd liked to be" in the takedown and is instead working a kidnapping case. But he does get to see some action. "I have a back-up [gun] and I actually get to fire my weapon. That's very big!" Estes says. "A lot of police officers go their whole career without firing their weapon. ... I shoot, I hit my target, but I did not kill him. Maybe I'll get [my first kill] next season."

Though CBS has not yet officially renewed Blue Bloods, the series will likely see a Season 2 — but without creators and executive producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess. Estes has "no clue" what's in store for next season, except for what won't be.

"No more Blue Templar. It ends here and now. I'm excited to see what they'll come up for us," he says. "I would love to do more stuff with Nick [Turturro]. We definitely look forward to doing more together. Hopefully I'll still be a cop!"

NBC Renews Parenthood, Harry's Law

(5/12/11) NBC has ordered new dramas The Playboy Club, Grimm and Awake for the network's 2011-12 fall lineup. They join this week's earlier pick-ups, which include a comedy starring Christina Applegate and a musical from executive producer Steven Spielberg.

The network has also renewed Parenthood and Harry's Law. Parenthood, starring Lauren Graham and Peter Krause, averaged 6.7 million during its second season, and Harry's Law, from David E. Kelley, averaged 9.39 million viewers in its first season. Earlier Wednesday, it was reported that NBC's spy dramedy Chuck is also nearing a deal to return for Season 5.

The Playboy Club is a period drama (which TVGuide.com had spotlighted as one of its 11 Promising Pilots) that explores the lives of the first Playboy bunnies and the men who adored them. Amber Heard, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Eddie Cibrian and David Krumholtz star. Brian Grazer (24, Parenthood and Friday Night Lights) executive-produces.

Awake, formally known as REM, stars Jason Isaacs as a police detective who's involved in a traumatic car accident and wakes up in two fractured realities. The project comes from Kyle Killen, creator of Fox's short-lived Lone Star and 24's Howard Gordon. Wilmer Valderrama, Cherry Jones, Steve Harris, B.D. Wong, Michaela McManus, Laura Allen and Dylan Minnette also star.

Grimm, a dark and fantastical cop drama, features characters inspired by Grimm's Fairy Tales. The pilot was written and executive-produced by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel). David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz, Reggie Lee and Bitsie Tulloch will star. Kate Burton will guest-star in the pilot.

No word on the much-buzzed about Wonder Woman, but NBC is still expected to order Chelsea Handler's Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea.

Earlier this week, NBC ordered Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate and written by Parks & Recreation writer Emily Spivey, as well as a comedy from Whitney Cummings, Steven Spielberg's musical Smash and a remake of Prime Suspect, starring Maria Bello.

'Hellcats': Gail O'Grady runs with a young crowd

(4/26/11) When she's not being mother to school-age son Michael, Gail O'Grady is a den mother of sorts to a bevy of young beauties on The CW Tuesday cheerleading drama "Hellcats," which returned last week with new episodes.

Through her co-stars, O'Grady has been introduced to the music of Florence and the Machine and updated her tech skills -- more or less.

"I can check emails," she tells Zap2it, "but I'm not exactly in this century right now. [The girls] have always got something new and advanced. They help me probably with music and keeping me a little younger, I guess. Not that I'm an old bat, but as I said, it's a very young cast."

O'Grady plays Wanda Perkins, an irresponsible former party girl who works at the campus pub at the university where her daughter, Marti (Aly Michalka), is studying pre-law on a cheerleading scholarship.

In the Tuesday, April 19, episode, fans learned that Marti's father, musician Rex, was also a drug addict that abandoned his family when Marti was three (but didn't die, as her mother had told her, perhaps opening the possibility of a guest star at some point).

"I like her spirit," says O'Grady of Wanda. "I like that she's not a quitter. She's always trying to find a better way to -- I shouldn't say it -- skin a cat. I just like that she has a good spirit. She hasn't let life beat her down, and even though she might drink a little bit too much, she's always looking at the bright side."

It's a complicated mother-daughter relationship.

"It's gone back and forth," says O'Grady. "One moment, Marti is the adult, the parent, the next moment, Wanda's the adult and parent. When it first started, it seemed that Wanda was more needy and pulling on Marti a little too much, to the point where Marti had to get away.

"But they go back and forth between who's the parent and who's the child."

In last week's episode, Marti's search for her father's past led her to a record store, where she got some help from clerk Dierdre, played by Michalka's sister and bandmate in 78violet, AJ Michalka.

For O'Grady, this means just one more Michalka to love.

"Aly and I are pretty close," she says, "and Aly's sister, AJ, has a recurring role on the show. She is, like Aly, just one of the coolest people on the planet. I love these girls. Their mom did a really good job. They're smart, and they're funny and full, I think, well beyond their years."

O'Grady says she "holds her breath" when she sees the elaborate and risky cheerleading numbers on the show, and she even has a bit of cheer history of her own.

"I was a cheerleader in junior high," she says. "I tried out for cheerleading in my freshman/sophomore year of high school. I didn't make it, and I thought it was going to destroy my life.

"Oh, gosh, how did I survive not making cheerleading? I don't know. I think I played tennis instead."

Wanda may not have the future that Aly does, but that's OK with her.

"At least, for Wanda," says O'Grady, "she wanted more for her daughter, but she also wants to tag along with her. She wants to be part of it, but some of it she doesn't understand, because she has given her a hard time about being a hoity-toity lawyer.

"She, deep down, like any parent, wants more for her child."

O'Grady says that Wanda also has ambitions for herself.

"Instead of just running the bar, she wanted the manage the bar," she says. "She got that. Then she'd always wanted to be a party planner. She's also exploring different careers and trying to make things better for herself, too. She's not just settling on cleaning up the bar."

But don't expect O'Grady to feel the need to add bartending to her own skill set.

"I can look busy [in the bar]," she says. "I can dry some glasses and put a bottle away."

Blue Bloods Parts Ways with Creators

(4/24/11) Blue Bloods creators and executive producers Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green have parted ways with the series, Deadline reports.

The married writing team reportedly left over creative differences. According to Deadline, CBS wants to make the show more procedural and less character-driven.

This is the second showrunner exit on the freshman series. Former Numb3rs executive producer Ken Sanzel left the show in August after reported differences with star Tom Selleck.

Prior to Blue Bloods, Burgess and Green were executive producers on The Sopranos. Burgess won three Emmys and Green won one for their work on the HBO drama.

Burgess and Green courted controversy when Blue Bloods was credited as "from the executive producers of The Sopranos." Shortly after CBS picked up the series in May 2010, HBO sent a cease-and-desist letter to CBS requesting that the network stop using the Sopranos credit, according to New York Magazine's Vulture.

Despite the behind-the-scenes differences, Blue Bloods has been a winner for CBS. Airing Fridays at 10/9c, the series has averaged 12.3 million viewers.

CBS is currently on the lookout for a new showrunner for Blue Bloods.

A network rep could not immediately be reached for comment.

Brittany Snow Covers 'Maxim' April 2011!

(3/17/11) (Photo) Brittany Snow is steaming hot on the cover of Maxim’s April 2011 issue.

Here is what the 25-year-old Harry’s Law actress had to share with the mag:

On posing for sexy photos: “It’s funny, because I’ve never done anything like this before, so the whole experience was a big step for me. But it was cool. I felt really comfortable and had a great time.”

On being considered a sex symbol: “Oh, hell no! It’s weird. I’ve read in magazines where someone like Jessica Alba says, “I’m not a sex symbol. I don’t even think I’m sexy!” I’m like, Oh, my God, girl, you’re kidding. I mean I hate to sound like the stereotypical actress, but if I’m gonna be honest…I really don’t think I am. But it’s nice when other people think so!”

On her relationship status: “I’m so single. It’s funny. I’m usually a relationship girl. I love being in love and having a partner in crime. But it’s good to be your own partner in crime. God, that makes me sound like I have multiple-personality disorder.”

For more from Brittany, check out Maxim.com!

Blue Bloods' Oddly Perfect Partners Building on "Great Chemistry"

(2/24/11) A Blue Bloods spin-off?

There isn't one in the works, but that hasn't stopped fans from suggesting one to Will Estes and Nicholas Turturro.

"A lot of people come up to us and go, 'You guys should have a spin-off!'" Turturro tells TVGuide.com. "I'm not saying now, but hey — The Reagan and Renzulli Show? I'd watch it! But in all seriousness, we take it as a compliment that they are such fans of us."

While the CBS drama focuses on the Reagans, New York's finest crime-fighting family, headed by Tom Selleck, it's Turturro's and Estes' odd couple pairing of training officer Sgt. Anthony Renzulli and rookie cop Jamie Reagan that's stealing the show week in and week out. Between their comic-relief scenes — like collaring guys in hot dog costumes — Renzulli's wisecracks, Jamie's wet-behind-the-ears earnestness and their effortless rapport, it's easy to see why fans are yearning for more.

"We have a great chemistry," Estes says. "You can never tell if [partnerships] like this will work well, but we developed an interesting dynamic between us. I'm a Harvard grad and dad is the commissioner. He comes from a place of privilege. Nick's character comes from a place of great experience. I respect his experience and don't try to cut him down with where I come from or my education. I think he in turn respects that I don't do that and we've earned this mutual respect in the face of us being two totally different characters."

Renzulli and Jamie are usually off on their own beat; therefore, Turturro and Estes have most of their scenes with each other. The same is true on Friday's episode, in which they try to catch a kid who vandalizes a storefront with graffiti. (The "A" story line for Danny and Jackie is a dead girl at a debutante ball.) With so much one-on-one time, chemistry is not the only requirement. "Me and Will, we've become friends, too," Turturro says. "I think that's most important. You like each other and we have a lot a great time together."

In between takes of chasing down the graffiti offender, the two, both quiet and friendly, chat up a storm during their lunch break, take pictures with fans and crack jokes about Turturro's faux police radio that keeps falling off during every chase take. "We have a lot of fun. It also helps that we tend to get the more comedic elements," Turturro says. Their lighter scenes certainly provide more laughs, but Estes and Tuturro want to tackle heavier material as Renzulli and Jamie's partnership deepens. After all, Jamie is not going to be a rookie forever.

"[Renzulli's] the boss, but he's allowed me to step up and make a couple calls. I've made the right ones a few times and he's seen that," Estes says. "I think they see each other as partners now after all the time they've spent together."

Their professional obligations withstanding, Turturro also would like to see the duo bond on a personal level. Lately, it's Renzulli, gregarious as ever, complaining to Jamie about his wife, but the rookie — still in the midst of the Blue Templar investigation — has been more guarded. "It'd be nice for him to say, 'Hey, you know, I have my family, but I know I can trust you.' I think that would be very believable," Turturro says. "We had a nice scene a few weeks ago. Something happened with his dad and he wanted to help out. He said to me, 'I'm just on the beat with you.' It's like, 'Hey, I've been doing this job a lot longer than you. How do you think that makes me feel?' It was a nice moment. I think he trusts him, but that trust is growing."

Of course, all the future talk is moot as Blue Bloods hasn't been renewed yet for a second season yet — though its healthy numbers on Wednesdays and Fridays put it in good standing. Both actors hope a pick-up is imminent.

"That'd be great. Right now, we just want to make the show good," Estes says. "Maybe if Blue Bloods finishes in nine years, Nick and I will do a spin-off!"

Brittany Snow Teases Harry's Law Romance

(2/16/11) What could possibly complicate matters in a law firm that is run out of a shoe store? A good old office romance, says Harry's Law star Brittany Snow.

"Malcolm (Aml Ameen) and I, we have a love situation, and it kind of gets [mixed] into the work," Snow told TV Guide Magazine at the Rock & Republic/Love is Louder T-shirt launch on February 15. But not everyone's excited about the new love connection. "Harry, Kathy Bates' character, isn't too fond of that happening, so there's a little bit of friction there."

In other romance news, Jordana Spiro will also return to the show before season's end, as the ex-girlfriend of Nate Corddry's character, Adam. "She's a great guest star," says Snow. "We've had some amazing guest stars who play the smallest parts. It's been incredible to work with them."

In fact, after wrapping the first season three weeks ago, the cast is now eagerly awaiting word on a pick-up for Season 2, and their hopes are high. "I think everybody loves this show and people are taking to it really well, so I've been really excited about that," says Snow, who admits waiting for the verdict is nerve wracking. "You never know, because it's TV. But I feel like it's positive."

Do you want Harry's Law to be renewed for a second season?

Pilot Castings: Actors Board TBS' 'Hound Dogs'

(1/26/11) Tom Verica has landed the lead in the TBS hourlong comedy pilot Hound Dogs, with Lolita Davidovich and Laura Bell Bundy also cast in the project from feature writer/director Ron Shelton (Bull Durham). Meanwhile, Seinfeld alum Wayne Knight is set as the last lead in the TV Land untitled Mark Reisman comedy pilot.

The Sony Pictures TV-produced Hound Dogs, which Sheldon wrote and will direct, draws from his experience as a baseball player and is set in the world of minor league baseball. It centers on minor league team the Nashville Hound Dogs and its endlessly upbeat general manager (Tom Verica), a gambling addict trying to outrun his past, as they try to handle life’s ups and downs, both in and out of the locker room. Fortitude-repped Davidovich will play the team owner. Bundy will play a sexy bartender/aspiring singer.

TV Land's Mark Reisman project revolves around 3 divorced guys (David Alan Basche, Donald Faison, Knight) who live in an apartment building where their landlord is their sexy female divorce attorney (Kristen Johnston). The project marks a reunion for APA-repped Wayne and Johnston, who worked together on 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Brittany Snow talks 'Harry's Law,' Kathy Bates, and Love is Louder

(1/24/11) What happens when you combine Kathy Bates and David E. Kelley? Magic.

"Harry's Law" debuted to successful ratings last Monday night, putting the pressure on for tonight's second episode.

"I guess you always feel a little bit of pressure, because we were up against a rerun of 'Castle,'" says Brittany Snow, who plays Jenna, the assistant to Bates' cynical lawyer, Harry. "That gave us a little bit of leverage, but I think our show is something really different so we constantly keep hoping for the best when it comes to the next week. The episodes, I think, get even better."

While Jenna may come off as a dumb blonde initially, Snow promises that there's a lot more to her. "My character definitely, from the outside, is seen as a ditzy blonde assistant who just kind of says quirky things, and she is that person. She's overly optimistic and enthusiastic about life and things, but as the series goes on you see why she is the way she is. She kind of puts on this bubbly exterior because of the things that have gone on in her life."

She's the perfect foil for Harry, lending some great comedy to even the heaviest scenes. "She's almost the voice of reason for Harry, because Harry kind of views the world in a pessimistic light," Snow tells us.

In an upcoming episode, Jenna and Harry go head to head, which provided a great acting opportunity for Snow.

"Jenna has a storyline that's really funny where my car gets stolen," she says. "Her dynamic with Harry is really interesting because you see Jenna finally stand up to Harry and set her straight. They have a really great couple of scenes where you actually understand where their relationship came from. I got to fight with Kathy Bates, which was a really fun scene to do. It was such a great opportunity for me to get to really act with Kathy."

Despite their bickering, Jenna provides important balance in Harry's life. Snow says, "Jenna kind of keeps her in check about why she's helping the people she's helping and why it's important to help the underdog."

Snow knows a little something about helping the underdog in real life as well. Along with The Jed Foundation and MTV, Snow started the Love is Louder movement in response to the high-profile media coverage when lives of multiple teenagers were lost to suicide as the result of bullying and homophobia in autumn of 2010.

Love is Louder is all about raising the volume of support and kindness offered by groups like The Trevor Project and the It Gets Better campaign. It's about encouraging a message of hope, not hate, and has caught on like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook.

"We've just been so grateful that people have connected with it," Snow tells us. "We started it just as a little idea to get the word out there that you don't have to be alone, and now we're trying to develop it into a legitimate charity."

Snow will be visiting schools and handing out action Kits to encourage teens to reach out to each other and stand up against bullying, and the movement will only grow from there.

"We're working on a documentary and a book and all sorts of fun stuff. It's been really great to work on that because that's something I'm really passionate about, and it doesn't seem like work. I think it was just so needed because so many people were looking for a way to share their opinions or stories or their support."

Watch "Harry's Law" on Mondays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.

'Mad Love' taps Brittany Snow

(1/23/11) 'Mad Love' taps Brittany Snow as Sarah Chalke's sister

Premiering February 21, CBS's new comedy "Mad Love" features Jason Biggs as Ben, a lawyer, and "Scrubs" star Sarah Chalke as Kate, the girl of his dreams. In a bit of rather inspired casting, the show has tapped "Harry's Law" star Brittany Snow as Chalke's younger sister for one upcoming episode.

Snow shot the guest starring appearance while still working on "Harry's Law," which debuted successfully on Monday. "That was actually really fun, because I felt very busy," she says, speaking with us at a Warner Bros. event on Saturday.

Despite the pressure of playing two characters in one week, Snow tells us she had a great time shooting with the "Mad Love" cast. "Sarah was amazing," she says. "The whole cast was really great. They were so nice and welcoming. I haven't done many guest stars, unfortunately, and it was kind of nerve-wracking to go into a family, and they were just so great."

Expect plenty of sibling hijinks. "They have an overly close relationship," Snow says of the sisters. "It's a really interesting episode... about how overprotective Sarah Chalke's character is towards her little sister. My character kind of wants to break out and just go crazy, so there's definitely a side of my character that she shows to her sister and there's a side that she is actually doing."

"Mad Love" premieres February 21 on CBS.

Blue Bloods Is Back on the Beat

(1/19/11) Putting out an APB: Blue Bloods is back with new episodes. After reviving Friday-night TV with its solid ratings, the freshman drama about a multi-generational family of New York cops moves to Wednesdays starting tonight. Will Estes, who plays youngest son and rookie cop Jamie Reagan, gives us the lowdown.

TV Guide Magazine: What does the cast think of the move to Wednesdays?

Estes: It's for four weeks, but there's talk of staying if we do really well. It's positive either way.

TV Guide Magazine: Where does Jamie's story line pick up?

Estes: I end up getting some news about one of the people I'm investigating regarding my brother Joe's death. It's a serious bit of news, so it ups the stakes.

TV Guide Magazine: What's the deal with the secretive Blue Templar, which Jamie's being pressured to investigate?

Estes: I have reason to believe my grandfather was involved, but you don't know to what extent.

TV Guide Magazine: Now that Jamie's engagement is off, how long will he be single?

Estes: I'm not sure. He's spending more time with his grandfather. They don't know what to do on a Friday or Saturday night, so they hang out — it's funny!

Blue Bloods airs Wednesday at 10/9c on CBS.

David E. Kelley retains Kathy Bates for quirky 'Harry's Law'

(1/14/11) David E. Kelley is practicing law again — TV law, that is.

The award-winning creator of Boston Legal, The Practice and Ally McBeal comes back to the bar with Harry's Law (NBC, Monday, 10 ET/PT).

Kelley, who was once a practicing attorney, thought he was done with the legal trade for a while after Boston. But he found he missed the opportunity to express himself on the issues of the day, a signature component of his programs.

"With everything that was changing in this country — a new administration, health care, Congress — I felt it would be so nice to be able to talk about some of those things," he says. "I love to talk about evolving ideas, and the law is a great springboard for it. It's inexact and unscientific, but still our best way of legislating human behavior, morality and ethics."

One topical issue at the top of Harry's agenda is unemployment. In the first episode, patent attorney Harriet "Harry" Korn (Kathy Bates) is fired from her job. "I'd read so many stories about people losing their jobs ... late in their careers and having to start over, and the obstacles in doing that. I thought that might be an interesting story to tell," Kelley says.

Harry, disillusioned with the practice of law, must start at the bottom again, hanging her shingle from an abandoned shoe store in a run-down area of Cincinnati.

Bates likes the gun-toting character, which was originally written for a man. She asked that she keep the name Harry. "I liked that she was a curmudgeon and she tells it like it is. What I love about her is she's rumpled, she doesn't apologize for who she is," Bates says. "And I think she's at a very interesting place in her life, at her age, to be starting over."

Harry is joined by an eager young lawyer (Nate Corddry), her law practice assistant (Brittany Snow) and an aide (Aml Ameen) who literally drops from the sky.

Harry is "not a touchy-feely kind of person at all. She finds herself surrounded by people who are very warm and loving, and I think she senses a need for that in her life but doesn't exactly know how to go about getting that," says Bates, an Oscar winner for Misery who is taking on her first lead role in a TV series.

Bates has the ability to make the pessimistic Harry likable, Kelley says. "She's able to play those tough scenes and be unlikable in a given moment and trust the audience to go with her and like her just the same," Kelley says. "That's an intangible. Not every actor brings that."

Kelley says Harry won't be a conventional courtroom drama. "As the series progresses, (we) spend less and less time in the courtroom. A lot of justice we practice in this law firm is street justice that takes place in bizarre places. A lot of alternative dispute resolution goes on."

The storefront practice "makes for a more interesting range of characters," Bates says. "As David said to me, you never know who's coming in the front door. An interesting point for him (is) there's almost a class thing going on with the gentrification of the neighborhood."

Harry won't stake a political position in the way Kelley did on Boston Legal, "where we wore our heart on our sleeve a little bit," he says. "I don't agree with all of Harry's politics. She has a great affection for weaponry that I probably don't share," he says. "It's not our intent to get on the political soapbox. It's really about this character and her new life."

Blue Bloods Moves to Wednesday Nights

(12/21/10) Two of CBS' freshman series, Blue Bloods and The Defenders, are trading prime-time real estate next month.

CBS announced Tuesday that Blue Bloods will air Wednesdays at 10/9c for one month beginning Jan. 19. To make room, The Defenders will then permanently move to Fridays at 8/7c starting Feb. 4, two weeks after the series finale of Medium.

The swap makes sense for CBS. The network's five new shows are the top-rated new series of the TV season, and Blue Bloods has shown surprising strength on Fridays, where it is averaging 12.3 million viewers. As the lead-out to CBS' veteran hits Survivor and Criminal Minds, The Defenders' average of 10 million viewers is less impressive. Whether or not The Defenders will be a strong enough lead-in for CSI: NY at 9/8c remains to be seen.

Following Blue Bloods' month-long trial, CBS will use the Wednesday timeslot to launch the spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, premiering Feb. 16. That move pairs the spinoff with the flagship series, which CBS did successfully with NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.

According to Deadline, the network has also reduced the first-season episode order for both The Defenders and $#*! My Dad Says, its two lowest-rated freshman series, in order to make room for its midseason series Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, Chaos and Mad Love.

$#*! My Dad Says will be replaced by Rules of Engagement, which moves into the post-The Big Bang Theory time period beginning Feb. 24. Taking the place of Rules is the new comedy Mad Love, which will air on Mondays at 8:30/7:30c after How I Met Your Mother starting Feb. 21.

The action drama Chaos will premiere on Friday, April 1 at 8/7c, following the season finale of The Defenders.

Here's the schedule:Wednesday8-9 p.m. — Live to Dance (beginning Jan. 19) ... Survivor: Redemption Island (beginning Feb. 16)
9-10 p.m. — Criminal Minds
10-11 p.m. — Blue Bloods (beginning Jan. 19) ... Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (beginning Feb. 16)

Friday
8-9 p.m. — The Defenders (beginning Feb. 4) ... Chaos (beginning April 1)
9-11 p.m. — CSI:NY
10-11 p.m. — Blue Bloods (beginning Feb. 11)

Virginia Madsen Joins The Event

(12/14/10) The Event has nabbed Virginia Madsen for a recurring role, Deadline.com reports.

The 49-year-old actress will play Catherine Lewis, the widow of a U.S. senator from Alaska. A Harvard grad, Lewis has taken over her husband's post and is determined to carry out her husband's legacy at any cost.

Madsen most recently was on ABC's Scoundrels.

NBC's The Event returns with new episodes on Feb. 28.

DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2011

(12/6/10) For the 39th consecutive year, "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011" will lead America into the New Year. Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest will host the special with recently announced Times Square Correspondent Jenny McCarthy. The show will begin at 10:00 p.m., ET on Friday, December 31 on the ABC Television Network. Singer/songwriter Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas returns to host the Los Angeles-based party portions of the specials. The Los Angeles lineup includes performances by Jennifer Hudson, Willow Smith, Ne-Yo, Avril Lavigne, Drake, Jason Derulo, La Roux, Mike Posner, Natasha Bedingfield, Far East Movement and Train.

The bi-coastal celebration will include three and one-half hours of special performances and reports on New Year's celebrations from around the globe, as well as the American tradition of Dick Clark counting down to midnight from Times Square in New York City.

The festivities will kick off with "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011" from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET, featuring the only live performances from New York's Times Square, as well as multiple performances from the Los Angeles celebration.

During "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011, Part 1" (11:30 p.m. - 1:08 a.m., ET), in addition to reporting on the final minutes of 2010 and the traditional Times Square countdown to midnight, the show will feature music performances from both Los Angeles and Times Square in New York.

Wrapping the night's activities will be "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2011, Part 2" (1:08-2:11 a.m., ET), when musical acts will continue the party into the early hours of the New Year with additional performances from Los Angeles.

The specials are presentations of dick clark productions, inc., with Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest and Orly Adelson serving as executive producers. Larry Klein produces. Klein stated, "Fergie is back to host a terrific lineup of performances in Los Angeles that celebrate the most outstanding songs of the year." Adelson added, "Fergie returns for her fifth year as the host of the west coast party. She has truly become a part of the New Year's tradition."

Behind the Scenes with Blue Bloods

(11/30/10) Gather 'round the dinner table with the Reagan family as TV Guide Magazine takes you behind the scenes during our exclusive photo shoot with the cast of Blue Bloods. Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes discuss New York City cops, their relationships with each other and working with Tom Selleck. Check out the exclusive video here!

'Gossip Girl' preview: Damien returns and he's still wheelin' and dealin'

(11/30/10) Can we get three cheers for the return of Canadian Kevin Zegers as Damien on "Gossip Girl"? Maybe it was just us, but we loved him as poor- little-rich-boy drug dealer who used Jenny's (Taylor Momsen) fashion-related "talents" to transport drugs and then dumped her when she wouldn't have sex with him. Clearly, we need therapy.

Damien makes his triumphant return when Dan (Penn Badgley) and Blair's (Leighton Meester) mission to find out the truth about Juliet (Katie Cassidy) leads them to Serena's old boarding school stomping grounds in Connecticut. The Knightley School in Cornwall, Connecticut to be precise. What is Damien doing there? Drug dealing, of course (Connecticut "burbs do big business over the holidays." Swoon!). It's nice that he asked how Jenny was doing. 10 points to Blair who proudly declares, "I banished her." Memories.

In the preview clip for "The Townie" (airing Monday, Dec. 6) we learn Damien knows Juliet and just saw her in the city the previous week (and may have sold her the drugs she used on Serena). At first Damien wants no part in any of Dan and Blair's "Veronica Mars"-like investigation, he seems to crack a bit when they tell him Serena (Blake Lively) ended up in the hospital. Aw, a drug dealer with a heart of gold.

In the extended promo for the episode, we get quick glimpses of S at boarding school (which includes her blowing bubbles, dancing, and kissing a Justin Bieber-fied Damien!). It seems like we'll also be getting a lot of Dan and Blair action, including the two riding in an old-school VW Buggy. Cute! While we love Chuck and Blair, we've always wanted to see something happen between the odd couple, Dan and Blair. 1. They have great chemistry. 2. It would stir up a lot of drama post-Juliet. "Chair" fans, if you are going to stone us, please just avoid our faces. Thanks.

Lastly, it seems we will finally get a showdown between Juliet and Serena. After Juliet tells Serena, "You ruined my brother's life," S responds, "Who's your brother?" Ouch, that's gotta sting.

Watch the preview and the extended promo for "The Townie" here.

Golden Globes group sues Dick Clark Productions

(11/17/10) The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the annual Golden Globe Awards, is suing Dick Clark Productions and its parent company for alleged trademark infringement and breach of contract.

Dick Clark Productions produces the Golden Globes show.

In court papers filed Wednesday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association claims Dick Clark Productions made a deal with NBC to broadcast the Golden Globes through 2018 without its consent.

The association owns the Globes and its intellectual property and contract rights. It first hired Dick Clark Productions to produce the Golden Globes in 1983. The two organizations have an agreement that expires in 2011.

Dick Clark Productions, parent company Red Zone Capital and NBC had no comment Wednesday. It wasn't known how the dispute might affect this season's Golden Globes show, scheduled for Jan. 16, 2011.

People's Choice Awards 2011 Nominees

(11/9/10) Winners will be revealed during the live broadcast of the PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS 2011 at the Nokia Theater, L.A. Live on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 (9:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Tickets to the awards show are now available for fans to purchase through Ticketmaster. Voting begins today at http://www.peopleschoice.com for the finalists in all 44 categories and will end on Dec. 7, 2010, except for "Favorite New TV Drama" and "Favorite New TV Comedy," which will remain open for voting until the night of show.

FAVORITE NEW TV DRAMA
Blue Bloods
Chase
Detroit 1-8-7
Hawaii Five-0
Hellcats
Law & Order: Los Angeles
Nikita
The Defenders
The Event

Milo Ventimiglia Speaks Out About His New Project

(11/5/10) The last time TV viewers saw Milo Ventimiglia he was honing his ever-changing superpowers on NBC's Heroes. Now, on his new project, he's trying to develop an ability he wished he could carry over into real life — the power to stay awake 24/7.

Ventimiglia — whose development deal with NBC for a show based on his comic book Rest, was recently announced — says he's excited to embark on the project.

"For me, all I wanted to do was make a great comic book because I read comic books as a kid and I [still] read them as an adult and I wanted to contribute to the world of comic books," the actor told TV Guide Magazine at the Autism Speaks event in Los Angeles on November 4. "Then when the idea came up of doing something else with the concept, and after linking up with some great producers and the amazing writer Phil Levens, it was like, 'Yeah, let's make a TV show.'"

He'll not only executive produce, but also hopes to star in the series once it goes into production. Ventimiglia would play John Barrett, who thanks to a drug trial program that removes his need to sleep, can stay up all day and all night.

"I think it's an amazing thing, because I'm a bit of an overachiever, so there's a lot I'd want to do with 24 hours a day if I had it — but there is a downside, another side of the coin, and he finds himself caught up in some very large conspiracies that run very, very deep," says Ventimiglia.

He tells TV Guide Magazine that being on Heroes for four years helped him realize the importance of setting the tone on set, something he hopes to do himself. "I'm such a production guy, I love being on set, I love being with my crew," he says. "So for me, first and foremost, it's like, 'Hey, let's have a great time, let's enjoy the work that we're doing.' It's going to be long hours, but I'm going to be the first one on set and the last one to leave. I think that's kind of where I'm starting off right now, and as we get deeper into the process of developing the idea, we'll see where we go."

Milo Ventimiglia Returning to TV for Comic Book-Based Drama

(11/3/10) Milo Ventimiglia is eyeing a return to TV with a new comic-based drama at NBC, Deadline reports.

The 33-year-old actor is attached to star and executive-produce Rest, a project based on a 2008 comic book series he co-created.

Rest follows John Barret, a twentysomething guy who becomes addicted to a drug that eliminates the need for sleep. John subsequently works all of the time, which leads to both positive and negative repercussions.

The TV adaptation has already received a script commitment with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Drop Dead Diva).

Ventimiglia is coming off of the NBC superhero drama, Heroes, which was canceled in May after four years.

MTV and Brittany Snow launch anti-bullying campaign

(10/5/10) Several recent teen suicides, including that of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, have inspired MTV, the Jed Foundation, and Prom Night actress Brittany Snow to launch an anti-bullying campaign called Love Is Louder.

With DoSomething.org, The Trevor Project, Reach Out, Active Minds and the Ad Council, Love Is Louder aims to inspire teens with messages of love and hope.

According to LoveIsLouder.com, "This movement strives to amplify the momentum of other inspiring online campaigns and invite anyone who has felt mistreated, misunderstood or isolated into the conversation. We are here to raise the volume around a critical message -- that love and support is more powerful than the external and internal voices that bring us down, cause us pain and make us feel hopeless."

Brittany Snow told MTV she hopes they will "bring some awareness and make some noise when it comes to teens who are feeling suicidal or even just sad, outcasts, and being bullied, and really feel like they have nowhere to turn to... It's a place where people who have been through it can support them and share their stories."

The John Tucker Must Die star added, "I know from my own personal experience, I was bullied in middle school and high school and went through my fair share of hard times thereafter. Also, one of my really good friends committed suicide when I was in high school. I understand and get when kids and teenagers feel like they're alone and it's not going to get better. My advice is that there is a support system out there, there are a lot of people who have been through what you're going through and are going through it now. You really need to speak up and know people love and support you, regardless."

For more information on the Love Is Louder movement, visit their Facebook page, upload your own videos to your.mtv.com, and follow the Twitter hashtag #loveislouder.

Will Mel and Joe Get Together on Melissa & Joey?

(10/5/10) When '90s sitcom stars Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence teamed up for the ABC Family movie My Fake Fiance, they never expected that fans would fall so in love with the duo that it would prompt the network to create a series just for them. Why are the stars of Melissa & Joey so popular? "We've got nostalgia behind us. We've each had two successful series and the audience, more so than Hollywood, likes to see a reincarnation," Hart tells TVGuide.com.

Hart headlined Clarissa Explains it All and then Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; Lawrence played the precocious kid on Gimme a Break and then said "Whoa!" a lot on Blossom.

Lawrence says it's their on-screen connection that fans like to watch. "We have an innate chemistry when it comes to this comedy stuff," he says. "We got lucky."

Hart calls Melissa & Joey Moonlighting-meets-Everybody Loves Raymond. Mel (Hart), an outspoken local politician hires Joe (Lawrence), a recent divorcee who needs money, to take care of her niece and nephew. The actress says she was sick of watching Friends reruns, and wanted to see the sitcom make a comeback. "A show like this on television is lacking [and] there aren't any right now that are romantic comedies with a domestic sidebar," she says.

While the show certainly plays up the sexual tension between the two leads, don't expect a romantic coupling on the series. "Unless we could do it in a really smart way and keep it going, I do feel like it's an 'end of the show' thing," she says. Lawrence agrees. "You don't want them together and you don't want any babies. As soon as that happens, it's over."

Melissa & Joey airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC Family.

Blue Bloods' Will Estes: Secret Society Twist Is Like The Godfather

(9/30/10) It's a bold analogy, but Blue Bloods star Will Estes will make it anyway.

After learning of the secret society twist in the CBS family cop drama, the actor says he immediately thought of another famed celluloid clan — albeit one on the other side of the law.

"It reminds me of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, if I may be so brave as to draw that comparison," Estes tells TVGuide.com. "I definitely wasn't expecting it, but it's so intriguing and a fantastic thing for the audience to watch."

In the closing minutes of the pilot, Estes' rookie cop Jamie Reagan, the youngest member of the family, is approached by two FBI agents who share some revealing information and make him an offer that maybe he can refuse. His late brother Joe was part of a rogue group of NYPD officers called the Blue Templar, and he was working with the agents to investigate the group. "They basically said, 'Your brother, who you think died in a bust-gone-bad, actually died at the hands of these guys. Do you want to join us and finish what he started?' And it's just a complete shock to him," Estes says. "He's fresh out of the academy, [has] not even been on the streets yet, and now he has this hanging over his head."

Jamie had not decided what to do yet by the end of the pilot — and don't expect a decision from him any time soon. Although he reconnects with the agents in Friday's episode — more or less as a status check — Estes says Jamie needs a lot of time to mull it over since his job and his family are at stake. His father, Frank (Tom Selleck), is the police commissioner; hot-headed brother Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a detective first grade; sister Erin (Bridget Moynahan) is an ADA; and his grandfather, Henry (Len Cariou), is a former commissioner.

"I don't know if he'd be more apt to say yes if it were strangers, but the investigation would essentially involve his family and he wouldn't be able to tell his family," Estes says. "Or maybe no matter what he decides, he could feel like he wants to tell his family. And what happens then? [Joe] having been part of it and died because of it weighs huge on him as well."

Joe may not have been the only Reagan in the Blue Templar. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot in the pilot showed a blue pin embellished with a symbol in Danny's safe. Estes suspects the Reagans' connection with it runs deep — Jamie's great-grandfather was a cop, too.

That long family tradition may be what compelled Jamie to forgo a law career after graduating from Harvard. "He was lucky enough to go and smart enough and driven enough to go [to Harvard]. But I think police work is in his blood," Estes says. "He grew up around a family dinner table of cops telling cop stories. I think it's innate and runs deep for him. I think it's absolutely where he wants to be. I don't think he just wants to be a beat cop — not that there's anything wrong with that — but a lot of his dreams and ideas are getting scattered in the wind with the pending FBI investigation. His life probably feels a great deal out of control for him right now. But initially and still, he absolutely joined because he wanted to be cop."

Jamie will work his first shift on the streets Friday, alongside his sergeant (Nicholas Turturro), very much with stars in his eyes.

"His sergeant early on says, 'Listen, you're not going to get any special quota because you're dad is the commissioner and you went to Harvard,'" the 31-year-old Estes says. "Jamie finds out very quickly that all his education and his family background aren't going to help him out a whole lot. In fact, it might be a little more difficult because of it. I think there's some comedy in there. But he's motivated, and I don't think it'll be long before he kicks some ass like Donnie!"

But it will definitely be longer before Jamie and the audience — and Estes himself — get answers about the Blue Templar, as producers Leonard Goldberg, and Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess of The Sopranos, have been vague with details. Estes — whose last mystery-based series, Reunion, was axed early without resolution — believes it'll play out the first season.

"I pray and hope that we'll go long enough so we find out what happens and get to know each of the characters more," he says. "I'm going to pretend you didn't bring up Reunion. No, I'm just kidding!"

Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS.

TV Ratings: 'Blue Bloods' nabs big premiere on CBS

(9/25/10) Fast National ratings for Friday, Sept. 24, 2010

"CSI: NY" with new lead Sela Ward and "Blue Bloods," the new cop drama starring Tom Selleck, both brought in big Friday night numbers, letting CBS cruise to a sizable win over second place NBC.

CBS' overall average was 9.7 million viewers with a 6.2 rating/12 share in households. NBC was next in second with 6.5 million, 4.5/8. ABC was a third with 3.99 million, 2.7/5, despite showing mostly reruns. FOX came in fourth at 3 million, 1.9/4 and the CW's Friday debuts were fifth with 2.8 million, 1.7/3.

The adults 18-49 title also went to CBS, which scored a 1.8 rating in the demographic. NBC was next with 1.4 and then the CW was third with a 1.2. ABC (1.1) and FOX (0.8) round out the networks.

Friday hour by hour:
8 p.m.
NBC: "Dateline: NBC" premiere (6.5 million, 4.5/9)
CBS: "Medium" premiere (6.1 million viewers, 4.0/8 households)
ABC: "Modern Family" rerun (4.2 million, 2.6/5)/"Better With You" rerun (3.1 million, 2.1/4)
FOX: "Human Target" rerun (3.1 million, 2.0/4)
The CW: "Smallville" premiere (2.9 million, 1.7/3)
18-49 leader: "Dateline: NBC" and "Medium" (1.4)

9 p.m.
CBS: "CSI: NY" premiere (10.3 million, 6.5/12)
NBC: "Dateline: NBC" (7.9 million, 5.4/10)
ABC: "The Whole Truth" rerun (2.9 million, 2.0/4)
FOX: "The Good Guys" premiere (2.9 million, 1.7/3)
The CW: "Supernatural" premiere (2.8 million, 1.7/3)
18-49 leader: "CSI: NY" (2.0)

10 p.m.
CBS: "Blue Bloods" series premiere (12.7 million, 7.9/15)
ABC: "20/20" premiere (5.9 million, 4.1/8)
NBC: "Outlaw" (4.9 million, 3.4/7)
18-49 leader: "Blue Bloods" (2.2)

'Blue Bloods': Donnie Wahlberg is the hot-head of the police family

(9/25/10) "Blue Bloods" is the newest cop drama on TV, debuting Friday (Sept. 24) on CBS. It stars Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, the Chief of Police in New York City, and Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes as his three children. The two sons are cops, the daughter is an Assistant DA.

We enjoyed the premiere. The tension between Danny (Wahlberg) and Erin (Moynahan), him a hot-head cop who does things his own way, which may not always be on the right side of the law, and her a lawyer whose job it is to uphold the law, creates an interesting family dynamic.

But the real storyline we're interested in is the dead son Joe, another cop who was supposedly killed in the line of duty, and his involvement with an investigation into the Blue Templars, a secret society within the NYPD. Youngest Reagan child Jamie (Estes) is approached to take over Joe's investigation, which is what actually got Joe killed. We're intrigued to see where that investigation goes, especially since brother Danny has a Templars pin in his safe.

What did you think of the premiere? Will you be tuning in Friday nights?

Blue Bloods: It's A Family Affair

(9/24/10) It felt like a warm family dinner at the Paley Center for Media's Blue Bloods event in New York City on September 22 — all hugs, smiles and mutual appreciation from actors Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Tom Selleck, who play the Reagans, TV's newest clan of New York City cops.

"I joke a lot about Tom being like my dad," laughed Wahlberg. "And when I'm carrying on too much in between sets or making too many bloopers, he gives me the evil eye just like my dad!"

"They all look up to Tom," said executive producer Leonard Goldberg. "Somebody asked Donnie, 'Why'd you do this show?' and he said, 'Two reasons: Tom. Selleck.'"

"We're really bonded," Selleck said his new cast. "We all like each other, and that doesn't always happen in a series."

Bridget Moynihan, who plays the family's only daughter, agrees. "Tom and I have a nice father/daughter vibe on- and off-screen, and Donnie and I worked together before, so we already have the brother/sister dynamic," she said, giggling as Wahlberg jumped the velvet rope, grabbed a reporter's microphone and started to interview the youngest Reagan, Will Estes.

Creators Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess compared it all to another great television family they worked with: "The Sopranos was anti-heroes and these are heroes, but it's similar in that it just gelled. It felt good then, and this one feels the same," said Green.

Wahlberg, hoping for some overlap between his real and work families, had a casting suggestion as to who should play the deceased Reagan brother (in a flashback, of course). "I'm not sure if he'll appear, but I hope so because I have another actor in my family named Bob who played a role in The Departed with Mark [Wahlberg]. Or maybe Mark will come in and do a three-episode arc or something as the brother!"

Though a guest spot by a movie star can only help a new show, the star power, acclaimed writers and seemingly real affection among this ensemble makes it seem like Blue Bloods could become a weekly family event audiences will look forward to. "Nothing's a sure thing in television," said CBS president Les Moonves, "but this is pretty good."

Blue Bloods premieres Sept. 25, 10/9c, CBS

'Blue Bloods' review: Arresting family drama

(9/24/10) CBS' new drama "Blue Bloods" could go one of two ways: It could become a cop show whose main characters all happen to be related, or it could become a show about a family whose members all happen to work in law enforcement.

Either one would still boast a strong cast led by Tom Selleck, Bridget Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg, and either one would be watchable. But based on what we saw in Friday's (Sept. 24) series premiere, we're pulling for the family element to be at least on equal footing with the crime stories.

The show was created by former "Sopranos" writers and producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, who know their way around a family dynamic. But it's also on CBS, which knows its way around a crime procedural. What we're hoping can happen is a melding of those two things similar to what has happened on "The Good Wife," where the two co-exist and often complement one another.

Enough about what might be there, though. What is there in the premiere of "Blue Bloods" is the aforementioned cast, which also includes Will Estes ("Reunion," "American Dreams") and Len Cariou ("Damages"), and some sharply written and acted scenes between the family members. Those more than make up for a pretty standard-issue case in the premiere.

Selleck plays New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, a former rank-and-file cop who now runs the department. Elder son Danny (Wahlberg) is a detective, and younger son Jamie (Estes) has just graduated from the academy -- after giving up Harvard Law School to wear a badge. Their sister, Erin (Moynahan) is an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. The premiere puts Erin and Danny at odds when he gets a little overzealous in questioning the lead suspect in a young girl's abduction -- both on the job and at Sunday dinner.

The family's dinner conversation is one of the better moments of the pilot, with competing agendas all around and Grandpa Henry (Cariou) tossing in a verbal grenade that sends everybody running from the table. The competing interests of cops and prosecutors could be a source of great material for the show, and Moynahan and Wahlberg play well off one another as equally hard-headed siblings.

Jamie also quickly gets involved in what feels like the setup for an ongoing story involving corruption in the department, which given his family ties could be a source of conflict. And as Frank, Selleck is as commanding a presence as you'd expect; he's an extremely economical actor, and he's able to say a lot without talking very much.

The premiere's weak point, frankly, is the case Danny and his partner (Flex Alexander) are investigating. It's nothing you haven't seen a dozen times previously on "Law & Order: SVU," and when the focus is solely on the investigation, the dialogue feels a little clunkier than in the rest of the show. That may be simply because it's a series pilot and things will smooth out once the show gets rolling; whatever the reason, it needs to even out.

With two veteran crime dramas in front of it -- "Medium" at 8 p.m. ET and "CSI: NY" at 9 -- "Blue Bloods" will probably do just fine in the ratings. We hope it can live up to its creative potential too.

Blue Bloods: A Cop Show - And a Family Drama

(9/24/10) It's easy to look at CBS' newest cop drama, Blue Bloods, and assume it's just the latest entry in the network's long line of police procedurals. It's easy, but wrong.

The series, which focuses on a family of New York cops, will certainly deliver the case-of-the week storytelling that has made CBS the No. 1 network. But it's the family drama that inspired veteran producer Leonard Goldberg to bring this story to television.

"I thought about two kinds of shows I always loved doing: police shows and family shows, and I thought, 'No one's ever done one that combined both, so maybe this is the time,'" Goldberg tells TVGuide.com, adding that Norman Rockwell's famous Thanksgiving painting provided a second bit of inspiration.

"Every week we would have a family dinner scene after church," Goldberg says. "I thought that would be kind of the cornerstone of the family side of our show."

To bring the family to life, Goldberg sought out Emmy-winning husband-and-wife writing team Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, best known for writing about a family on the other side of the law on The Sopranos.

"We were looking to get on the other side," Green says. "Not that these characters don't have flaws, but they are basically strong, good, honorable people who are trying to do the right thing and make an honorable world. Frank Reagan is keeping his city safe and that's what his children are doing, and that's what his father did."

Goldberg had only one actor in mind to play Frank, the police commissioner and patriarch of the family. "Very rarely in television or movies do you say, 'There's only one guy who can play this,' and actually get him," Goldberg says. "We told CBS that if we didn't have Tom Selleck, we didn't know who the second choice would be. Unless you have an iconic figure like Tom Selleck playing Frank Reagan, it's not really going to work. You have to have that kind of man with that stature, that physical presence, that gravitas."

Frank's father (Len Cariou) was a former police commissioner. His eldest son, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), is a respected detective, who sometimes goes outside the lines for justice. His daughter, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), is a single mom and assistant district attorney. And his youngest son, Jamie (Will Estes) is a law school grad who decided to join the force after his other brother, Joe, was killed on duty.

"We have every generation to work with," Green says. "There is just so much history there and so much richness that the stories are just endless. It's a great gift to a writer."

But again unlike other procedurals, there is a mystery element that provides a constant undercurrent to the show. We'll only say that there are conflicting stories about how Joe died, and Jamie is called upon to sniff around for answers behind his family's back.

"This is a huge decision for him and it's going to take him a bit to decide whether or not he wants to do it," Goldberg says. "On the one hand, he's shocked to learn that his brother didn't die as they were all told. On the other, he's always shared everything with his father. It's a huge thing and he's going to wrestle with it. He's probably going to be feeling his way around the edges of this before he makes his decision."

Goldberg says the mystery will run throughout at least the first season, though it won't be dealt with every week. But even if it's resolved, the show will continue to explore those extra layers, Green says.

"I think the note that it provides — that kind of link to a world larger than just the police department that includes political intrigue and criminal intrigue in a larger sense — will always be something that we'll want to play to some extent," she says.

And although there are early hints that some of the Reagans might be mixed up in whatever it is Jamie's investigating, Goldberg insists that these characters are not antiheroes.

"You should be very trusting of them," Goldberg says. "In fact, we hope when you've seen a show or two you'll wish that Frank Reagan was the head of the police in your town. You'd be very safe at night. They're human beings; they have flaws, and we'll be exploring that. But essentially, they are the good guys."

Blue Bloods premieres Friday at 10/9c on CBS.

First-rate 'Blue Bloods' mixes family drama, crime-fighting

(9/23/10) Not all children are little, you know.

Built with the CBS audience in mind, Blue Bloods is a show for sandwich-aged adults who see themselves as both kids and parents, and who understand what it means to be drawn into the family business. Here the family business just happens to be one of TV's all-time favorites: crime-fighting, with each member of New York's Reagan family involved in law enforcement in one way or another.

An adult show requires an adult cast, and CBS has gathered a great one. At the center is a TV star of the first order: Tom Selleck as New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, a job once held by his father (Broadway legend Len Cariou). His son, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a well-respected if difficult detective; his daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan) is an assistant D.A.; and his youngest son Jamie (Will Estes) is a law school graduate who has just become a police officer. There was another cop son as well, but he was killed on the job, a tragedy with continuing ramifications.

As usual on such shows, there's also a crime to be solved, which in the premiere involves the kidnapping of a small girl. Danny works it with his partner (guest star Flex Alexander) and then passes it along to Erin — having done something along the way that makes her job more difficult.

In between the law-and-order case work, we meet Jamie's training officer (Nick Turturro, the second NYPD Blueveteran to return to the beat this week) and a possible love interest for Frank (Rescue Me's Andrea Roth, a late but welcome addition to the cast). And we spend time with the extended Reagan clan at a family dinner that is one of the show's best scenes.

If you sense a bit of The Good Wife in this mix of family drama and procedural plotting, it's no accident: Anything CBS does that works, CBS does again. Bloods is a more male-centric mix, with a broader focus, a bigger family and a concept that encompasses both cop work and trial work.

In a more troubling act of copying, Bloods also has a darker running story that corresponds to Peter's Good Wife legal woes and is built around that mysterious Reagan death. It looks to be the kind of story those who like tangled conspiracies will treasure — and those who don't, and would rather be allowed to make it through one hour of TV without one, won't.

Yet either way, the plot is unlikely to interfere with the real draw of Bloods, which is watching a terrific, mature, extremely well-chosen cast interact. Selleck perfectly embodies paternal gravity, Estes is ideal as the idealist, Moynahan captures all of Erin's ambivalence and intelligence; and Wahlberg is instantly at ease as a blue-collar guy who loves his job and his family in equal measure. You buy into them as a family, and that's what Bloods requires to work.

And if it works best for adults, well, who do you think is watching network TV at 10 on a Friday night?

Blue Bloods
* * * out of four
CBS, Friday, 10 p.m. ET/PT

The Thin Family Line: A Dynasty of City Cops

(9/23/10) Six years ago, Edward Conlon, a New York City police officer who had been writing about his beat under a pseudonym for The New Yorker, published an acclaimed memoir about his experiences in law enforcement called “Blue Blood.” Mr. Conlon comes from a long line of cops and joined the family profession even though he had gone to Harvard.

On Friday, a show about a long line of New York cops with a scion who joins the family profession despite having gone to Harvard begins on CBS. The network says there is no relationship to the book whatsoever though the series is called “Blue Bloods.” Apparently the similarity of subject and title is merely a coincidence.

That fishy account may not endear intellectual-property lawyers to the show, but for those reluctant to dismiss it out of protest “Blue Bloods” has an old-fashioned appeal both as drama in the vein of a workingman’s “Dynasty” and as splashy procedural. The Reagans of “Blue Bloods” are a sprawling Irish family who gather for Sunday roasts and extend through the five boroughs. Panning shots of New York, from Uptown Manhattan to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn to Staten Island, fill the opening sequence and tell us we will travel all over the class spectrum, landing on multiple iterations of the Gotham accent. (Here the Staten Island inflection sounds distinctly Boston.)

The Reagan patriarch, Frank, is played by Tom Selleck with such an easy authority that we’re reminded how much we’ve missed him. Frank isn’t merely the managerial papa bear of his brood; he is the city’s police chief and one who has arrived where he is without a lot of political glad-handing. Warning him about a potentially controversial decision, the mayor puts it to him bluntly: “I don’t have to tell you. You don’t have a lot of friends in high places to back you up.”

Frank may not have friends in high places, but he has some press friends in horizontal ones. “Blue Bloods” is part of a long list of popular entertainments in which journalists sleep with their sources so routinely that they are professionally analogous to groupies on the trail of ZZ Top. A widower, Frank has kept his bed warm with a blond reporter who shows up at news conferences to give him the full Bob Woodward. Seemingly undeterred about the kind of explosion this might cause on the cover of The New York Post (as it surely would in life), Frank and his lady friend hit the town at night, no obscuring fun-house glasses in evidence.

The show’s fundamental misunderstanding of the news media does not end there, no sirree. You know you are watching dark-ages TV when the blogosphere is made out to be some kind of passing novelty, like the ShamWow. Confronting Frank about “blog allegations” that his department works harder at solving murder cases among the wealthy of the East Side than among minorities in poorer neighborhoods, a reporter is admonished by Frank: “Miguel, you’re a professional journalist. You really want to give credence to any amateur blogger with a laptop?” Citizen journalism? Hooey!

“Blue Bloods,” though, addresses other issues, police brutality among them, more cogently. And it offers a potentially compelling narrative arc in the story line of the family’s youngest son, Jamie (Will Estes), who is asked to go undercover unbeknown to his father to investigate malfeasance in the department. Forget the Irish. “Blue Bloods” dangles before us the possibility that it might go mythically Greek.

BLUE BLOODS

CBS, Friday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.

Created and written by Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green; directed by Michael Cuesta; Leonard Golberg, Mr. Burgess and Ms. Green, executive producers. Produced by CBS Television Studios.

WITH: Tom Selleck (Frank Reagan), Donnie Wahlberg (Danny Reagan), Bridget Moynahan (Erin Reagan-Boyle), Will Estes (Jamie Reagan) and Len Cariou (Henry Reagan).

Wahlberg: 'Blue Bloods' a treat

(9/23/10) Donnie Wahlberg has been on the receiving end of a lot of second-party messages from fans through the years.

But now that he’s working with Tom Selleck on the new series Blue Bloods, Wahlberg finds himself in the unaccustomed role of message conduit for Mr. Magnum P.I.

“Having done the music and acting, I bump into so many people who say, ‘Oh my God, my sister loved you,’ ” said the 41-year-old Wahlberg, who first became famous as a member of New Kids on the Block. “Someone always has a message from someone for me.

“But now that I’m working with Tom, everyone has a message for Tom. They say to me, ‘Oh my God, my mom loves Tom. Please tell Tom my mom loves him.’

“It’s awesome. It’s such a treat to be in that position. I’m not getting hit with messages every day, I’m getting to deliver a few.” Wahlberg plays one of Selleck’s sons on Blue Bloods, which debuts Friday, Sept. 24 on CBS and CTV.

The series best can be described as a family drama mixed with a procedural. Think CSI meets Brothers & Sisters.

Blue Bloods centres on a multi-generational family of cops in New York, led by police commissioner Frank Reagan (Selleck). Frank’s eldest son Danny (Wahlberg) is a seasoned detective and Iraqi war veteran who on occasion crosses the line in his zeal to solve cases.

Blue Bloods also stars Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes and Len Cariou.

“We don’t know how (Danny) feels about his dad being his boss, essentially,” Wahlberg said of his character. “Does he resent it? Does he use it to his advantage? I don’t think it’s clear.

“In life, when we walk into a room and people pre-judge us, we feel differently about it, depending on the day of the week.” Wahlberg called upon his own experience to illustrate the point.

“On the one hand, I can walk into a room and everyone’s excited that I’m a member of New Kids on the Block, and I say, ‘Oh, okay, cool,’ ” Wahlberg said. “But on the other hand, I might also resent it. ‘Oh, they only like me because I’m in New Kids on the Block.’ It’s not cut and dried, especially in a situation like this.

“People whose parents have been really successful before them, sometimes they’re proud, sometimes they’re really resentful, and most times they’re a little bit of both.”

Wahlberg, who had acclaimed TV roles on Band of Brothers and Boomtown, said the Reagan clan on Blue Bloods “feels like a real family” to him. In fact, it feels so much like a real family that the Reagans even remind Wahlberg of his own upbringing in Boston.

“(Selleck) has a gaze that reminds me of my dad,” Wahlberg said. “At the dinner table, I could always take it to a certain point before my dad would whack me in the side of the head, and Tom has that.

“I’m always worried that I’m going to improvise one too many lines and Tom’s going to, in character, say, ‘Knock it off, son.’ And off-camera, he’s going to go, ‘All right, Wahlberg, settle down.’ ”

Brittany Snow to Receive Awards from Point Foundation

(9/2/10) Tony Award winner Alan Cumming and "Hairspray" film star Brittany Snow will receive awards from the Point Foundation (Point), the LGBT-focused scholarship organization, at the fourth annual Point Honors gala, Sept. 25 at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles.

Cumming (Cabaret, "The Good Wife") will receive the Point Courage Award, which "recognizes an individual who has advocated for the future of the LGBT community and lives with the vision that investing in today’s potential will produce a brighter tomorrow," according to press notes.

Snow (also known for the TV series "American Dreams" and the upcoming mid-season series "Harry's Law") will be honored with the first Point Horizon Award, which "recognizes a young person who has taken a leadership role as an advocate of the LGBT community." Luxury automotive brand Audi will receive the Point Inspiration Award, which "recognizes a corporation that champions respect and inclusion of the LGBT community, and operates with the vision that the success achieved by talented young people is limited only by the resources and opportunities they are given to help them fulfill their potential."

The Point Honors gala will include a dinner and awards program, live and silent auctions, and celebrity performers and presenters to be announced.

Raleigh Studios is located at 650 North Bronson Avenue in Los Angeles. For tickets call (212) 247-7318 or visit pointfoundation.org/losangeles. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Michael Marino at michael@pointfoundation.org or (212) 247-7318.

'Blossom' star injured by script

(8/27/10) Former Blossom star Joey Lawrence was reportedly injured on the set of his new TV show after he was hit in the eye with a script.

The 34 year old is currently working on Melissa & Joey with Melissa Joan Hart, but rehearsals came to an abrupt halt on Thursday when another actor accidentally poked him in the eye.

Lawrence sought immediate medical treatment and was diagnosed with a ripped cornea, according to TMZ.com.

The actor is said to be recovering well and will be back at work in the next few days.

"Melissa & Joey" has potential despite silly start

(8/16/10) Kids grow up so fast these days, and that's not a commentary on the wise-beyond-their-years, smart-alecky younger set in "Melissa & Joey" -- though there are two such children in this utterly conventional in its unconventionality ABC Family sitcom.

It's actually referring to the fact that Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Blossom's mop-haired buddy are now sharing their own sitcom home. (This is their second pairing; in 2009, the two drew good ratings in the ABC Family film "My Fake Fiance.")

Melissa Joan Hart's Mel Burke is a city councilwoman in cleavage, short dresses and spiked heels -- the better to pratfall with, my dear -- and is faced with a dilemma: Her brother and his wife are locked up for theft, and she's really not ready to properly parent their two adolescent children, Ryder and Lennox. Mel can hardly keep her constituents happy: They're tossing trash on her front porch to protest reduced pickup dates.

Then, like a strange Mary Poppins, Joe Longo (Joey Lawrence) literally walks into her home. He's a commodities trader who lost job, home, car and wife thanks to Mel's relatives' shady dealings. In no time, he has volunteered for the nanny job and even references "Charles in Charge." Let the sexual tension and inverted gender role jokes begin!

Lawrence is the stronger comic presence here; despite his beefed-up arms and shaven head, he's got a twinkle in his eye. He's a relief to Hart's dithery indecisiveness, which doesn't seem real for an instant. Unfortunately, they're both weighted with cringe-worthy lines: "Did your hair get sick of you and leave?" she asks him; he wonders if only "Vagino-Americans" can apply for the nanny job.

They're not alone in silly attempts at "edginess." When Ryder asks Mel's assistant, Rhonda, for basketball tips, she tells him snidely, "We Asian women are all about the Hoops."

It's a shame that "Melissa & Joey" isn't more about the laughs. It's far from unwatchable, and there's potential in its leads, if they're left to their own devices. It's also possible that this middle-of-the-road sitcom will hit nostalgic buttons in former "Sabrina" and "Blossom" fans. In the end, it's nice that Lawrence and Hart are getting work. On the other hand, the work ain't anything special. Whoa, indeed.

'HawthoRNe's' Vanessa Lengies didn't suspect her character was lesbian, either

(8/10/10) It's one thing for the viewers to be shocked by a character coming out, but it's another when the actress who plays the character had no suspicions that she was in her second season of playing a lesbian. That was the case for "HawthoRNe's" Vanessa Lengies, who plays Kelly Epson.

When I read it, I was like, 'Really? I didn't picture that,'" Lengies, 25, tells Zap2it. "But, it's so fantastic that I didn't picture that and that it seems so unexpected."

There was some elegance in the way that Kelly came out. It was just a statement to a teen patient who was struggling with her own sexuality. Kelly told the patient she was lesbian to help her see that she wasn't alone. She then returned to her duties, just another nurse at James River Hospital, who saw no need to talk about her sexuality until that very moment.

"Again, another thing I like about what 'HawthoRNe' does - it brings awareness," Lengies tells us. "It's like you know what? No one has to be a screaming lesbian or a screaming gay person. You don't have to be so on-the-nose for every character you see on TV. People who play a gay or lesbian don't have to be stereotypes of what society deems if you're gay."

Lengies' character hasn't had an easy time of it on the show and after she went through the traumatic experience of a baby's death, she was ready to throw in the towel. In the second season, Kelly decided to come back with a new take on life and she has faced her fear head on by becoming a pediatric nurse.

"I think my character is Season 1 didn't really understand what it would take to be a nurse fulltime," says Lengies. "It seemed like she learned all that she needed to know in all the schoolbooks she had read. And then once she was faced with a real life situation, she really didn't handle it well. She was very timid and totally overwhelmed. This year is different. She has grown some balls."

Of course, Lengies knows that when one plays a gay character, it can be like walking on thin ice. Thankfully, she has the approval of a very important focus group.

"I just think it's an interesting storyline and I like the way they approached it," she tells us. "And, all my gay friends love it, too. They're like, 'Welcome to our side!' and I'm like, 'Thank you for having me.'"

Dick Clark has time for fans at dinner

(8/7/10) Dick Clark still has time for his fans. The wheelchair-bound TV legend arrived at NYC hot spot Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel the other night for dinner with his wife, Kari Wigton. During the meal, staff kept guests clamoring for autographs away from Clark. But a spy told us that once 80-year-old Clark noticed, he invited the fans over to chat. Clark, a neighbor of the Midtown rooftop lounge, dined on Kobe burgers, which he paired with a glass of milk with ice.

Melissa & Joey

(7/20/10) The new ABC Family original comedy series, "Melissa & Joey," starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence in a modern-day "Who's the Boss"-esque sitcom, debuts Tuesday, Aug. 17 with back-to-back original episodes at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

'Drop Dead Diva': 'Hellcats' Gail O'Grady brings the mean

(7/1/10) Could Jane (Brooke Elliot) have found her match in "NYPD Blue" grad and "Hellcats" star, Gail O'Grady?

According to Fancast, O'Grady will face off with the reincarnated attorney this summer on Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva."

In the August 29 episode, O'Grady plays the mom of a 16-year-old girl who's being sued for "cyber-bullying." While Jane tries to take her daughter down for the charge, O'Grady will be shooting her dirty looks and claim her daughter's actions are covered under the right to free speech.

With Jane finding more of her feelings from her "pre-switch" life coming back to her, we think we'll find out that the original Jane was bullied once herself. What do you think?

Grady, who has been nominated for an Emmy three times, will appear this fall in The CW's new pilot, "Hellcats," as Marti's (Aly Michalka) immature mom.

Daytime Emmys 2010: Dick Clark's touching tribute

(6/28/10) Legendary host of "American Bandstand" Dick Clark was honored at the 2010 Daytime Emmys. His sort-of protege Ryan Seacrest gave a heartfelt introduction and then a plethora of stars were both on-hand to perform or had pre-taped a message.

The live performances by the Spinners, Chubby Checker, Marie Osmond and the cast of "Jersey Boys" were incredibly fun. Each artist did one of their own songs -- "Jersey Boys" did a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song -- and then after the video messages, the group performed Barry Manilow's hit and the "American Bandstand" theme song, "Bandstand Boogie."

Video messages came in from Garth Brooks, Simon Cowell, Cher and Manilow himself, followed by Ryan Seacrest speaking with Dick Clark out in the audience. Clark, who was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and suffered a stroke in 2003, gave a small speech, though one could tell that speech is difficult for him. It was a touching tribute.

Starz Acquires Torchwood

(6/7/10) Starz has acquired the U.S. television rights to BBC's hit franchise Torchwood, the cable channel announced Monday.

A new 10-episode season will debut exclusively on Starz in the U.S. and on BBC One in the U.K. during summer 2011. Past seasons of Torchwood have aired in the U.S. on BBC America.

Cast members from the previous versions of Torchwood — including John Barrowman (Capt. Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper) — will return for the new version. Russell T. Davies, who created the Doctor Who spin-off in 2006, will serve as the showrunner.

The new series will tell a more global story of a team that investigates alien incidents on Earth.

Starz also recently announced a new 10-part series, Camelot, starring Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green.

Daytime Emmys honoring Dick Clark

(5/19/10) The Daytime Emmy Awards will honor "American Bandstand" and host Dick Clark as part of its primetime telecast on CBS next month.

Cher, Barry Manilow, Garth Brooks, Marie Osmond, Ann-Margret, Frankie Avalon, the Spinners, Jay Leno and Simon Cowell will salute the 80-year-old television icon during the June 27 ceremony in Las Vegas.

Clark, often dubbed "America's oldest teenager," turned the Philadelphia-based dance show "American Bandstand" into one of the biggest shows in television history. He went on to build a vast media empire, but has kept a low profile since suffering a stroke in 2004.

CBS Fridays - Fall 2010

(5/19/10) 8:00-9:00 PM - MEDIUM
9:00-10:00 PM - CSI: NY
10:00-11:00 PM - BLUE BLOODS

BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is the New York Chief of Police and patriarch of the Reagan brood, which he heads as diplomatically as he does the force, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry (Len Cariou), during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), a seasoned detective, family man and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie (Will Estes) is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family's "golden boy." However, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop, a career change seemingly supported by his beautiful girlfriend, Sydney Davenport (Dylan Moore), a first year lawyer. Jamie's life takes an abrupt turn, however, when he's asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family's legacy. Emmy Award winners Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green and Leonard Goldberg are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.

ABC Family Sets Premiere for Melissa & Joey

(5/17/10) ABC Family's new original series, Melissa & Joey, will premiere Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 8/7c, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively. The series stars Melissa Joan Hart as a politician who hires a "manny" (Joey Lawrence) to take care of her niece, Lennox (Taylor Spreitler), and nephew, Ryder (Nick Robinson), after her sister winds up in jail. It marks the second project in as many years for the former child stars. After their TV movie My Fake Fiance shattered ratings for the network last year, ABC Family developed the sitcom with Hart and Lawrence in mind.

'Melissa & Joey' heat up ABC Family summer schedule

(3/29/10) August - "Melissa & Joey" premieres - The half-hour comedy centers on a Mel (Hart), a former wild child who has followed in her family's footsteps and become a politician. When she's suddenly saddled with her sister's kids -- teenager niece Lennox and pre-adolescent nephew Ryder -- following a scandal, she must turn to Joe (Lawrence), who moves in and becomes their "manny."

Pilot News

(3/23/10) The multi-generational cop pilot starring Tom Selleck as Michael, the chief of police, has added Will Estes and Bridget Moynahan to the ever-growing cast. Estes will play his son Jamie, while Moynahan will play the assistant district attorney daughter.

Joey Lawrence Compares New ABC Family Role to "Bruce Willis In His Prime"

(3/19/10) Former teen idol Joey Lawrence is getting ready for his new ABC Family sitcom with co-star Melissa Joan Hart, and the Blossom alum hopes the two can "tap back into the same magic" from the duo's recent hit television movie My Fake Fiancé.

"When the movie worked, ABC came to us immediately after that, like literally a week after, and asked if we would be into doing a series together," says Lawrence. "I hadn't done a half-hour series in a long time, but I said I like Mel and would do it if we could do something that's really good. And they wanted it on the fast track because they want to cash in on the heat of our movie, so everything has seemed to fall into place."

Based on the extremely detailed plot description of Melissa & Joey and the excitement in his voice during a TVGuide.com interview, it's clear Lawrence is quite eager for his new role as an ex-commodities trader who loses everything in a Ponzi scheme and winds up living with the daughter of a politician and her two teenagers.

"You could really see someone like Bruce Willis in his prime playing this role. It's that arrogant guy that you should hate, but for some reason is really likable," he says.

The premise of a man moving in with a single mother of two children has been compared to Who's the Boss?, but Lawrence says this guy is no Tony Danza.

"He's not doing any cleaning or anything like that," says Lawrence. "In his mind, he's only doing this very temporarily and is always on the Internet looking for jobs. It's a pit stop for this guy — or so it seems."

The closest the 33-year-old Hart (Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) and Lawrence ever came to working together before was burying a time capsule together at Disney World in 1993 with videos of their respective shows — on VHS tapes. Remember those?

"When it comes up on the 20-year mark, they're going to want us to open it, and that's coming up in three years. It's crazy to think that was '93," says Lawrence, 33. "It's so bizarre to think that 1990 was 20 years ago. I hate it!"

Other than his new sitcom gig, Lawrence has another ABC Family movie on the way titled My Mr. Everything — and a new music album, his first in 10 years.

"Music is a passion of mine, and we had a lot of success on it 15 years ago," he says.

Lawrence says the pop album is inspired by a diverse group of musicians including George Michael and Michael Jackson. It's being shopped to different labels.

In the meantime, let us all take a moment to look back on Lawrence in his 1993 music video for "Nothin' My Love Can't Give." Click here to watch it.

Brittany Snow joins David E. Kelley pilot

(3/8/10) Brittany Snow has landed a lead on David E. Kelley's NBC dramedy pilot "Kindreds," while Sarah Wynter has joined ABC's dramedy pilot "Cutthroat."

"Kindreds" follows a curmudgeonly former patent lawyer (Bates) and her group of misfit associates at a storefront law firm. Snow, repped by ICM and Brillstein, will play her assistant and a key member of the firm.

"Cutthroat" centers on Nina Cabrera (Sanchez), an upscale Beverly Hills widow and soccer mom who runs an international drug cartel.

Wynter, repped by Paradigm and Mosaic, will play a Hollywood mom whose life is in shambles.

Pilot News

(3/8/10) Former Disney Channel star Aly Michalka and Gail O'Grady ("NYPD Blue," "American Dreams") will star in The CW's "Hellcats," about a college student (Michalka) who joins her school's cheerleading team to help pay her tuition. O'Grady will play her irresponsible mom.

Joey Lawrence Welcomes Second Daughter

(3/4/10) It's a girl for Joey Lawrence and wife Chandi Yawn-Nelson, who welcomed their second daughter on Thursday.

Liberty Grace Lawrence weighed in at 6 lbs., 8 oz, the actor's rep tells PEOPLE. Liberty joins big sister Charleston, 3 ½.

The couple announced the pregnancy in November, sharing the baby's name at the same time. In explaining their choices, Lawrence, 33, remarked that “Liberty is something I’ve always loved,” while Grace is in honor of his grandmother, who passed away last year.

Yawn-Nelson's due date had been Apr. 3.

Virginia Madsen to play criminal mom in ABC series

(2/3/10) Virginia Madsen will play the lead role in ABC's comedic drama series "Scoundrels," which is set for an eight-episode run in the summer.

Based on the New Zealand series "Outrageous Fortune," it centers on the matriarch (Madsen) of a family of criminals who decides that it's time for her brood to go straight after her husband is sentenced to a long prison term.

Catherine O'Hara played the role in ABC's first attempt to remake the series, the 2008 pilot "Good Behavior."

Madsen, who received an Oscar nomination five years ago for her supporting role in "Sideways," recently had a recurring role on the final season of "Monk."

Melissa Joan Hart, Joey Lawrence Reunite for Sitcom

(2/2/10) Former teen stars Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence are returning to the small screen in a new ABC Family sitcom.

The aptly titled Melissa & Joey will star the Sabrina the Teenage Witch actress as a politician who hires a manny (Lawrence) to care for her niece and nephew when her sister winds up in jail. The half-hour sitcom was developed with the actors in mind after their ABC Family original movie, My Fake Fiance, shattered ratings records for the network last year.

Hart and Lawrence, both 33 (they were born two days apart!), have both appeared on Dancing with the Stars. Hart placed ninth last season, while the ex-Blossom star finished third in Season 3.

Melissa & Joey will premiere later this year.

Dick Clark is still having a ball on New Year's Eve in New York

(12/29/09) America's oldest teenager, Dick Clark, actually turned 80 in November. Despite lingering effects from a stroke in 2004, the former American Bandstand host will be back to roll in the new year on ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2010.

Q: How are you feeling these days, and how does the stroke affect your life?

A: I'm feeling fine, though the stroke has slowed me down and made it difficult for me to walk and talk.

Q: You just turned 80. Is it still as thrilling to usher in the new year as it was when you began hosting the show?

A: It's always an exciting evening when we bring in the new year at Times Square. In the early days, the crew consisted of the cameraman, stage manager and my wife. We stood on top of a building with a ladder. These days several hundred people are employed, and the live Times Square coverage is quite an extravaganza!

Q: What are your rituals for before the show?

A: I usually spend the day reading all the newspapers for a summary of the year's events and doing interviews ... then have a light supper at home. My favorite routine is our little after-telecast get-together for a hamburger and beer at my favorite New York pub, P.J. Clarke's, where I've been going since I was too young for a beer.

Q: What's your favorite anecdote about hosting the New Year's Eve show?

A: The year that the crew in front of me was paying no attention to what I was doing on camera. They were giggling and laughing throughout my comments about the crowd below. When we went off camera, they said, "Turn around." There, high above Times Square in an office window, were several naked celebrants enjoying the New Year's excitement in their own way.

Q: The economy has been in the doldrums, and unemployment remains stubbornly high. What's the effect on celebrations at times like these?

A: Though times are tough, it doesn't seem to have an impact on the spirits of the hundreds of thousands of people gathering to watch the traditional ball drop at midnight. Times Square is still the place to be on New Year's Eve.

Q: Do you make any New Year's resolutions? What are yours for 2010?

A: I avoid making New Year's resolutions, since I inevitably fail to fulfill them.

Q: Will you be back to help host for 2011?

A: I still haven't made up my mind. I still enjoy the honor of sharing in so many people's annual celebration. I wish my delivery was crisp and clean, but due to my stroke I'm happy that Ryan Seacrest now carries the heavier load.

I do the best I can and have been encouraged to continue because I hear it serves to inspire many others.

JENNIFER LOPEZ TO PERFORM LIVE FROM TIMES SQUARE

(12/16/09) Jennifer Lopez and Daughtry will perform live from Times Square – the crossroads of the world -- on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010” on Thursday December 31st on ABC. Daughtry will perform four songs live, and Jennifer Lopez will sing her hits live from Times Square just before the ball drops. In addition, the shows will feature performances from Las Vegas’ new venue, Aria at City Center, including The Black Eyed Peas, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Keri Hilson, Colbie Caillat, Orianthi and Robin Thicke.

“Good Morning America” special correspondent, the just-married Melissa Rycroft, will join the celebration reporting live on the evening’s festivities in and around Times Square.

Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest will host the specials beginning at 10:00 p.m., ET on Thursday, December 31st on ABC from New York. Singer/ songwriter Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas returns to host the Las Vegas-based party portions of the specials.

“The Times Square performances will be special in bringing the live crowd together with millions of viewers at home to celebrate the New Year in a rockin’ way,” said Larry Klein, producer of the specials.

The bi-coastal celebration will include three and one-half hours of special performances and reports on New Year’s celebrations from around the globe, as well as the American tradition of Dick Clark counting down to midnight from Times Square in New York city.

The festivities will kick off with “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010” from10:00-11:00 p.m., ET, featuring performances live from New York’s Times Square and performances from Las Vegas.

During “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010, Part 1” (11:30 p.m. - 1:05 a.m., ET), in addition to reporting on the final minutes of 2009 and the traditional Times Square countdown to midnight, the show will feature music performances from both Las Vegas and Times Square in New York.

Wrapping the night’s activities will be “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010, Part 2” (1:05-2:05 a.m., ET), when musical acts will continue the party into the early hours of the New Year with additional performances from Las Vegas.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010

(12/7/09) For the 38th consecutive year, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010” will lead America into the New Year when Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest host specials beginning at 10:00 p.m., ET on Thursday, December 31 on the ABC Television Network. Singer/songwriter Fergie of the Black-Eyed Peas returns to host the Las Vegas-based party portions of the specials. The Vegas lineup includes performances by The Black Eyed Peas, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Keri Hilson, Colbie Caillat, Robin Thicke and Orianthi. Performers and the correspondent from Times Square will be announced closer to airdate.

The bi-coastal celebration will include three and one-half hours of special performances and reports on New Year’s celebrations from around the globe, as well as the American tradition of Dick Clark counting down to midnight from Times Square in New York city.

The festivities will kick off with “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010” from10:00-11:00 p.m., ET, featuring performances live from New York’s Times Square and performances from Las Vegas.

During “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010, Part 1” (11:30 p.m. - 1:05 a.m., ET), in addition to reporting on the final minutes of 2009 and the traditional Times Square countdown to midnight, the show will feature music performances from both Las Vegas and Times Square in New York.

Wrapping the night’s activities will be “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2010, Part 2” (1:05-2:05 a.m., ET), when musical acts will continue the party into the early hours of the New Year with additional performances from Las Vegas.

Orly Adelson, President of dick clark productions, and Larry Klein, producer of the specials, said: “2010 will be an exciting year in music, and we are celebrating the beginning of the new year with a packed lineup featuring today’s best artists and some talented newcomers to the scene.”

Joey Lawrence, Wife Expecting Second Daughter

(11/13/09) Whoa, baby!

Joey Lawrence and his wife Chandi Yawn-Nelson are expecting their second child, the actor tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Due April 3, the baby will be another girl, joining "very excited" big sister Charleston, 3 ½.

"I am Estrogen Man," laughs Lawrence. "I'm from a family of all boys, and when I told my best friend Dave that my wife and I were having a second girl, he said, 'Look at you, my best buddy Estrogen Man!'"

The latest addition to the Lawrence family will be named Liberty Grace, the actor shares. The first name "is something I've always loved," Lawrence, 33, explains, while Grace is in honor of his grandmother, who passed away earlier this year.

While they're awaiting Liberty's arrival, Lawrence and wife Chandie – whom he wed in July 2005 – will be working with the Hot Moms Club to design their dream nursery. It will appear in Pregnancy magazine next year, along with a giveaway of a matching nursery.

"I liked the idea of, 'Let's do something and let's give something away,'" the Dancing With the Stars alum notes.

Back to Work

The actor will be keeping busy on the work front as well, with two projects in the pipeline this winter.

First up is a new ABC Family show Lawrence will also be executive producing, costarring Melissa Joan Hart. "This is my return to half-hour comedy," the former Blossom star tells PEOPLE. "It's about two characters forced into each other's lives – the classic 'I hate you, now I'm going to fall in love with you.'"

With filming beginning later this month, the as-yet untitled show will air next summer.

Additionally, Lawrence will be traveling to Calgary in February to film My Mr. Everything, a TV movie he developed and describes as "along the lines of The Proposal." Working with Wedding Crashers producer Andrew Panay, the actor expects the film to be ready for a holiday 2010 release on ABC Family.

ABC Family green-lights pair of comedy pilots

(10/1/09) ABC Family has green-lighted two comedy pilots, one starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence and the other hailing from "Boy Meets World" creator Michael Jacobs.

In the untitled Hart-Lawrence multicamera project, the "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" star will play Hailey, a political dynasty wild-child-turned-politician who takes in her teenage niece and pre-adolescent nephew when her sister goes to prison and her brother-in-law flees. She turns for help to Jack (Lawrence), who, desperate for a job, moves in and becomes the family's "nanny."

Bob Young and David Kendall wrote the script.

The second pilot, an untitled single-camera project written by Jacobs, examines parenting philosophies. It centers on a young father, recently laid off from his architecture firm, who begins to mentor his underdog middle daughter, while his veterinarian wife shares a closer bond with their Type A older daughter.

Both pilots will film this fall in Los Angeles.

Showbiz mogul Dick Clark under harsh spotlight in documentary

(9/24/09) As ailing showbiz mogul Dick Clark prepares to celebrate his 80th birthday in November, a new documentary threatens to tarnish his image by recounting his controversial beginnings.

"Wages of Spin," a project that took independent filmmaker Shawn Swords almost four years to make, focuses on Clark's early days in the 1950s as the host of "American Bandstand," the iconic TV show in which teenagers danced to songs lip-synced by some of the biggest pop stars of the day.

The show, which was must-see TV for millions of youngsters every week day between 1957 and 1963, gave artists a national platform that was unavailable elsewhere. It accordingly made Clark one of the most powerful figures in the music industry since the wholesome TV star decided who appeared on the show.

A congressional probe in 1960 revealed that Clark had interests in dozens of companies that could profit from "American Bandstand," including labels, record-pressing plants, and a talent-management firm.

He denied taking "payola" -- kickbacks in exchange for airplay. But the probe learned that he has been assigned the copyrights to at least 143 compositions, including such monster hits as "Sixteen Candles" and "At the Hop." Such songs received preferential treatment on the show. Payola was not illegal then, and is barely regulated today.

Moreover, Clark demanded that the young performers turn over to his own company the union-mandated fees that they received for their appearances, saying that the low-budget show could not afford to make such payouts.

"He's definitely an alpha villain," Swords said in a recent interview. "I'm not saying this man was consummately malevolent, just his business practices and the depth of his avarice and self-enrichment. I really think the man's place in pop music history needs to be re-evaluated."

CAREERS CAME AT A COST

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, he is probably best known as the host of TV game shows and of the annual "Dick Clark Rockin' New Year's Eve" special. He also produced various awards shows, like the American Music Awards.

"American Bandstand" ran in various forms for 37 years, becoming the longest-running musical-variety program.

The documentary features interviews with pop stars, "Bandstand" dancers, associates and industry experts, many of whom profess mixed emotions about Clark. They owed him their careers, but at a very high cost.

It also shows newsreel footage from the congressional investigation. Clark impressed the star-struck lawmakers, who failed to come up with any damaging evidence against him, and they let him off with slap on the wrist. He was required to divest his music-industry holdings, and he used the funds to set up a publicly traded film and TV production company that he sold in 2002 for $140 million.

"This is a kingdom that was built on ill-gotten gains," Swords said.

Clark appears at the end of the film, via an archival clip in which he tersely denies that he ever took any money to play records, but "every single way you can think of, I made money from that show."

Swords said he had no qualms about making a documentary about a man who has rarely been seen in public since suffering what was described as "a minor stroke" in 2004. While it would have been good to get fresh commentary from him, Swords did not want Clark's ailment to make him appear sympathetic.

"And the other thing is, I don't think he would be candid," Swords added. "He's always been evasive when questioned about his involvement with payola. He's not going to tell you the truth about what happened."

A spokesman for Clark declined to comment.

Swords does evoke sympathy for one of Clark's victims, rockabilly guitarist Charlie Gracie, who enjoyed a big hit in 1957 with the song "Butterfly." Gracie sued his Cameo Records label to recover unpaid royalties, and subsequently found himself blacklisted from "American Bandstand" and radio stations.

It emerged that Clark had a financial arrangement with Cameo, the documentary said, which had paid him $14,000 for unspecified services related to "Butterfly." Gracie, subsequently revered by the likes of Graham Nash, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, slipped into obscurity.

"It's a pretty loathsome industry, the record industry," Swords said. "It always has been."

Sightings

(7/18/09) HEROES WELCOME: Milo Ventimiglia, helping Pink is the New Blog's Trent Vanegas celebrate his birthday at Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge at L.A. Live.

Sightings

(7/6/09) OUT OF SMOKE: Kevin Connolly, Brittany Snow and Jessica Stroup, "puffing" on a SmokeStik to kick their cigarette habits at the SoBe Lifewater 4th of July Party at Santa Monica's Shangri-La Hotel.

CW pinpoints narrow audience with possible 'Gossip' spinoff

(5/10/09) Monday's Gossip Girl (8 ET/PT) flashes back to 1983 to set up a proposed spinoff centering on the turbulent teen years of Lily Rhodes. But CW executives probably wish they could flash back to the heady years of predecessor WB, a young-viewer magnet in its heyday a decade ago.

CW, which replaced both WB and UPN in fall 2006, has struggled to build an identity, and only a year ago was the subject of industry speculation it might shut down.

It survived, but in a retrenchment, it dropped wrestling — its No. 2 show — last fall, will stop airing comedies next season, and last week confirmed plans to pull the plug on its Sunday lineup, where it had never found an audience.

With Next Top Model as its top series, CW is now laser-focused on a narrow audience: women 18 to 34. Shows such as One Tree Hilland Gossip Girl found buzz, if not ratings, by appealing to that crowd and setting trends in music and fashion. And a remake of Beverly Hills,90210 premiered strongly last fall, though its ratings have since dropped by more than 60%.

"We found that this was white space where (that audience) wasn't spoken to specifically, certainly not in the broadcast arena," says CW chief Dawn Ostroff. Yet only one in five of CW's viewers falls into that category, and CW — like WB — is still perceived as a network for teenage girls, the subjects of many of its shows.

With on-the-bubble Privileged looking increasingly likely to survive, the Gossip Girl spinoff is one of six dramas being considered for three available time slots on the network's weekday lineup. Though a Hollywood website last week pronounced the project "dead," Nancy Tellem, a top executive at CW parent CBS, which owns the network with Warner Bros., says the show is "definitely still a contender."

Producers have been asked for a spinoff since Gossip began in fall 2007, "but we only wanted to do it if it was an idea that stood on its own," says co-creator Stephanie Savage. "We didn't want to diminish Gossip Girl by taking any of the actors away, and we didn't want to shoot in contemporary New York City." Plus, says partner Josh Schwartz, there was always "the fear that spinoffs could be lame."

But they zeroed in on the idea of doing an "origin" story about teenage Lily (Brittany Snow) and her wayward sister, Carol (Krysten Ritter), "a prequel where you could seed characters in one world and have them reappear in the future" in the other, Schwartz says.

Juggling past and present — the prequel and Gossip's prom in Monday's episode — is "probably what they go through every week on Lost, but it was the single hardest hour of TV we've ever done."

Other dramas vying for spots next season are a sure-bet reboot of 90210 spinoff Melrose Place; The Vampire Diaries, based (like Gossip Girl) on another teen book series; The Beautiful Life, about the "flip side" of life among glamorous models, designed as a Top Model companion; Light Years, about a teen who seeks out her biological parents; and Body Politic, about a young congressional aide in Washington. (CW's new schedule will be announced May 21.)

Overall, CW's audience is small, averaging just 2 million viewers, down from 2.6 million last season. (Last month it ranked behind cable's USA, Fox News, Disney and TNT.) And among women 18 to 34, it claims just 400,000 viewers, down from 601,000 two years ago.

Analysts say that the narrow programming strategy reduces chances for growth: With rival broadcasters' viewership all averaging 40 or older, "it seems like an opportunity to broaden to women and men," says Steve Sternberg, analyst at ad firm Magna Global USA.

But Tellem says that the target audience is "very appealing to advertisers," and that the network has proved a "valuable launching pad for creating assets for CBS and Warner Bros.," enabling them to profit by selling buzzworthy shows overseas. CW series also are favorites on iTunes, streamed on the Web and watched on DVRs, so ratings "are not truly reflective of how these programs are being watched."

Problem is, that extra viewing doesn't translate into financial success for CW. "What we're looking at is building our brand, building an audience and building a destination for women," Ostroff says. "How that gets monetized, everyone will figure out in the next few years."

Virginia Madsen was 'actively looking' for horror

(5/8/09) Gossip Girl Spinoff Lily Dead at CW? Not So Fast... Attention Brittany Snow (ex-Susan, GL) fans: Don't panic. The news is not as dire as you've heard.

Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that the Gossip Girl spinoff (which we lovingly but inaccurately call Lily) is "dead" at the CW. Could it be true? Could Lily already be off the list of contenders for CW's fall season before we've seen the backdoor pilot (sneak peeks notwithstanding)?

The official word from the CW is "no comment," but here's what insiders are telling us right now:

"Nothing is dead," says a source close to the network. What's that mean? That means the CW programmers are still making their decisions, and everything, including Lily, is still under consideration.

The problem for all of the CW pilots this year is that with Privileged likely to get a pickup (yay for Rina Mimoun!), there are only three spots left in the CW's 10-hours-a-week schedule for new shows. (Gossip Girl, 90210, Supernatural, Smallville, One Tree Hill and America's Next Top Model have all already been ordered for next year.) Throw in the new Melrose Place (which seems to be a virtual certainty), and you've got just two holes left to fill.

Lily may indeed be fighting for one of those two slots against the likes of Mischa Barton's The Beautiful Life and Vampire Diaries, but it's not out of the running yet.

So what's the good news for us fans of Snow and her onscreen sister Krysten Ritter? Lily has a lot going for it, including that crackerjack cast, the publicity that comes with anything associated with Gossip Girl, and the nearly irresistible idea of pairing it with the mothership on Monday nights for a block of Josh Schwartz/Stephanie Savage-produced goodness.

Do you want a Gossip Girl spinoff? Or are you waiting until you see what they do with the Lily flashback on Monday's episode, airing 8 p.m. on the CW?

Virginia Madsen was 'actively looking' for horror

(3/30/09) Virginia Madsen is not afraid of the dark. In fact, she craves it.

The Oscar nominee and go-to actress for independent films says she was "actively looking" for a horror movie when she came upon "The Haunting in Connecticut."

The scare flick came in second this weekend with $23 million at the box office. "Haunting" is supposedly based on the true story of a family that moves into a former mortuary.

The one thing you can't deny, she says, is that "something enormous and frightening happened to this family."

Madsen herself says she's a true believer.

She explains: "As far as ghosts and the paranormal, something is happening to millions of people around the world, and you can't just write it all off as imagination."

Brittany Snow to headline 'Gossip Girl' spin-off

(2/27/09) Brittany Snow, the former American Dreams ingénue has emerged as the front-runner for the role of young Lily in The CW's forthcoming Gossip Girl spin-off. According to sources, Snow is in advanced negotiations to headline the GG offshoot, which will be set in Los Angeles and chronicle the teen years of Kelly Rutherford's alter ego. Snow joins a cast that includes Krysten Ritter (as Lily's older sis) and Jericho's Shilo Fernandez (as brooding valley punk). The backdoor pilot will air May 11 as part of a regular Gossip Girl episode. The show is considered a lock to land on The CW's fall schedule.

Hayden Panettiere & Milo Ventimiglia Split

(2/17/09) Heroes stars Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere have ended their relationship, PEOPLE has learned.

"They lead different lifestyles. He's 31, she's 19. She still has growing up to do and he's very low-key," a source close to the couple tells PEOPLE. "The relationship never seemed like it had legs."

The couple, who spent part of 2007 trying to hide their relationship, is still on amicable terms, another source says.

Reps for both actors would not comment.

BET nabs small-screen rights to "Dough Boys"

(1/4/09) BET has acquired broadcast rights to "Dough Boys," the debut film from Preston Whitmore's Give Back Raise Up Program, through which he finances and produces low-budget pictures showcasing newcomers in front of and behind the camera.

"It's hard to find someone that'll believe in you enough to put money up to back your dreams," first-time director Nicholas Harvell said. "Preston didn't just talk about it, he did it."

The film, which follows four troubled city youths and the poor choices they make, was written by Wilmore. It stars Arlen Escarpeta ("Friday the 13th"), Cory Hardrict ("Gran Torino," "He's Just Not That Into You"), Maurice McRae ("The King"), Lorenzo Eduardo ("The Hammer"), Wood Harris ("The Wire") and Sticky Fingaz ("Blade, "Doing Hard Time").

Paramount Home Video will distribute the DVD.

Whitmore wrote, produced and directed "This Christmas," starring Delroy Lindo, Chris Brown, Idris Elba and Loretta Divine.

Sighting

(1/2/09) Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia, picking up gift wrap and ribbon at the Container Store in Manhattan before the holidays. "They looked very happy and smiley together," a source says. "Milo even carried the bags out for Hayden."

Dick Clark still rockin' New Year's Eve

(12/30/08) Four years after a stroke, Dick Clark is relishing the prospect of another New Year's Eve celebration, determined to appear for his 36th year in Times Square.

And he's hardly surprised by the current state of the music industry he helped build - he predicted this, after all.

Clark, who turned 79 last month and has been in front of the cameras for 61 years, said in a recent interview by e-mail that his involvement in "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009," is a labour of love and "not really a job."

"Obviously, I'm not able to be as actively involved as I used to be out on the street, up on a platform and interacting with the crowds in Times Square" in New York, Clark wrote.

"Thank goodness my friend Ryan Seacrest is able to handle that end of the activity on the show these days.

ABC's 3 1/2-hour live extravaganza will include performances by Natasha Bedingfield, Fall Out Boy, Jesse McCartney, Ne-Yo, Pussycat Dolls, Solange and Robin Thicke. Fergie hosts the Hollywood segments.

Clark woke up with right-side paralysis on Dec. 6, 2004.

"Your life changes overnight," he said. Clark still uses a walker or wheelchair, and speaking is difficult.

"I am one of the fortunate ones who survived and have been minimally impaired, so I'm just thankful I'm still able to enjoy this once-a-year treat of bringing in the New Year."

The "American Bandstand" icon and longtime producer of the American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and Golden Globes has long considered them "my television kids."

He's also watched their ratings plummet in recent years.

"There was a time when they attracted a huge audience," Clark wrote. "The audiences have dropped off as the years have gone by because of increasing television competition.

"What we are seeing is more and more talent and less emphasis on people getting awards. Television's award shows have now become gigantic showcases for variety."

Clark was there at the birth of rock n' roll ("American Bandstand" kicked off July 9, 1956), and he's watched dramatic changes in the music industry. Not that those changes would come as much of a surprise.

"I can remember writing an article several years ago where I let my imagination run wild," Clark wrote. "I said we'd see the day when music is delivered directly to our homes, and delivered to us in some form of wireless communication.

"The fun of actually holding a record in our hands will disappear and we'll all have our own individual library of our favourite songs that we'll listen to at home, at work, in the car wherever we happen to go."

These days, Clark divides his time between his Malibu home and Burbank office. There's an hour-long therapy session each morning, then he answers mail and phone calls, attends meetings and reads.

The day ends with his devoted wife Kari.

"My wife and I may join friends for dinner at a restaurant, attend a movie or just grab a bite to eat by ourselves away from home," Clark wrote.

"Occasionally, we'll attend a music concert. Recently we've seen Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Frankie Valli and Cher."

Dick Clark orders "Chicken Soup" for small screen

(12/3/08) Dick Clark Prods. has inked a deal with Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing to develop an unscripted TV series based on the best-selling books to be co-hosted by book series co-creator Jack Canfield.

"Now more than ever, there is a desire for uplifting, positive and inspiring themes, and the 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' books are the perfect embodiment of this," DCP president Orly Adelson said.

The "Chicken Soup" franchise has sold more than 112 million copies.

Nominees for the 2009 People's Choice Awards

(11/10/08) This year's ceremony will air on CBS on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

FAVORITE STAR 35 & UNDER
Amy Adams
Drew Barrymore
Beyonce
Orlando Bloom
Chris Brown
Chace Crawford
Miley Cyrus
Leonardo DiCaprio
Zac Efron
America Ferrara
Ryan Gosling
Jake Gyllenhaal
Anne Hathaway
Scarlett Johansson
Angelina Jolie
Alicia Keys
Keira Knightley
John Krasinski
Shia LaBeouf
Blake Lively
John Mayer
Eva Mendes
Daniel Radcliffe
Rihanna
Taylor Swift
Justin Timberlake
Carrie Underwood
Usher
Milo Ventimiglia
Pete Wentz
Kanye West
Reese Witherspoon

DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE

(11/10/08) "DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2009" AIRS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31 LIVE ON ABC

Fergie Will Host West Coast Party and Perform; Kellie Pickler is Times Square Correspondent

For the 37th consecutive year, "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009" will lead America into the New Year when Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest host specials starting at 10:00 p.m., ET, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31 on the ABC Television Network.

Singer/songwriter Fergie returns to perform and host the West Coast party portions of the specials, and for the first time country star Kellie Pickler will be the Times Square correspondent, reporting on other happenings in and around New York City. This year will include performances from both New York and Hollywood, and the American tradition of Dick Clark counting down to midnight will once again take place during the three-and-a-half hours of specials from Times Square in New York City.

The festivities will kick off with "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009" from10:00-11:00 p.m., ET, featuring performances live from New York's Times Square.

During "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009, Part 1" (11:35 p.m. - 1:05 a.m., ET), in addition to reporting on the final minutes of 2008 and the traditional Times Square countdown to midnight, the show will feature music performances from both Hollywood, California and Times Square in New York.

Wrapping the night's activities will be "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2009, Part 2" (1:05-2:05 a.m., ET), when musical acts will continue the party into the early hours of the New Year with additional performances from Hollywood.

Multi-platinum, three-time Grammy award-winning, international superstar Fergie, who joined The Black Eyed Peas in 2002, released her solo debut, "The Dutchess," in 2006. "The Dutchess," which spent an astounding 94 weeks on the Billboard 200 albums chart, sold over 6 million copies worldwide and achieved triple-platinum status in the United States. Its success was propelled by the hit singles "London Bridge," "Fergalicious" (#1), "Glamorous" (#1), "Big Girls Don't Cry" (#1), "Clumsy (#2)" and "Finally." Fergie is the first artist since Christina Aguilera (in 2000) to score three #1s from one album.

Singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler continues to entertain us since her debut on "American Idol" in 2006. Her first album sold more than 800,000 copies, and she made history with her self-titled, sophomore album upon its release in October this year, when she became only the sixth country artist to have her first two albums debut at #1 on the Billboard Country Album Chart. The multi-nominated and awarded Pickler's current single is "Best Days of Your Life," which she wrote her friend and fellow artist, Taylor Swift.

"New Year's Eve with Dick and Ryan is a time honored tradition and all of us at dcp and ABC are delighted that Fergie will once again host our West Coast event, and thrilled that Kellie Pickler will be amidst the revelry and party goers at Times Square," said Orly Adelson, president of dick clark productions.

Stars and politics meet on Madison Avenue

(10/27/08) These days, TV viewers can't seem to escape Virginia Madsen.

Madsen, who made a splash in movies like "Sideways" and "Candyman," has hit the airwaves to spread the word about a couple of seemingly disparate matters of interest to women -- encouraging them, via a public service announcement, to get involved in the political process, and selling them, via a highly visible multimedia campaign, on the benefits of a popular, wrinkle-combating drug.

Allergan, manufacturer of Botox, of which Madsen is the face, partnered with the League of Women Voters on an initiative called Freedom of Expression Through Film. Playing off the Botox tagline, the drugmaker calls the public-awareness campaign "dedicated to voter education and self-expression." Madsen played a major role. Beyond the PSA, the actress crisscrossed the country on a 10-city tour this summer on behalf of the 88-year-old nonpartisan League.

Fighting the effects of aging and inspiring political involvement would not seem to have much in common. But Madsen ties it all together. "It really is about the total woman," she said. "We're complicated creatures. There are so many aspects to us, so many different choices we have as women today with our bodies, our minds, beauty, brains -- and one of the most important choices we have this year is voting."

CELEBRITY POLITICS

In a historic political year in which celebrity has played a starring role -- from Oprah Winfrey and Paris Hilton to the megawatt impact of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin -- the Madsen-Allergan-League partnership made for an ingenious and increasingly common intersection of celebrity, politics and commerce. And with our celebrity-fixated electorate engaged in the pursuit for the White House like never before, it's no wonder advocacy groups, marketers and media brands have sought to cash in on that heavy consumer interest.

Another high-profile, celebrity-centered link-up encompassing politics, marketing and civic awareness was initiated by Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan voter-registration group founded by TV producer Norman Lear, a notable Hollywood liberal. Its eye-catching campaign to encourage voter involvement roped in young stars like America Ferrera, Zac Efron and Jessica Alba, whose arresting, duct-tape-bound image got tongues wagging when it rolled out a couple of weeks ago.

"The celebrity involvement this year is more intense, more visible and more pragmatic," said Declare Yourself executive director Marc Morgenstern. "They feel very strongly about this election -- it's not a casual thing. They're going out of their way to use their appeal to get out the youth vote."

Corporations jumping on the Declare Yourself bandwagon include American Eagle Outfitters, which marketed a Declare Yourself T-shirt, and Apple's iTunes, which featured an exclusive cover of Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" by Sean Kingston. "Working with partners like this gives us a bigger footprint, and that's critical," said Morgenstern, whose organization reports registering some 2 million voters since 2004, about 750,000 of them this election cycle.

CHEEKY CAMPAIGNS

While those examples had civic mindedness at their core, most brands have taken a cheekier approach. Unilever's politically themed iteration of the long-running "Axe Effect" campaign had Hillary Clinton donning both Obama and McCain buttons during the primaries. Another lighthearted entry was the "presidential campaign" of Captain Morgan, mascot of the Diageo rum brand, who made appearances at both political conventions after the marketer secured sponsorship rights.

Meanwhile, Miller High Life, a MillerCoors brand, had a beer delivery guy touting his "Common Sense Party" via the Web and appearances at sporting events and nightclubs. And the restaurant chain Denny's launched a "Vote for Real" contest seeking best look-alikes of the presidential candidates.

Flipping channels, it's evident the range of entertainment-media brands that have -- along with some of the marketers whose messages they carry -- aligned themselves with this year's presidential contest. Forerunner Comedy Central continues to break ratings records with its "Indecision 2008" coverage on "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." Following suit, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Lifetime, CMT, Spike and Logo have capitalized on the public's fascination with the campaign with dedicated programing, candidate debates, town halls, streaming video, user-generated content, even made-for-TV movies.

Rainbow Media's We cable network has made a voter-registration drive (goal: 1 million women) the center of its branding campaign, enlisting the likes of Geraldine Ferraro, former U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari and entertainers Kelly Ripa, Ricki Lake and LeAnn Rimes.

Sibling network IFC, which took only a toe-in-the-water approach in previous elections, this time rolled out news specials, audience polls, on-demand content, streaming video, primary and convention coverage and blogs. "We've never done anything of this magnitude before," says Evan Shapiro, president of IFC and the Sundance Channel.

Syndicated entertainment shows -- known more for chasing Britney Spears and Brangelina than for their political coverage -- also devoted more time to this star-studded election cycle. "Access Hollywood" found ratings gold with its interviews of Obama and his family.

"These politicians are the biggest stars out there right now," executive producer Rob Silverstein said.

For Hollywood stars to link with political causes and candidates is nothing new, of course. But that trend certainly seems to have hit a saturation level in 2008, with Winfrey's powerful endorsement of Obama as the tipping point. The question -- for the political parties marketing their name-brand candidates as well as brands and nonpartisan groups aiming to take advantage of the spotlight -- remains: Is a celebrity's involvement good, bad or inconsequential?

A cause or a campaign with a big-time star on its side can most assuredly raise money, draw crowds and generate buzz, but there can be a downside. "If you use celebrities in your campaign, you'll be tarred as an elitist," said Howard Bragman, CEO of the public relations firm Fifteen Minutes and author of the forthcoming "Where's My Fifteen Minutes?"

Darrell West, political science professor at Brown University and author of "Celebrity Politics," thinks that at the end of the day, celebrities have little real influence. "There's not a lot of evidence, historically, to show that celebrity endorsement has an impact on how people vote," he said. "Most people in middle America and elsewhere look to celebrities for entertainment, not for advice on presidential politics."

'Ex' is spot for TV, film up-and-comer

(10/3/08) At 17, Rachel Boston was fearlessly independent.

She packed her bags, went to the airport in Chattanooga, Tenn., and bought a one-way ticket to New York City to begin her acting career.

“I looked around in New York and didn’t know one person in the entire city,” says Boston, realizing how imposing that was.

Almost 10 years later, Boston is making her mark. She co-stars in the comedy “The Ex List” at 9 p.m. Fridays on CBS.

The series stars Elizabeth Reaser as Bella Bloom, a woman searching for her romantic destiny. Boston plays Daphne, Bella’s happily married sister.

In many ways, Daphne’s self-assured ways echo Boston’s confidence. But unlike Daphne, Boston is single.

The star, 26, attended New York University and did voiceovers and dog-watching to make ends meet.

After graduation, she moved to Hollywood and auditioned for NBC’s “American Dreams.” Her first big break, she was on it from 2002 to 2005. Later, she landed bit parts on “The Closer,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

She was shooting the upcoming film “The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner this year when she got the script for “Ex List.” She liked the bond between Bella and Daphne, best friends despite how different their lives are.

“I got this part really fast,” she says. “I like that because, sometimes when things take awhile, you have too much time to overthink things. This was fluid. Before I knew it, I was shooting a scene, jumping around in a backyard.”

Though she now lives in Hollywood, Boston says she is always keeping her suitcases packed. When she goes to Tennessee for a visit, Boston hangs out with gal pals, most of whom are married and with children.

“I have that hopeless romantic in me,” she says of dating. “If I can find someone who is happy with me living out of a suitcase, I’d be happy.”

Sighting

(10/3/08) Virginia Madsen, eating at Ono at Gansevoort in New York two nights in a row – and feasting on sashimi with her friends.

Sighting

(9/9/08) Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia, dining in the living room of West Hollywood's Chateau Marmont at a dinner party for new Web site Talenthouse.com. The Heroes costars (and real-life couple) stopped into the curtained-off dinner early in the evening – and while they avoided being photographed together, they sure were affectionate. Panettiere sat on her beau's lap, and the two held hands before the meal was served, an onlooker tells us.

Alison Sweeney Auctions Off Celebrity Jeans in Times Square for Charity

(8/26/08) Today (August 26) Alison Sweeney, "The Biggest Loser" host and 15-year "Days of our Lives" actress, kicks off the High Profile Pair in the Square auction of jeans worn and donated by celebrities. The auction, which benefits the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation, begins at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Military Island at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue at 44th Street. In celebration, Times Square will be decorated with hundreds of jeans and shirts hanging like laundry from clotheslines above the streets.

For those unable to attend the event, the celebrity jeans will be available for auction at www.clothesoffourback.org immediately following the live auction, with all proceeds benefiting the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation. With more than 50 pair of celebrity jeans available for auction online, some include Ryan Seacrest, Miley Cyrus, Nick Lachey, Ashlee Simpson, Lauren Conrad, Rachael Ray, Minnie Driver, Debra Messing , Brittany Snow, Terrence Howard, Forest Whitaker and the cast of "How I Met Your Mother" (Josh Radnor, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders). In addition, a sweepstakes for a washer and dryer will be held online at www.washingmyjeans.com

As a busy TV actress and mom, Alison Sweeney treasures her free time at home. "With a 3-year-old and a new baby on the way, laundry is the last thing I want to worry about; so of course I was excited that the new GE Profile set holds six months of detergent and washes 17 pair of jeans in one load," said Sweeney. "But more importantly, I'm glad to be part of this event today auctioning 17 pairs of celebrity jeans to benefit charity. In fact, I'm donating one of my favorite pair of jeans that I've worn to several movie premieres today," said Sweeney.

The event marks the launch of the GE Profile frontload washer and dryer boasting the first-ever SmartDispense laundry technology that holds up to six months of detergent and fabric softener and dispenses just the right amount -- saving loads of time. In fact, if every household in New York City had a Profile frontload pair, the city could wash the entire nation's jeans in just 34 days.

"With the popularity of jeans today, we're excited to offer a revolutionary frontload washer and dryer that can clean 4,420 jeans before needing a refill," says Lynn Pendergrass, Vice President of GE Consumer and Industrial. "The secret is the SmartDispense technology. It knows exactly how much detergent to dispense so your clothes come out perfect without wasting detergent or water. It's a win-win situation for Americans and the environment."

This innovative washer and dryer features state-of-the-art clothes care with advanced technology exclusive to GE Profile, including:

-- SmartDispense(TM) Technology pedestal system that holds up to 6 months of detergent and fabric softener then dispenses just the right amount based on soil level, load size, water hardness and fabric type

-- Stain Inspector(TM) technology that recognizes and treats more than 40 different tough stains

-- Reverse Tumble and DuoDry(TM) System that provides exceptional results in a fraction of the time of traditional models

-- CleanSpeak(TM) communication where the washer electronically tells the dryer what items to expect, so you'll have fewer interruptions and extra time to enjoy your life

For more information about the new GE Profile frontload washer and dryer with SmartDispense technology, visit www.washingmyjeans.com. For high-resolution photography and product press releases, visit here!

DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST (12/31)

(8/7/08) ABC AND DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS CELEBRATE NEW YEAR'S EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST

Seacrest Will Continue to Co-Host the Newly-Titled "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest"

Ryan Seacrest will continue as co-host and one of the executive producers of ABC's iconic New Year's programming when the newly-titled special, "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest," airs this holiday season. Ryan joined the show December 31, 2005 (ringing in 2006). Dick Clark will also continue to co-host and executive-produce the popular program.

"Watching 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve' is an American tradition. Ryan has been a tremendous part of the show the last couple of years and we're thrilled he'll be part of it for years to come," said Stephen McPherson, president, ABC Entertainment.

"The name change of the program to 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest' reflects the success of the co-hosting responsibilities of one of America's most time-honored traditions. We are thrilled to extend Ryan's contract as co-host of the 'party of the year' with Dick," stated Orly Adelson, executive producer and president of dick clark productions.

TV's No. 1 New Year's show each year, the special handily beat its combined network competition last year when 29 million viewers tuned in to watch the ball drop at midnight on ABC. The telecast traditionally ranks among top programs on all of television during the week it airs, and last year the show featured performances in Times Square by Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and Carrie Underwood. The popular Hollywood party segments were hosted by Fergie. The primetime portion of the show achieved its highest viewership in six years.

The show marks its 37th anniversary Wednesday, December 31, 2008 when Ryan and Dick Clark lead America into the New Year at 10:00 p.m., ET with three-and-a-half hours of specials and the legendary countdown to midnight from Times Square in New York City.

The specials are presentations of dick clark productions, inc. Executive producers are Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest and Orly Adelson. Larry Klein produces.

Brittany Snow Defends Arrested Nikki Blonsky

(8/5/08) Nikki Blonsky's friend and Hairspray costar Brittany Snow is as taken aback as anyone at the news of Blonsky's Friday arrest for alleged assault in a Caribbean airport.

"Of course I was surprised," Snow, 22, told PEOPLE Sunday at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

"Nikki is one of my really dear friends, and she's not a person that I would ever expect to have that controversy … surrounding her," says Snow.

"But at the same time, you know things get misconstrued in this business," she adds. "I really hope the best for her, because ... she's one of the sweetest girls I've ever met, so I just hope it works out – and it will, because she's a good person, and good things happen to good people."

Blonsky, 19, and her father, Carl Blonsky, were arrested following a brawl involving the family of America's Next Top Model contestant Bianca Golden in the departure lounge of the Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Golden was also charged with assault.

Although Snow has not spoken to Blonsky, their Hairspray costar Zac Efron had. "Zac talked to her for a while."

Snow also said, "I don't know how it happened or what exactly went on, but my heart goes out to her, because I really do love her, and I know she didn't mean to hurt anybody – and nor did her dad. Her family is amazing!"

Milo Ventimiglia discusses 'Heroes,' Mideast trip

(7/18/08) "Iron Man" isn't the only superhero to visit the Middle East this summer. Milo Ventimiglia, who plays power-absorbing Peter Petrelli on NBC's "Heroes," traveled to the region last week as part of a USO tour of U.S. bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

He met many soldiers who were familiar with his show, and had strong opinions about his character's nemesis, Sylar (played diabolically by Zachary Quinto).

"When I was over in Iraq and Afghanistan, a lot of soldiers were like, `Dude, will you just kill Sylar already? Will you just get rid of him?'" Ventimiglia told The Associated Press during a telephone interview this week. "And I'm like, `Man, I don't know if you're gonna want that just yet. I think you're going to be very surprised as to what happens.'"

NBC-released video teasers for the series' third season, premiering Sept. 22, promote the theme of the next "Heroes" chapter, titled "Villains." In one clip, these ominous words pop up: "Good will battle evil. Because in every hero, there could be a villain."

In that case, could Peter — one of the so-called good guys — wind up swapping places with Sylar?

Ventimiglia said he wouldn't disagree with that theory. He also said Volume Three will be "so good" — a step in the right direction from season two, which was criticized heavily by fans for its draggy plotlines, among other complaints.

"I'm a tough critic," Ventimiglia said. "The first season, I remember the producers would come up to me ... after we'd all watch an episode, and they'd say, sort of, `What do you think?' And I'd either hem or haw or say it was good or not. They kinda won me this year. The scripts are great, the feeling on set is nothing but fun. I mean, we're really just doing some good work that I'm very proud of."

The 31-year-old actor said returning to Los Angeles — and to work on "Heroes" — feels surreal after his weeklong USO tour. His travel compantions included NFL players Drew Brees, Osi Umenyiora and two Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

Blinded by the football star power, some soldiers would "look at me like I was an AP photographer because I was carrying around this gigantic camera with me all the time," joked Ventimiglia, who snapped a "bunch of great shots" during his trip.

'Amanda' takes a wry look at seamy side of Las Vegas

(6/26/08) Finding Amanda is an occasionally funny, sometimes depressing, look at the seamier side of Las Vegas and some of its low-life denizens.

While a few characters are intentionally extreme, writer-director Peter Tolan (TV's Rescue Me) doesn't seamlessly fuse the outlandish and the believable in this comedy about unshakable compulsions and the failure of good intentions.

Matthew Broderick is low-key and droll as Taylor Peters, a television writer on a downward spiral. His various addictions have derailed his career and his current show, starring Ed Begley Jr. (uncharacteristically playing a Hollywood prima donna) is barely limping along. Taylor's long-suffering wife, Lorraine (Maura Tierney), has just learned he has fallen off the wagon and lied about gambling at the track.

Lorraine is about to leave him, so Taylor tries to win her back by promising he'll retrieve their errant 20-year-old niece Amanda (Brittany Snow) who is living in Las Vegas.

Once Taylor sets foot in the city, however, his plan goes awry. Temptation is everywhere. Steve Coogan is very funny as Jerry, an unctuous casino official who treats Taylor like a beloved old pal, schmoozing him until the money runs dry.

Taylor tries to persuade the ditzy Amanda to come back to Southern California with him and check in at a Malibu clinic. But, in the process, he can't resist gambling.

Meanwhile, Amanda is in denial about her boorish boyfriend (Peter Facinelli). Taylor sees through him immediately and scenes featuring the two men are particularly funny.

Broderick has the film's most clever lines, but Snow is quite funny and is convincing as an innocent lured by the promise of easy money. It's nice to see Broderick taking a more nuanced role in an indie film, after his forays into the world of big-budget musicals. His performance here recalls his effective turn in 1999's Election, though Amanda is not of the same caliber.

The film's tone shifts jarringly from superficial broad comedy to something far darker. And the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold scenario is as old as the profession itself.

Some of the funnier moments center on Taylor's TV show, a milieu that Tolan knows all too well. The movie could have used more scenes in this arena, and not as many in the familiar Vegas world of sex and sleaze.

Finding Amanda
* * 1/2 (out of four)
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Brittany Snow, Peter Facinelli, Maura Tierney
Director: Peter Tolan
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Rating: R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, pervasive language, drug content and brief nudity.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Opens Friay in select cities

"Amanda" a muddled comedy about teen prostitution

(6/24/08) "Finding Amanda," a misguided comedy directed by "Analyze This" writer Peter Tolan, sinks under the weight of misogynistic jokes.

Trying to win laughs by making women appear stupid and crass, it even features a gag about a woman getting raped by a member of her family: "And I thought I was a bad uncle," quips the hero in reply to the news.

Why Tolan, who worked on such smart and sassy TV shows as "Murphy Brown" and "The Larry Sanders Show," would debut with material that makes even "Larry the Cable Guy" seem sensitive is a mystery.

Matthew Broderick plays a TV writer with a gambling addiction who goes to Vegas to save his teenage niece (Brittany Snow) from prostitution. When he gets there, he finds that she enjoys prostituting herself and taking drugs so much that she doesn't want to change. Instead, she thinks he should go into rehab for his gambling addiction.

The only thing the film's got going for it is the generation gap. The teen prostitute sees nothing wrong with the idea of sex for sale -- it's just a way to make a living -- while Broderick's middle-aged character is shocked. But even then, he's not too shocked to stop joking about it at length. Even the easygoing Broderick can't inject any lift or charm into the story.

Box office potential is mediocre as the subject of teenage prostitution just isn't good material for a cheeky comedy. Problems are compounded by a few scenes of drama, including one that features a beating. Suddenly the film isn't a comedy anymore, and that's confusing. A speedy transition to DVD looks probable.

British comic Steve Coogan's veritable talents are wasted in a poorly written minor role.

Brittany Snow: I 'Refuse' to Diet, Am 'Done' with Trainer

(6/23/08) Having weathered the highs and lows of eating disorders, Brittany Snow has shelved her personal trainer and sworn off dieting.

"Done with the trainer. I canceled my trainer," Snow, 22, told PEOPLE over the weekend at Stride Gum's Longest Day of the Year party in West Hollywood.

"I refuse to do the whole diet, fitness, style thing anymore," Snow says. "I just kind of go and have fun. I know what I like, I know what makes me feel good, and that's just what I do."

Asked how she's staying healthy, the Prom Night star says, "I think more than anything, the thing I've learned in being here is that everything else doesn't matter as long as you're taking care of yourself and you're having fun. Just hanging out with my friends and trying to take care of myself, I think that's the biggest thing."

Snow adds, "I go to the gym everyday, I eat really well, I buy dresses by myself. I want to work and be with my friends. That's all I really care about."

Snow told PEOPLE in 2007 that she had been diagnosed with anorexia, exercise bulimia, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder as a teenager – and had dipped to 85 pounds at one point.

The former American Dreams TV star has reportedly credited friend Sophia Bush for helping to coach her on body image issues.

2008 Teen Choice Award Nominees

(6/17/08) This is the 10th annual incarnation of the adolescent-friendly kudos, which spreads the wealth among film, TV, music, comedy, sports and fashion. Fox will broadcast the two-hour bonanza Aug. 4.

Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller
Brittany Snow, Prom Night
Jessica Alba, The Eye
Liv Tyler, The Strangers
Odette Yustman, Cloverfield
Shannon Sossamon, One Missed Call

Choice TV Show: Action Adventure
Heroes
Lost
Prison Break
Smallville
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Choice TV Actor: Action Adventure
Josh Holloway, Lost
Matthew Fox, Lost
Milo Ventimiglia, Heroes
Tom Welling, Smallville
Wentworth Miller, Prison Break
Choice TV Actress: Action Adventure

Pink Panters

(6/9/08) Milo Ventimiglia, Dave Annable, Chris Evans and Bonnie Somerville help Trent Vanegas celebrate the relaunch of PinkIsTheNewBlog.com at a party Wednesday at Hollywood's S Bar.

ABC Picks Pair for Pilots

(5/30/08) Two of ABC's pilots, the Damon Wayans comedy "Never Better" and Rob Thomas' drama "Good Behavior," have added to their casts.

Former "Soul Food" star Nicole Ari Parker has signed on to "Never Better," where she'll play the wife of Wayans' character. Robinson ("Dreamgirls") will play a cop on "Good Behavior," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Never Better" stars Wayans as Keith, a recovering alcoholic who's trying to be a better husband and father to his family. The pilot has also cast Matt Winston ("John From Cincinnati") as the leader of the AA group Keith attends.

Parker co-starred in "Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins" earlier this year and has a couple of films in the works, including the Eddie Murphy comedy "Nowhereland." She played Teri on Showtime's "Soul Food" and also starred in the UPN sitcom "Second Time Around."

"Good Behavior," an adaptation of the New Zealand series "Outrageous Fortune" from "Veronica Mars" creator Thomas, is about a woman's (Catherine O'Hara) efforts to get her criminal family to go straight after her husband is sent to prison. Robinson, who's coming off FOX's "Canterbury's Law," will play a police officer who's friendly with O'Hara's character.

His credits also include FX's "Over There" and NBC's "American Dreams."

Joey Lawrence Masters a Hosting Gig

(5/15/08) For those of you looking to cram your TiVo with dance competitions, this is some pretty great news!

TLC has tapped Joey Lawrence, fresh from either shore leave or the third season of Dancing with the Stars, to host Master of Dance, the latest edition to the show-us-your-moves canon.

Only this time, a contestant will be halfway through a dance when the powers that be switch the music, forcing the hoofer to prove he/she can really go with the flow. The person who can do that most proficiently will win $50,000 at the end of the six-part series, which premieres June 8.

"The winner of this show will be that person at the wedding or party that always has the right moves and knows every popular dance," said executive producer Craig Piligian.

Well, better that person than the guy who throws up on the bride or spills his drink on the stereo.

Zuniga heads down aisle for "Mail Order Bride"

(5/15/08) Daphne Zuniga will star in the Hallmark Channel TV movie "Mail Order Bride," which is shooting in Vancouver for a November premiere.

The "Melrose Place" veteran will play a woman whose friend dies before coming out West to be a mail-order bride. Her character takes her place in order to escape from a mobster (Greg Evigan) who "owns her" and keeps her involved in illegal activities that she does not want to do anymore.

Zuniga most recently had a recurring role on the CW's "One Tree Hill."

Iron Stomach

(5/15/08) Milo Ventimiglia, carrying a bag of Baja Fresh into Century City AMC movie theaters in L.A. for a showing of Iron Man.

'Prom Night' gob-smackingly stupid

(4/12/08) When is a remake not a remake?

It would be unfair to compare blonde-du-jour Brittany Snow's wooden performance as the target of a psychostalker in the painfully predictable and clunky Prom Night with Jamie Lee Curtis's iconic screaming in the 1980 Canadian slasher classic of the same name.

For starters, all these films share is a title and a lot of teenagers getting down with their bad selves on the dance floor on the most important night of their lives, while a killer picks them off like ungulates in the video game Deer Hunter.

The plot is entirely different, and -- in one of about a dozen major doofus flaws that could have been fixed in the script stage -- our heroine doesn't even know she's emperiled through most of the movie. In fact, nobody does, except the most inept police force on the planet, led by Det. Winn (Idris Elba, who went from American Gangster to this). When practically nobody on the screen is scared, it tends to understate the terror of the experience (the movie doesn't even have a sense of humour to offset its lack of tension).

So, acting assignment-wise, Snow (Hairspray) is not exactly playing on a level playing field with '70s scream-queen Curtis. Not that she gives much indication she could scream her way out of a paper bag.

The plot, dictated to us in clumsy expositional dialogue by Det. Winn, involves the escape from a mental home of Richard Fenton (Jonathon Schaech), a former high school teacher who, three years earlier, literally went nuts over one of his students, Donna (Snow), killing her family to win her over.

It takes three days for the local cops to find out Fenton is free. He has killed a guy and stolen his car and Visa. Still, even though the victim has been reported missing, his card isn't flagged when our psycho-killer checks into the same hotel where Donna and her friends Claire (Jessica Stroup) and Lisa (Dana Davis) and their dates are enjoying the most important night of their lives.

Naturally they've booked a suite where they can break away from the dance and drink/fool-around. And naturally, the apparently now-unrecognizable Fenton is checking in just as the girls' third floor keys are handed out. And naturally, the clerk asks Fenton a question I've never been asked in about a thousand hotel check-ins: "Do you have a preference which floor your room is on?"

But then Fenton is not your ordinary killer. He's able to stab someone to death on a bed, and within minutes (seconds in one case) hide the body and leave not a trace of blood on the bed or anywhere else.

Much of Prom Night thus consists of Fenton waiting in the suite for the next misbehaving teenager to come along, the better to bide his time for the big move on Donna. Now if you've had three years to plan, it might occur to you that every time you kill someone inconsequential, you put yourself at risk of getting caught before you've accomplished your mission.

But then, he does have the advantage of matching wits with the DUH-PD, who eventually spirit our heroine -- not to a safe house -- but the one place she'd be most likely have to face her wannabe killer in a ridiculous climax.

Even for the low expectations of this genre, Prom Night is gob-smackingly stupid.

Brittany Snow goes to her fantasy prom

(4/11/08) In last year's Hairspray, Brittany Snow danced it up as lead performer Amber Von Tussle on The Corny Collins Show. Now Snow, 22, is headed back to the dance floor in Prom Night (opening Friday). Because Snow was working on NBC's American Dreams, she never attended her own prom. But she can envision what her dream prom would be like — in contrast to her horror movie character's night from hell. USA TODAY charts the differences:

Brittany in ... In the movie

The night before prom: Her character, Donna, sees visions of her entire family being slaughtered by an obsessed teacher.

Gown: A champagne-colored, corseted number with pink and gold beads.

Flowers: A pink wrist corsage with white ribbon; white rose boutonniere for her date.

Date: Hunky jock Bobby (Scott Porter, who also plays Friday Night Lights' hunky paraplegic Jason Street).

Transportation: Black stretch limousine packed with trampy, horny friends and blasting loud music.

Location: The glamorous Pacific Grand Hotel with a crazed stalker on the loose.

Theme: “The Time of Our Lives,” complete with student slide show, disco ball and non-stop falling silver confetti.

Evening's end: The bodies of slaughtered students are discovered.

Brittany in ... In Snow's fantasy

The night before prom: “I’d like to have a sleepover with all my girlfriends where we did face masks and gave each other pedicures and manicures, with lots of candy.”

Gown: “I spent three months in that corseted dress, so I’d like something a little more comfortable and easier to move in on the dance floor. Probably something strapless and blue.”

Flowers: “I’d want a simple white rose for me and for him. When I went to my homecoming dances, I always saved my flowers and my date’s, too, to make potpourri out of them. The boys never cared about flowers; they just wanted to throw them off and go dancing or drinking.”

Date: “I have a crush on Ashton Kutcher, so him. And Demi (Moore) could come, too. I wouldn’t mind taking turns (dancing). It would be really fun!”

Transportation: “We would take a sailboat to prom with all my friends. And the waiters and bartenders could drink and have a good time, too.”

Location: “It would be on the beach lit by lights connecting sailboats. There would be a bonfire with tropical drinks — virgin, of course, since it’s high school. And I just took up photography, so I would want to take pictures and make up books for everyone.”

Theme: “It’s funny because “The Time of Our Lives” sign was in green cursive letters that made it look like it said “The Lime of Our Lives.” So that would be my theme. We’d have limes on all the tables and a signature lime margarita virgin drink, and Coronas for anyone over 21. There’d be lots of lime-colored streamers. But nothing too cheesy.”

Evening's end: “I would understand that Ashton and Demi would have to go home together. So I’d give them both hugs and kisses on the cheek and let them go their merry way. Nothing crazy would happen between the three of us.”

Brittany Snow: 'I still get that I look like I'm 14'

(4/9/08) IF 22-year-old actress Brittany Snow had any regrets about missing her high school prom, she's pretty much over them now. "I got to go to a prom for three months when I was shooting this film," she says of the thriller "Prom Night," which opens Friday. "Oh, my gosh -- that was a really long time to be in a prom dress."

Snow plays Donna, a high school senior whose magical night turns gruesome when the obsessed stalker (Johnathon Schaech) who killed her entire family three years earlier escapes from a mental institution and decides to crash her big event -- and finally claim his true love.

The actress, who starred in last year's "Hairspray" remake but is best known for playing girl-next-door Meg Pryor in the '60s-set TV series "American Dreams," says she was initially hesitant about turning to the dark side. "I read the script and was like, 'Ehh. I don't know,' " she says. "I didn't want to do the stereotypical cheesy horror flick."

What changed her mind, she says, was the opportunity that director Nelson McCormick ("CSI," "Prison Break," "Nip/Tuck") gave her to weigh in on the music, the wardrobe, the cast, even her character. "I liked the fact that my character got to be not just a regular girl who's in high school but somebody who's actually dealing with a real issue: post-traumatic stress disorder."

With saucer-size blue eyes and cheerleader good looks, the Tampa, Fla., native certainly doesn't bring to mind broody slasher queen Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred in the 1980 original. Snow points out that comparisons aren't necessary. "It's not a remake," she says. "It actually just has the same title. But it's a completely different story."

This "Prom Night" sets its cat-and-mouse game in the context of today's super-proms, with the action taking place in a swanky hotel (the Park Plaza Hotel stands in for the film's fictional Pacific Grand Hotel), where couples walk the red carpet for adoring townsfolk and floor-to-ceiling flat screens capture the dance-floor drama.

The role was more than just a sartorial challenge for Snow. "It's hard to make [the terror] real," she says. "That you're being chased by somebody when the person isn't even there -- and there's like 20 crew members staring back at you. There are no footsteps in the distance. And craft services is right around the corner."

Snow's upcoming roles will also stretch her acting muscles: She'll play a prostitute in "Black Water Transit," the Tony Kaye crime drama, and a drug addict in "Finding Amanda," a black comedy costarring Matthew Broderick, which premieres this month at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Snow says she's excited about getting grittier roles -- and playing characters closer to her age. "I still get that I look like I'm 14. Sometimes I cannot get a glass of wine because I look so young," she says, laughing. "At the same time, high school's really fun to play too -- a lot goes on during that time."

Why Milo Ventimiglia Is Dressed as a Crazed Bunny on YouTube

(3/24/08) Who wouldn't want to watch a "Hero" tie a bowtie or drool over nachos poolside? Milo Ventimiglia makes it all possible with his online identity. Known as Russ181, the Heroes star has built a sizeable following on his YouTube page that he manages with his DiVide Pictures production partner Russ Cundiff.

Ventimiglia and Cundiff have 29 videos posted on the site, which range from lightsaber fight scenes between the two pals to clips of Ventimiglia brushing his teeth, shining his shoes and even watering the yard (before the Golden Globes, according to the title!). Many of them are tribute videos in response to short clips posted by fans of the actor, who call themselves DiVide Social Club, a rep for Ventimiglia tells PEOPLE. (The latest video to gain attention features a seemingly crazed Milo dressed as a bunny, an homage to this clip.)

No word on whether Ventimiglia's girlfriend and costar Hayden Panettiere will make a guest appearance on one of the videos anytime soon.

Keith Robinson Previews Juicy Conflicts on Canterbury's Law

(3/17/08) You may recognize Keith Robinson as singer-songwriter C.C. White in Dreamgirls, but now he's playing a different kind of writer, working on legal briefs as Chester Grant in Fox's edgy new legal drama Canterbury's Law (Mondays at 8 pm/ET). We cross-examined Robinson to discuss how he turned his singing into an acting career, how Canterbury's stands apart from other lawyer shows and what we can expect from his character this season.

TVGuide.com: Now that we've seen the first episode, what can we expect in the coming weeks?

Keith Robinson: You're just going to get a lot deeper into the storylines, and you're going to see more of the shocking ways that we come to conclusions in proving our clients' innocence. I think we up the ante every week with how far we'll go as lawyers to prove our point, even if that means sometimes going outside the lines. My storyline, in particular, doesn't really pick up until the second or third episode. We get into my relationship with my dad, how I became a lawyer so young, and the issues I have to take on in my own life.

TVGuide.com: We know your character is the son of a congressman who wants nothing to do with his father's politics. Will we get to know why soon?

Robinson: To say the least, Chester and his father have butted heads, and he's eager to prove that he's not like his father, when actually he's exactly like him. They both have an intense desire to gain power. Some of his father's antics end up getting him in hot water, and he has to come to Chester for help to get out of it. He has to bite his tongue and swallow his pride, so their relationship becomes very intense and conflicted throughout the course of the show.

TVGuide.com: Since Canterbury is such a strong woman, will that desire to gain power make it harder for Chester to listen while she's barking orders at him?

Robinson: I think eventually, some issues definitely come to a head. But in the next episode, they get into an intense discussion of why Chester would even want to study under someone like her. Even though they do have different views, they're alike in a lot of ways and there's a mentor-apprentice respect they both have for each other. It's a hot-and-cold relationship.

TVGuide.com: We've seen previews that depict Chester's father warning him to get away from Canterbury. Will she find herself in trouble?

Robinson: I'd say that's it in a nutshell. Chester's father is so well connected and is always one step ahead of him. It's irritating, and he doesn't always give advice that Chester wants to hear, but sometimes it's necessary, even if it comes from his father. In this case, it does involve the woman Chester works for.

TVGuide.com: What was it about the legal aspect of the show that drew you to this role?

Robinson: I am a fan of the law. As an actor, I think it's one of those roles you dream of playing — being in a courtroom trying to win over a jury. It's kind of like taking the stage and trying to persuade people to see things your way. You're having to tell a story, which is a lot like being an actor, period. I think lawyers and actors do have a common denominator, an underlying objective.

TVGuide.com: What sets this show apart from other lawyer series?

Robinson: We're not afraid to show the imperfections of our characters as lawyers. On a lot of law shows, the lawyers are the ones coming to the aid of the flawed human beings. In this case, we are just as flawed as our clients. And we ourselves even break the law to establish the law, which is kind of a paradox in itself. For me, that makes it really interesting and edgy.

TVGuide.com: You were also in the recent CBS miniseries Comanche Moon. How was that experience?

Robinson: It was great. It was different — I got to ride a horse! Again, it's one of those roles you dream about. Being in a Western is like playing cowboys and Indians as a kid, but to get to do it in your professional life is a great experience.

TVGuide.com: Was it hard playing a character Danny Glover created in Lonesome Dove?

Robinson: It was a challenge. But more so, I think there was a level of respect and expectation because the character has already been established. It's such a historical piece, and I wanted to make sure I did it justice. So there was definitely a little pressure there.

TVGuide.com: You were once signed to Motown Records. How did you get into acting?

Robinson: I was in a band when I was signed, and the deal went south. I'm now a solo artist and have my own album coming out this year. As for acting, I moved to Los Angeles, and — long story short — I walked into an acting class that didn't have enough readers and the teacher suggested I read with them. The teacher liked me and told me to read for a role on a new Power Rangers show, and it worked out.

TVGuide.com: I'm sure your singing past helped you earn your spot in Dreamgirls.

Robinson: Yeah, I did all my own singing. I am a vocalist first — that's really why I got into show business in the first place. Dreamgirls was right up my alley, and it let people know who I really was as an artist, so to speak. It opened up a lot of doors.

TVGuide.com: And performing at the Oscars with Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson is a pretty good gig, right?

Robinson: [Laughs]. Not a bad gig at all! I couldn't think of a better one.

TVGuide.com: With the new show and album, it sounds like you've come a long way from Power Rangers.

Robinson: [Laughs] Definitely.

Milo: Romance Talk with Hayden 'Makes Me Smile'

(2/20/08) Milo Ventimiglia has remained pretty tight-lipped about his relationship with Heroes costar Hayden Panettiere – but in the new issue of GQ the actor says it doesn't bother him when people gossip about his romantic life.

"You know what, man – it makes me smile," Ventimiglia tells GQ, when told by the reporter that bloggers have nicknamed the couple "Halo."

Smiles aside, the actor still maintains he wants to keep a lid on his private life. "When you're in the public eye, you try to keep whatever you can private," he says. "People can speculate and talk. But what can you do – stop living your life?"

New Brittany Gig

(2/20/08) Brittany Snow ("Hairspray") will star in the indie feature "Vicious Kind," playing a woman stalked by her boyfriend's brother.

Adam Scott (HBO's "Tell Me You Love Me") will play the brother; the role of the boyfriend has not been cast.

Writer/director Lee Toland Krieger will make his feature debut on the project, which begins filming in Connecticut next month.

Dancing Tour: Joey and Edyta on the Road Again

(1/7/08) For actor Joey Lawrence, heading out for his third Dancing with the Stars national tour means getting to see the country in a whole new light. "I had never really traveled by road," says Lawrence. "I always flew. So it was really neat to see America like that."His pro partner, Edyta Sliwinska, must like the road as well. Sliwinska, a native of Poland, is the only Dancing pro to have competed all five seasons — and now she's off on her third national tour as well. For her, the Dancing never stops.

First, let's check in with Joey Lawrence....

TVGuide.com: Why did you sign up to tour again?
Joey Lawrence: Because they treat us great. They give us a beautiful ride [to] travel across the country. The bus is just incredible. It's just a big party out there. It's fun.

TVGuide.com: You've covered a lot of miles. Were there any close calls on the road?
Lawrence: No. But we got stuck in about six feet of snow in the bus one night. We were somewhere in Colorado. We passed out from exhaustion and when we woke up, we were literally in the middle of the mountains with snow on every side. It was a winter wonderland. Every window you looked out, it was amazing. But they had to come dig us out because we were on the side of the road for about eight hours.

TVGuide.com: Weren't you cold?
Lawrence: The satellites and the power still worked, so we were fine.

TVGuide.com: What's the difference between dancing on the show and dancing on tour?
Lawrence: On the show, even though it's a smaller room, you feel the magnitude of what you're doing. You see the people in the audience. The nerves were outrageous. When you're on the road, you know the show. You're not having to learn a new routine every five seconds. And it's a lot larger in terms of the number of people. When there are 7,000 or 10,000 people, it's just loud. And there are lots of lights, so you don't see anyone and it becomes one big blur. Edyta and I just go out there and we do our thing. And at the end, you hear the applause and it's awesome. Ten thousand people make a lot of noise.

TVGuide.com: How's your body holding up since you did the show (Season 3)?
Lawrence: I'm an athlete, so I always keep myself in as good a shape as possible. It's just part of my life. I don't lose weight and put it back on. If you're going to work your ass off to get in great shape, why would you want to do that over and over again?

TVGuide.com: Do you get any physical therapy on the road?
Lawrence: They provide massage therapy at every stop. I know it sounds sort of ostentatious, but you really are an athlete when you're doing this every night. You kind of need it.

TVGuide.com: Who travels with you on the road?
Lawrence: My family. My wife, Chandie, and my daughter, Charli. My mom will come with us this time, as well. For Charli, this will be her third time out, too. The first time, she was only 8 months old. Now she's 17 months and it's going to be a lot easier, because she's walking and talking. I'm lucky to have such a great family. It's great to have 8 to 10 weeks to spend together. It's a lot of work to get ready for the shows, don't get me wrong — and a lot of work every night — but it's great.

And now, Edyta Sliwinska's turn....

TVGuide.com: What's the difference between training for the show and rehearsing for the tour?
Edyta Sliwinska: Rehearsing for the tour is more mentally tiring, because you have to be here many, many hours. When you're competing on the show, you train physically very hard for three hours, for example, but then you are done. Here, we have to spend the whole day in rehearsals, eight hours, and maybe it's not so intense, but it's eight hours of being on your feet.

TVGuide.com: Do you do anything special for your sore feet?
Sliwinska: I call these my grandma shoes because they have very low heels and are very comfy. They've kind of molded to my foot.

TVGuide.com: When you're on the road with Joey, do you two fall right back into step, or do you have to teach him all over again?
Sliwinska: Oh, no, I do have to teach Joey. We have all new routines. He's in great shape. He's a freak about his body. So I'm not worried about that. But I am worried that he's going to forget stuff.

TVGuide.com: The celebrities find that their bodies change very quickly when they stop dancing. Does that happen to you, too?
Sliwinska: What's changing is that I'm going up and down in weight very quickly. If I have a couple of days off, I can gain quickly. But when I'm dancing, I can lose five or ten pounds in a week.

TVGuide.com: Do you like touring better than competing on the show?
Sliwinska: Oh, yes. I can perform, but there is none of that sick tension and [none of] the pressure of trying to be the greatest or winning the championship.

TVGuide.com: When do you find out if you'll be dancing Season 6, which starts on March 17?
Sliwinska: We only find out two weeks before the training starts. We're released from our contract if we're not picked up for the show. But I love the show. It's kind of comfortable to have [dancers] who know what they're doing, and then once in a while, to bring in a new [pro] dancer.

TVGuide.com: You've done all five seasons of the show and all three tours — you've had almost no time off. What do you do when you have a vacation?
Sliwinska: I go to Poland. But the last time I went, it was like a tease, because the minute I started to feel that I was really relaxing, it was time to go.

TVGuide.com: Do you ever think it's too much? You got sick during the last tour and had to miss three performances.
Sliwinska: That was really tough because there's really no one who can replace you. You just have to dance through the pain. But it's an incredible experience to perform live and see the appreciation of the audience. I can rest later. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Milo Ventimiglia & Hayden Panettiere Are an Item

(12/31/07) Fall's turn into winter cranked up the heat in one respect: the connection between Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere.

Having previously denied a relationship, the two Heroes stars are now considered an item.

"Hayden's mom adores Milo. She thinks he's so cute," a family friend tells PEOPLE. "She tells her friends that he's her boyfriend. She's very proud."

On a December trip to New York City, Ventimiglia hung out with the entire Panettiere family. "He's even met her grandparents. He fits in perfectly with the family. Milo jokes around with her little brother," says the source. "They're buddies."

When the couple are together, "they're very affectionate and very comfortable around each other. He really takes care of her, even down to the little things like giving her a back massage and going with her to work things."

A rep for the actress said: "We do not respond to inquiries from the media regarding Ms. Panettiere's personal life."

'Not Afraid to Show Affection'

Since cozying up at an Emmys party in September, the two had dodged rumors that they were dating – even though, by mid-November, they already were clearly close, being together publicly at benefits and other events.

When asked shortly before Thanksgiving about the reports of his possible romance with Panettiere, Ventimiglia chuckled then paused before saying, "She and I are close friends. It's only natural that people are going to couple us together."

"They're not afraid to show their affection around her family and their friends," says the friend.

As for the existence of a mini generation gap – Ventimiglia's 30, while Panettiere's 18 – the friend adds, "At first it doesn't seem like there's a big age difference, but then you do see it. ... He's more proper and reserved, and she's still playful and very girly."

Milo Ventimiglia Trying to Keep His Fans Happy

(12/17/07) While Heroes was shut out of the Golden Globe nominations last week, Milo Ventimiglia believes the show can shake off its sophomore slump – and he tells fans that in person whenever he can.

"For the most part, people still walk up to you with smiles on their faces saying, 'I love it. I love it. I love it,' " the 30-year-old actor tells Entertainment Weekly. "Occasionally, you get somebody who kinda looks at you and thinks, 'Eh, first season was better, but I still watch you guys. You're doing pretty good.' "

What does he tell those fans? "As a person that's on the show as well as a fan of the show ... I'm hoping we get back to the feeling of the first season," he says.

Other fans recognize Ventimiglia from his earlier roles on Gilmore Girls and American Dreams. In fact, in a new animated video (part of a series Ventimiglia has produced for American Eagle Entertainment), a Claymation version of the actor is seen being hounded by a Gilmore Girls fan on an airplane – a scene apparently snipped from real life.

"I get it all," Ventimiglia tells EW. "When people call me Chris Pierce from American Dreams, it definitely gets a big smile from me."

As for the Golden Globes snub, Ventimiglia says that's just added motivation for the cast.

"I think it's one of those things that's going to make us work harder, make us be a little more focused," he says. "I remember when we didn't win [last year], I turned to the table and raised my glass and said, 'It's a pleasure and a privilege to work with you guys.' We all kind of bonded over that."

Ventimiglia has no clues about `Heroes'

(12/07/07) Milo Ventimiglia once again saved the world on NBC's "Heroes." Now what?"It's funny how that always falls on my shoulders," Ventimiglia says.

In the second season finale, Ventimiglia's character, Peter Petrelli, destroyed a virus capable of annihilating most of mankind while Nathan Petrelli, Peter's high-flying brother, appeared to be assassinated at a press conference.

Ventimiglia isn't sure if Nathan (played by Adrian Pasdar) is dead.

"I really hope he's not going anywhere," Ventimiglia told The Associated Press during a telephone interview Wednesday. "That would be really disappointing to me to lose a brother and an amazing scene partner. I'm sure it's all going to work out the way it's supposed to."

Ventimiglia says he didn't watch the finale.

He wasn't alone. Ratings for Monday's episode were down from the previous week, and the conclusion of Volume Two was the lowest-rated finale episode for the show yet, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The second season of "Heroes" was cut short after the Writers Guild of America went on strike.

Ventimiglia says he's seen no scripts and has no clues about what will happen when the show returns.

"We ran out of stuff to shoot," he said. "That's basically what it boils down to."

Meanwhile, the 30-year-old actor is producing and starring in the first episode of a series of holiday-themed stop-animation short films for American Eagle Outfitters. The digital shorts also feature Lil Jon, Kristen Bell, Pete Wentz and Adrianne Palicki.

Ventimiglia, whose hair was famously chopped on "Heroes," opted for his puppet counterpart to have his longer 'do.

"I thought we should go with the bangs because they're more recognizable," he says.

Divide Pictures, Ventimiglia and partner Russ Cundiff's production company, has also optioned the movie rights to "Blades of Glory," John Rosengren's book about the Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars, a championship Minnesota high school hockey team.

Ventimiglia says he'll appear in the upcoming films "Game" and "The Chaos Theory."

"I try and take a break and take a vacation," he says, "but I keep getting wrapped up in jobs."

Gail O'Grady stars in TV holiday movie

(11/30/07) Gail O'Grady relishes a Christmas Eve tradition that dates to her childhood.

The 44-year-old actress, a three-time Emmy nominee for "NYPD Blue," and her brother Michael opened their gifts Christmas Eve while growing up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, Ill.

"We never wanted a big holiday dinner because it just meant more time before we could tear into our gifts," she said in a statement from the Hallmark Channel. "So it became our tradition that we ate hot dogs on Christmas Eve. Pass the pickles!"

O'Grady's latest project is her first holiday movie, "All I Want for Christmas," airing Saturday on the Hallmark Channel. She plays a single mother whose son wins a Christmas wish contest and asks for a new husband for his mother.

The chance to add some wholesome holiday fare to her resume was important to O'Grady because it was something she could share with her 3-year-old son Michael.

"I wanted to do something that we could enjoy together," she said. "The movie is about loving and giving, and it's a wonderful thing to be able to share with him."

O'Grady's other credits include "Boston Legal" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Milo Ventimiglia: Hayden and I Are 'Close Friends'

(11/15/07) Since cozying up at an Emmys party in September, Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere have dodged rumors that they are dating.

Two months later, the duo some call "Halo" are still close, hanging together at Wednesday's Race in the Fight Against Epilepsy fundraiser, in Calabasas, Calif. But could these Heroes be a couple?

When asked about the reports of romance, Ventimiglia, 30, chuckled then paused. After a few seconds, he answered, "She and I are close friends. It's only natural that people are going to couple us together."

The actor and Panettiere, 18, hung together outside the bash while awaiting their fellow Heroes costars. And although they spoke closely in a shadowy corner, they remained strictly hands-off. (Once inside, the two were ushered into a private VIP room.)

In September, Heroes costar James Kyson Lee, who plays Ando on the NBC series, told PEOPLE of the prospective pairing, "The rumor is not true. Let's just end it there."

Panettiere and Ventimiglia attended Wednesday's party to support costar Greg Grunberg, whose son Jake suffers from epilepsy.

DICK CLARK SET TO HOST ROCKIN' EVE 2008

(11/12/07) For the 36th consecutive year, "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" will lead America into the New Year when Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest host specials starting at 10:00 p.m., ET, MONDAY, DECEMBER 31 on the ABC Television Network.

The American tradition of Dick Clark counting down to midnight will once again take place during the three-and-a-half hours of specials from Times Square in New York City. This year will include special performances from both New York and Hollywood. Additionally Marysol Castro, "Good Morning America Weekend's" weather and features correspondent, will return to report on other happenings in and around New York City.

The special programming will kick off with "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve 2008" from10:00-11:00 p.m., ET, featuring performances live from New York's Times Square.

During "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2008, Part 1" (11:35 p.m. - 1:05 a.m., ET), in addition to reporting on the final minutes of 2007 and the traditional Times Square countdown to midnight, the show will feature music performances from both Hollywood, California and Times Square in New York.

Wrapping the night's activities will be "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2008, Part 2" (1:05-2:05 a.m., ET), when musical acts will continue the party into the early hours of the New Year with additional performances from Hollywood.

The specials are presentations of dick clark productions, Inc. Executive producers are Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest and Terry Bateman. Larry Klein produces. Barry Glazer and Bruce Gowers direct. Production designer is Bruce Ryan. Talent producer is Melissa Trueblood.

'Hairspray' star talks about breast cancer

(10/22/07) Like many young women her age, actress Brittany Snow, 21, didn't know much about breast cancer. But when she became the newest face of Reebok, this year's footwear sponsor for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, she started asking questions and making an effort to become informed.

Snow, who starred in "Hairspray" and "John Tucker Must Die," chatted with amNewYork about breast cancer and young women.

What did you know about breast cancer before you got involved with Reebok?

I didn't know that much about it, especially for younger women because it is viewed as a thing that your mom talks about. But the more studies that are coming out and the more that I'm learning about it, girls that are my age, even sometimes younger, are detecting breast cancer.

How did you learn more about the disease?

IWhen I found out I was going to be doing this event [for the Avon Walk], the first thing I did was go to my mom. I was like, "I don't even know how to check." And she gave me the full rundown, which was a little weird. It was weird because I never really knew about it. There's not an infomercial on it or anything like that. And she started talking about her best girlfriend who died of breast cancer. It was a very emotional conversation.

Why are you involved in this cause?

IReebok is a foundation and a company that is very strong in their views about women and young girls believing in themselves. All their campaigns and messages are about fulfilling your goals and believing in yourself -- things I strongly believe in.

What advice do you have for girls who are struggling with confidence?

IBelieving in yourself and having confidence is not something you can wake up one day and feel. It's doing these little things that make you feel really good about your life. We get so caught up in everything that's not happening or going to happen that you don't really realize you're healthy, you have amazing friends, things like that.

What do you do to boost your confidence?

II still should do it but I've been a little busy, but I used to do a grateful list every morning, where I would write 10 things I was grateful for. It put me in a good mindset because I was like, "Oh yeah, I really do appreciate coffee in the morning," or "Oh my gosh. My lipgloss is awesome." Stupid stuff, like my best friend is the coolest. Little things you just pass by, but if you think about it before you start your day it makes you feel a lot better.

Ex-Tonic Singer Emerson Hart, Wife Have a Baby

(10/12/07) Musician Emerson Hart and his wife Nicole have a new addition to the family – daughter Lucienne Elizabeth, born on Oct. 4, the couple tells PEOPLE.

Lucienne weighed in at 7 lbs. 11 oz., and is doing well at home in Nashville, a rep for Hart says.

Hart, 38, the former frontman for the band Tonic, talked with PEOPLE in September about the idea of being a dad – a daunting notion for a man whose own father was an abusive schizophrenic who abandoned the family 27 years ago.

"I hope my kids can always count on me," Hart said. "You have to forgive. If you don't, you carry it around. That's too heavy. I'm at peace now."

Hart worked through his issues on his solo debut, Cigarettes and Gasoline, released in July. He is currently on tour with Collective Soul and Live.

Lucienne joins a family that also includes two cats and three rescue dogs. In September, the Harts also mentioned that they were interested in adopting.

Brittany Snow: Dieting Was 'My Best Friend'

(9/26/07) Brittany Snow's descent into the dark world of eating disorders began when she landed the role of Susan Lemay on TV's Guiding Light, the actress, now 21, tells MTVU.com.

"I remember looking around at all these women who were on the soap opera who were working out and dieting," Snow says.

Taking their cue, a 12-year-old Snow tried her first diet, called Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type. "I took it to the extreme," the Hairspray star admits, which included a two-month stint when she "lived on pineapple."

After losing 10 lbs. on the diet, Snow says she heard compliments and felt accepted from those around her. Soon it was a feeling she couldn't get enough of.

"It kind of progressed into this thing where I needed to always be dieting and losing weight and more weight," she says in the site's interview series Half of Us, which addresses mental health issues and ways to get help. "It became my life and I didn't have any friends and this was definitely my best friend and I held on to it really tight."

At 15, Snow was stepping onto the scale 10 to 15 times a day and weighed only 85 lbs.

"I knew that was a really low number and I knew that my hair was falling out and I had really weird skin. My face looked really weird and I was getting this fuzz on my face and I was always cold – always to the point of uncontrollably shaking," she says. " But "I was more scared that 85 lbs. wasn't good enough. I wanted to be lower."

Rock bottom came when Snow began cutting herself. "I would look at the scars and what I had done to myself and that would convince me not to eat," she says. "I also was crying for attention and I also really wanted someone to see my scars and help me and give me a hug."

By 19, Snow was in rehab and things took a turn for the better. She stopped cutting and got help for her depression. "But the eating stuff was still really hard to deal with," she says. "It's still a struggle."

Her advice to girls who are going though a similar situation is to take baby steps. "It's very important to talk to anybody. Maybe the first step is just to talk to a friend about it," she says. "Probably they'll relate in some way."

Love Denials: Hayden-Milo Rumors Nixed, Helena Scoffs at Heath Stories

(9/26/07) Denial ain't just a river in Egypt – it was also the across-the-board response PEOPLE received Tuesday night regarding romance rumors between two recent are-they-or-aren't-they pairs: Milo & Hayden, and Heath & Helena.

First, a costar of Heroes' Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia shot down recent rumblings (as well as a YouTube video that was closely analyzed by fans) that the 18-year-old actress and her 30-year-old costar were getting closer.

"The rumor is not true," costar James Kyson Lee, who plays Ando, told PEOPLE at Tuesday's Lift Up America Meet Me in Miami premiere in Hollywood. "Let's just end it there."

He added about the romance talk: "I think we were just surprised because they're 12 years apart – for people to even conceive that. I know there have been a lot of jokes, Hayden turning 18 and whatnot. At some point, you just have to let it go, and respect their privacy."

Also on rumor control Tuesday night was Helena Christensen, who scoffed at reports that she recently hooked up with newly single Heath Ledger.

"It is so annoying," the model, 38, told PEOPLE at the premiere of Control in New York. "I can't even tell you. The funny thing is that they write, 'just out of a relationship with Josh [Hartnett] and now with Heath [Ledger].' Josh is one of my dearest friends. ... And in several different tabloids they wrote that we were biting each other's faces off or something like that."

O'Grady & Germann land cable TV roles

(9/25/07) Gail O'Grady, Greg Germann and Robert Mailhouse will star in the Hallmark Channel original movie "All I Want for Christmas."

The movie, set to premiere December 1, centers on a single mother (O'Grady) with no time for dating who suddenly finds herself with thousands of potential suitors.

Driven Snow

(8/05/07) As 21-year-old starlets go, Brittany Snow appears to have it all.

She's in "Hairspray," one of the top five movies in the country. She's starring opposite Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne in the gritty thriller "Black Water Transit," now filming in New Orleans. She has a handful of other movies set for release next year, including one with Matthew Broderick.

This girl, she's got a career.

But it's not necessarily what she has that distinguishes her from her peers in Hollywood -- it's what she doesn't: She doesn't have a rap sheet or an unflattering mug shot popping up in newspapers and newscasts. She has had no public meltdowns or dates with rehab.

In short, she's no Lindsay.

Or Paris.

Or that other Britney.

That's not to say Snow hasn't sipped at New Orleans' nightlife since arriving in town July 20 for "Black Water Transit" -- she's poked her head in at d.b.a. and the Republic, among other places -- but this young actress is more excited about the film she's working on than about the city's round-the-clock nightlife.

"These 24-hour bars are really blowing my mind," Snow said with a laugh last week, during a day off from filming. ". . . And also that you can walk around with drinks here. I can't do it. I tried, and it felt so wrong."

Go-cups? Wrong? Welcome to New Orleans.

Snow was chatting on a sofa at the Melange restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton, just a zoom-lens away from the hotel bar. Her drink: diet soda.

She credits her family and strong network of friends for keeping her grounded in what can be a pressure-packed industry. But she also realizes that she's been dealt a rare hand.

"I know I'm very, very lucky to be in this business and be working, and to take that for granted and have the ego that it's always going to last and that you can always show up to work late and keep people waiting, it's just not a way that I want to live my life.

"In this kind of business, it can go away at any second, and so I'm trying to do the best work that I can because I'm very grateful. Also, (hard partying) just doesn't appeal to me as much as I'm sure it appeals to other people, and that's just a lucky thing, I guess."

. . . . . . .

Snow's got her vices, though. She's a Florida Gators fan, for one. And a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, for another. Beyond her questionable football loyalties, though, it's hard to take many shots at the Tampa native.

In Hollywood, that kind of squeaky-cleanness could lead to too many good-girl roles and the dreaded t-word: typecasting.

After her run as young Meg Pryor on the '60s-set NBC series "American Dreams" (in which her character had her sights set on being a dancer on "American Bandstand") and her turn as Amber Von Tussle in the feature film "Hairspray" (in which her character is a dancer on an "American Bandstand"-type show), she seems to be making something of an effort to stretch herself professionally.

In "Black Water Transit" -- set to wrap in mid-August -- she plays a world-weary prostitute named Sardoona who finds herself in the middle of an arms deal involving two men she loves, played by Laurence Fishburne ("The Matrix") and Karl Urban ("The Bourne Supremacy"). It's a "trippy, eccentric" movie, she said. And that's one of the things she likes most about it.

"It was a very long and drawn-out auditioning process to get this role, because I had to break down a lot of barriers of what people have always thought of me as being," Snow said. "I was really, really intrigued by the character."

With Fishburne on one side and director Tony Kaye ("American History X") on the other, the experience has shaped up as something of a master class in acting.

"Working with Tony Kaye on the character and developing her has probably been the most in-depth process that I've done so far for a movie," she said. "This film is different from anything I've ever done, and probably anything I'll ever do, because Tony Kaye, he is a one-of-a-kind when it comes to his directing style. He's very, very open to basically the fact that anything goes and you can do whatever you want.

"He said to me when I got the part, 'I'm going to empty you out,' and that's basically what this role has been doing. There's a lot of digging going on for sure, which is great and therapeutic and exactly why I love acting in the first place. Teen comedies are very fun, and I think everybody needs to do comedies, but every once in a while you need a great script that you can just dig into and just go for it."

Judging by her recent projects, Snow is all about going for it -- and shattering expectations in the process.

Between the time "Black Water Transit" wraps and is released, another film of Snow's will be in theaters, a dark comedy titled "Finding Amanda" and starring Matthew Broderick. Her role in that film: prostitute.

After that comes "Prom Night" -- which is not, Snow stresses, a remake of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher flick. She likens the thriller to the 1998 Reese Witherspoon nail-biter "Fear."

She wrapped on "Prom Night" two weeks before coming to New Orleans, so Snow admits a bit of physical and emotional fatigue -- a vacation, to somewhere tropical, is in the offing -- though she said she wouldn't trade the collective experience she gained on her recent films, particularly on "Black Water Transit," for anything.

"I'm little by little showing myself that I can handle a movie like this and handle a role like this," she said. "You're so nervous that you're going to have to do this crazy scene -- there's no script and I have to be crazy and dancing and singing and playing with my shadow and coming up with things on the top of my head and running up on top of cars and basically, anything you can imagine. And then, after the scene, you can't describe the feeling. You're like, 'Wow, where did all that come from?' I'm so thrilled I get to do this every day."

Brittany has four days off.

She's been burning the midnight oil with a string of night shoots on "Black Water Transit," but now she's got a friend in town, use of a car and four days in which to blow off some steam.

There probably will be some antiquing involved, since she collects old jewelry and has found a shopping heaven in the French Quarter. ("The stores are all so full of history, and they're so genuinely nice -- very different from L.A., for sure.") Maybe another trip to Frenchmen Street or Magazine Street.

Her eyes widen at the suggestion of a possible trip to Saints training camp in Jackson, Miss. As a sports fan in general -- and NFL fan in particular -- there is obvious allure to the idea of scouting a rival of her hometown Buccaneers. Besides, a chance to meet Saint Reggie himself, running back Reggie Bush, holds appeal to any real NFL fan.

She's open to anything, really -- just eager to experience New Orleans -- so she's liable to turn up any number of places. Except, she promises, the police blotter.

THE BRITTANY SNOW FILE

Age: 21.

Resides: Los Angeles and Tampa, Fla.

Current projects: "Black Water Transit," with Laurence Fishburne, being filmed in New Orleans; and "Hairspray," with John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer, in theaters.

Coming up: "Finding Amanda," a dark comedy co-starring Matthew Broderick; and the thriller "Prom Night" (no relation to the 1980 slasher flick), both set for 2008 release.

Notable past roles: Feature films "John Tucker Must Die" and "The Pacifier," and the NBC series "American Dreams."

'I wear nothing' in 'Black Water Transit', says Brittany Snow

(7/30/07) Fans of Brittany Snow are in for a treat, for the actress reveals that she's worn nothing in her upcoming flick 'Black Water Transit'.

The 21-year-old, who plays a troubled hooker, Sardoonah in the film, revealed that her character made out with everyone and wore nothing in the entire film.

"Basically, I have sex with everybody in the movie. I wear nothing the entire time," US magazine quoted Snow, as saying.

Meanwhile, the 'Hairspray' actress who celebrated a three day birthday bash this year insisted that she was not looking forward to just becoming a celeb and enjoying parties, but wanted to show people her acting talent.

"I'm really excited to show people that I am an actual actress, not just wanting to be a celebrity and go to this party and that party," she said.

Apart from 'Black Water Transit', Snow also set to play a lead role in upcoming flick 'Prom Night', a remake of the hit horror film of the same name, starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

This Brittany searches for identity beyond name

(7/27/07) Brittany Snow doesn't get the kind of attention that the other young celebrities with her first name draw.

The 21-year-old Tampa, Fla., native doesn't party with any of Hollywood's various Jessicas or skip work due to "exhaustion." The closest Snow comes to tabloids is when she's standing in a supermarket checkout line.

But watch her in "Hairspray," playing the conniving coquette Amber von Tussle, who can't believe anyone would prefer the chubby heroine to her own sleek blondness. Hear that voice, see those heels kick and feel free to hiss her disdain of anyone she isn't.

You get the feeling that Snow is on the way to stardom, for all the right reasons.

"Some people are more interested in their names than their work," Snow said from New York recently, hours before Hairspray's official premiere. "But I would so much rather be known for my work.

"I try not to get too involved with the celebrity aspect, or get caught up in the Hollywood aspect because it's too confusing for me and it doesn't interest me that much."

Besides, staying out all night in Los Angeles nightclubs simply isn't her thing.

"It's just not who I am," she said. "I definitely go out and have a good time when I'm in L.A. I do what I do, then I show up on the set on time and do whatever needs to be done. It has a lot to do with how I was raised."

Snow's parents still guide her decisions. Mother Cinda is nearby in Los Angeles and father John holds down the Tampa fort. Snow doesn't get back home as often as she'd like: "Maybe three or four times a year, so I miss my dad" and friends from Gaither High School and regional stage performances.

Those beginnings led to modeling jobs, 15 commercials, a role on the soap opera "Guiding Light" and eventually her breakout role on NBC's set-in-the-'60s drama "American Dreams." Now she is wearing those New Frontier fashions and doing the Mashed Potato again in "Hairspray."

"I'm sure ("Hairspray" producers) saw me in 1960s makeup and things," Snow said. "But 'Hairspray' is a lot different from 'American Dreams.'"

Certainly the moods are different. Snow likes the fact that both capture an era of important social change, especially with regard to civil rights.

"There aren't many chances as a teen actress to be a part of two projects that make such strong messages about a huge part of history," she said.

Snow's visibility will get a big boost from "Hairspray." After all, a big role in a movie version of a Broadway smash with John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer can't possibly hurt.

"It's a little strange," she said. "I'm working with these stars who have been my favorites growing up and who are icons. Just being in the same room with them when we're doing interviews is very surreal.

"As far as people taking notice of me, it really hasn't changed yet. Maybe something will change when the movie comes out. I'm just going to handle it day by day with whatever happens."

Snow is keeping busy while the world catches on. Four of her movies are slated for 2008 release, including "Black Water Transit," currently filming with director Tony Kaye ("American History X") in New Orleans. Three more are in the can: a dark comedy with Matthew Broderick titled "Finding Amanda"; the low-budget indie "On the Doll"; and "Prom Night," a horror movie that Snow assured isn't a remake of the 1980 slasher flick.

"Black Water Transit," "Finding Amanda" and "On the Doll" all share a common thread suggesting that her girl-next-door days are numbered. In each, she portrays a prostitute, exactly what nobody expects from wholesome-looking Brittany Snow.

"That's always the most rewarding type of part, the ones that people don't normally see you in but you find it within yourself," she said. "I definitely don't look like a prostitute. I know that for a fact. But I like playing girls who are very complex with addictions and inner demons.

"I have to believe that if I keep doing things I'm passionate about and do the best I can, people will know me for who I am and not just another Brittany."

Review: `Hairspray' is innocent fun

(7/17/07) The world probably didn't need another film version of John Waters' 1988 romp "Hairspray" any more than it needed a Broadway musical version of it. The whole cycle reeks of that movie-of-a-stage-production-of-a-movie debacle that has tainted the legacy of "The Producers."

Having said that, this new brand of "Hairspray" is a hybrid of its predecessors: enormously entertaining but with only faint traces of Waters' signature dark, kitschy humor. It is, in a word, safe — one you would ordinarily never use to describe Waters' work.

Director and choreographer Adam Shankman keeps the tone light, the hair high and the pacing snappy, even while delivering the film's segregation-is-bad message, which seems archaic and obvious 45 years after the movie's setting. (Shankman certainly shows a more deft touch here than he did with "Bringing Down the House" and "The Pacifier.")

But there is something refreshing in the innocence of the film, written by Leslie Dixon based on both Waters' script and the 2002 Broadway hit. No winking, no mugging — just earnest, wholesome, knock-your-socks-off fun. You'll probably be tempted to burst into applause at the end of the splashier numbers, as several people in the audience did during a recent screening in Hollywood. (The music comes from Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Tony winners for the stage version.)

Much of the movie's charm radiates from 18-year-old newcomer Nikki Blonsky, an absolute delight as the film's plus-sized protagonist, Tracy Turnblad, the role that made a then-unknown Ricki Lake a star 20 years ago. She's just so darn perky, so unflappably sunny as she belts her way through the opening tune, "Good Morning Baltimore," she makes it impossible to resist getting caught up in her enthusiasm.

Tracy's greatest dream is to make it as a dancer on "The Corny Collins Show," which she and best friend Penny Pingleton (a cute but stiff Amanda Bynes) scurry home to watch on TV after school — that is, until she discovers the racial discrimination that plagues the program. The show's regulars are billed as "the nicest kids in town," but they're not exactly a diverse bunch. That's why there's Negro Day with host Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah), which only comes once a month — though, as Tracy gushes, she wishes every day were Negro Day.

She gets her chance to shake things up when Corny (a perfectly slick James Marsden) notices her during a dance competition. This allows her to show off the new moves she learned from the black kids in detention, including Seaweed (Elijah Kelley), who happens to be Maybelle's son. Kelley, whose biggest role before this was as a dancer in the forgettable "Take the Lead," is hugely charismatic — great-looking, likable, a talented singer and dancer and as much of a discovery as Blonsky herself.

Trouble is, the brittle station manager Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) isn't terribly fond of chubby girls or blacks, and feels especially inspired to unleash her wrath when Tracy starts stealing attention from her daughter, Amber (Brittany Snow), the show's spoiled star. From there, it doesn't take long for Tracy to attract Amber's boyfriend, the dreamy Link Larkin (the dreamy Zac Efron from "High School Musical"). Scheming, romance and race riots ensue — and, of course, more singing and dancing.

Sitting at home in her robe, ironing and watching all these developments from the safety of her row house with a mixture of apprehension and excitement, is Tracy's tubby mother, Edna, played famously by John Travolta in drag. As inhabited by Divine in the original film and Harvey Fierstein on Broadway, the part is intended to be portrayed with high camp.

With Travolta, though, there's no sense of fun. He plays it straight, for lack of a better word, and with a touch of pathos. The joke is completely lost, and you never lose sight of the fact that you're watching the star of "Grease" and "Saturday Night Fever," this time brandishing his trademark dance moves while wearing a fat suit.

"Hairspray," a New Line Cinema release, is rated PG for language, some suggestive content and momentary teen smoking. Running time: 117 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

More cast changes at "Boston Legal"

(7/02/07) "Hustle & Flow" co-star Taraji P. Henson is joining the cast of David E. Kelley's legal comedy-drama "Boston Legal" as a regular.

Additionally, former regulars Mark Valley and Rene Auberjonois will return for multiple episodes on the ABC series' upcoming fourth season.

Saffron Burrows and Gail O'Grady also will appear in multiple episodes of the drama, which is undergoing a major cast overhaul this summer.

Last month, the options on four regulars -- Valley, Auberjonois, Julie Bowen and Constance Zimmer -- were not picked up. Emmy winner John Larroquette and Tara Summers joined the show as regulars, while recurring player Christian Clemenson was upped to a regular.

Larroquette will play Carl Sack, a senior partner from the New York offices of Crane Poole & Schmidt who transfers to Boston. Henson will portray a high-powered corporate litigator out of the New York office whom Sack brings in to help wrestle more political sovereignty within the firm. The character will be introduced later in the season.O'Grady, who appeared on several episodes this year, will reprise her role as Judge Gloria Weldon, who is in a heated relationship with Shore.

Auberjonois will return as CP&S senior partner Paul Lewiston and Valley as attorney Brad Chase, who will go up against one of the firm's lawyers in court.

The show also stars Candice Bergen and William Shatner.

Henson next stars opposite Don Cheadle in "Talk to Me." Burrows recently appeared in the feature "Reign Over Me."

'Hidden Palms' Finale Moves Up

(6/12/07) The CW is sending off "Hidden Palms" with a bang -- sorta.

The summer drama series will have its remaining six episodes burned off with back-to-back episodes in order for the season finale to air on July 4, no doubt when families will be out watching fireworks, digesting BBQ or other activities that don't normally involve watching TV.

On Wednesday, June 20 and 27, the CW will air two new "Hidden Palms" episodes and then conclude at 8:00 p.m. on Independence Day.

Another change besides this accelerated schedule is the removal of the repeat episodes on Sundays, which will now feature repeats of "7th Heaven" to accompany two back-to-back "Reba" episodes and a "Supernatural" repeat.

"Hidden Palms" centers on the experiences of Johnny (Taylor Handley) who moves to Palm Springs with his family after witnessing his father's suicide and subsequently going through rehab. The only problem is that the denizens of the town, including Greta (Amber Heard) and Cliff (Michael Cassidy), seem fairly unbalanced themselves, and a mystery concerning the boy who used to live in Johnny's new home may have far-reaching consequences.

Keith Robinson the long arm of "Law" for Fox

(6/11/07) "Dreamgirls" co-star Keith Robinson has joined the cast of Fox's upcoming drama series "Canterbury's Law" as a regular.

Julianna Margulies ("ER") head the cast as a rebellious defense attorney who pushes the boundaries of the law to protect innocent clients. Robinson will play her co-worker, Chester Fields. The role was played in the pilot by Jocko Sims.

Robinson, who played songwriter C.C. White in "Dreamgirls," will next be seen in the CBS miniseries "Comanche Moon," which airs in November.

Virginia Madsen in spirit of "Haunting"

(5/15/07) Virginia Madsen will star in the supernatural thriller "A Haunting in Connecticut."

The film tells the true story of a family forced to relocate near a clinic where their teenage son is being treated for cancer. There, they discover that the home they have rented is a former mortuary with a dark history that might account for the extraordinary manifestations of the boy's illness and the supernatural events that threaten the family.

Peter Cornwell is directing the Gold Circle Films project. A late summer start is being eyed.

Madsen, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in "Sideways," most recently appeared on the big screen opposite Jim Carrey in "The Number 23."

Virginia Madsen: My Botox Confession

(5/09/07) Virginia Madsen spoke openly on Tuesday about a topic most actresses only whisper about to their dermatologists: Botox.

Pointing to the bridge between her eyes, the Sideways Oscar nominee, 45, told a New York press luncheon that "over the years" she's put the wrinkle-erasing product to use in order to deal with her "11" lines, and "more recently," she said, she's also used Juvéderm to correct the creases at the sides of her mouth.

"As I started to talk about it and as it ended up in print there was such an overwhelming response from friends and family, lots and lots of actors, people on the street," said Madsen, who is the new spokesperson for Allergan, Inc. – the maker of Botox and Juvéderm. "They were surprised that I looked so 'normal.' "

Madsen, whose mother, Elaine Madsen, was at her side, said: "That is how it should be. I don't have that sort of frozen look that we have talked about."

Addressing some of the dangers occasionally encountered treating wrinkles, Madsen said she was turned off by Botox parties "at someone's home that maybe I didn't know" and by "discounted treatments at hair salons."

After she's used Botox, she said, "What was really surprising to me and somewhat alarming was that no one ever asked me who my doctor was. Or where I had them done. They would ask me where on my face [I was treated]."

Approached by Allergan to work for its campaign called "Keep the Wisdom. Lose the Lines," Madsen said that the National Women's Health Resource Center also shared its research with her about the misinformation when it came to aesthetic injectable treatments.

"I knew that I could join them, and I could turn my openness about my treatments into a potential call to action for people who were interested in maintaining their looks, but [who] need to know how to do this in the right way."

Stressing that "Botox and Juvéderm are medicines – they are prescription medicines" – Madsen said, "I think a lot of people have lost sight of that with the growing popularity of these products. I don't think anyone would ever consider having their eyes examined anywhere else but in a doctor's chair. It is very similar."

She also suggests moderation when it comes to partaking of the products. "I am not using these injectables to look 25," she said. "I don't want to be 25. I just want to look like me. I am 45, and I am in the best shape that I have ever been in my life."

Madsen, who says she does her best to stay fit partly to keep up with her 12-year old son, Jack, said, "I made a lot of choices to keep myself youthful and strong. I work out. I eat good foods. And I also get injectables, and I just felt like it was really important for us to discuss the safety issues. ... I lost the lines, but I still look like me, which is the result that I think many people want to experience."

For more on Virginia Madsen, pick up PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Ventimiglia outfits Web series for American Eagle

(5/03/07) "Heroes" star Milo Ventimiglia is directing a Web comedy series for retailer American Eagle Outfitters.

"It's a Mall World" explores the lives and relationships of a greeter/salesgirl at an American Eagle store, two employees at a fictitious independent record store, a "slightly psychotic" girl who works in a similarly ersatz lingerie store called Glorious Chest, and a "bad-boy poseur from the requisite mall juice bar," American Eagle said.

The series will consist of 12 five-minute "webisodes" that will air weekly at American Eagle's web site (http://www.ae.com), starting August 2.

It will premiere on MTV in the summer, as part of American Eagle's overall media buy with the network, and in American Eagle stores in the form of three-minute "minisodes."

Joey Lawrence Dances with the Devil on CSI: NY

(4/17/07) You've seen him rock his mop on Blossom and rule the parquet on Dancing with the Stars, but you've never seen Joey Lawrence the way he is as guest star on the April 25 episode of CSI: NY (Wednesdays at 10 pm, on CBS). As Clay Dobson, a chrome-domed killer once nabbed by Gary Sinise's Detective Mac Taylor and now set free, he delivers a chilling turn that will not only make you say, "Whoa," but also set Mac up for a dramatic fall. TVGuide.com asked Lawrence about the bold gig, his bald pate, and the whereabouts of his boogie shoes.

TVGuide.com: So, you do the "dancing monkey" act and you get your career jump-started, eh?
Joey Lawrence: Yeah! You never know why or where or when or how things happen, you just have to roll with it. I took some time off and [Dancing with the Stars] came up, and it worked out good!

TVGuide.com: Is this the first serial killer you've ever played? The first killer of any kind?
Lawrence: Yep. It's my first dark sort of role like that. They called me and said, "We have this story we'd love to have you play, if you're into it," and they sent me the script and it was great. I thought it was something that could be really cool. Playing opposite Gary Sinise, who I'm a huge fan of, was a great opportunity, and to play someone as dark as this was a lot of fun.

TVGuide.com: Working opposite Gary, did you feel an added pressure to bring your "A game"?
Lawrence: I always try to bring the "A game," man, whether it's an indie or anything. But for sure, I wanted to do the best I possibly could playing opposite such a great actor.

TVGuide.com: What are you at liberty to reveal about your character? I know there's a certain amount of secrecy surrounding the story line.
Lawrence: Um.... Clay Dobson was caught by Mac five years ago and convicted of murdering five women. The cop who was going to testify to make sure I stayed in jail forever turned out to be a dirty cop, so Mac had to deal with the issue of, "Do I put this dirty cop away, or do I let him slide and keep Clay in jail?" Of course he puts the cop away, losing them their key witness, and then as soon as I get out of jail, these two bodies pop up, and they look similar [in style of death/presentation], but with a twist. Mac tries to convince his superiors it's me, and I'm suing the department, so they're like, "Leave it alone."

TVGuide.com: Sounds like Mac takes justice into his own hands....
Lawrence: I was talking to Gary about it, and he said it was really cool because he and I had the biggest fight sequence he's had on the show, and it's neat to see him "out of character" like that. He said, "I'm usually in the lab looking at the bodies, so for me to be able to throw away a weapon and just say, 'Come on, boy,' like John Wayne, is pretty cool.

TVGuide.com: When was the last time you had a fight scene?
Lawrence: Oh, never like this, man. They had like 15 cameras up there, and we had to shoot all the fight sequences in one day. It was really incredible. It took us like three hours to set up one shot that lasted, like, 10 seconds. [Laughs] But it was a good time, and it's going to set up a good cliffhanger for the end of the season. It's good for Gary, too, because Mac ends up in some hot water....

TVGuide.com: Is Clay cocky, does he feel he has the upper hand...?
Lawrence: He's a very calm and collected and smooth operator. He doesn't lose his cool. That's how all the great serial killers are. Their other side is a very normal guy.

TVGuide.com: Well, yeah. If they ran around drooling and with crazy eyes, they'd be much easier to catch.
Lawrence: You're exactly right. But Clay Dobson has this switch that goes off and takes him to the darkest places.

TVGuide.com: Do you regret not cutting your lush locks sooner?
Lawrence: You know, I wanted to cut my hair for so many years, and for one reason or another I didn't....

TVGuide.com: You probably had people advising you, "Joey, it's part of who you are, it's what the people know."
Lawrence: Of course, and finally I just said, "F it" and shaved it off. And as soon as I did that I got these two cool little indie movies, and I've got this Warner Bros. movie that hasn't come out where I play this Easy Rider kind of throwback cop. And then this Dancing with the Stars thing came up and they wanted me to keep it shaved. Even the CSI: NY people said, "Would you mind shaving it back down?" It's gone from, "Don't do that" to "Would you mind keeping it that way?"

TVGuide.com: Drew Lachey resurfaced on DWTS last week for a quick encore with Cheryl Burke. Would you — could you — do the same?
Lawrence: I'm actually doing something [on April 13] a huge Race to Erase MS fundraiser where Ray Romano is the emcee and Whitney Houston is going to sing.... There's a big fashion show that Tommy Hilfiger does and [DWTS partner] Edyta [Sliwinska] and I are going to dance to the opening of that. After all that training, I can hold my own in terms of picking steps up. I don't know if I'll go back on the show, but if I need to use it on other things, like Broadway, it could come in handy!

CW Reveals 'Hidden Palms' Premiere

(4/03/07) Wednesdays on the CW are about to get more mysterious.

.The dark one-hour drama "Hidden Palms" will make its premiere on the fledgling network on Wednesday, May 30 at 8 p.m. ET, announced CW chief Dawn Ostroff.

Ushered to the CW by Kevin Williamson ("Dawson's Creek," "Scream") and Scott Winant ("Huff," "My So-Called Life"), the series revolves around the troubled yet bright Johnny Miller, played by Taylor Handley, better known as crazy Oliver of "The O.C." fame. Reeling from his father's suicide, Johnny turns to alcohol and drugs. Like Britney Spears, he's fresh out of rehab and looking to begin anew.

With his mom and new dad (Gail O'Grady, D.W. Moffett) Johnny moves to the affluent paradise of Palm Springs. Feeling immediately out of place, our hero makes friends with his neighbors Cliff (Michael Cassidy) and Liza (Ellary Porterfield) and the beautifully enigmatic Greta (Amber Heard). But there's something strange going on that Johnny can't quite put his finger on, but it's somehow linked to the tragic death of Cliff's best friend, who just happens to have lived in Johnny's house.

The cast also includes Tessa Thompson, Sharon Lawrence, and Leslie Jordan.

Boston, Yasbeck headline ABC news comedy

(3/16/07) Rachel Boston and Amy Yasbeck have landed lead roles on ABC's untitled comedy pilot set in a chaotic Phoenix TV newsroom.

"American Dreams" alumna Boston will play a rising star at the station who was recently promoted to executive producer of all news programs. Yasbeck, who recently co-starred on "Life on a Stick," will play a co-anchor.

New Show For Vanny

(2/23/07) Former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Brian Austin Green will play a gay man in a new comedy pilot from the creators of "Will & Grace".

The untitled CBS project, from David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, is about two friends and writing partners, one straight and one gay (Green), and the women working with them (Jessica Capshaw, Vanessa Lengies). The project is loosely based on Kohan and Mutchnick's friendship.

Green most recently co-starred on ABC's comedy "Freddie." Capshaw has been recurring on Showtime's lesbian drama "The L Word," while Lengies co-starred on Lifetime's "Monarch Cove."

"Dreamgirls" star recruited for Fox cop drama

(2/21/07) "Dreamgirls" co-star Keith Robinson (Nathan Walker, American Dreams) is set to join Fox's drama pilot "The Apostles," which chronicles the off-duty lives of LAPD cops in the affluent southern California community of Simi Valley.

Robinson will play one of the leads, a decorated officer who is deeply religious. He plays C.C. White in "Dreamgirls."

'Prom Night' Remake Is a Snow Job

(2/20/07) Brittany Snow will take a stab at the lead role in Screen Gems' unnecessary remake of the slasher pic "Prom Night."

In the Paul Lynch-directed 1980 original, a group of high school seniors are terrorized by a mask killer whose motive appears to have something to do with the death of a young girl six years earlier.

Nelson McCormick is directing the new "Prom Night," with Neal Moritz producing.

Although Variety doesn't specify, Snow will presumably take on the Jamie Lee Curtis role.

Probably best known for her wholesome turn on NBC's "American Dreams," Snow has been working against that image with a recurring turn on "Nip/Tuck" and in features like "John Tucker Must Die." She's already completed work on "Finding Amanda" and a supporting role in "Hairspray."

Clark, Seacrest will rock in new year

(12/26/06) Dick Clark will be back, live, when the ball drops in New York's Times Square on New Year's Eve Sunday night.

Clark, 77, made his first appearance since a stroke in December 2004 at last year's New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. Ever since, he has been battling back with daily therapy sessions.

Last month, he said in an Associated Press interview that he remembered being surprised on the morning of Dec. 6, 2004.

"I woke up in the morning and my right side didn't work. I thought a dog had slept on my side," said Clark, whose wife then drove him to the hospital. "Your life changes overnight," he told the AP.

"I am happy that I'm alive, that I'm reasonably well," he said. "I'm sad that I'm impaired with my walking and my speech is impaired. But I'm happy."

He did not take part in a news conference call to talk about the show that will ring in 2007. Ryan Seacrest, heir apparent to the Clark throne, spoke for him: "He's looking forward to this show. He loves being on the air on New Year's Eve. There's nothing that's going to stop him from being there."

The highlight of this year's show will be a record-high 19 performances, Seacrest says. Among them: Rihanna, Ludacris, Christina Aguilera, Rascal Flatts, the cast of Jersey Boys, Natasha Bedingfield, Meat Loaf and RBD.

They'll all be part of the ABC festivities that start at 10 p.m. (live ET, tape-delayed PT) with Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve 2007.

Seacrest saw Clark within the past month and said he looked "relaxed" and was "joking."

Seacrest added: " I think he has definitely improved. He has improved since we've seen him at the Emmys (in August). He's obviously still recovering, but I think you'll see improvement on the New Year's Eve show."

Seacrest says there has been no talk of him doing the show without Clark. "As far as I'm concerned, Dick can do it and will do it as long as he wants to."

He could not say what Clark's role will be this year. "It is up to Dick." Seacrest plans to do one thing: "Be there for as much as he needs me for."

Seacrest said he was happy to have Clark back on the air last year.

"It made me more comfortable to have him there. It's his show. It's his platform. I think it made it much easier for me to know he was going to carry what he was going to carry. It showed a lot of strength and courage for him. He's a fearless individual."

Brittany Snow Cast in Finding Amanda

(12/10/06) Brittany Snow has been cast as the lead of indie pic Finding Amanda, starring Matthew Broderick and being written and directed by Peter Tolan, reports Variety.

Shooting will begin January 3 in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The film revolves around a strung-out TV producer (Broderick) who is sent by his wife on a mission to save their niece Amanda (Snow), who's a hooker and stripper living in Las Vegas.

Snow next stars in New Line's musical adaptation Hairspray in the role of Amber Von Tussle.

Dick Clark auctions 'Bandstand' mic

(12/06/06) Fifty years after his first appearance on the TV show that became known as "American Bandstand," Dick Clark let go of the microphone.

The famed host auctioned off a number of items from his personal collection of musical memorabilia, including a microphone he used beginning July 9, 1956 — his first day on the rock 'n' roll show that made him famous. The microphone went for $33,000 Wednesday at Guernsey's auction house.

Other items sold in the two-day auction included Madonna's bustier worn during the video for "Open Your Heart," for $11,400; a cape belonging to Elvis Presley, for $24,000; and Bob Dylan's harmonica, which went for $18,000, auction president Arlan Ettinger said. A pair of red and yellow boots worn by Elton John sold for $9,600.

Lithographs that John Lennon gave his wife Yoko Ono as a wedding gift were sold for $54,000. The drawings were first exhibited in January 1970 at the London Art Gallery, but the exhibition was closed on the second day by Scotland Yard, which said they were too sexually explicit.

Clark, 76, described himself as "a pack rat" since childhood and said his scripts and memorabilia had filled 28,000 square feet in a California warehouse. Clark, who suffered a stroke in 2004, still goes to work daily and undergoes therapy, Ettinger said.

The auction was held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Guernsey's said it would be a no-reserve auction, with everything selling for the highest bid.

Much of the profits from the sale were to go to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which was founded by the music industry to raise money for research on cancer and AIDS, Ettinger said.

The buyer's fee was 20 percent.

NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE INCLUDES RECORD NUMBER OF LIVE PERFORMANCES

(12/05/06) Chart-topper Christina Aguilera will rock in the New Year with live performances from Times Square during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2007," airing SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31 on the ABC Television Network. For the primetime special, country superstars Rascal Flatts will lead the world-class roster of performances that also includes the stars of Broadway's "Jersey Boys," as the show expands from one to a record three performances, live from the show's exclusive performance stage on Military Island before almost a million people, and tens of million more viewers at home. Other musical acts for the 35th consecutive year of the special will include Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Meat Loaf and Latin music phenomenon RBD, all from the Hollywood party. Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest will host three specials from New York on this evening, making three and a half hours of special New Year's programming:

"Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve 2007" (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET)
"Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2007," Part 1 (11:35 p.m. -1:05 a.m., ET)
"Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2007," Part 2 (1:05-2:05 a.m., ET)

GENE SIMMONS: DICK CLARK 'Was Kind Enough To Us In The Beginning When No One Else Gave A Squat'

(11/26/06) Syndicated newspaper columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith report that KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons shows his serious and, yes, sentimental side while recalling his first meeting with Dick Clark. "When KISS first started we came out to Hollywood for our very first time. We appeared on 'In Concert', Dick Clark's concert show on ABC. We were green, we knew no one, all we had was ourselves — all for one, one for all, us against the world," states Simmons, who is among the many rockers sharing memories of Clark in preparation for his big memorabilia auction to benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation. Gene appears on today's (Nov. 25) "Dick Clark Auction Preview" on VOOM's Treasure HD, the new high-definition network dedicated to collectors, which will also show much of the two-day auction next month.

"Right before we were to go on, Clark came into our dressing room," continues Simmons. "He put his arm around our shoulders and said, 'Anything you want, just ask me.' He was kind enough to us in the beginning when no one else gave a squat. Dick Clark was, is, and continues to be a gentleman of the highest order."

Clark progressing two years after stroke

(11/21/06) Nearly two years after a stroke, "American Bandstand" icon Dick Clark recounted Monday the stunning moment he realized his right side was paralyzed. "It was a complete surprise," Clark told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after his daily two-hour therapy session, which he said left him feeling "pooped."

Clark, who turns 77 next week, knew there was something wrong when he awakened on Dec. 6, 2004.

"I woke up in the morning and my right side didn't work. I thought a dog had slept on my side," said Clark, who sounded upbeat and could be clearly understood. "My wife said, `I think you had a stroke,' and she drove me to the hospital."

Doctors at Burbank's Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center kept him hospitalized for weeks. Rehabilitation therapy sessions have continued ever since.

"Your life changes overnight," he said.

Recently, Clark has been busy promoting the Dec. 5 and 6 auction of his memorabilia at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The self-professed pack rat plans to attend.

"I keep everything. It's one of my problems. I'm a saver," Clark said.

Throughout his rehabilitation, Clark's devoted wife, Kari, has been at his side, as she has throughout their marriage.

"She's one of a kind, thank God," Clark said.

"I am happy that I'm alive, that I'm reasonably well," he continued. "I'm sad that I'm impaired with my walking and my speech is impaired. But I'm happy."

Besides preparing for a Thanksgiving Day meal for 18 of her relatives, Kari Clark was also organizing Tuesday evening's "American Music Awards" after-party. Clark, who has produced that show for decades, said he almost considers it one of his children.

"I watch it," Clark said. "Sure, I'm interested. I created that thing 34 years ago. You can't just dismiss it (from your life)."

He's also produced the "Academy of Country Music Awards" and " Golden Globe Awards" shows for years.

Next month's auction includes some prized mementos from Clark's classic "American Bandstand," including the microphone he used on July 9, 1956, when he kicked off the rock 'n' roll show that made him famous.

Arlan Ettinger, the president of Guernsey's auction house, expects it will fetch between $10,000 and $100,000.

Other items on the block include a bass guitar that Paul McCartney played when he was a Beatle, a Michael Jackson beaded glove and the harmonica that Bob Dylan played in "The Last Waltz."

Clark has a 28,000 square foot warehouse full of stuff.

"I didn't want to get rid of any of it. But there comes a time to clean the closet," Clark said, adding there had been some thought to creating a Dick Clark Museum. "Nothing ever came to fruit."

Much of the auction profits will go to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which was founded by the music industry to raise money for research on cancer and AIDS, Ettinger said.

Brothers take flight in NBC's `Heroes'

(11/14/06) "Heroes" Adrian Pasdar and Milo Ventimiglia put their heads together. They align their profiles to point out how much alike they look. Not surprisingly, they play brothers in the new NBC hit series, which airs Mondays at 9 p.m ET.

"Eyes, nose," they exclaim, their words bouncing into each other's.

"Look at these two eyes," Pasdar gestures.

"The color thing, and everything," says Ventimiglia, as, side by side, they widen their eyes.

"Exactly the same color," affirms Pasdar.

"Like build and body," Ventimiglia continues.

"It's all right there," interjects Pasdar.

Pasdar is the older sibling, Nathan Petrelli, an ambitious overachiever running for political office. Ventimiglia is Peter Petrelli, a male nurse, who is something of a dreamer.

All the main characters in this fantasy drama are ordinary people with extraordinary talents. Both Petrelli brothers can fly — something Nathan's not too keen on voters finding out about.

Additionally, Peter is able to pick up on the abilities of other super-powered people. Those include Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), a computer enthusiast who can time travel; Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a drug-addicted artist who can paint the future, and Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), a cheerleader who cannot die.

There's also Niki Sanders (Ali Larter), a Las Vegas stripper and single mom who discovers secrets through her mirror image, and Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg), a Los Angeles cop who can hear people's thoughts. Sendhil Ramamurthy plays Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor from India who discovered the heroes.

With the series' interwoven elements just beginning to mesh, Ventimiglia wasn't yet sure how close his character has to get to others to pick up their skills. He also was unclear "whether he can retain them."

"It's not like testing your car alarm to see how far you can get before you can turn it off or on," he says, grinning, as he and Pasdar wait for a rehearsal call in their trailer.

What both know is that it's fun to fly, even though it's not as easy as it looks.

"If we didn't have the physical acumen that we have, I think the show would have a different feel, at least in terms of our input, because the flying stuff is difficult to pull off and make look real," says Pasdar.

The actors feel they should take what opportunities they can to inject a semblance of reality, and sometimes even humor, into their flight scenes — moments that might include unsteady landings, cold shivers, tears in the eyes and maybe even bugs in the teeth.

"The truth is, the show is very reality based," says creator and executive producer Tim Kring. "The show is really about what would happen if you or I woke up one day to discover we had some sort of special ability. ... How would we fold it into our normal lives."

Kring believes "Heroes" has caught on with viewers because, "I think everybody deep down feels they are special in some way, and if they don't feel that then they wish that they did."

He adds: "We live in a very complicated and confusing world and the thought that there might be people who would be coming along and may be able to deal with some of those complicated issues, and perhaps solve them, is, I think, a very intriguing idea right now."

A few years ago, Pasdar went in to read for the role of Ventimiglia's father in a planned but then aborted spinoff of "Gilmore Girls," the series in which the younger actor had costarred.

That idea would have been something of a stretch, since Ventimiglia is 29 and Pasdar is 41 (and married to Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and the father of two young sons).

"Ultimately they said, when he (Pasdar) walked out of the room, `Wow, he's really good. You guys should play brothers,'" Ventimiglia recalls.

They met again on the set of "Heroes" on which Ventimiglia had been the first main character cast and Pasdar the last.

"He's the bow on the gift" Ventimiglia says, causing the actors to laugh about the bribe that might have been needed to make him say that.

CBS Offers Online 'Smith' Closure

(11/10/06) CBS' "Smith" was the first casualty of the fall season, but now the show's handful of devoted fans will be able to get some sense of where the heist drama was head.

The network announced on Thursday (Nov. 9) that the four remaining episodes of "Smith" will be available on CBS' streaming broadband channel Innertube. In addition to the three episodes that actually aired, viewers can watch seven "Smith" hours on Innertube and also download them at AOL, Amazon and Apple's iTunes Store.

But if that's not closure enough, CBS has also gotten the show's producers to write a brief synopsis of how the series, which starred Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, Simon Baker, Amy Smart, Jonny Lee Miller, Franky G, Chris Bauer and Shohreh Aghdashloo, would have ended.

After its three Wednesday night airings, CBS pulled "Smith" on Oct. 6, helping the series achieve the dubious honor of beating The CW's "Runaway," NBC's "Kidnapped" and FOX's "Happy Hour" to the shelf. CBS will premiere its "Smith" replacement, the medical drama "3 Lbs.," on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Dick Clark returning for '07 show

(10/27/06) As he did last year, Dick Clark will co-host the annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve." The former "American Bandstand" host, now 76, will join Ryan Seacrest and musical guest Christina Aguilera to ring in 2007 before a national TV audience of millions. Clark missed the show two years ago when he suffered a stroke but returned to the holiday staple last New Year's Eve.

Seacrest, the 31-year-old host of "American Idol," handled co-hosting duties last year and is expected to eventually succeed Clark as the show's host.

Clark originated the New Year's Eve program back in 1972. The only show he missed followed his Dec. 6, 2004, stroke.

Dick Clark plans to auction memorabilia from American Bandstand in December

(10/25/06) Fifty years after his first appearance on the show that became known as "American Bandstand," Dick Clark is ready to let go of the microphone.

The famed host is auctioning off a number of items from his personal collection of musical memorabilia, including the microphone he used beginning on July 9, 1956 - his first day on the rock 'n' roll show that made him famous.

"It's tough to part with that one," Clark said of the microphone, which was valued by Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's auction house, at between US$10,000 and US$100,000.

Other items to be sold include a bass guitar that Paul McCartney played when he was a Beatle, a beaded glove that Michael Jackson wore in his moonwalking phase and the harmonica that Bob Dylan played in "The Last Waltz."

The host of "New Year's Rockin' Eve", now 76, described himself as "a pack rat" since childhood and said his scripts and memorabilia had filled 2,520 square metres in a California warehouse.

"I've got every Life magazine that was ever printed, because my grandmother saved them for me," he said. "I've got most of the Playboy magazines. I've got Fortune - lovely photographs in there. I saved everything."

Clark, who suffered a stroke in 2004, still goes to work daily and undergoes therapy, Ettinger was quoted as saying by the New York Times in its Wednesday edition.

The auction was planned for Dec. 5 and 6 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Guernsey's said it would be a no-reserve auction, with everything selling for the highest bid.

Much of the profits from the sale are to go to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which was founded by the music industry to raise money for research on cancer and AIDS, Ettinger said.

CBS' 'Smith' first new show to bite dust

(10/06/06) Here's something Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen won't be putting on their resumes: stars of the first new TV show to bite the dust this fall. "Smith," the Tuesday night CBS drama with Liotta leading a band of high-stakes thieves, is off the schedule, the network said Friday. It will be replaced temporarily by reruns of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Criminal Minds."

Networks don't like to use the word "cancel" — it sounds so messy — but the show's producers have been given no promise that it will return.

Its last episode had only 8.4 million viewers on Tuesday, according to Nielsen Media Research. It faced tough competition in the time slot from NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" and ABC's "Boston Legal."

Meanwhile, NBC announced the sort-of cancellation of its Wednesday night serial comedy "Kidnapped," which stars Jeremy Sisto. NBC gambled by putting the show in the time slot held for a long time by "Law & Order," and it failed miserably.

"Kidnapped" will be moved to the television purgatory of Saturday nights, starting Oct. 21. Its producers have been told to wrap up the serialized drama's story lines by the end of the show's 13-episode order, NBC said.

Networks have been wrestling with how to satisfy fans who've gotten involved in serialized dramas when the ratings are poor enough for the show to be canceled.

Fox has put its new comedy "Happy Hour" on hiatus, but insists it will return.

'Heros' Gets Full-Season

(10/06/06) NBC has given a full-season order for 2006-07 to "Heroes" (Mondays, 9-10 p.m. ET) - the critically acclaimed and #1 new series this Fall in adults 18-49 (tied with ABC's "Brothers & Sisters") -- it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.

"'Heroes' has delivered exceptional ratings since it's premiere and we're even more impressed with the quality of the upcoming episodes," said Reilly. "We have complete confidence in creator-executive producer Tim Kring. The best is yet to come over the course of a full season with this newest drama sensation."

"Heroes" is averaging a 5.7 rating, 14 share in adults 18-49 and 13.5 million viewers overall, making it the #1 new series this Fall in adults 18-49, tied with ABC's "Brothers & Sisters." "Heroes" is the #1 show in its competitive Monday 9-10 p.m. (ET) slot in adults 18-49, generating a 43 percent increase on NBC's non-sports average for the time period last season.

From creator-executive producer Kring (NBC's "Crossing Jordan") comes "Heroes," an epic drama that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities.

They include a genetics professor (Sendhil Ramamurthy, "Blind Guy Driving") in India who is led by his father's disappearance to uncover a secret theory - that there are people with super powers living among us. Also featured are a young dreamer (Milo Ventimiglia, "Gilmore Girls") tries to convince his politician brother (Adrian Pasdar, "Judging Amy") that he can fly. A high school cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere, "Ice Princess") learns that she is totally indestructible. A Las Vegas single mother (Ali Larter, "Final Destination") struggles to make ends meet to support her young son (Noah Gray-Cabey, "My Wife & Kids") and discovers that her mirror image has a secret.

In addition, a fugitive from justice (Leonard Roberts, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") continues to baffle authorities who twice have been unable to contain him. A gifted artist (Santiago Cabrera, "Empire"), whose drug addiction is destroying his life and relationship with his girlfriend (Tawny Cypress, "Third Watch"), can paint the future. A down-on-his-luck Los Angeles beat cop (Greg Grunberg, "Alias") can hear people's thoughts, which puts him on the trail of an elusive serial killer. In Japan, a young man (Masi Oka, NBC's "Scrubs") develops a way to stop time through sheer will power.

Their ultimate destiny is nothing less than saving the world.

Joining Kring as executive producer are Dennis Hammer (NBC's "Crossing Jordan") and Allan Arkush (NBC's "Crossing Jordan"). The drama is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio.

Familiar crime mystery adds family twist and runs with it

(09/25/06) If the new CW had more shows like Runaway, people might be more interested in the new CW.

Not that Runaway is a great show — it's one of those midlevel, decently entertaining dramas you're most inclined to watch when nothing else in the time slot excites you. But it does have two top-level stars in Donnie Wahlberg and Leslie Hope and an intriguing, easily grasped family-on-the-run premise. And it's new, a welcome rarity on a network otherwise mostly devoted to recycling and resurrecting.

Wahlberg is Paul Rader, a successful lawyer but not-so-successful family man who goes on the run when he's accused of murdering a young female attorney. Unlike The Fugitive, however, he takes his family with him.

As the show opens, he's off to small-town Iowa with his wife, Lily (Hope), and their three children: Henry (Dustin Milligan), Hannah (Sarah Ramos) and Tommy (Nathan Gamble). The plan is to hide out there until Paul can figure out who is trying to frame him.

The premise certainly gives the writers multiple story lines to explore. There's the mystery, as Paul travels in the coming weeks from Iowa to Chicago to Washington, tracking down clues to the case. There's the domestic drama, as Paul and Lily try to reunite a family that had grown used to living separate lives. And finally, there's the typically WB-ish teen drama, as the two older children, Henry and Hannah, adjust to a new high school and new adolescent romantic entanglements.

The problem is that all three shows and all five stars are not created equal. Wahlberg and Hope are by far the show's best assets, and they drive the most interesting plots. Indeed, the strain that life on the run puts on them as parents provides the show with its most intriguing dilemmas: How do you get medicine for your son without medical records? What do you do if a foolish act threatens to put your child into the legal system and onto the FBI's radar?

The weakest story, as you might expect, is the too-familiar teen-angst drama. The good news, though, is that the high school story may not be as awful as the premiere would lead you to believe. Milligan's Henry, in particular, is unendurable tonight, but the character does become less whiny and self-centered as the show progresses.

The tossup is the mystery, which would seem to be awfully hard to sustain over the long haul. Can Paul really spend year after year trying to crack the case? As for his family, the longer they stay in one place, the less suspense the series can generate; but do you really want to see those kids yanked from high school to high school?

Too much of that, and the Raders won't be the only ones running away.

'Heroes' has the power to engage and confuse

(09/25/06) You can practically hear the Heroes cult forming.

Dense, dark, a little dreary and yet oddly intriguing, Heroes seems destined to attract an audience that is more loyal than large. A distinctive, dark-knight comic book brought to life, Heroes clearly isn't for everyone, but that's all right: Every show doesn't have to be for everyone. What matters is that Heroes is likely to please viewers who like genre series, even when those series take themselves a tad too seriously.

They will, however, have to get past a pilot that is so devoted to setting a tone that it ignores the need to establish its characters or move along its story. And the pretentious twang to that tone is set by the opening credits, with their Star Wars-type graphic crawl and the promise that we are entering Chapter One, Volume One of an "epic tale." It's hard enough to get people to take high-concept shows seriously; there's no need to actually invite derisive laughter.

The concept here is that a group of people scattered around the globe have evolved to a higher genetic level and developed superpowers. They don't all understand their powers and they may not all put them to heroic purposes. Over time, however, many of them will realize that it's their destiny to save the world.

Like Six Degrees, destiny seems to be a large part of the Heroes mythology, as the characters continually cross paths — no easy task considering how spread out they are at the start.

Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is a genetics professor in India; Peter (Milo Ventimiglia, finally playing a likable character) is a nurse in New York; Hiro (Masi Oka) is an animé fan in Tokyo; Claire (Hayden Panettiere) is a cheerleader in Texas.

All of them speak English, except for Hiro, whose dialogue requires subtitles, yet another demand from a show that makes an awful lot of them.

The show spends much of its first two episodes revealing the characters' powers, so it seems unfair to give them away here. Let's just say some are more mental — telepathy, empathy, an ability to stop time or see into the future. Some are more physical, from an ability to fly to an inability to be hurt. And some either haven't been revealed or I haven't figured them out, which may explain why some of the characters are of much greater interest than others.

And that's part of the problem with Heroes: It isn't always clear whether the show is being intentionally mysterious or is simply unintentionally confused. Heavily serialized fantasies like Heroes are particularly hard to carry off, and you don't leave the first three episodes convinced that the actors and producers are up to the challenge.

Yet you don't leave bored, either, and that's no small accomplishment. If nothing else, Heroes shows an early knack for coming up with the kind of surprise, episode-ending cliffhangers that will keep some viewers coming back for more.

Make no mistake, it will attract a cult. Whether the cult will be large enough is a question only one of the Heroes could answer.

New CW drama unlikely to be "Runaway" hit

(09/25/06) In "The Fugitive," only one person was on the lam, running to avoid capture for a crime he didn't commit while tracking the real criminal. In "Runaway," you have a whole family trying to evade the long arm of the law.

That they do so practically despite themselves cracks the foundation on which the series was built. At times, things veer so far off center that running from the feds seems like a distraction from the more important story of teen romance and angst, just another annoyance like a sudden zit or a dropped call.

Technically, the feds are after only Dad, Paul Rader (Donnie Wahlberg), a successful lawyer who jumped bail rather than face overwhelming circumstantial evidence in a murder trial. The wife and three kids are along for the ride because, as we learn late in the pilot episode, whoever framed Dad is threatening them as well.

There's another new series, "Six Degrees," in which a character running for her life seeks anonymity in New York. In "Runaway," the Rader family takes the exact opposite tack, hiding from the law in a small Iowa town. Which strategy works better? We'll find out by who gets captured last. Or canceled first.

Intuitively, it would seem that prying small-town eyes would focus long and hard on these strangers with no identification. Mom (Leslie Hope) gets around all that by telling everyone they were caught off guard by Hurricane Katrina, an explanation that works much better for her than it did for FEMA.

Although it's the father who's in the biggest pickle, this is the new youth-oriented CW (indeed, this is the very first new CW series), and creator-writer Chad Hodge keeps closer tabs on the two teens in the family: sullen and angry Henry (Dustin Milligan) and sweetly sociable Hannah (Sarah Ramos).

That, in turn, considerably dilutes the suspense from any story about people trying to escape authorities. While Mom and Dad weigh every word and gesture, Junior is busy using traceable anytime minutes to call the squeeze he left behind. Sis, meanwhile, is concentrating on looking hot for her new social circle. Danger? What danger?

The Toronto area stands in nicely for Iowa, and director Peter Markle is skillful at juggling flashbacks with real time, as well as finding some interesting angles. Wahlberg and Hope show some emotional range, with their expressive faces perhaps the most palpable indication of danger throughout the pilot. The show will get a boost from its "7th Heaven" lead-in, but if NBC's "Heroes" catches on in the same time period, the only option for the Rader family will be surrender.

Cast:
Paul Rader: Donnie Wahlberg
Lily Rader: Leslie Hope
Henry Rader: Dustin Milligan
Hannah Rader: Sarah Ramos
Tommy Rader: Nathan Gamble
Gina Bennett: Susan Floyd
Agent Huntley: Karen LeBlanc

Executive producers: Darren Star, Ed Zuckerman; Co-executive producers: Chad Hodge, Susie Fitzgerald, Dana Baratta; Producers: John E. Pogue, Luke Schelhaas, Abram Hatch, Lynn Raynor; Director: Peter Markle; Creator-teleplay: Chad Hodge; Director of photography: Ron Stannett; Production designer: Ian Brock; Editor: Scott Vickrey; Set designer: Ian Wheatley; Casting: Susan Forrest, Sharon Forrest.

NBC has hit on its hands with "Heroes"

(09/25/06) Part sci-fi, part mystery and wholly unique, "Heroes" is one of TV's most imaginative creations and might, with luck, become this year's "Lost." Its mix of danger, humor, drama, romance and science creates a unique and surprising flavor of programming. At the same time, it fills scene after scene with characters that wouldn't or couldn't easily fit into any other show.

Creator-writer Tim Kring is anything but coy about his ambition. An advisory at the start of the pilot tells viewers that "Heroes" is about "a seemingly random group of individuals" who "will not only save the world but change it forever." The opener mostly introduces us to people in the midst of discovering their superpowers (or "special abilities," as Kring puts it); the following episode spells out the nature of a huge disaster they soon must prevent.

Among others, there's Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia), a nurse who can't shake the feeling that he can fly; Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), a Texas high school cheerleader who instantly heals from any injury; Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), an artist who unconsciously paints future disasters; Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), a Japanese office drone who can bend the space-time continuum; and Niki Sanders (Ali Larter), a sexy Vegas webcam girl and single mother who, when she blacks out, is capable of unimaginable strength and brutality.

Some embrace their powers; others fear them. Hiro rejoices that he is no longer just a cipher. Claire is bummed that her recuperative power sets her apart from her schoolmates. The varying reactions are as much a part of the series as any future small or large battles between good and evil. What's more, Kring has repeatedly said these heroes will remain, for the most part, individuals and not become members of some"X-Men" or "Justice League of America" consortium.

The only certain thing they have in common is an indirect link to Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a geneticist from India who is pursuing the work of his murdered father in the fields of mutations and human potential. Dad was figuring out how to identify and locate these mutant people. Mohinder tries to make sense of the research, fully aware that he is being observed and menaced by someone whose interest in the subject is less benign.

"Heroes" has been smartly cast, but the story is king. People connect with one another at odd times and in unpredictable ways. Scenes jump from place to place halfway around the world, but director David Semel keeps it from getting confusing.

Cast:
Peter Petrelli: Milo Ventimiglia
Mohinder Suresh: Sendhil Ramamurthy
Simone Deveraux: Tawny Cypress
Niki Sanders: Ali Larter
Claire Bennet: Hayden Panettiere
Nathan Petrelli: Adrian Pasdar
Hiro Nakamura: Masi Oka
Isaac Mendez: Santiago Cabrera
Micah Sanders: Noah Gray-Cabey

Executive producers: David Semel, Tim Kring, Dennis Hammer; Producer: Skip Beaudine; Co-producer: Lori Motyer; Director: David Semel; Teleplay-creator: Tim Kring; Director of photography: Adam Kane; Production designer: Curtis Schnell; Music: Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman; Set designer: Crista Schneider; Casting: Jason La Padura, Natalie Hart.

`Heroes': fresh and skillfully executed

(09/22/06) A man throws himself from a 15-story building in downtown Manhattan. He survives the fall (as he was sure he would) thanks to a timely display of human levitation.

After school in a small Texas town, a teenager still in her cheerleader's uniform takes a fall of her own, then dashes into a burning building. Within moments, her broken bones and sizzled flesh repair themselves, confirming her fearful suspicions.

A nerdy Tokyo office worker convinced he's meant for better things is training his mind for higher functions. One grand day he teleports himself to bustling Times Square.

What do these people have in common?

For starters, they're characters on the new mystic thriller "Heroes," which premieres at 9 p.m. EDT Monday on NBC.

But they're not the only ones. A drama that rightly bills itself as epic, "Heroes" is loaded with seemingly ordinary people from all over who bear out the theory of a genetics professor in India. His Human Genome Project declares that minute variations in genetic code are exhibiting themselves more and more — and turning more lives upside down.

A Las Vegas stripper and single mother discovers that her reflected image in mirrors has startling secrets to share. An artist is haunted by the realization that he can paint the future.

The professor was working on a systematic formula for identifying these "special" people. But then he is murdered by villains who are out to use his research for their own evil purposes. Now they are after his defiant scientist-son. Who are they, and what's at the root of their sinister mission? Will it put the people who display these eerie gifts in danger — and mobilize them to fight back?

The first episode of this fascinating series sets forth its trippy premise and introduces a number of its newly empowered (the huge ensemble includes Adrian Pasdar, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Milo Ventimiglia, Ali Larter, Santiago Cabrera, Masi Oka and more).

What happens next, and how the paths of these chosen might cross, are questions left hanging by the premiere. And they're delicious ones to ponder.

"Heroes" is, on the one hand, a meditation on unsuspecting humans who, to their delight or horror, are vaulted to extraordinary levels of potential. How will they cope with it? How will they make use of it? Is this some sort of legion of superheroes in the making?

At the same time, their process of self-discovery appears to be unfolding in an apocalyptic context. Something bad seems to be on the horizon. Are they meant to be a global rescuing force?

There seems plenty in just the first hour to snag a viewer's interest — and start the questions flowing. And at least one dandy twist will whet the appetite of conspiracy theorists in the audience.

The expansive vision and population of "Heroes" offers boundless promise for what may lie ahead. It's a show whose freeform, existential mysteries could trigger scores of fan sites.

Something fresh and skillfully executed, "Heroes" is like nothing else on TV. Unless it's an obsessed-upon ABC hit about a large group of people likewise trying to make sense of their world under pressure. With "Heroes," could NBC have found its "Lost"?

Heist caper "Smith" too smart for its own good

(09/18/06) In just the past year, two series, "Thief" and "Heist," both well-written, performed and produced, nonetheless failed to interest enough viewers in the activities of a group of professional and sometimes charismatic thieves. Perhaps the third time will be the charm, but it's hard to be enthusiastic about the chances for "Smith" despite the obvious care that went into its creation.

The complex pilot of "Smith" introduces each of the half-dozen or so members of the team led by Bobby Stevens (Ray Liotta), as well as Stevens' wife, Hope (Virginia Madsen). After presumably extensive planning, the team strikes, and we're not talking about convenience stores. In the opener, they score three masterpieces from a museum in Pittsburgh.

The cinematography is stylish, and the action sequences compare favorably to those shot for larger screens. The acting is good, sometimes even inspired, and yet there is a big problem with the show. Put simply, most of these characters are distasteful and sometimes downright repulsive.

One commits a double homicide where a normal person might merely take offense and walk away. Another not only steals credit card numbers but cheats the person who supplies them. A third is addicted to gambling to the point that his family is endangered. It's not that these people are morally complex. Tony Soprano is morally complex. The lead in Showtime's "Dexter," which starts October 1, is morally complex. These folks are just plain evil. Nonetheless, "Smith" asks viewers to become emotionally invested in them week after week.

If they do, Liotta deserves much of the credit. Within this group, Bobby, a suburban dad whose cover is a sales job for a disposable cup manufacturer, is the only one bothered by this secret life of crime. Although he conceals his freelance work from his family, there are indications that his wife is, at the very least, suspicious. Liotta, among today's most watchable actors, expresses his moral ambiguity in small and large ways, and his character is the focus of every scene in which he appears.

It is particularly hard to assess "Smith" from the pilot alone. For starters, the version available to critics is at least a few minutes longer than the one that will be broadcast. Of greater importance, exec producer John Wells said most episodes, unlike the pilot, will involve planning for the big caper and not carrying it out. Finally, the group, and Bobby in particular, will become the focus of an FBI investigation. Agent Dodd (Chris Bauer) knows Bobby only as "Smith," the name given to all anonymous criminals. That part of the story gets only a few seconds in the pilot.

That said, Bobby's biggest challenge might not be the FBI but NBC and ABC. The show will compete against popular dramas "Law & Order: SVU" and "Boston Legal." If that wasn't enough, this predominantly male-appeal show also will face off against the relocated NFL game on ESPN. Breaking all those tackles might be harder than pulling off the heists.

Cast:
Bobby Stevens: Ray Liotta
Hope Stevens: Virginia Madsen
Annie: Amy Smart
Jeff: Simon Baker
Tom: Jonny Lee Miller
Joe: Franky G.
Agent Dodd: Chris Bauer
Charlie: Shohreh Aghdashloo
Shawn: Mike Doyle

Executive producers: John Wells, Brooke Kennedy, Christopher Chulack, Scott Gemmill; Producer: Patrick Ward; Director: Christopher Chulack; Writer-creator: John Wells; Director of photography: Jonathan Freeman; Production designer: Hilda Stark; Editor: Adam Wolfe.

CW, MSN team on sneak previews

(08/31/06) The CW Network is partnering with MSN to premiere episodes from four of its fall-season primetime series online and before their broadcast debuts.

Premiere episodes from "America's Next Top Model," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Supernatural" and the new drama from "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star, "Runaway," will be offered free and without commercial interruption on msn.com for one week before their on-air broadcast.

The first hour of "Model" will be available beginning September 13 until its official launch September 20, while "Runaway" will debut online September 18, the second-season opener of "Supernatural" on September 21 and "Everybody Hates Chris" premiering on the site September 24.

They join previously launched series on MSN, Fox's "Prison Break" and "Vanished."

Dick Clark humbled by Emmys tribute

(08/28/06) Too often, it seems, one has to die in order to receive a tribute from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences -- as was the case this year with Aaron Spelling.

Fortunately, Dick Clark is here, though still battling the effects of a stroke suffered in late 2004. He was honored Sunday night on the Emmy stage for his vast contributions to the television business, particularly the iconic weekly music series "American Bandstand."

Introduced by Simon Cowell of "American Idol" fame -- perhaps something of an odd choice -- Clark, 76, received a thunderous standing ovation that seemed almost to embarrass him. "Sit down, sit down, please," he implored.

Clark's remarks were short but poignant. Speaking haltingly, he said: "The Emmy people called and asked if I could walk out and say thanks. My wife joked, 'Walk? He's just begun to learn to walk again. This show might run a little long."'

He added: "Before I had my stroke, I was thinking about all of the things I had become involved with over my life: music, comedy, drama, game and talk shows, even reality TV. I now realize that I have accomplished my childhood dream: to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true. I've been truly blessed. I thank you very, very much."

And with that, Clark walked off of the stage -- a little bit slower than he used to be but at the same time seemingly walking on air.

The singer, who performed a tribute to Dick Clark during the show, praised the TV legend backstage. "He introduced us to all sorts of great music," said Manilow, who co-wrote the "American Bandstand" theme song. "We wouldn't have the music we have if it weren't for Dick Clark continually fighting to introduce pop music to the public."

Dick Clark makes rare post-stroke TV appearance during special Emmy tribute

(08/27/06) At 76 years old, "America's oldest teenager" made a jovial yet touching appearance during a special Emmys tribute Sunday.

Dick Clark, still recuperating from a 2004 stroke, seemed moved by the warm standing ovation he received, then regaled the crowd with his old smile and self-deprecating jokes.

"Please, sit down," he said, faking a grimace and tapping his left wrist as if pointing to his watch. "Please, the producer will have a fit. You've got to sit down."

Dressed in a tuxedo, his face finally showing the passage of time, Clark sat on a stool behind a podium and joked about a request he received from Emmy producers that he "walk out" onto the Shrine Auditorium stage.

"I've just begun to learn to walk again and the show might run a little long," Clark said.

Clark spoke with a slur but embellished his appearance by gesturing with his arms and hands, slapping old friend Barry Manilow on the back after the singer serenaded Clark with Bandstand Boogie.

It was Clark's first TV appearance since co-hosting New Year's Rockin' Eve last December. He had a stroke in December 2004 and was hospitalized for more than seven weeks.

"Before I had my stroke I was thinking about all of things I've been involved with all of my life - music, comedy, drama, even talk shows, even reality TV," Clark told the crowd. "And I realized that I have accomplished my childhood dream to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true."

Before Clark was introduced, American Idol judge Simon Cowell showed clips from Clark's TV career, including several decades of American Bandstand, which started in the 1950s. The clips showed a seemingly ageless Clark introducing acts ranging from Neil Diamond to Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson to Madonna.

"Music is the soundtrack of our lives," Clark said. "Thank you for being a part of my life."

Cowell Leads Emmy Tribute to Dick Clark

(08/18/06) "American Idol's" Simon Cowell will lead a tribute to TV legend Dick Clark at next week's Emmy Awards.

Cowell is part of the latest group of presenters at the Emmys, which will air Sunday, Aug. 27 on NBC. Freshly added presenters also include father and son Martin and Charlie Sheen -- who will present together, Bob Newhart, nominee Candice Bergen and Ray Liotta.

Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow, the stars of NBC's new comedy "Twenty Good Years," will also hand out an award.

Clark is being honored at this year's awards for his long and storied career in television, as the host of the iconic "American Bandstand" (among many other shows) and as a producer whose credits range from "Bloopers" specials to the Golden Globe Awards. This year is also the 50th anniversary of "Bandstand's" premiere as a local show in Philadelphia.

Barry Manilow, who sang and co-wrote the lyrics to the "Bandstand" theme song, will perform during the tribute.

Charlie and Martin Sheen are both nominees this year, Charlie for "Two and a Half Men" and Martin for both "The West Wing" and a guest appearance on his son's sitcom. Bergen is nominated for her work on "Boston Legal" and has won five times in the past for "Murphy Brown."

Liotta and Lithgow are also past winners, and Newhart and Tambor have both been nominated numerous times.

'Runaway' melds '24,' '7th Heaven'

(08/18/06) The show: Runaway
The premiere: Sept. 25, 9 ET/PT, CW

The concept: A man wrongly convicted of murder goes on the lam with his family while trying to prove his innocence.

The challenge: Giving a new network a jump-start.

A man in a troubled marriage is wrongly convicted of murder. With his wife and three kids in tow, he goes on the lam, and the family assumes new identities and takes refuge in small-town Iowa, where they hide as he seeks to find the true killer and exonerate himself.

That's the setup of Runaway, one of just two new shows that will usher in the CW network. Due Sept. 25 (9 ET/PT) as a Monday companion to 7th Heaven, the show is a hybrid: The family drama gussied up as a thriller.

"I wanted to find a way to marry the two," says 29-year-old creator Chad Hodge (Tru Calling). "We can tell those same stories but with a twist. It's a family drama with the screws tightened."

Why? "There's not just one man running around trying to prove himself or go from town to town to town," says Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown), who plays imperiled Paul Rader. "There are five different people who are trying to survive in this situation. And so there's a wealth of stories to be had in that because each person has their own dilemma." Leslie Hope (24) plays Rader's wife, Lily.

Like many other series this fall, Runaway is serialized, and weekly episodes slowly unravel the murder mystery. But identifying the real killer won't solve Rader's problems: "Just when he thinks he has solved this case, something turns and there's another huge reason why he has to stay on the run," says Hodge, who was inspired by the real case of a fugitive family and his own father's jailing for a white-collar crime.

The show pairs executive producers Darren Star, known for family soaps such as Beverly Hills, 90210, with Ed Zuckerman, who tackles the criminal elements from his years on Law & Order.

"It's about a family under these trying circumstances," says Star, which is "familiar turf for me, but the suspense elements are something I haven't been involved with. There are more interesting thematic and character developments in this show."

CW president Dawn Ostroff doubts "a plain family show these days could launch and sustain the way it could a few years ago. This is something that makes people feel like there's an urgency to watching, a ticking clock. They need something to be driving them." At least until another ticking clock, 24, returns in January.

Hamlin, Lawrence Go 'Dancing'

(08/14/06) Actress Lisa Rinna finished fourth on "Dancing with the Stars" last season, and nearly every week her husband, Harry Hamlin, was in the audience supporting her.

Come September, the couple will switch spots, and Hamlin will take his own turn on the dance floor. The former "L.A. Law" star and "Veronica Mars" bad guy is among the new crop of celebrities on "Dancing with the Stars" this season. Rinna helped unveil the lineup on Monday's "Good Morning America."

Hamlin will be part of an eclectic group that also includes a pair of former teen heartthrobs -- Mario Lopez and Joe Lawrence -- as well as MSNBC host/conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, talk-show maestro Jerry Springer, country music star Sara Evans and NFL legend Emmitt Smith, who will try to better fellow football great Jerry Rice's third-place finish last season.

"High School Musical" star Monique Coleman, actress Vivica A. Fox ("Kill Bill"), pop singer/Lingerie Bowl participant Willa Ford and former Miss USA and "Meet the Barkers" star Shanna Moakler round out the field.

Several of the show's professional dancers will return for the new season, along with some new faces. Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli will also be back, as will hosts Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris.

"Dancing with the Stars" is scheduled to premiere Tuesday, Sept. 12 on ABC.

Weekend Box Office - Aug 4 to 6

(08/06/06) Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Exhibitor Relations. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, $47 million.
2. Barnyard: The Original Party Animals, $16 million.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, $11 million.
4. Miami Vice, $9.7 million.
5. The Descent, $8.8 million.
6. John Tucker Must Die, $6.05 million.
7. Monster House, $6 million.
8. The Ant Bully, $3.9 million.
9. The Night Listener, $3.6 million.
10. You, Me and Dupree, $3.6 million

Miami Vice speeds to weekend box office victory over the Pirates

(07/30/06) The Miami Vice speedboat overtook the Pirates of the Caribbean juggernaut to capture the top spot at the weekend box office.

The film, which pairs Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as the iconic TV characters Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, took in $25.2 million US, compared to $20.5 million US for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"It's nice to be number one," said Nikki Rocco, president of distribution at Universal Pictures.

The gritty, dark action film was directed by Michael Mann, who created the 1980s TV show. The movie was especially attractive to older audiences, with 62 per cent of the audience over 30, according to the studio's exit polling.

The audience was pretty evenly split between men and women, the polling showed.

"It's what our expectations were," Rocco said. "We tried to do something different. There has been a lot of criticism regarding unoriginal product. We took a TV series and made it very different."

The news was not necessarily bad for The Walt Disney Co., which produced Pirates.

In its third week, Pirates has earned $358.4 million US to become the highest grossing film in Disney's history, passing the $339.7 million US earned by the Pixar Animation Studios film Finding Nemo.

"After posting the biggest opening weekend of all time, it is living up to the promise created that opening weekend," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations.

Pirates is on track to break the $400-million US mark in the coming weeks, Dergarabedian said.

The Pixar film Cars has also raked in $234.6 million US to date. And while the film is no longer in the top 10 at the box office, its cumulative gross makes it the second highest grossing film of the year, giving Disney the top two spots so far.

"It's a very happy weekend," said Chuck Viane, Disney's head of distribution.

The teen flick John Tucker Must Die from 20th Century Fox debuted in third place with a respectable $14 million US.

The film, with a budget of about $18 million US, attracted a predominantly young female audience with its story of four high school girls who seek revenge against an unfaithful boyfriend.

The Ant Bully, an animated film from Warner Bros., opened with a mere $8.1 million US.

The film featured the voice talents of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Nicolas Cage and was produced by Tom Hanks. But it just couldn't compete against a crowded field of family pictures.

"It's much less than what we had wanted," said Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager at Warner Bros. "The marketplace is crowded. The kids have been bombarded."

The independent film Little Miss Sunshine opened strongly in limited release.

The quirky film starring Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell, took in $356,863 US in only seven theatres in New York and Los Angeles for a per screen average of $50,980 US.

Overall, box office revenue was up 6.3 per cent and attendance was up 3 per cent.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. Miami Vice, $25.2 million.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, $20.5 million.
3. John Tucker Must Die, $14 million.
4. Monster House, $11.5 million.
5. The Ant Bully, $8.2 million.
6. Lady in the Water, $7 million.
7. You, Me and Dupree, $7 million
8. Little Man, $5.1 million.
9. The Devil Wears Prada, $4.8 million.
10. Clerks II, $3.9 million.

NBC MAKES 'HEROIC' AND INNOVATIVE CROSS-PLATFORM MARKETING EFFORT TO LAUNCH NEW SERIES 'HEROES'

(07/28/06) NBC's marketing in the digital arena takes a new turn as the network expands its corporate partnerships with National CineMedia, Nissan and Apple's iTunes to cross-promote its new Fall drama "Heroes" by finding new ways to incorporate the products into scripts organically and offering consumers the chance to be the first to see the series.

The announcement was made by John Miller, Chief Marketing Officer, NBC Universal Television Group.

Beginning September 1st, iTunes will offer a free and exclusive download of "Heroes" - in its entirety - in addition to other bonus content from NBC, including series trailers and behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of "Heroes."

"We have an unusual opportunity to team with several excellent corporate partners to let moviegoers be the first to experience this daring new series with its own theatrical feel to it," said Miller. "We want to generate buzz across a variety of platforms long before 'Heroes' ever airs on NBC."

"Once again, NBC is using the cinema to enhance the movie going experience for our patrons with a fun and compelling promotion allowing everybody to have an even better time at the movies," added Cliff Marks, National CineMedia's president of sales and marketing. "Our marketing and content partnership with NBC continues to show how America's two favorite entertainment forums - TV and movies - can team to create exciting consumer engagement opportunities for cinema enthusiasts."

As the exclusive sponsor of the series broadcast premiere, Nissan will present the episode with limited commercial interruption.

Jan Thompson, VP Marketing Nissan North America, related her enthusiasm for the program as part of an ongoing approach for the automaker "This program is just one example of our strategy to engage consumers by delivering content to them in entertaining, high impact environments where we believe the contextual experience is as important as the message."

In advance of the broadcast premiere, NBC and Nissan will also create three million co-branded promotional "Custom Cards" to be distributed exclusively at AMC, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group theaters nationwide through box-office handouts. Moviegoers will be encouraged to view the free download and sample the wide-screen appeal of the "Heroes" premiere on iTunes before its broadcast on NBC.

Each co-branded card will feature a unique pin code that NCM patrons can redeem online at a special iTunes NBC Fall Season "preview site" that will provide a free download of "Heroes" plus a backstage look at its filming and the NBC preview trailers of other network series for Fall 2006.

The massive campaign includes a 10-second "First Look" tease produced by National CineMedia that will run on 5,654 digital screens in 428 theaters during August, informing moviegoers to return to the theater in September to obtain their free download card.

To coincide with the in-theater card handouts in September, NBC will air a schedule of co-branded 20-second promos on the network touting the free preview download of "Heroes" on iTunes and NCM, courtesy of Nissan.

In addition, "Heroes" will receive major in-theater play in August with a two-minute and 30-second content piece playing on select AMC, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group big screens. Additionally, the series will be represented throughout participating theatres with a 30-second spot featured on NCM's Lobby Entertainment Network plasma screens and will be branded on popcorn bags, among other promotional items, completing the integrated cinema marketing campaign.

From creator/writer Tim Kring (NBC's "Crossing Jordan"), "Heroes" (Mondays, 9-10 p.m. ET beginning this Fall) is an epic drama that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities.

"John Tucker Must Die" -- great title, bad movie

(07/27/06) Despite a bold and promising title, "John Tucker Must Die" lacks the courage of its convictions.

The teenage girls at the center of a revenge plot against a high school lothario are too unimaginative or maybe just too nice for the job. Writer Jeff Lowell and director Betty Thomas should have screened "Mean Girls" or "Heathers" if they wanted to see how these things can be done with real bite. Because instead of mean girls, they give us mild girls.

Young females are the clear target audience. With an attractive though underutilized cast, "John Tucker" should open with average or above-average numbers as counterprogramming to "Miami Vice" and "The Ant Bully."

The film begins with two seemingly unrelated situations. In one, Kate (Brittany Snow) suffers from "invisibility." Her single mom (Jenny McCarthy) moves to a new town every time a man dumps her -- which apparently is often -- so that Kate is the perennial anonymous newcomer at every school. She comes and goes without a ripple.

The other situation revolves around the amorous exploits of one John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe, Eva Longoria's boy toy on "Desperate Housewives"). Rich, handsome and smooth-talking, the basketball star has his pick of the hottest girls in school. And he usually picks them in threes. Because he is careful to select his girlfriends from different school cliques, no one is any the wiser to his serial dating.

Then his current trio -- head cheerleader Heather (recording star Ashanti), school reporter Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) and vegan fast girl Beth (Sophia Bush) -- all wind up in detention with our Kate. A subsequent exchange of information among these three results in the declaration that is the movie's title. But they only want John Tucker to die of humiliation.

This is where Kate comes in. Having watched her mom date one John Tucker after another, she knows his type backward and forward. The trouble is, all her schemes to bring John down backfire.

Now desperate, the trio persuades Kate to let them turn her into John Tucker's dream girl. They certainly know enough about his tastes and moves to do so. Their plan is for Kate to get John to fall for her, then kick him off her love boat with a concrete life jacket.

Here the movie turns into standard-issue teen romance, albeit one in which the girl has a tiny camera clipped to a bra strap so her advisers can monitor and record every stage of the romance. And here, too, the blandness of the characters is telling. John is so obvious and almost innocent in his serial dating that you wonder why anyone cares. You get what you buy into. And Kate is essentially too nice, never really that determined to crush this guy despite all her mother's disappointments in love. You never believe her capable of going through with the scheme.

The film's timidity is best expressed in a shot of two girls kissing in a car that is being exploited in the trailer. In the context of the movie, the scene is a hit-and-run, over so fast you may miss it. If you're going to go there, then go there.

Meanwhile, the filmmakers seem far too removed from the world of high school and social cliques to draw a convincing portrait of either. The twentysomething actors, besides not looking right, don't really have roles based in any reality. About as close as anyone comes is Penn Badgley, who plays John's younger brother Scott, who takes a fumbling, hesitant liking to Kate.

Production values on this Canadian-based production are serviceable.

Cast:
John Tucker: Jesse Metcalfe
Kate: Brittany Snow
Heather: Ashanti
Beth: Sophia Bush
Carrie: Arielle Kebbel
Scott: Penn Badgley
Lori: Jenny McCarthy

Director: Betty Thomas; Screenwriter: Jeff Lowell; Producers: Bob Cooper, Michael Birnbaum; Executive producers: Karen Lunder, Marc S. Fischer; Director of photography: Anthony B. Richmond; Production designer: Marcia Hinds; Music: Richard Gibbs; Costumes: Alexandra Welker; Editor: Matt Friedman.

John Tucker characters treated with more respect than usual teen fare: review

(07/27/06) Presented with the extreme title John Tucker Must Die, you initially can hope that a teen flick in the vein of that great black comedy Heathers might be in store.

Instead, you're treated to a dose of the cutes, but the movie still is a cut above the typical adolescent farce. For teenage girls, there's a quartet of likable young women who bond in a positive fashion rather than cat-fighting their way through cinematic high school cliches.

As a bonus, girls also get to see Jesse Metcalfe, Eva Longoria's gardening hunk on Desperate Housewives, shirtless and even dressed in nothing but a thong, while for the guys who are dragged along to the movie, that quartet of young women is very, very easy on the eyes.

Director Betty Thomas and screenwriter Jeff Lowell refreshingly sidestep the gross-out gags that litter most youth comedies. Though the movie strays deep and often into saccharine country, the filmmakers treat the characters with more respect than teen protagonists normally get in Hollywood.

Metcalfe stars as John Tucker, the captain of the basketball team, the hottest guy in school and, through meticulous scheduling, a youth blessed with three girlfriends unaware their man is triple-timing them.

On John's hook are head cheerleader Heather (pop singer Ashanti), academic and extracurricular overachiever Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) and vegan animal-rights activist Beth (Sophia Bush).

All have been chosen by John because they belong to different cliques, and so are unlikely ever to speak to one another. But when the truth comes out, the three conspire with a misfit school newcomer, Kate (Brittany Snow), to take revenge on John.

After initial ploys backfire, they hit on the ideal payback: Make John fall hard for Kate, then have her break his heart.

Kate's lived an itinerant life with her single mom (Jenny McCarthy - yes, the former Playmate of the Year as mother to a teenager), who packs up and moves the household after her fleeting relationships with men inevitably end badly.

Never in one place long enough to connect with people, Kate's thrilled to have a circle of friends, even if it's a gang of teen harpies playing Henry Higgins to her Eliza Doolittle to make her more attractive to John.

Predictably, the romantic sparks misfire, with Kate torn between a growing crush on John and feelings for his cool but generally unnoticed younger brother (Penn Badgley).

Screenwriter Lowell's background in TV comedy is obvious throughout. The humour in John Tucker Must Die is sitcommy and episodic, quick sight gags and an overload of dialogue delivered breathlessly fast to disguise the fact that most of it's not funny.

Likewise, the actors mostly project as though they're in a sitcom, a little too over-the-top, a little too stiff and stylized. But Snow, Ashanti, Kebbel and Bush's characters all have distinctly perky personalities that blend well together.

Thomas (Doctor Dolittle, The Brady Bunch Movie) maintains a pace brisk enough that even for parents forced to take their kids to see John Tucker Must Die, the pain will be over quickly.

Two stars out of four.

EMMYS TO SALUTE DICK CLARK

(7/24/06) Television industry icon Dick Clark will be honored as part of this year's "58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards," hosted by Conan O'Brien, airing live Sunday, August 27 (8:00-11:00 p.m. ET) on NBC. Musical legend and current Emmy nominee Barry Manilow, who co-wrote the lyrics with Bruce Sussman and sang the words to the catchy "American Bandstand" theme song "Bandstand Boogie," will perform a special musical tribute. The announcement was made today by Ken Ehrlich and Jeff Ross, the executive producers of the telecast.

Clark is one of the most recognized and popular personalities in American entertainment, as well as a successful and well-regarded business executive and entrepreneur. He began his entertainment career at age 17 at WRUN Radio in Utica, New York. After graduating from Syracuse University with a bachelor of science in business administration, he became a news anchorman at television station WKTV. In 1952, he moved to Philadelphia to work for WFIL Radio and Television. Four years later, he became the host of the local television station's show, "Bandstand."

In 1957, Clark founded dick clark productions, inc. and convinced the ABC Network to carry the show nationwide and, within weeks, "American Bandstand" was the country's highest-rated daytime show. To this day, "American Bandstand" still holds the record as television's longest running music/variety program. It has earned many awards and honors, including two Emmy awards. The show also served as the foundation upon which Clark rose to national fame and built a multi-faceted entertainment company which still today produces such hit shows as "So You Think You Can Dance," "The American Music Awards," "The Golden Globe Awards," "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," "The Academy of Country Music Awards" and "Bloopers" specials.

Since his breakthrough with "American Bandstand," Clark has gone on to host many special broadcasts including the annual "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" specials, the "Bloopers" series and specials, and numerous retrospective specials centered around his history-making "American Bandstand" television series. Clark is also well known for his live behind-the-scenes interviews at such prestigious events as the annual "Golden Globe Awards" and "The Academy of Country Music Awards."

Clark's many other on-air credits include the popular "Pyramid" game series, as well as other game show series. He has been master of ceremonies for many beauty pageants including "Miss Universe," "Miss USA" and "Miss Teen USA." He has co-hosted historic, worldwide broadcasts such as "The Olympic Flag Jam '94," "World Cup: The Final Draw" and "Live Aid." He is the only personality to host top-rated series on all networks and in syndication at the same time.

He has hosted nationally syndicated radio shows (including "Rock, Roll and Remember" and "The US Music Survey"), live "Good Ol' Rock 'N' Roll" shows, and various rock and roll video collections. He has co-authored several books including "Rock, Roll and Remember," "The History of American Bandstand" and "Dick Clark's American Bandstand."

Clark's accomplishments have been recognized by many organizations over the years. Honors include his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. He also has received the Distinguished Service award from the National Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he has won many other awards, including six Emmys, an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy award.

Snow Gets Naked

(7/21/06) Actresses Sanaa Lathan, Denise Richards, Brittany Snow, Rachel Minor, Rachel Blanchard, and Jenna Fischer will join model Heidi Klum and Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler in the buff.

The celebs will be taking it all off for Jane magazines August issue. Don’t worry; it’s for a good cause. The stars will be auctioning the clothes they’ll be stripped out of to benefit children’s charities. The affair will also be about the article – not just the articles of clothing. The ladies will talk about taking it all off and their level of comfort in being nude in front of strangers.

The clothing auction begins today at www.ClothesOffOurBack.com. The magazine hits newsstands next week on July 25.

Seeing more of Lathan, in a manner of speaking, is a few months away. The actress will soon be working on the TV production of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Based on the play by Lorraine Hansberry, Lathan stars as Beneatha Younger to Phylicia Rashad’s Lena Younger and P. Diddy’s Walter Lee Younger. Lensing for the project begins in December.

A 'Gilmore' Breakup

(7/07/06) Following the end of their on-screen romance, "Gilmore Girls" star Alexis Bledel and former co-star Milo Ventimiglia have split up.

If your first response to the above news was, "They were dating?," don't feel too bad. Although they were a couple for three-plus years, Bledel and Ventimiglia managed to avoid having a harsh spotlight cast on their relationship.

Their parting was apparently similarly low-key. A spokesman for Ventimiglia tells People that the actor "is currently single," but that's about it as details of the breakup go. Both are preparing to work on TV series in the fall, Bledel continuing her role as Rory on "Gilmore Girls" and Ventimiglia in the new NBC show "Heroes."

The two met when Ventimiglia joined the cast of "Gilmore Girls" early in the show's second season as Jess, the not-all-that-bad-boy nephew of Luke Danes (Scott Patterson). Jess became a love interest for Rory fairly quickly, but the two didn't start dating in real life until the end of Ventimiglia's stint as a regular on the series.

He made a couple of guest appearances on the show last season, the last of which signaled an end to the characters' relationship. Ventimiglia also starred in another WB series, "The Bedford Diaries," last season before moving on to "Heroes."

In addition to "Gilmore Girls," Bledel's credits include "Sin City" and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."

Hairspray Film Finds Its Tracy; Snow May Play Amber

(6/10/06) An unknown 17-year-old New Yorker has landed the lead role in the much-anticipated film of "Hairspray," based on the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name.

Variety reports that 4-foot-10 Nicole Blonsky has won the role of Tracy Turnblad, which was created on Broadway by Marissa Jaret Winokur, who won a Tony for her performance. Blonsky joins the previously announced John Travolta as Edna Turnblad, Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle and Amanda Bynes as Penny Pingleton in the New Line Cinema film, which will be directed by Adam Shankman.

Blonsky, according to Variety, has performed in several musicals in the Great Neck area, including Sweeney Todd; Kiss Me, Kate; and Les Misérables. She has also sung "God Bless America" and the National Anthem at several local events.

The industry paper also says that Brittany Snow, who played Meg Pryor on the NBC series "American Dreams," is currently in negotiations to play the role of Amber.

Featuring a screenplay by Leslie Dixon, “Hairspray” — with a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman — should hit movie theatres in summer 2007.

Hairspray, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, currently plays the Neil Simon Theatre. The show won 2003 Tony Awards for Best Score (Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman), Best Book (Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell), Best Actress in a Musical (Marissa Jaret Winokur), Best Actor (Harvey Fierstein), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dick Latessa), Best Costume Design (William Ivey Long), Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical.

Longtime American Bandstand director Edward J. Yates dies at 87

(6/06/06) Edward J. Yates, who directed American Bandstand for 17 years from a fledgling local TV show to a national institution that made Dick Clark a star, has died at age 87.

He died Friday at Fair Oaks nursing home in Media, where he had been for two months, Donohue Funeral Home said in a statement.

In October 1952, Yates volunteered to direct Bandstand, a new show on Philadelphia's WFIL-TV. The show, featuring local teens dancing to the latest hits, debuted with Bob Horn as announcer and took off after Dick Clark, already a radio veteran at age 26, took over in 1956.

It was broadcast live in its early years, even after it became part of the ABC network's weekday afternoon lineup in 1957 as American Bandstand. Yates pulled records, directed the cameras, queued the commercials and communicated with Clark.

"Ed was an extraordinary director. ... He managed to grab every exciting moment on American Bandstand," Clark told the Philadelphia Inquirer in a telephone interview Monday. "The pictures he created influenced a whole generation of young people across America."

As the show became a hit, Clark became a household name and the mostly working-class teens who were regulars on the show were bombarded with fan mail.

Fans jammed the sidewalks outside the West Philadelphia studio to win a spot in the bleachers. Once inside, they hoped to catch the eye of a regular and get to dance on the show.

In 1964, Clark moved the show to Los Angeles, taking Yates with him.

Yates retired from American Bandstand in 1969, and moved his family to West Chester in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Yates became a still photographer after graduating from high school in 1936. After serving in the Second World War, he got a job as a boom operator at WFIL. He was later promoted to cameraman and earned a bachelor's degree in communications in 1950 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Season Program Rankings

From September 19, 2005 through May 28, 2006 - Regular Programs 1 to 216

1 AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY
  • 2 AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY
  • 3 CSI
  • 4 DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
  • 5 GREY'S ANATOMY
  • 6 DANCING WITH THE STARS
  • 7 WITHOUT A TRACE
  • 8 SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA
  • 9 CSI: MIAMI
  • 10 HOUSE
  • 11 SURVIVOR:PANAMA-EXILE IS.
  • 12 NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
  • 13 DEAL OR NO DEAL-MON
  • 14 UNIT, THE
  • 15 LOST
  • 16 NCIS
  • 17 TWO AND A HALF MEN
  • 18 DANCING W/STARS RESULTS
  • 19 DEAL OR NO DEAL-WED
  • 20 EXTREME MAKEOVER:HOME ED.
  • 21 COLD CASE
  • 22 CSI: NY
  • 23 UNAN1MOUS
  • 24 LAW AND ORDER:SVU
  • 24 24
  • 26 60 MINUTES
  • 27 COMMANDER IN CHIEF
  • 28 CRIMINAL MINDS
  • 29 OLD CHRISTINE
  • 30 E.R.
  • 31 OUT OF PRACTICE
  • 32 NUMB3RS
  • 33 DEAL OR NO DEAL-FRI
  • 34 SKATING WITH CELEBRITIES
  • 35 COURTING ALEX
  • 36 MEDIUM
  • 37 LAW AND ORDER
  • 38 APPRENTICE 4
  • 39 LAW AND ORDER:CRIM INTENT
  • 40 AMAZING RACE 8
  • 41 CRUMBS
  • 42 CROSSING JORDAN
  • 42 MY NAME IS EARL
  • 44 SO YOU THINK CN DANCE-THU
  • 45 OT, THE
  • 46 LAS VEGAS
  • 47 BOSTON LEGAL
  • 48 CLOSE TO HOME
  • 49 GHOST WHISPERER
  • 49 BIGGEST LOSER 2
  • 49 CBS SUNDAY MOVIE
  • 52 KING OF QUEENS
  • 53 APPRENTICE 5
  • 54 HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
  • 55 AMERICAN INVENTOR
  • 56 EXTREME MAKEOVER:HM ED-7P
  • 57 BACHELOR: PARIS
  • 58 SURFACE
  • 59 PRISON BREAK
  • 60 INVASION
  • 61 AMAZING RACE 9
  • 62 SIMPSONS
  • 63 BONES
  • 64 AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS
  • 65 E-RING
  • 66 DATELINE-WED
  • 67 EXTRM MAKEOVR:AFTER STORM
  • 68 WILL & GRACE
  • 69 WIFE SWAP
  • 70 MIRACLE WORKERS
  • 71 BIG BROTHER 6-TUE
  • 72 WEST WING
  • 73 CRIMETIME SATURDAY
  • 74 DATELINE FRI
  • 75 20/20-FRI
  • 76 OFFICE
  • 77 LAW AND ORDER:CI-FRI
  • 78 FAMILY GUY
  • 79 EVIDENCE, THE
  • 80 THRESHOLD
  • 81 ROCK STAR: INXS-TUE
  • 82 48 HOURS MYSTERY
  • 83 BOOK OF DANIEL
  • 84 IN JUSTICE
  • 85 YES, DEAR
  • 86 SUPERNANNY
  • 87 THREE WISHE
  • 88 CONVICTION
  • 89 FOUR KINGS
  • 90 ACCORDING TO JIM-TU 9PM
  • 91 LOVE MONKEY
  • 91 LAW & ORDER:SVU-SAT-RPT
  • 93 DATELINE SUN-7PM
  • 94 GEORGE LOPEZ
  • 95 WAR AT HOME
  • 95 SO YOU THINK YOU CN DANCE
  • 97 AMERICAN DAD
  • 98 PRIMETIME
  • 98 MY NAME IS EARL TH 8:30
  • 100 AMER FUNN HOME VIDEOS-FRI
  • 101 JOEY
  • 102 BIGGEST LOSER:SPECL EDITN
  • 102 STILL STANDING
  • 104 MOST OUT 8:30 MOMT LI TV
  • 105 FREDDIE
  • 106 ALIAS
  • 107 MOST OUTRAG MOMTS LIVE TV
  • 108 CRIMETIME SATURDAY 8PM
  • 109 ACCORDING TO JIM
  • 110 AMW: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK
  • 111 APPRENTICE: MARTHA
  • 112 RODNEY
  • 113 SCRUBS 9:30
  • 114 FEAR FACTOR
  • 114 COPS 2
  • 116 LAW &ORDER:CI-SAT
  • 117 HEIST
  • 118 FREE RIDE
  • 119 WHAT ABOUT BRIAN
  • 120 EMILY'S REASONS WHY NOT
  • 121 SCRUBS
  • 122 DATELINE-SAT
  • 123 PRISON BREAK ENC-MON 8P
  • 123 TRADING SPOUSES
  • 125 THAT '70S SHOW-THU 8:30P
  • 126 HOPE & FAITH
  • 127 THAT '70S SHOW
  • 128 ABC SAT MOVIE OF THE WEEK
  • 129 O.C.
  • 129 COPS
  • 131 HOPE & FAITH-TUE 9PM
  • 131 JAKE IN PROGRESS
  • 133 INCONCEIVABLE
  • 134 AMERICAN INVENTOR-THU
  • 134 SONS & DAUGHTERS
  • 136 MOST OUTRG MOMENTS-8:30TU
  • 137 HOT PROPERTIES
  • 138 WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY
  • 139 TEACHERS
  • 140 COMMANDER IN CHIEF-SAT
  • 140 CONVICTION-SAT
  • 142 NIGHT STALKER
  • 143 KING OF THE HILL
  • 144 7TH HEAVEN
  • 145 NBC SATURDAY NIGHT MOVIES
  • 146 AMERICA'S NXT TOP MODEL 5
  • 147 AMERICA'S NXT TOP MODEL 6
  • 148 CROSSING JORDAN-SAT
  • 149 SONS & DAUGHTERS-TU 9:30P
  • 150 LESS THAN PERFECT
  • 151 MOST OUTRG MOMENTS-8P TU
  • 152 MEDIUM-SAT
  • 153 SMALLVILLE
  • 154 STACKED
  • 155 SIMPSONS-SUN 7P
  • 156 GILMORE GIRLS
  • 157 KILLER INSTINCT
  • 158 WWE SMACKDOWN
  • 159 EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS
  • 160 BEAUTY AND GEEK
  • 161 ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
  • 162 DESPERATE HOUSEIVES-SAT
  • 163 LOOP, THE
  • 164 FOX MOVIE-FRIDAY
  • 165 REUNION
  • 166 MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE
  • 167 INVASION-SAT
  • 168 KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL
  • 169 LOST-SAT
  • 170 SUPERNATURAL
  • 171 ARRESTED DEV-MON 8:30P
  • 172 BERNIE MAC
  • 173 EVERWOOD
  • 174 SCRUBS TUE 8:30
  • 175 CHARMED
  • 176 BERNIE MAC-FRI 8:30P
  • 177 GIRLFRIENDS
  • 178 REBA - WB
  • 179 ALL OF US
  • 180 JUST LEGAL
  • 181 HEAD CASES
  • 182 HALF AND HALF
  • 183 SMALLVILLE - THU
  • 184 ONE TREE HILL
  • 185 ONE ON ONE
  • 186 AMER NEXT TOP MODEL 5-ENC
  • 187 REBA - FRI
  • 188 REBA-BEGIN-SUN
  • 189 TWINS
  • 190 RELATED
  • 191 BEAUTY AND GEEK-ENC
  • 192 LOVE, INC
  • 193 GILMORE GIRLS - TUE
  • 194 BLUE COLLAR TV
  • 195 BLUE COLLAR TV - SUN
  • 196 EVE
  • 197 VERONICA MARS
  • 198 LIVING WITH FRAN
  • 199 WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU
  • 200 REBA-BEGIN
  • 201 MODERN MEN
  • 202 CUTS
  • 202 CHARMED - SUN
  • 204 PEPPER DENNIS
  • 205 WHAT I LIKE - FRI
  • 206 AMER NEXT TOP MODEL 6-ENC
  • 207 SUPERNATURAL - SUN
  • 208 ONE TREE HILL - WED
  • 209 RELATED - WED
  • 210 SOUTH BEACH
  • 211 BEDFORD DIARIES
  • 212 SURVIVAL-RICHEST
  • 213 PEPPER DENNIS - ENC
  • 213 SEX, LOVE & SECRETS
  • 215 GET THIS PARTY STARTED
  • 216 SOUTH BEACH ENC
  • The CW Fall Schedule

    (5/18/06) Runaway (Drama, Mondays 9pm)
    Premise: A man wrongfully accused of murder packs up his family and moves them to Iowa under assumed names. Things become dangerous, though, when both the law and the real killer begin sniffing around.

    Stars: Donnie Wahlberg ("Boomtown"), Leslie Hope ("24"), Dustin Milligan ("The Butterfly Effect 2"), Sarah Ramos ("American Dreams"), Nathan Gamble, Susan Floyd, Karen LeBlanc

    Studio: Sony Pictures Television

    Producers: Darren Star ("Sex and the City"), Ed Zuckerman ("Law & Order")

    Hidden Palms (Midseason Drama)
    Premise: Think "The O.C." in Palm Springs, as a teen coping with his father's death begins to slowly notice the secrets held by the people in his outwardly flawless neighborhood.

    Stars: Michael Cassidy ("The O.C."), Taylor Handley ("The O.C."), Amber Heard ("The O.C."), Sharon Lawrence ("NYPD Blue"), Gail O'Grady ("American Dreams"), Ellary Porterfield ("The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio"), D.W. Moffet ("Thirteen") Studio: Lionsgate Television

    Producers: Kevin Williamson ("Dawson's Creek"), Scott Winant ("Huff")

    CBS Picks Up Madsen, Page Dramas

    (5/15/06) Smith (Drama, Tuesdays 10pm)
    Premise: A team of career criminals plans and executes elaborate, high-stakes heists, while its leader tries to keep up appearances of a normal life.

    Stars: Ray Liotta ("Narc," "Goodfellas"), Virginia Madsen ("Sideways"), Amy Smart ("Starsky & Hutch," "Felicity"), Simon Baker ("The Guardian"), Jonny Lee Miller ("Aeon Flux"), Franky G ("Jonny Zero," "The Italian Job")

    Studio: Warner Bros. TV

    Producers: John Wells ("The West Wing")

    Shark (Drama, Thursdays 10pm)
    Premise: A celebrity lawyer gives up private practice to become a prosecutor.

    Stars: James Woods ("Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story," "Ghosts of Mississippi"), Jeri Ryan ("Boston Public," "The O.C."), Sam Page ("Point Pleasant"), Sarah Carter ("Smallville," "Numb3rs"), Alexis Cruz ("American Family," "Stargate SG-1"), Danielle Panabaker ("Empire Falls"), Romy Rosemont ("CSI," "Friends with Money"), Sophina Brown

    Studio: 20th Century Fox TV, Imagine Entertainment

    Producers: Ian Biederman ("Crossing Jordan"), Ed Redlich ("Without a Trace"), Brian Grazer ("The Da Vinci Code"), David Nevins. Pilot directed by Spike Lee

    NBC Picks Up 'Heroes'

    (5/15/06) Heroes (Drama, Mondays 9pm)

    Premise: A group of people discover that they have extraordinary powers, ranging from the ability to fly to hearing other people's thoughts.

    Stars: Greg Grunberg ("Alias"), Ali Larter ("A Lot Like Love"), Milo Ventimiglia ("Gilmore Girls"), Hayden Panettiere ("Ice Princess"), Adrian Pasdar ("Judging Amy"), Leonard Roberts ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Santiago Cabrera ("Empire"), Tawny Cypress ("Third Watch"), Masi Oka ("Scrubs"), Noah Gray-Cabey, Sendhil Ramamurthy

    Studio: NBC Universal TV

    Producers: Tim Kring ("Crossing Jordan"), David Semel ("House," "American Dreams"), Dennis Hammer ("Crossing Jordan")

    'Heroes' will air Mondays at 9pm on NBC.

    MySpace page helps "Stick It" at box office

    (5/04/06) As the first-time director of a studio feature, Jessica Bendinger worked overtime to mobilize a core constituency of sports-minded teenage girls to come out and see her film "Stick It."

    While Box Office Mojo forecast that "Stick It" would make $5.7 million, the movie surprised boxoffice observers by collecting $11 million and a $5,301 per-screen average when it opened last weekend.

    While the Walt Disney Co.'s Touchstone Pictures promoted "Stick It" in a condensed two-week television campaign -- with 10- to 15-second television spots on syndicated shows like UPN's "America's Next Top Model" -- the movie had no outdoor marketing, minimal radio and one print ad in the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

    But behind the scenes and online, Bendinger and one of her stars worked as evangelists to woo potential fans. Through niche sports outlets and a MySpace page, Bendinger and crew hoped to rally fans to hang up their gym bags and keyboards and turn up in droves at the 2,000 theaters playing her gymnastics movie.

    "I tried to do some missionary work, but it's hard, you don't want to piss people off," Bendinger says of taking some of the movie's marketing into her own hands. "Disney's a very political place, and I'm a straight shooter."

    Nevertheless, the first promotional opportunity she seized upon came to her in a roundabout manner.

    In January, actress Vanessa Lengies (who plays the snotty and boy-deprived Joanne Charis in "Stick It") asked Bendinger whether it was OK to set up a MySpace page for the movie.

    "I knew MySpace was a cool thing, but I hadn't had the time at that point to investigate it myself," Bendinger says. "So Vanessa built her own really cool, primitive MySpace page."

    A few weeks later, Bendinger hired a person to work on the site full time. Out of her own pocket, she paid a freelancer $100 a day for four weeks to get friend requests, leave friendly comments, send out birthday messages and build targeted traffic for the page (http://www.myspace.com/stickitmovie).

    "We really strategized about our audience," Bendinger says. "First we sought out gymnasts, then cheerleaders who are likely to be familiar with 'Bring It On,' then people who like (the band) Fall Out Boy (because) it's all over the movie and then gay guys."

    Through those efforts, Bendinger's homegrown team was able to build up to 6,000 friends on the "Stick It" page.

    "It was really a way to soothe my anxiety and to feel like I was doing something in this purgatory period between after the picture was locked and before the campaign was launched," Bendinger says.

    Disney took over the MySpace site when the official campaign began two weeks ago by adding special features. A TV campaign that kicked off around the same time helped the site grow to more than 10,000 friends by Friday.

    Still, Bendinger is under no illusions that one Web page, no matter how targeted or graphically snazzy, was enough by itself to vault "Stick It" to gold during the weekend.

    "MySpace is not going to be what the movie hinges on," she says. "Is 10,000 enough to open a movie? No. However, 10,000 friends who have anywhere from 50 to 3,000 friends each who are seeing that page -- the awareness certainly helps a great deal."

    In a parallel effort to drill down to her constituency, Bendinger hired gymnastics writer John Crumlish to write press releases for all of the NCAA gymnasts who appear in the movie. The releases were used to launch a campaign with college magazines and newspapers, and Disney is using them on the movie's official Web site.

    Bendinger also worked with Disney to package a special mailing of the "Stick It" trailer and the Missy Elliott video "We Run This," the first single from the movie's soundtrack, to International Gymnast's 30,000 subscribers. Many of the recipients represented the movie's target audience: the 3,000 private gymnastics clubs in the U.S.

    "I wanted to do what I could for my own piece of mind," Bendinger says. "And I was definitely covering my butt and the movie's butt as best I cold given our limited resources."

    Boxoffice Top 10

    (4/30/06) Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.

    1. "RV," $16.4 million.
    2. "United 93," $11.6 million.
    3. "Stick It," $11.3 million. (Vanny's movie)
    4. "Silent Hill," $9.3 million.
    5. "Scary Movie 4," $7.8 million.
    6. "The Sentinel," $7.6 million.
    7. "Ice Age: The Meltdown," $7.05 million.
    8. "Akeelah and the Bee," $6.25 million.
    9. "The Wild," $4.7 million.
    10. "The Benchwarmers," $4.4 million.

    "Stick It" a showcase for lithe teenage girls

    (4/27/06) Much like "Bring It On," the cheerleading movie also written by this film's writer-director Jessica Bendinger, "Stick It" spends an inordinate amount of time ogling the tight, lithe bodies of its young female characters, in this case gymnasts. Thus, what might have appealed only to teen girls might well have crossover appeal to leering young boys as well.

    Yes, there is an inspirational plot of sorts in the film, which mainly involves advising young people to defy the rules of their chosen sport and seek only personal satisfaction and glory rather than strive for discipline and honor.

    The central character is 17-year-old Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym), a rebel without a cause who, after getting into some trouble with the law, is sentenced by a judge to do time at an elite gymnastics academy. (Apparently, Texas, where the story is set, has loosened its forms of punishment).

    Thus, Haley is reunited with the same girls she let down when she abruptly walked out of a championship competition years before. Given a dose of tough love by her new, hard-nosed coach (Jeff Bridges), she reluctantly takes up the sport again. Despite the ire of her teammates, particularly her chief competitor Joanne (Vanessa Lengies), Haley finds herself inspired to again lead her group to the championships.

    It comes as no surprise that the director, making her feature debut, has music video experience because "Stick It" is filmed in a hyperkinetic, in your face style that will induce headaches in anyone who has passed their teens. Equally assaulting is the ultra-loud rock soundtrack, featuring music by the likes of Missy Elliott, Electric Six, K7 and My Morning Jacket.

    The film might well inspire young girls to take up the sport, especially because its egregious climactic segment features the characters engaging in routines more inspired by "Flashdance" than anything ever seen at the Olympics.

    On every other level, the film is thoroughly ordinary, with the only distinction being Bridges' typically unaffected and engaging performance. Still, as with Tommy Lee Jones' recent "Man of the House," it's depressing to see this distinguished actor, a four-time Oscar nominee, playing second fiddle to skimpily dressed teens.

    Peregrym displays some charisma, as well as her firm physique, in the central role, and among those adult performers showing up as aggrieved parents are Julie Warner, Jon Gries and Gia Carides.

    Cast:
    Burt Vickerman: Jeff Bridges
    Haley Graham: Missy Peregrym
    Joanne Charis: Vanessa Lengies
    Wei Wei Yong: Nikki Soorhoo
    Mina Hoyt: Maddy Curley
    Frank: Kellan Lutz
    Poot: John Patrick Amedori
    Brice Graham: Jon Gries
    Mrs. Charis: Julie Warner
    Alice Graham: Gia Carides

    Director-screenwriter: Jessica Bendinger; Producer: Gail Lyon; Executive producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Derek Evans, David Crockett; Director of photography: Daryn Okada; Production designer: Bruce Curtis; Editor: Troy Takaki; Costume designer: Carol Ramsey: Music: Mike Simpson.

    Stick It more watchable than you'd think, thanks to Missy Peregrym: review

    (4/27/06) Stick It is a retread of Bring It On, from the writer of that 2000 Kirsten Dunst comedy, only with gymnastics in place of cheerleading.

    It trots out a cornucopia of sports-movie cliches: the tough-love coach, the training montage, the stubborn athlete in need of a life-affirming realization which will (of course) take place during the big championship competition.

    It panders shamelessly to its attention span-deprived target audience with quick edits and jump cuts, sequences that have been sped up and slowed down and tricky extreme sports manoeuvres, all to the tune of catchy, blaring guitar riffs. (Though the choice of Renegade by Styx, while an amusing blast from the past, came out way before anyone in the theatre was born and as such is, like, lame.)

    And yet, Stick It is way more watchable than all that would suggest, thanks to the presence of Missy Peregrym.

    The Canadian actress, who could be Hilary Swank's twin, is a perfect mix of beauty and tomboyish strength. She's quick, she's natural, she has a radiant smile that makes her utterly engaging; she even makes the potentially cloying moments tolerable. Until now, Peregrym has done some bit parts on TV, so you've probably never heard of her, but that should change after Stick It, and that's probably the film's only redeeming quality.

    (The similarity to Swank is especially noticeable as Peregrym's Haley Graham trains for the big gymnastics meet with veteran Texas coach Burt Vickerman, played by Jeff Bridges with more intelligence and nuance than you'd expect from a movie like this. With her brunette ponytail and her muscular back and shoulders rippling under her jog bra, she brings back vivid memories of Million Dollar Baby.)

    The film from Jessica Bendinger, who wrote the script and directs for the first time, does have its share of clever lines. As in Bring It On, Stick It feels contemporary but very much has its own language, which the attitudinal girls use to call each other out and bring each other down. At times the writing is snappy to the point of being sitcommy, though, as in bad-girl Haley's reaction to the disciplined disciples at Burt's academy: "Is he keeping your brains in jars? Or should I be concerned about the water?"

    The profuse use of voiceover also gets a little overbearing and obvious. As if we couldn't figure out for ourselves that Haley was a rebel, from her elaborate mountain-bike stunts to her K-Feddish wardrobe of trucker hats, punk band T-shirts and cut-off camouflage pants, she informs us: "In the world of gymnastics, hating me was a sport, in and of itself."

    And as if Haley's backstory weren't contrived enough - she was a stud gymnast who choked at the world championships, and has been a pariah and a recluse ever since - her reason for showing up reluctantly at Burt's training centre is even worse. She gets into trouble for trespassing with her Bill-Ted type goofball pals at a construction site, and this is her punishment.

    She and all her pixieish, stage-mothered teammates (including Vanessa Lengies, who gets some laughs as the diva who's prone to malapropisms) will learn lessons about sticking up for themselves and sticking together, whether or not they stick their landings, hence the title.

    But the twist that prompts these realizations is laughably implausible. We won't give it away - we'll just say that any aspiring Olympian who has devoted her entire life to training from the moment she could walk wouldn't do it.

    Tween and teen girls will love it, though. And regardless of age (or gender), it does make you want to put down the Junior Mints and head to the gym.

    Two stars out of four.

    Insider Buzz on Fall's New Shows

    (4/20/06) Heroes - A Lost-like ensemble drama about ordinary people who discover they have extraordinary powers, Heroes is getting early raves. The cast includes Greg Grunberg (Alias), Milo Ventimiglia (Gilmore Girls), Adrian Pasdar (Profit), Ali Larter (Final Destination 2) and Hayden Panettiere (Commander in Chief). One competitor who read the script says, "I cannot imagine this show not being picked up by NBC."

    At The Movies

    (4/04/06) "American Dreams" vet Brittany Snow is set to star in the indie thriller "Fingerprints," joining forces with, of all people, Kristin Cavallari.

    The "Laguna Beach" MTV reality star is expected to continue her inexorable media push with "Fingerprints," which will be directed by Henry Basil and will begin production in mid-April in Oklahoma.

    According to Variety, Snow will star as a gal who gets out of rehab and moves back in with her parents and her sister (Cavallari) and begins to look into some weird urban legend and its relationship with some paralyzed residents of her town.

    Since completing work on "American Dreams," Snow has done a guest stint on "Nip/Tuck" and will appear in the features "On the Doll" and "John Tucker Must Die."

    Cavallari was last seen on an episode of "Veronica Mars." That guest appearance was intended to promote her UPN reality show "Get This Party Started." Unfortunately, UPN had already pulled the plug on that low-rated offering.

    Sam Page Gets CBS Pilot

    (3/30/06) Sam Page (Drew, American Dreams) has come on board CBS' drama pilot "Shark," which stars James Woods as a attorney-turned-prosecutor. Page will play Casey Flynn, an assistant district attorney.

    Ventimiglia Grows Up for 'Bedford Diaries,' 'Rocky'

    (3/29/06) At the ripe old age of 28, Milo Ventimiglia -- who first came to prominence playing a teen on The WB Network's "Gilmore Girls" -- is happy to have graduated to playing a college student in the new WB drama "The Bedford Diaries," premiering Wednesday, March 29.

    "Thank God," he says, over a pasta lunch (he's a lifelong vegetarian) in a Santa Monica, Calif., restaurant. "In 'Rocky,' I'm playing 28, so that's unbelievable."

    In "Bedford Diaries," created by Tom Fontana ("Oz," "Homicide: Life on the Street"), Ventimiglia plays Richard Thorne III, a former bad boy who edits his New York college newspaper and attends a human behavior and sexuality seminar taught by professor Jake Macklin (Matthew Modine). Playing his classmates are Tiffany Dupont, Penn Badgely, Corri English, Ernest Waddell and Victoria Cartagena.

    In the 2007 feature film "Rocky Balboa," the sixth "Rocky" movie, again written and directed by its star, Sylvester Stallone, Ventimiglia plays Rocky Balboa Jr., son of the legendary Philadelphia boxer.

    Ventimiglia has also signed on for an NBC pilot called "Heroes," about people who discover they have superpowers.

    It may seem odd to do a pilot when one already has a series, except that The WB recently announced it was merging with UPN this fall to create a new network called (for the moment) The CW.

    "I called Tom," Ventimiglia says, "and I'm like, 'So?' He's like, 'I've never been on a network that's been canceled.' We started laughing about it. Who knows? I mean, it could work out. Ten years into the business for me, I'm like, 'Cool,' if it doesn't, what are you going to do about it?"

    Although Ventimiglia and Badgley play classmates in "Bedford," there's about a decade's difference in their ages, which worked out to the relief of Fontana.

    "I was very concerned about Penn," Fontana said in a January interview. "If I was 18, if I had money from a TV show and looked like Penn Badgley, and I was in New York, I would go wild. I got very parental, which is not very much like me.

    "But it was Milo who took him under his wing. ... Milo was like the great older brother."

    "Penn's a bright guy," Ventimiglia says. "He didn't need me or anybody. There is that concern because he's 18 going on 19, but if you know Penn, he's not capable of putting himself in a position where he's going to get hurt, arrested or in trouble.

    "The reason that Penn and I even discussed living together was saving money. When Tom got wind of it, he was like, 'Thank you so much for doing this.' The funny thing was, Tom was like, 'Julie [Martin, an executive producer] was so worried.' I'm like, 'Julie wasn't worried. You were worried.' He really deeply cares about everybody and the process."

    Ventimiglia is equally impressed with Stallone after shooting "Rocky Balboa" with him in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

    "The first time I met him," he recalls, "he had a big smile on his face. He's physically twice me, just big. His hands are huge, and he's got that deep, booming voice that just engulfs you. It's very intimidating. But he's also just quiet at times and soft, just a normal guy.

    "Of course, I respect the guy because he's done a lot of work; he's a talented writer."

    The two even share a crooked lower lip, in both cases the result of nerve damage at birth.

    "[During the first meeting] I started laughing," Ventimiglia recalls, "and he looks at me, then he leans over to the casting director and says, 'His lip even hooks down like mine does.' I'm like, 'That's way too close!'"

    Everyone knows the iconic visual image of Rocky dancing on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and that can overshadow the fact that Stallone wrote not only the "Rocky" movies, but several of his other films, and directed four of the "Rocky" movies.

    "He's my director, and he's playing my father," Ventimiglia says. "There are so many odd lines of approaching the work. In that sense, Rocky's a little slow, and my character's a pretty bright kid, so he talks to him like an 8-year-old.

    "When I saw him turn Rocky on ... Sylvester talks, very animated, really bright. Then when he gets into the character of Rocky, he goes" -- Ventimiglia lets his expression go slack -- "and then he starts looking around. He has this simple smile on his face, and he gets very slow. He does this before every take."

    And it's not just Stallone's acting that impressed his young co-star. "When I read the script, I was impressed by it. I said, 'This is a really good story, even if it wasn't a 'Rocky' film. It's written well; it's funny; it's heartfelt.

    "Then being on set with him, seeing how hard he works to get the shots cinematically. It's a beautiful, beautiful film. He did such a good job with it."

    Ventimiglia also has ambitions behind the camera with his own production company. "We're going out with three TV projects this year," he says. "It's so much work. We just got this option on a book. It's one of those things where my partner and I were like, 'If we don't get it, don't have to work so hard.' Now we're like, 'Great.' Oh, my God, I'm going to go gray and bald in the next year, just working on this story as well as three other films and three other TV shows we have."

    While Ventimiglia might appear in some of these projects, don't expect to see his girlfriend, "Gilmore" star Alexis Bledel.

    "Separate church and state," Ventimiglia says. "It's just best to keep all that separate."

    Milo Ventimiglia Fans, Rejoice!

    (3/29/06) The new and controversial The Bedford Diaries. A Gilmore Girls return. A possible gig as a superhero. Rocky Balboa's son. And he even gets slain in a new slasher film. If you're a Milo Ventimiglia fan, this is your time to bask in his... Ventimiglianess. On the occasion of The Bedford Diaries' debut (tonight at 9 pm/ET on WB), TVGuide.com spoke with the popular actor about his very busy schedule.

    TVGuide.com: Dude, have you ever had so much to talk about? I don't know where to start.
    Milo Ventimiglia: Dude, start somewhere, dive in. Whatever you want to start with.

    TVGuide.com: In Bedford Diaries, you're playing a bit of a snake in grass.
    Ventimiglia: Yes. Yes, I am, yet again. Richard Thorne III, kid who comes from money, formerly of a drinking and drug problem... has since cleaned up and now nobody likes him.

    TVGuide.com: And he has some sort of a past with one of the lead girls?
    Ventimiglia: His past is with Corri English's character, Natalie, a girl who tried to kill herself. We don't really know the reason she tried to kill herself, but it had something to do with whatever was going on in her relationship with Richard.

    TVGuide.com: Based on the pilot, this show seems to want to push the envelope a bit, doesn't it? The language is a little salty.
    Ventimiglia: It does want to push the envelope, and it's kind of come under criticism for it. [Last week, WB decided to air a sanitized, more FCC-friendly version of the pilot.] Like at the TCA press tour for Bedford, we had a bunch of people grilling [executive producers] Tom Fontana and Julie Martin....

    TVGuide.com: About what? Like, the [oral sex] reference?
    Ventimiglia: Stuff like that, for the WB, is so racy. Finally, a couple of us piped in to say, "Look, we're not showing rape, we're not showing murder, we're not showing homicide or any form of killing like you see on CSI or any of those shows. What we're talking about is the reason why every single person in this room is alive — through sex."

    TVGuide.com: Intentionally or not.
    Ventimiglia: Exactly, man, intentionally or not.

    TVGuide.com: I dunno, this may be the show that shuts down WB once and for all.
    Ventimiglia: [Laughs] It's going to be a nice closing bell.

    TVGuide.com: You're also attached to the fall NBC pilot Heroes, which sounds fun and interesting.
    Ventimiglia: That's a second position. I got attracted to that by David Semel, who was an executive producer on American Dreams. They were having a hard time casting this role of Ethan....

    TVGuide.com: Is he the junkie-superhero whose ability is to paint images from the future?
    Ventimiglia: No, that's Isaac. Ethan's the guy who thinks that he can fly but he actually has a bit of clairvoyance and can tell other people what their powers are, while it seems like he has none of his own.

    TVGuide.com: He thinks he can fly and has clairvoyance — so, he can foresee himself crashing into buildings
    Ventimiglia: [Laughs] There you go.

    TVGuide.com: Explain to people the "second position" thing.
    Ventimiglia: If Bedford Diaries gets picked up, I go back to New York and back to Bedford, and someone else plays Ethan.

    TVGuide.com: We get Scott Baio or something.
    Ventimiglia: Exactly. Or, if Bedford doesn't go any further and Heroes gets picked up, then I jump on Heroes.

    TVGuide.com: And Milo keeps up with his mortgage payments. Now somewhere in here you found time to do the new Rocky Balboa film.

    Ventimiglia: Yeah, I finished that [in early February], when everybody was on hiatus.

    TVGuide.com: You're playing Rocky Jr. Is he a lover or a fighter?
    Ventimiglia: Neither, man. He's a Philadelphia corporate businessman in really dumpy suits that have pleated pants.

    TVGuide.com: That's what he's become? In Rocky V he was this punk with a bad earring.
    Ventimiglia: Yeah, the earring that hung down to, like, his shoulder. No, now he's trying to find his way in corporate America and not wanting anything to do with the world he grew up in. Then his dad starts talking about wanting to fight again.

    TVGuide.com: Is Rocky Sr. going to die in this one?
    Ventimiglia: Uh... I don't know.

    TVGuide.com: You're also in Stay Alive [which hit theaters March 24]. I assume it's not based on the board game with the marbles?
    Ventimiglia: It is not, no. I think they are releasing a video game with it, though.

    TVGuide.com: The cast looks like the fourth- and fifth-network all-star team.
    Ventimiglia: Let's see, we have two reps of Fox with Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle) and Samaire Armstrong (The O.C.), you've got myself and Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) from the WB.... I get killed, though. But it's a pretty good death.

    TVGuide.com: Lastly, you squeezed in a Gilmore Girls return, airing April 11. What compelled you to do that?
    Ventimiglia: It fit with my schedule. They asked if I wanted to come back, and I said sure. It's always fun to go back and see the crowd.

    TVGuide.com: What plot point is Jess serving?
    Ventimiglia: Does Jess ever really serve plot points? [Chuckles] I think he did a little the last time, in getting Rory thinking about her ex-boyfriend. [This time] I pop in, I have a nice scene with Scott Patterson, and I have a good scene with Rory, Alexis Bledel.

    TVGuide.com: Does it go without saying that your dance card is too full to ever go back to Gilmore full-time?
    Ventimiglia: I wouldn't do it. It's not that bad to go back and forth once or twice a year, but I couldn't go back to [being a] regular.

    TVGuide.com: So leave us with this: Who is the better match for Rory, Logan or Jess?
    Ventimiglia: I really used to like Logan, but he's been kind of an a--hole. [Snickers] I think it has to be Jess or somebody else.

    Warner Bros. shooting TV pilot starring Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen

    (3/24/06) Warner Bros. is shooting a television series pilot in Pittsburgh that features a heist from the fictitious Tanner Museum, whose exterior is the Mellon Institute.

    Warner Bros. officials declined to discuss the crime drama, titled, Smith. The pilot is a project of John Wells, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate who has worked as an executive producer and writer on the NBC dramas ER and The West Wing.

    Two of the pilot's stars are Ray Liotta, best known for his role in the film Goodfellas, and Virginia Madsen, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Sideways.

    Crews will be filming Sunday through Thursday in the city's Oakland section.

    Pittsburgh was chosen because officials connected to a Chicago art museum wouldn't let it be shot there, said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.

    Casting About

    (3/16/06) Jessy Schram has grabbed the lead and Vanessa Lengies will costar in the CW drama Split Decision.

    Dave Semel Helming Heroes

    (3/03/06) Helmer Dave Semel (American Dreams) is onboard to direct the NBC pilot Heroes, the network's buzzworthy pilot about ordinary people who discover they have superpowers, reports Variety. Semel is directing the pilot for NBC Universal TV Studio. Tim Kring is behind the project, which stars Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter and Milo Ventimiglia.

    CBS Pilot News

    (2/21/06) Rachel Boston, best known for her role on NBC's "American Dreams," will play a lead in CBS' untitled Joe Port/Joe Wiseman project, a show about a young couple who move to the woman's hometown in Michigan and have to deal with her complicated extended family.

    Milo Gets New Pilot

    (2/17/06) Milo Ventimiglia has been tapped to co-star in the NBC/NBC Uni TV drama "Heroes" about a group of everyday people find out they have superpowers.

    'Hot Properties' O'Grady, Vergara land pilots

    (2/13/06) Two stars of ABC's comedy "Hot Properties," Gail O'Grady and Sofia Vergara, have landed lead roles on pilots.

    O'Grady will star in the CW's untitled Kevin Williamson drama, an ensemble soap centered on a troubled teen who moves with his family to Palm Springs, California. O'Grady will play the boy's mom.

    O'Grady's TV credits include the series "American Dreams," which NBC canceled last year after a three-year-run, and the telefilm "Sex & the Single Mom."

    Vergara, meanwhile, has been tapped for ABC's untitled comedy starring Donal Logue. The project centers on a group of blue-collar guys in New York who decide to rob a celebrity.

    In addition to Vergara, Kevin Michael Richardson, Lenny Venito and Josh Grisetti also have been cast in the pilot.

    Vergara has appeared on the big screen in "Chasing Papi" and last year's "Four Brothers."

    Snow falls into 'Kingdom II' video game

    (2/08/06) Zach Braff, James Woods, Haley Joel Osment and Mena Suvari will lend their voices to the video game "Disney's Kingdom Hearts II," which hits U.S. stores on March 30.

    The game franchise blends well-known characters from classic Walt Disney Co. films with original characters from Japanese game maker Square Enix. In this sequel, for example, Braff again will star as Chicken Little, Woods brings Hades to life, and Ming Na will play a virtual Mulan, The original "Kingdom Hearts" game, which shipped in 2002, has sold more than 5 million units worldwide. Osment will reprise his role as Sora, the lead character in the role-playing game, who journeys through Disney film worlds accompanied by Goofy and Donald Duck. He will be joined by David Gallagher as Riku and Hayden Panettiere as Kairi. Christopher Lee, Brittany Snow and singer Jesse McCartney also play featured characters.

    Suvari will portray Aerith, a popular character from Square Enix's best-selling "Final Fantasy VII" game. Other big-screen talent joining her include Steve Burton and Rachael Leigh Cook.

    In a first for the franchise, the new game will add characters from such live-action movies as "Tron" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." A trailer at last year's E3 video game convention showed the likeness of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow within the "Kingdom Hearts II" game world, for instance.

    "Kingdom Hearts II" also features the worlds of "Hercules," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," "Aladdin" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

    In addition to the original game, a Game Boy Advance spinoff called "Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories" sold 2.5 million copies worldwide to date. "Kingdom Hearts II" shipped December 22 in Japan (minus the Hollywood voice talent) and has sold more than 1.1 million units. Square Enix expects the worldwide total of this game to sell 10 million units by the end of its run.

    Madsen, Liotta Team for CBS' 'Smith'

    (2/06/06) CBS has ordered a crime drama pilot that's going by the rather bland name of "Smith." The talent in front of and behind the camera, however, is far from pedestrian.

    Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen and Emmy winner Ray Liotta will head the cast of the show, which is being executive produced by John Wells, the man behind "The West Wing" and "ER." Amy Smart ("Just Friends") and Franky G ("Saw II") have also signed on to the cast.

    "Smith" is a crime show told from the point of view of the criminals, the showbiz trade papers report. Wells is writing the pilot in addition to executive producing, and frequent collaborator Christopher Chulack ("ER," "Third Watch") will direct it.

    Liotta, who won an Emmy last year for a guest role on "ER," has long been a sought-after star for TV producers, but "Smith" would be his first work as a series regular (he was attached to a pilot at NBC a couple of seasons back that didn't make the cut). The "Narc" and "Goodfellas" star has several film projects on tap this year, including the Vegas mob flick "Smokin' Aces" and the romantic comedy "Comeback Season."

    Madsen, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in "Sideways," stars with Harrison Ford in the thriller "Firewall," which opens this week. Her TV credits include recurring parts on "Frasier" and "American Dreams."

    In addition to "Just Friends," Smart has starred in "Varsity Blues" and "The Butterfly Effect" and had recurring roles on "Felicity" and "Scrubs." Franky G starred in Wells' short-lived FOX series "Jonny Zero" last season.

    FOX Fingers 'Reunion' Killer

    (1/18/06) When FOX lowered the boom on "Reunion" in late November, the show's creator says there was no way to resolve the show short of a full season because of how "intricately plotted" it was.

    It was so intricately plotted, in fact, that the question of who committed the murder at the show's center was still up in the air.

    That, at least, is the word from FOX Entertainment president Peter Ligouri, who on Tuesday (Jan. 17) addressed the show's early demise with reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour.

    'Reunion' was particularly cumbersome in terms of trying to provide an ending for the audience," Ligouri says of the show, in which each episode represented a year in the life of six friends, one of whom ends up dead. "How [creator Jon Harmon Feldman] was laying out the show to gap those additional 14, 15, 16 years was an incredibly complex path. There were a number of options, and he didn't make a definitive decision on which option he was going to go with as to who the killer was, and there was just no way to accelerate that time."

    Feldman himself hinted at that in a statement following the show's cancellation, saying that solving the mystery of who killed Samantha (Alexa Davalos) was "partially reliant on characters we haven't yet met -- and events we haven't seen."

    Ligouri says the network and the show's team talked about several ways to go with the killer's identity, but "the best guess was at that particular time that it was going to be Sam's daughter," whom she gave up for adoption early in the series. The why of the murder remains a mystery.

    Despite the failure of "Reunion" to grab an audience -- it averaged 4.3 million viewers in its time on the air -- Ligouri says FOX won't shy away from different forms of storytelling in the future.

    "It is regrettable when stories end before their time. I don't think that should stop us from being ambitious with serialized storytelling," he says. "... We put these shows on and we're going to continue to put these shows on every year with every good intention to end them, but eventually the audience votes."

    Virginia Madsen draws 'Number 23' with Carrey

    (1/18/06) "Sideways" star Virginia Madsen is in talks to play Jim Carrey's wife in "The Number 23," a psychological thriller from director Joel Schumacher.

    Elisabeth Shue had been cast in the wife role in November but recently stepped down when she learned she was pregnant. New Line Cinema then entered talks with Nicole Kidman, but a deal was never reached because of scheduling conflicts. The movie begins shooting Monday in Los Angeles.

    In the film, Carrey comes across an obscure book titled "The Number 23." As he reads it, he becomes increasingly convinced that the book is based on his own life. His obsession with the number 23 starts to consume him to the point that he soon realizes that the book forecasts far graver consequences for his life than he could ever have imagined.

    Madsen's character is Carrey's wife, who also is a character in the book. Danny Huston ("The Constant Gardener") will portray the couple's mutual friend, whom Carrey thinks is after his wife, while Rhona Mitra ("Boston Legal") will play a character in the book called Suicide Girl.

    Madsen was nominated for an Oscar for her work in the arthouse smash "Sideways" and next appears opposite Harrison Ford in the thriller "Firewall," which opens February 10.

    20 Million Watch Dick Clark's New Years

    (1/6/06) An estimated 20 million people watched Dick Clark's return to "New Year's Rockin' Eve."

    More people watched the ball drop at midnight in Times Square with Clark than any program in prime time that week, Nielsen Media Research said Friday.

    Clark, who co-hosted with Ryan Seacrest, was appearing for the first time on television since suffering a stroke nearly 13 months earlier. His voice occasionally was difficult to understand, but many people praised his bravery, including other stroke victims.

    Clark's two main competitors — Carson Daly on NBC and Regis Philbin on Fox — drew a combined total of 13.7 million viewers, Nielsen said. Philbin was seen by 18.2 million people when he subbed for Clark on ABC last year.

    Stroke Survivors Inspired by Dick Clark

    (1/3/06) He sat stiffly behind a desk, one hand in front of him, one down at his side. His words had the familiar slurred sound of a stroke victim. But his cadence was brisk, he made himself clear, and most of all, he was there — on national TV.

    Stroke survivors and their advocates said Tuesday they were cheered and inspired by Dick Clark's New Year's Eve appearance, ringing in 2006 a year after his debilitating stroke.

    "I think it's awesome," said Leean Hendrix, who was 26 when she had a stroke three years ago. "It was a tremendously courageous thing to do."

    Hendrix, a former Miss Arizona who lives in Phoenix, echoed a hope common among stroke survivors interviewed: that the public might begin to treat them with the respect and admiration given those who've overcome cancer or heart attacks.

    "Survivors of those other diseases seem to wear a badge of honor," said Hendrix. But a stroke, with its obvious impairment, "maybe isn't a pretty thing to look at. It's definitely not a sexy disease."

    "So for him to get up on national TV and say: "This is what I am now" — I have nothing but respect for him," she said.

    Diane Mulligan-Fairfield of the National Stroke Association, a public education organization, called Clark a "hero" for showing the world his condition.

    "Hero is not normally a word we associate with stroke survivors," she said. "We are trying to change that."

    Clark's appearance on "New Year's Rockin' Eve" came a full year after the December 2004 stroke that forced him to miss last year's show. There had been intense speculation beforehand whether he'd be up to the task. The 76-year-old entertainer has given no interviews since his stroke.

    On New Year's Eve, seated inside a studio at Times Square, Clark began by immediately acknowledging his condition, saying it had been a "long, hard fight" learning to walk and talk again. But, he said, "I wouldn't have missed this for the world."

    His words were muffled, but he kept a quick pace and was, for the most part, easy to understand during his brief appearances sprinkled through the telecast. At midnight, he counted down the seconds as the ball dropped, then kissed his wife, Kari, sitting next to him at his desk.

    While some found the appearance moving, others seemed to find it inappropriate or depressing to see the ever-boyish, handsome Clark display his impaired condition in a TV universe where appearance is everything.

    "Viewers ... may well have been hoping the famous giant ball was the only thing that would drop before the night was over," wrote Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales. He said Clark looked "seriously debilitated," and called his appearance "a gesture likely to strike some observers as courageous and others as morbid."

    In the New York Times, reviewer Virginia Heffernan called Clark's description of his speech ("not perfect") an "understatement," and wrote that sometimes, "his impaired speech seemed comical," although mostly it was touching.

    The negative comments deeply angered Karl Guerra of Annapolis, Md., who has been recovering from a stroke for the last five years. For the first three years, he spent 10 hours a day working on his speech. He called Clark's recovery so far "remarkable."

    "Let's face it, there are certain aspects of a stroke that make people feel uncomfortable, and one of those is speech," Guerra said in a telephone interview. "But he's doing a great job as far as I can tell. For me, he epitomizes the 'Go out there and make it happen' spirit."

    A doctor who treats stroke survivors said Clark's determination to go ahead with his appearance is just the kind of goal that often helps patients with their recovery.

    "In many diseases the emotional component — the determination to fight and pursue recovery — is part of the recovery itself," said Dr. Pierre Fayad, medical director of neurology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

    One stroke survivor said he would have preferred to see Clark use his appearance to spend some time promoting stroke awareness. "It's great to see that he's come back, but it doesn't tell the whole story," said Haven Moses, a former NFL player with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos who suffered a stroke at age 56.

    Though it may be unusual to see a celebrity like Clark display impairment from a stroke so publicly, other well-known entertainers such as Kirk Douglas, Julie Harris and Patricia Neal have done so. Both Douglas and Neal appeared in films following their strokes. A rehabilitation center in Tennessee is named after Neal.

    Preliminary ratings from big-city markets showed that Clark's broadcast on ABC drew more people than competitors Carson Daly on NBC and Regis Philbin on Fox combined, according to Nielsen Media Research. "New Year's Rockin' Eve" ratings were up 15 percent over last year, when Philbin filled in.

    Television analyst Marc Berman of Media Week Online said that while Clark's appearance was brave, he's not sure ABC would want him to continue playing a major role in future New Year's Eve broadcasts if his condition doesn't improve markedly. ABC and Clark's production company have already signed a long-term deal with Ryan Seacrest, who co-hosted this year, to make the "American Idol" host the New Year's Eve heir apparent.

    "We've already seen what (Clark) looks like," said Berman. "The curiosity factor is gone."

    As for Clark himself, he was in a "terrific" mood after the show, said his spokesman, Paul Shefrin. "He got done and five or six of us went out for a hamburger," he said. "He absolutely feels like he did the right thing." He said Clark will likely sit down in the next few weeks to decide what he wants to do about the future.

    "He has never said this would be his last year," he said. "It's up to him."

    On the Net: National Stroke Association: http://info.stroke.org

    Dick Clark Returns to TV to Mark New Year

    (1/1/06) There was more to celebrate than the ball dropping in Times Square for Dick Clark — the personality who's been ringing in the New Year for decades made his first television appearance since a stroke in late 2004.

    Clark, sitting behind a desk with the street scene in the background, sounded hoarse and occasionally was hard to understand, but he said, "I wouldn't have missed this for the world."

    "Last year I had a stroke," he explained. "It left me in bad shape. I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It's been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I'm getting there."

    Clark introduced a musical performance by Mariah Carey.

    After his Dec. 6, 2004, stroke, Clark had to sit out "New Year's Rockin' Eve" last year for the first time since starting it in 1972. Regis Philbin was his emergency sub.

    Clark, 76, declined interviews and television appearances as he rehabilitated, and his spokesman said the former "American Bandstand" host viewed New Year's as his personal coming-out party. Tabloid pictures of Clark using a cane or wheelchair led to questions about whether he was up to it.

    With increased competition, it sometimes seemed as if Times Square was a giant television studio.

    Philbin was back, this time for Fox. Carson Daly was host of an NBC party. News anchor Anderson Cooper was amid revelers for CNN, and Stuart Scott was on ESPN2. Kanye West was the featured guest at MTV's soiree.

    But with Carey crooning for Clark, "New Year's Rockin' Eve" figured to be the dominant TV party of the night.

    ABC and Clark's production company this year made plans to keep the show alive when Clark can no longer do it, signing "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest as his successor.

    Seacrest opened "New Year's Rockin' Eve" with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and introduced Clark.

    Clark Ready for New Year's Eve Return

    (12/29/05) Dick Clark, who suffered a stroke last December, won't be in a wheelchair when he appears on ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve," says co-host Ryan Seacrest.

    It will be the 76-year-old Clark's first TV appearance since his stroke, which forced him to bow out of last year's show.

    "I'm not a doctor and I'm not his wife so I don't see him on a daily basis, but he will not be in a wheelchair on the telecast," Seacrest told AP Radio in a recent interview.

    Seacrest, who will make his debut as co-host of the New Year's Eve special, said Clark "has gotten better and better each day. I don't think he is a hundred percent but I think he's better than he was last week and better than he was six months ago."

    As for Clark's voice, Seacrest said: "It's not exactly as it probably sounded when he was his healthiest and before the stroke, but it definitely sounds like Dick and I think that he's been working on his speech and making sure that it's as good as it can be on the night."

    "I know that he is one of the most driven and focused individuals on the planet," the 31-year-old Seacrest said of Clark. "And so when he puts his mind to something and when he wants to do something like this television show and be there for everybody to see him, he'll do it."

    Seacrest and Clark will appear from New York, where the ball will drop in Times Square in the traditional countdown to midnight. Co-host Hilary Duff will anchor and perform at the Hollywood segment of the show.

    The 34th annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve" will air Saturday starting at 10 p.m. (EST).

    Unhappy Reunion

    (12/19/05) Fox's Reunion, which was canceled a few weeks ago but wasn't to actually bow out until Feb. 2, aired its final episode on Dec. 15. "Yes, it was [the last episode], unfortunately," a rep for the series tells TVGuide.com. Reunion execs recently issued a statement saying that the central murder mystery could not possibly be wrapped up on a truncated timetable.

    Actress walks on wild side on FX

    (12/17/05) Brittany Snow knows what lies behind the mask of the infamous assailant known as "The Carver" on FX's plastic-surgery melodrama "Nip/Tuck," whose identity will be revealed in the show's two-hour finale, airing at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

    But she's not telling.

    "All I can say is, you won't be disappointed," says Snow. "That's what I can say. The final episode is so brilliant. I have my friends bribing me and paying me and wanting to take me out, and I'm like, 'No, I can't even tell you, because I won't be able to explain it as good as it is.' It's amazing. I think people are going to be really impressed."

    Word on the street has it that even the most ardent "Nip/Tuck" fans may not be able to guess. "It isn't (guessable)," Snow says, "but it all makes sense. It's so perfect."

    Snow has had a recurring role this season as Ariel, the new girlfriend of perpetually troubled teen Matt McNamara (John C. Hensley), who was raised by plastic surgeon Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh), but is actually the biological son of his partner and best pal, Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon).

    The role has been a revelation for Snow's fans, who are used to seeing her as the apple-cheeked, wholesome Meg on NBC's "American Dreams."

    As Ariel, the loyal daughter of a white supremacist (Brian Kerwin), Snow donned black clothes and eyeliner, sported Teutonic jewelry and spouted neo-Nazi slogans.

    "It's actually the most rewarding role I've had in a while," Snow says. "This is the thing where I went to work every day just scared out of my mind, because it's so unlike me. What I found is it's actually really sad. I do feel for the character.

    "It's not really her choice, it's what she's been brought up with. Ariel is trained to think this way. She loves her father so much, and she wants to do what he says. There's definitely an underlying subtext storyline of her father being abusive. She's scared that he will hurt her. The relationship is a very unhealthy one. They're so enmeshed and involved with each other that she just goes with anything he says in fear of him not loving her."

    Now that the job is over, Snow hasn't held on to Ariel's viewpoints, but has kept a bit of her fashion sense.

    "I took some of the black combat boots," she says. "I'm pretty preppy in real life, so it can look really cute."

    Even though he tried to get Ariel help for her psychological problems in the most recent episode, Matt has often crossed moral and legal lines, even resorting to violence.

    "The funny thing is," Snow says, "John is just such a great guy, and he's so unlike his character. He is such a sweetheart, the sweetest, most generous, most professional actor. Working with him was always fun and great. So to see his character, watching him on the show, was just, wow. I was blown away by him. He's very cute."

    The relationship between Matt and Ariel rapidly became sexual, and that was another change for Snow.

    "Considering that John and I became really good friends during the shooting, it was very easy," she says. "We just made fun of each other. By the time we had the love scenes, I knew the crew, and I was comfortable.

    "It's really awkward, but you've got to do it. It was definitely something new for me, but it was something that I was definitely glad it was over with, when it was over."

    No End in Sight for 'Reunion'

    (12/05/05) Those hoping for a resolution to FOX's recently scrapped "Reunion" won't be getting it.

    The series is for now set to play out its original 13-episode order, which would put its end date sometime in January. When FOX announced the cancellation last week, Warner Bros. TV, which produces the show, wasn't sure whether it would be able to wrap up "Reunion's" plot-driving murder mystery by then.

    The answer, according to "Reunion" creator Jon Harmon Feldman, is no. Because of the show's unique structure -- in which each episode covers a year from 1986 to 2006 in the lives of six high-school friends -- Feldman says there's no way to resolve the mystery of who killed Samantha (Alexa Davalos).

    "The show was intricately plotted over 22 episodes to tell the full story of our characters' lives (and deaths)," Feldman says in a statement. "Because the events of Samantha's murder are partially reliant on characters we haven't yet met -- and events we haven't yet seen -- there is no way to solve the mystery of her murder without being able to complete the full arc of our story through present-day."

    Episode 13 would leave the characters in 1998, eight years before the murder investigation that drives the flashbacks.

    "I greatly regret that this question along with many others that the series has posed will remain unsolved, and I am deeply grateful for the support of viewers who share this regret," Feldman says.

    "Reunion" has struggled to hold on to the audience from its lead-in, "The O.C.," in the highly competitive 9 p.m. Thursday hour. It's averaging about 4.3 million viewers per week and draws a similarly small number in FOX's target demographic of adults 18-49.

    Gail & Will's Shows Both Cancelled

    (11/29/05) It's the end of the road for three freshman series: ABC's "Hot Properties," CBS' "Threshold" and Fox's "Reunion."

    Sources said ABC has opted not to pick up additional episodes of the Gail O'Grady comedy "Hot Properties," which has completed its original 13-episode order and will stay on the air through December. The Friday entry revolves around four men-obsessed women in a Manhattan real estate office.

    After a sluggish start in its original Friday 9 p.m. slot and equally soft results from the trial move of "Threshold" to the Tuesday 10 p.m. slot last week, the alien-invasion drama will be taken off the schedule for the last Tuesday of the November sweep this week, replaced by a repeat of CBS' promising new crime drama "Criminal Minds." "Threshold," from " Harry Potter" producer David Heyman, starred Carla Gugino.

    The drama "Reunion," about six friends caught up in a murder mystery, has struggled in the killer Thursday 9 p.m. slot (opposite CBS' "CSI"), dropping significantly from its "The O.C." lead-in.

    ABC, CBS and Fox declined comment on the cancellations Monday.

    Robinson joins Condon's cast in 'Dreamgirls'

    (11/23/05) In another key piece of casting, Keith Robinson has joined the lineup of the movie version of the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls," the tale of a '60s girl group loosely based on the Supremes.

    Robinson -- whose credits range from "Fat Albert" to the recent FX series "Over There" and NBC's "American Dreams" -- will play the composer C.C., brother of the pivotal character of Effie. The casting represents a particular coup because at one point R&B heartthrob Usher was reported to be in negotiations for the part, though no deal was reached.

    With filming on the DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures production set to begin in January under the direction of Bill Condon ("Kinsey"), the rest of the cast is quickly taking shape.

    Last week, DreamWorks announced that Jennifer Hudson, a former "American Idol" contestant, will play Effie, the role made famous by Jennifer Holiday in the original 1981 Broadway show when Holiday belted out her signature tune "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going."

    Along with Hudson, Beyonce Knowles and Anika Noni Rose will play girl group the Dreamettes.

    Jamie Foxx is set as their manager, Curtis Taylor, and Eddie Murphy is playing the headliner James "Thunder" Early.

    Condon has adapted the screenplay from the show's original book by Tom Eyen. Lyrics and music are by Eyen and Henry Krieger, respectively.

    Ventimigiia in ring for new 'Rocky'

    (11/23/05) Rocky Balboa has a new bambino.

    Milo Ventimiglia, best known for playing Jess on the WB Network drama "Gilmore Girls," has signed on to star as Sylvester Stallone's adult son in "Rocky Balboa," the sixth installment of the feature franchise about the mythic Philadelphia boxer.

    In the latest version, Rocky has long since retired but is drawn back to the ring one last time. He is challenged by a powerful new champion, by personal tragedy and ultimately by himself.

    Rocky's son, Rocky Balboa Jr., was introduced into the franchise in 1979's "Rocky II," when his birth was a pivotal moment in the film. The role most recently was filled by Stallone's real-life son, Sage Stallone, in 1990's "Rocky V."

    Shooting is slated to begin next month in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Columbia Pictures will distribute.

    Ventimiglia also stars in the WB midseason replacement "The Bedford Diaries" and alongside Sophia Bush in the upcoming thriller "Stay Alive."

    Dreams' Meg Is a Nip/Tuck Neo-Nazi!

    (11/22/05) Your grandmother wants to buy her presents at the dollar store. Your parents want you to be like her. And you want everyone to like you the way they like her. Yup, it's easy to love Brittany Snow. The 19-year-old actress is doe-eyed, chatty and a splurging giggler. Alas, granny may soon suffer a heart attack when she learns that American Dreams' darling Meg Pryor is now a neo-Nazi with some serious anger issues. Snow took time out from shooting her guest gig on FX's Nip/Tuck (beginning tonight at 10 pm/ET) to chat with TVGuide.com about evolving into a bad-ass, the truth behind Dreams' MIA finale and being the object of affection for a Desperate Housewives hottie.

    TVGuide.com: Congratulations on landing Nip/Tuck. Are Doctors McNamara and Troy going to take a scalpel to you?
    Brittany Snow: Not exactly. My character's name is Ariel and it's symbolic that she's named that, actually, because everything she stands for is Aryan. She's a white supremacist and a neo-Nazi.

    TVGuide.com: You're scaring me.
    Snow: It's more psychologically frightening than anything. Ariel has extreme views and really believes that what she says is right. When you listen to the character, you may find yourself saying, "Well, she does have a point...." I don't think Ariel is correct, but she justifies it in such a way that it is chilling. And I'm dressed all gothic — black clothes, black eyeliner.

    TVGuide.com: Now you're really scaring me... more than those darn Boohbah blobs.
    Snow: Well, I wanted to do something challenging.

    TVGuide.com: Your character hooks up with Matt (played by John Hensley)?
    Snow: Yes. Ariel manipulates Matt into thinking that he likes her. I mean, she pierces his ear with a swastika earring and brainwashes him by using her strong viewpoints and sexuality.

    TVGuide.com: Do you curse on-screen?
    Snow: Yes.... And I have sex.

    TVGuide.com: What?!
    Snow: [Laughs] It's all suggestive — you can't see Ariel and Matt, but you can hear the characters during, and afterward I come out wearing just a shirt and no pants. Believe me, my dad is dreading the day it airs. But hey, everyone has a dark side, even me.

    TVGuide.com: Let's see about that. Ever snuck into a movie?
    Snow: Yup.

    TVGuide.com: Cut in line?
    Snow: No.

    TVGuide.com: Cut class?
    Snow: Never.

    TVGuide.com: Just one out of three — that's weak.
    Snow: I go out clubbing with my friends, and a lot of them are big-time nightlife people. I'm not into it as much as they are, but I do the occasional partying at the Hollywood clubs, which, I guess, is the worst you're going to get on me.

    TVGuide.com: You've redeemed yourself somewhat.
    Snow: Thanks. Lately, though, I've just been chilling. I have a new boyfriend who is a singer-songwriter.

    TVGuide.com: Ah, a rebellious musician type. Now we're getting somewhere.
    Snow: No, no. He's really sweet and down-to-earth — not the stereotypical "crazy" rocker type.

    TVGuide.com: To follow the mantra of Nip/Tuck: Tell me what you don't like about yourself.
    Snow: There are a lot of things.

    TVGuide.com: Do you not like that it mentions your expert skills as a clog dancer in your official bio?
    Snow: Yeah. That's really bad.

    TVGuide.com: It must take a lot of energy to do all that clogging.
    Snow: I'm actually kind of proud that I can clog dance.

    TVGuide.com: But back to the original question....
    Snow: I'm too hard on myself and I wish I had a bit more confidence.

    TVGuide.com: What other projects do you have coming up?
    Snow: I'm going over a bunch of scripts for independent movies as well as a few features that are in the works. I want to be really choosy about my next role. I just wrapped John Tucker Must Die up in Vancouver with Ashanti, Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) and Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives).

    TVGuide.com: Do you go all Aryan in that, too?
    Snow: No. [Laughs] I play a girl named Kate who is new at school and gets mixed in with this group of girls who are all dating the same guy (Metcalfe). They want him to fall in love with Kate — and then have her dump him to get back at him for wronging them.

    TVGuide.com: Who took longer in the makeup chair — the girls or Jesse?
    Snow: I think he would get mad if I told you the truth. [Giggles] I'm kidding! The girls did, but Jesse does like to primp.

    TVGuide.com: And he looks good after doing so.
    Snow: He's honestly the coolest guy. I've known him for such a long time and we had so much fun [filming].

    TVGuide.com: Speaking of fun, American Dreams fans are not having much of any, what with the extended series finale being pulled by NBC. What gives?
    Snow: It's so weird. NBC said it was going to air it and then they changed their minds. To just leave everything unfinished is unfair.

    TVGuide.com: Did Meg come home from protesting the war in Berkeley?
    Snow: [The unaired extended finale] takes a look at life for the Pryors three years later, and yes, Meg comes home. They're very heartfelt scenes.

    TVGuide.com: Quick! You were a straight-A student in school, would you let me cheat off of you?
    Snow: Of course!

    TVGuide.com: OK, you're a bad-ass in our book.

    'American Dreams' Star Snow Drifts to 'Nip/Tuck'

    (11/17/05) Brittany Snow is best known for playing good girl Meg Pryor on the family-friendly NBC series "American Dreams." She's about to shed that image in a big way, at least temporarily.

    Snow is set to appear in a multi-episode arc of FX's "Nip/Tuck," playing a girl whose ugly worldview contrasts with her outward appearance. She'll make her debut on the for-grownups-only show Tuesday (Nov. 22) and is scheduled to appear in the next four episodes as well.

    Her character, Ariel Alderman, will be the source of further misery for the already deeply disturbed Matt McNamara (John Hensley). Matt begins dating her, and her racist beliefs -- in Tuesday's episode, she compares plastic surgery to work done by Nazis -- lead him into a deeper hole.

    This comes, of course, after he found out at the end of last season that the woman he loved had previously been a man, on top of numerous other calamities.

    Prior to "American Dreams," Snow appeared on the CBS soap opera "The Guiding Light" for three years. She co-starred in the feature film "The Pacifier" earlier this year and will appear in the feature comedy "John Tucker Must Die," which is scheduled for release next year.

    Actor happy to join this 'Reunion'

    (11/17/05) Starring in "Reunion" is a bit of a two-edged sword for Will Estes.

    It gives the actor best known for his role as J.J. Pryor on the late NBC drama "American Dreams" a leading role in prime time again, but it is also a short-term gig.

    "I didn't know that when I auditioned," he says, "but I found out later. It's OK with me. You'd be surprised how many things you find out last as an actor.

    "You never know how long you'll be around on a series anyway. But, hopefully, this will be a springboard for other projects."

    Because "Reunion's" story will be told at the end of what's expected to be this season's 22 episodes, a second season of "Reunion" will revolve around a different story and another cast.

    "Reunion" (9 tonight, Fox) is about six friends who come together for their 20th high school reunion. One of them -- revealed last week to be Samantha (Alexa Davalos) -- is murdered, and all of them become suspects. A detective traces their turbulent and secretive lives back, spanning 20 years to find which one had the motive.

    "It's a genuine coming-of-age story," Estes says, "but you also find out it's a murder mystery."

    Estes plays Will Malloy, a good boy from the wrong side of the tracks who goes to prison for a crime he did not commit and can never quite get the girl.

    "He's just a guy with a good sense of himself. He just makes a lot of mistakes," Estes says.

    Malloy has a lot of skeletons in his closet. Before the 1980s were finished, he fooled around with his best friend's girl and orchestrated a shady real estate deal. By present day, we see Will has become a priest and is a major suspect in the murder investigation of his friend.

    Estes got his start on the NBC soap opera "Santa Barbara," when he was 8 years old. Before graduating from high school, he acted in numerous TV projects such as "The New Lassie" and the cartoon "Jonny's Golden Quest."

    Despite finding steady work in an unsure profession at an early age, Estes says, he almost gave up acting when he graduated from high school, which he completed mainly through tutoring.

    "I was running around thinking I was cool, driving my car and listening to Carlos Santana," says the 27-year-old bachelor.

    "I thought I'd give up acting ... but when I really thought about it, acting was what I wanted to do."

    He dropped out of a Los Angeles-area junior college after getting a role in the submarine movie "U-571." It allowed the then-teenage Estes to live in Rome for several months.

    He wanted to do "Reunion" because he knew Jon Harmon Feldman, the show's creator, who was a writer on "Dreams."

    Although he'll be looking for his next series soon, Estes has no regrets.

    "This is a great time in my life," he says. "I am having fun and looking ahead. As an actor, that's all you can do sometimes."

    Amanda Righetti on Reunion Castmate Will Estes

    (11/03/05) Question: Which cast mate has surprised you the most?

    Answer: Will [Estes] (American Dreams). When I first met him, he was so quiet, but he is such a funny guy and you would just never expect that from him. Some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth and these looks that he has... it makes you laugh. He's a really interesting character. I've never met anyone quite like him.

    TVGuide.com: What Would Have Been

    (11/02/05) Question: I just wanted to tell you that you are my hero. I was thisclose to giving up hope regarding the American Dreams alternate ending, and then you go and raise my spirits with last week's big update. I love you. — Jaclyn

    Ausiello: Well, if you think you love me now, just wait until you hear what I have in the works. (Still can't discuss as nothing is official.) In the meantime, as I promised last week, here are some tidbits about what would have happened to your faves had Dreams seen a fourth season:

    J.J. and Beth: "I was going to send J.J. to Berkeley to get his sister back and, while there, get exposed to a lot of the antiwar stuff," says series creator Jonathan Prince. "He would eventually come home and work harder on the space program. And Beth was going to go back to school to get her degree."

    Meg and Sam: "Everybody wanted them to be together, which is why I think they couldn’t," says Prince. "I was going to give Sam a really serious girlfriend." Meg, meanwhile, would have fallen for Joey Lawrence's Bandstand successor, "a guy who seemed superficial on the top and ended up being deeper than that. That's who she would have ended up with. A local guy. The least likely guy you’d figure."

    Helen and Jack: Helen was going to get busted for helping potential draftees slip off to Canada, leading to a rift between her and Jack. "They would have separated," says Prince. "But, obviously, they would have gotten back together.

    FX Withdraws from 'Over There'

    (11/01/05) FX's war drama "Over There" won't be redeployed for a second season, becoming a casualty of the same thing that causes most shows to be cancelled -- declining ratings.

    The cable network took the unusual step Tuesday (Nov. 1) of announcing it wouldn't pick up "Over There," about a squad of inexperienced soldiers in Iraq. Typically networks don't choose to draw attention to shows that are being cancelled.

    In explaining the cancellation FX chief John Landgraf takes pains to note that the "beautifully produced, acted, written and directed" show was axed solely due to the realities of the TV business, not for any creative reasons.

    "That decision was motivated entirely by 'Over There's' ratings performance and our belief that the numbers were reflective of what the show is about, rather than its quality or entertainment value," Landgraf says. "While are passionately committed to fostering great television, we are an advertiser-supported network, and the size of our audience is vital to our bottom line."

    "Over There" averaged 2.1 million viewers over its 13-week run, well below the levels of its other drama series. "Rescue Me" drew 2.8 million viewers per week this summer, while "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck" each bring in more than 3 million.

    After starting strong with an audience of 4.1 million people for its premiere, "Over There" dipped in subsequent weeks. It took a further hit over its final four episodes, when it aired opposite new episodes of highly rated broadcast-network shows like "CSI: NY" and "Law & Order"; during those four weeks it averaged only 1.6 million viewers.

    Chris Gerolmo and Steven Bochco created "Over There," which was the first TV series to dramatize a war that was still going on while it aired. Landgraf also has kind words for them and "their immensely talented and dedicated team of collaborators, whose artistry was reflected in each episode."

    TVGuide.com: Finale Update & Spoilers

    (10/26/05) Question: Wow, knowing that you're a USC alum makes me a bigger fan of yours. Go Trojans! Anyway, I can't wait to find out more about the American Dreams alterna-finale, like you promised in last week's AA. Please tell me that Chris disappears from Meg's life and she ultimately ends up with her true love Sam! — LJ

    Ausiello: Well, the first half of your wish came true, LJ. Chris is definitely out of Meg's life. And I know this because — brace yourselves, Dreamers, — I've seen the elusive epilogue! Jonathan Prince sent a DVD copy to me via armored vehicle late last week and all I can say is it more than lived up to the hype. Now, before I present you with the highlights, let me assure you that, come hell or high water, you will see the ending, too. Worse case scenario: You'll have to wait for the Season 2 and 3 boxed DVD set, which will hopefully street sometime in '06. "We're in negotiations now," Prince says of the DVD. "And the epilogue would absolutely be included." But there's slight chance you won't have to wait until then. I can't get into specifics, but a top-secret plan is afoot that could bring the ending to you much sooner and cement my status as an American hero in the process. Hopefully, I'll have more to share in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some interesting facts/tidbits/spoilers about the climax to whet your appetite.

    Stop reading now if you prefer to wait for the real deal.

    * The flashback-heavy capper is 10 minutes long, edited down from 20 minutes of raw footage.

    * The only Dreams principals appearing in new scenes are Brittany Snow, Gail O'Grady and Tom Verica.

    * Most of the epilogue takes place on a bus, with Meg — now a junior at Berkeley — heading to New York to visit Sam at Columbia. "This would have been the first time she's seen Sam in three years," says Prince.

    * Meg meets a friend on the bus, and it's during their conversation that we learn that Patty went to Radcliffe, Roxanne married Luke and had a son named Woody Allen, and J.J. and Beth also married and had a son.

    * At the last minute, Meg decides to get off the bus in Philadelphia, where she returns home and reunites with her mom and dad for the first time in three years.

    Next week, Jonathan reveals what would have happened had Dreams gone a fourth season. (Hint: It's splitsville for Helen and Jack!)

    'Gilmore Girls' Gets Lots of Sweeps Visitors

    (10/21/05) The recent change of street names in Stars Hollow doesn't seem to be affecting the ability of past residents and visitors to find the place, at least not during November sweeps.

    "Gilmore Girls" will welcome back a couple of familiar faces, plus a top-secret new one, during sweeps. The WB series will also take strides toward mending the season-long rift between mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel).

    Milo Ventimiglia is set to reprise his role as Rory's ex-boyfriend Jess on Tuesday, Nov. 8. He comes back to town and tells Rory about an "impressive accomplishment" that makes her rethink her current Yale-dropout, guesthouse-living situation.

    Ventimiglia, last seen in the there-and-gone teen flick "Dirty Deeds," stars in The WB's midseason series "The Bedford Diaries." He also had a recurring part on NBC's "American Dreams" last season.

    Two weeks after that, David Sutcliffe will make an appearance as Rory's dad, Christopher. He'll be part of a Thanksgiving episode in which Rory gets some unsettling news about her current beau, Logan (Matt Czuchry).

    In between, on Nov. 15, someone from Luke's (Scott Patterson) past will turn up in town, throwing a big wrench into his relationship with Lorelai. Speculation has been that Lorelai maybe isn't the only single parent in their relationship, but the network isn't divulging any further details.

    Interview: "Reunion" with Will Estes

    (10/20/05) Click to read: http://www.teenhollywood.com/d.asp?r=109391&cat=1035

    Life Is 'Beautiful' for ABC Family

    (10/19/05) ABC Family doesn't hate "Beautiful People." In fact, it wants them to hang around some more. The cable network has ordered eight additional episodes of its original drama series, which stars Daphne Zuniga ("Melrose Place") as a single mother who moves her two teen daughters from New Mexico to New York. Production on the new episodes will begin later this fall, with premiere dates set for sometime in 2006. "We are thrilled to add eight more episodes of 'Beautiful People' to the season order," ABC Family president Paul Lee says. "Our audiences love this show, and [executive producers Paul Stupin and Michael Rauch] have such a strong vision for its future." ABC Family says the eight new episodes constitute a continuation of the show's first season, rather than a second season. The first batch of eight episodes concluded on Sept. 26. "Beautiful People," which also stars Torrey DeVitto and Sarah Foret, drew decent ratings during its late-summer/early-fall run, debuting to an audience of 1.6 million people and improving the network's ratings both overall and among adults 18-49 in its Monday timeslot. ABC Family's other original drama, "Wildfire," earned a second-season pickup in August.

    'Waiting ...' unfunny, unappetizing

    (10/07/05) Consider the ellipsis in the title a warning. Between a couple of funny scenes and a bunch of unfunny gags, there's not much going on in "Waiting ..."

    The comedy uses gross-out "humor" with little inventiveness to ply the familiar territory of twentysomething limbo and workplace hell. Despite a solid ensemble, this would-be "Kitchen Confidential" for the chain-steakhouse set, which boasts as many producers as cast members, doesn't serve up enough laughs to build a theatrical following but could find life on video as a takeout item.

    There comes a moment for many thinking people when job security takes on life-threatening proportions: a clear-eyed look at unhappy co-workers and the inept boss signals something's gotta give. For 22-year-old Dean (Justin Long), that moment of truth occurs four years into his job waiting tables at ShenaniganZ. Obsessed with the apparent success of a former classmate -- helpfully brought to his attention by his mother -- Dean feels himself languishing at work and at the community college where he and best friend Monty (Ryan Reynolds) are on-again, off-again students.

    Dangling benies and "power" before him, clueless manager Dan (David Koechner), who conducts dispiriting staff meetings by the Dumpster, offers the hard-working but directionless Dean a promotion to assistant manager. He is shocked when Dean asks for time to think it over. Where this is headed is as predictable as the dinner-hour rush.

    The ShenaniganZ staff spend most nights partying together after long days slinging baked potatoes, and co-worker couplings are inevitable. Dean avoids commitment to earnest waitress Amy (Kaitlin Doubleday), while Dan and Monty eye the underage hostess ( Vanessa Lengies). Monty, whose snarkiness is his identity (a cameo by Wendie Malick as his mother makes clear where he gets it), also spends time being humiliated by his feisty ex, waitress Serena (Anna Faris), and showing the ropes to wide-eyed new guy Mitch (John Francis Daley).

    Mainly the ropes consist of learning how to play a behind-the-scenes time-waster that Serena rightly calls "an exercise in retarded homophobia." Sleazeball cook Raddimus (Luis Guzman), the mastermind of the Penis-Showing Game, provides demos for Mitch using raw chicken parts. Besides workplace dystopia, this exhibitionist stupidity is the script's central thread.

    First-time writer-director Rob McKittrick demonstrates a feel for the systematic hysteria of restaurant dynamics, but his observations lack the absurdist edge of "Clerks" and the truly idiosyncratic detail that would make his characters three-dimensional. Within limited roles, the cast does what it can. Chi McBride, an actor capable of sublime understatement, plays the sage philosopher-king dishwasher, dispensing wisdom to a crew that includes two gangsta-wannabe pothead busboys (Andy Milonakis and Max Kasch), the angriest waitress in the world (Alanna Ubach) and a spineless virgin (Robert Patrick Benedict). Is it any wonder that -- in the film's funniest gag -- their birthday serenade to a young boy makes him cry?

    Filmed in New Orleans but with no sense of the place, "Waiting . . ." unfolds mainly within appropriately generic restaurant interiors. Refreshingly, McKittrick doesn't lean on canned pop tracks as mortar, but neither does he craft enough of a story to hold together the shtick.

    Cast:
    Monty: Ryan Reynolds
    Serena: Anna Faris
    Dean: Justin Long
    Dan: David Koechner
    Mitch: John Francis Daley
    Tyla: Emmanuelle Chriqui
    Amy: Kaitlin Doubleday
    Nick: Andy Milonakis
    T-Dog: Max Kasch
    Naomi: Alanna Ubach
    Calvin: Robert Patrick Benedict
    Natasha: Vanessa Lengies
    Bishop: Chi McBride
    Raddimus: Luis Guzman
    Monty's Mom: Wendie Malick

    Director-screenwriter: Rob McKittrick; Producers: Adam Rosenfelt, Stavros Merjos, Jay Rifkin, Jeff Balis, Rob Green; Executive producers: Chris Moore, Jon Shestack, Sam Nazarian, Malcolm Petal, Marc Schaberg, Thomas Augsberger, Paul Fiore; Director of photography: Matthew Irving; Production designer: Devorah Herbert; Music: Adam Gorgoni; Co-producers: Chris Fenton, Dean Shull, Randy Winograd; Costume designer: Jillian Kreiner; Editors: David Finfer, Andy Blumenthal.

    ABC's "Properties" may be too hot to handle

    (10/06/05) Hello, "Hot Properties." Goodbye, TGIF. To be sure, ABC's wholesome Friday night neighborhood had been changing for a few years, with family comedies moving out and reality ("Supernanny") moving in.

    With the addition of "Hot Properties," a spicy sexcom about a female-operated real estate office, the last vestige of TGIF is "Hope & Faith," which precedes this new series. It's kind of like serving some chicken soup before hot chicken wings.

    Actually, the food analogy is even more apt when you consider that, for many, "Hot Properties" surely will be an acquired taste. The nonstop sexual references will please some and annoy others. And then there will be a few who wonder how network standards and practices ever signed off on the line spoken by beauty Sofia Vergara, who plays Lola, about her family of carpenters: "I spent my life surrounded by men with wood."

    Gail O'Grady stars as Ava, the owner of the real estate agency, a fortysomething dish who has managed to keep her exact age a secret from her new (and unseen) 25-year-old husband. (Cue the stamina jokes.) Nicole Sullivan plays Chloe, man-hungry to the point of desperation (Cue the frustration jokes.) Then there's Lola, divorced for six months after 10 years of marriage to a gay man (Cue all the jokes that didn't fit in the other categories.)

    The real estate agency shares a receptionist, " Bob Newhart Show"-style, with the other offices on the floor, including crude plastic surgeon Dr. Charlie Thorpe (Stephen Dunham) and easygoing therapist Dr. Sellers Boyd (Evan Handler), neither of whom get much face time in the premiere.

    In the opener, all three agents show a property to newly engaged Emerson Ives (Christina Moore), who shares with complete strangers that she and her fiance have saved themselves for marriage. Two of the agents have personal knowledge to the contrary about her fiance, which leads to the end of the engagement and the addition of Emerson to the agency.

    The "B" story has Lola mourning the death of her pet chicken, which ingested a bath oil bead. Seriously.

    This is sassy and superficial but also entertaining, and that's really all it aspires to be. What's more, the cast seems to enjoy themselves and all the goofiness while it squeezes every drop of laughter from each bawdy punchline. Anyway, the only other network comedy on at the same time, WB's "Living With Fran," won't exactly provide refuge from sexual innuendoes and double-entendres.

    Cast:
    Ava Summerlin: Gail O'Grady
    Chloe Reid: Nicole Sullivan
    Lola Hernandez: Sofia Vergara
    Emerson Ives: Christina Moore
    Dr. Charlie Thorpe: Stephen Dunham
    Dr. Sellers Boyd: Evan Handler
    Mary: Amy Hill
    Graham Currier: Greg Cromer

    Executive producers: Suzanne Martin, Andy Ackerman; Co-executive producer: Jay Daniel; Director: Andy Ackerman; Creator-writer: Suzanne Martin; Director of photography: Nick McLean; Editor: John Fuller; Music: Jeff Roma; Set designer: Jim Walters; Casting: Dava Waite.

    TV Guide: Dreams Finale DOA

    (10/05/05) Question: Any word on NBC's American Dreams finale redo? — Katrina

    Ask Ausiello: It's officially DOA. In a statement released exclusively to Ask Ausiello, an NBC rep says, "Unfortunately, due to postproduction issues, NBC will not be able to broadcast the 12-minute alternative ending of last year's American Dreams finale." And as easy as it would be to pin the blame squarely on Jeff Zucker's shoulders, I hear the guy tried his best to make it happen. Not only were there music-clearance issues — apparently Jonathan Prince packed enough classics in those 12 minutes to bankrupt a third-world country — but sponsors were unwilling to get behind a show that had already been canceled. There's still a glimmer of hope, though: The alterna-capper could be included on Dreams' third-season DVD, whenever the hell that comes out.

    "Dreams" done.

    (09/22/05) "Dreams" done. Looks as if the last remaining dream is over for American Dreams.

    Though NBC Universal TV top gun Jeff Zucker said in July that he would rerun Dreams' series finale but with an alternative ending this summer, it never happened.

    As for it ever happening, well, chances are slim and none. And slim just left town.

    NBC decided that it wasn't worth the hassle to scratch up sponsors for the episode and get music clearances for the alternative ending, according to a network executive close to the show.

    Officially, NBC "is working on the episode. We have no decision," says a network rep.

    The acclaimed Dreams, set in Philly during the turbulent 1960s, was canceled in May. It revolves around the Pryor family, with Dick Clark's American Bandstand serving as a backdrop.

    In the season cliffhanger, we saw Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow) defy her father (Haverford High grad Tom Verica) by zooming off to California with her draft-dodger boyfriend on his motorcycle.

    The 12-minute alternative ending takes place three years later, in '69. On the day of Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon, Meg returns home and faces her family.

    TV review: Bones

    (09/13/05) Tuesday night is now officially "Go to Hell! Night" over at Fox with the addition of "Bones," which links as the lead-in to "House" to form not only a night of single-word dramatic titles but an evening of lead doctor characters for whom being likable is far down the list of priorities.

    "House" has the prickly, disconnected and world-weary Dr. Gregory House, and "Bones" has Dr. Temperance Brennan (played with sass and attitude by Emily Deschanel), a headstrong and very Type-A forensic anthropologist in D.C., who admits to having a better relationship with dead people than the living. It's always a risk to build a series on the back of a protagonist who's so unapologetically negative, but the hour hits the ground running with a vibe that's instantly engaging, if not yet quite addictive.

    While "Bones" has too much "X-Files" and "CSI" going in the pilot to feel completely original, it's nonetheless a taut, well-constructed, character-rich procedural with genuine potential. It purports to have been inspired by the real-life story of scientist Kathy Reichs, who studies skeletons as well as penning best-selling novels in her spare time. The show that pays her homage stars Deschanel as a skeletal sleuth who writes books on the side and David Boreanaz of "Angel" fame as FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, who works in the Homicide Investigation Unit.

    Dr. Brennan is the true believer in this equation, Agent Booth the confirmed skeptic who mistrusts science and the geeks who subscribe to it (whom he derisively calls "squints"). So, in true "X-Files" fashion, the two must join forces to compensate for one another's weaknesses. She likes to read clues in bones. He digs old-fashioned investigative police work. This means lots of mistrust and clashing, but fortunately Deschanel and Boreanaz have sufficient chemistry to make their need to work together seem rather like fate than a typically convenient plot contrivance at the outset.

    Creator/exec producer Hart Hanson, most recently a writer for the canceled "Joan of Arcadia" and, before that, for "Judging Amy," penned the premiere episode that finds Brennan and Booth linking up to identify and determine the cause of death of a woman who turned out to be an ex-aide to a D.C. congressman. The teleplay is flush with snappy dialogue that brings the personalities into sharp focus, people who include Brennan's Jefferson Institution colleagues like the bawdy Angela (Michaela Conlin), the geeky Zack (Eric Millegan) and conspiracy nut Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne). All the performers acquit themselves well.

    Augmenting the straightforward science and darkly comedic tone is some nifty holographic visual effects imagery that's used to attach an identifiable human form to the bare bones of the deceased. It's all pretty cool stuff that's driven on the shoulders of TV's newest cool couple in Deschanel and Boreanaz. They've got some real heat in their partnership that elevates "Bones" above the standard "CSI"-derivative drama as it leaves the starting gate. Now we'll see if they, and the writers, can sustain it while keeping Dr. Temperance from turning too shrill. So far, DNA and PMS make for a surprisingly watchable mix.

    Cast: Dr. Temperance Brennan: Emily Deschanel; Agent Seeley Booth: David Boreanaz; Zack Addy: Eric Millegan; Dr. Jack Hodgins: T.J. Thyne; Angela Montenegro: Michaela Conlin; Dr. Daniel Goodman: Jonathan Adams; Olivier Laurier: Chris Conner; Peter St. James: Dominic Fumusa; Sen. Bethlehem: Larry Poindexter; Ken Thompson: Sam Trammell; Ted Eller: Tyrees Allen; Sharon Eller: Bonita Friedericy.

    Executive producers: Barry Josephson, Hart Hanson; Producer: Jim Chory; Associate producer: David Jeffery; Creator-writer: Hart Hanson; Director: Greg Yaitanes; Director of photography: Dermott Downs; Production designer: Vaughan Edwards; Costume designer: Bobbie Read; Editor: Harry Miller; Composer: Peter Himmelman; Music supervisor: Billy Gottlieb; Casting: Vicky Rosenberg and Associates, Alexis Frankozara, Christine Shevchenko.

    New O.C. Neighbor Has Killer Concept

    (09/08/05) Those teen ne'er-do-wells on The O.C. have a new neighbor this season, and one that is different in so many ways. Fox's Reunion, premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET, spins a murder mystery involving six friends and told in flashbacks encompassing one year per episode, inching forward each week as it gradually revealing not just whodunit, but who was done in.

    The concept, while bold, begs big questions. Like, how do you do a murder mystery while keeping the victim's identity under wraps? (The deceased is referred to in present day as, well, "the deceased.") And what happens in Season 2, if there is one? Luckily, creator/executive producer Jon Harmon Feldman is armed with answers. Addressing the latter, most-asked question, he says, "If we're lucky and get to Season 2, the goal would be to use one of our [original six] characters to transition to a new group of friends and tell their story over 20 years.

    "I have a lot of ideas on [how to do that] that are as compelling as Season 1," he insists. "We're ready to hit the ground running if we have that opportunity."

    While you might think that an actor would be hesitant to sign on for the obviously limited run that Reunion offers most of its original cast members, the opposite is true. "[It's an] actor's dream," says Sean Faris (Life as We Know It), who plays rich kid Craig Brewster. "It's awesome to be able to play a role in which the character changes every episode and yet at the same time you don't feel like you're locked away for five years doing the same thing over and over." Alexa Davalos (Angel, The Chronicles of Riddick), who plays Faris' on-screen sweetheart, concurs: "It gives the show a bit of the energy of a film, because we knew the beginning and we know that there is an end, and that leaves you a lot of freedom."

    One of the most familiar faces on Reunion is that of Will Estes, who was actually cast on the Fox drama before NBC's American Dreams (on which he played J.J.) was truly and sincerely 100 percent dead. Being tapped to go retro yet again, he says, is funny. "I think every actor has, like, a best era for him. I don't know if Burt Reynolds is going to be any better than he was in the '70s, know what I mean? But me, I love the '80s, so I feel more at home here."

    Mathew St. Patrick, fresh from getting gunned down in Six Feet Under's series finale epilogue, is the one temporal constant on Reunion, playing the present-day detective out to solve whoever's murder. "To move onto this show is a wonderful experience," he says. "24 started with this kind of concept in terms of expanding what the [TV] hour [can] embrace. For this show to take it the next step is ambitious."

    But again, how do you plumb a season-long murder mystery without naming the dead? "There are two mysteries — who's dead and who killed them. The first one we're going to [reveal] not too far into the season," Feldman promises. "After that, the gloves are off as we track all the clues and motives and suspects."

    If Reunion doesn't get picked up for the full season, then what? Says Feldman, "If I get a call that says, 'You're only doing 13,' will I wrap it up? Absolutely."

    Uncool state of the 'Reunion'

    (09/08/05) Good ideas don't do much good if you can't pull them off.

    Giving credit where it's due, Reunion sports one of the riskiest and most novel premises of the new season. This serialized Fox companion to The O.C. locks six friends into a season-long murder mystery that takes them from 1986 to the present, with each episode covering one year along the way.

    It's an intriguing concept, but people don't watch concepts. They watch shows. And as a show, Reunion doesn't amount to nearly enough.

    Tonight's premiere opens in the present at a funeral and then leaps back 20 years to a high school graduation. The narrator/funeral orator introduces us to the show's six reuniters: Jenna (Amanda Righetti), Carla (Chyler Leigh), Aaron (Dave Annable), Will (Will Estes) and "the perfect couple," Craig (Sean Faris) and Samantha (Alexa Davalos).

    Apparently, the writers put so much effort into inventing their original concept that they had no energy left for the characters, who come straight out of the teen-soap playbook.

    Carla is smart but innocent; Craig is rich and handsome; Will is Craig's impossibly noble working-class best friend who may also be the father of Samantha's baby.

    Then there's Aaron, the budding writer who has a crush on Jenna, the fast girl who wants to be a star. And just to complete the standard soap triangle, Carla has a crush on Aaron, though of course he doesn't know.

    Given the clichéd characters, it's almost inevitable that one of them will propose a toast to the hope that everything always stays "as perfect as it is right now." Of course, things immediately go disastrously wrong - though not murderously wrong, a development that comes in a later episode.

    The opener introduces the present-day cop who's investigating the murder (Six Feet Under's Mathew St. Patrick). But it doesn't tell us who did it or who got done.

    You expect a high-concept show to make some logical leaps, but there's not a moment of Reunion that doesn't feel ridiculously contrived. And if the plot doesn't get you, the corn-pone dialogue will - as witness this gem of an exchange between Jenna and Aaron: "I'm not some virgin who's angry at the world because he can't convince any girl to sleep with him." "Not any girl, Jenna, not any girl."

    Yeesh.

    Even should its scripts improve, Reunion still faces a major hurdle: its cast. Were this show merely another teen soap, you could be reasonably confident that the young cast could carry it off.

    But Reunion's complex structure requires each actor to play what amounts to multiple characters: the characters as teens, the adult characters they become, and whoever they are in between. And that stretch seems to be beyond the reach of some of the actors.

    Granted, the only transformation we see tonight is Carla's jump from 18 to 38. But this introductory glimpse does not bode well for the show's future.

    Leigh is actually sweetly disarming as the young Carla, but her transition into the older version is reminiscent of a high school girl playing Dorothy Parker.

    If they want viewers to have a weekly reunion with this show, they will have to do better than that.

    'Reunion' groups old friends

    (09/07/05) The show:Reunion
    The premiere: Thursday, 9 p.m. ET/PT, Fox

    The concept: Following six high school pals from graduation day to their 20th reunion.

    The twist: Each episode ages the cast one year, and there's a murder mystery solved in the season finale.

    Talk about a logistical nightmare.

    Reunion, a prime-time soap about a group of close friends, asks its actors to age from 18 in the first episode to 38 in the season finale, and all that makeup won't even ensure job security. If the show succeeds, viewers will see a mostly new cast next season.

    The drama, the latest companion for The O.C. in a tough Thursday time slot, begins in 1986 as the characters don caps and gowns. It jumps forward a year in each episode.

    The opener, as well as future episodes, includes present-day scenes, starting with the funeral of one friend, a murder victim. That person's identity isn't revealed until the fifth episode, due in November when Reunion returns from a break for post-season baseball.

    The murder mystery, solved in the finale, is a major element of the series, but mixed in are soapy staples: a romantic triangle, an unplanned pregnancy and the jailing of one pal for a crime committed by another.

    "So often in episodic drama you struggle to find incidents for your characters," says executive producer Jon Harmon Feldman (Tru Calling).

    "When you're essentially telling one or two or three stories every year, you get to sort of mine the big watershed moments: Birth, marriage, divorce, adultery. What I like to think is we're jumping to the most interesting part of these people's lives."

    "It reminds me of The Breakfast Club with an action murder mystery," says Will Estes, who plays a pal from the wrong side of the tracks.

    Estes is familiar with period pieces: He played the military-bound son in American Dreams.

    So is Chyler Leigh, who starred in the short-lived spinoff That '80s Show and dons a wig and wrinkle makeup in Reunion's pilot. To act older, the 23-year-old "changed my posture and lowered my voice," she says.

    The cast also includes Amanda Righetti (The O.C.), Sean Faris (Life as We Know It), and Mathew St. Patrick (Six Feet Under), who plays a detective investigating the murder in the present-day scenes, which make up about 20% of each episode.

    "There's a lot of manipulation, a lot of betrayal, a lot of lies and cheating," says St. Patrick. "I'm the guy that's knocking on every door, rattling as many cages as possible, figuring out who did it and why."

    Fox Entertainment chief Peter Liguori says he'd be happy for the "bold, audacious" show to last long enough to solve his own mystery: how to handle Season 2 after Reunion has already tied up its loose ends.

    Feldman has a plan: "Late in Season 1, we'll introduce a character who is significant enough - a wife or a husband of one of the characters - and in Season 2, we'd flash back with that person to 1987, whatever different city they're from, and tell a story with that group of friends over 20 years."

    The actors, currently with one-season contracts, say they enjoy the freedom of not being tied down by long-term deals.

    But though Feldman says a few might survive for a second season, "shows like Survivor and The Real World have shown that audiences will tune into a new cast if they're intrigued by the concept."

    FOX Hosts a Troubling 'Reunion'

    (09/05/05) What's a murder between friends?

    Some possible answers play out in "Reunion," an intriguing Fox drama marking one of the new television season's earliest series debuts when it follows the season premiere of "The O.C." Thursday, Sept. 8. (The pilot episode will have an encore the following night.)

    An attractive cast of young actors charts the highs and lows of a tight-knit group from 1986 to the present ... but one initially unidentified character won't make it all the way through. The resulting funeral sparks the premiere, which was directed by feature-film veteran Jon Amiel ("Entrapment," "Copycat").

    Played by Sean Faris ("Life as We Know It") and Will Estes ("American Dreams"), pals Craig and Will have a car accident that sets off many of the events, but privileged Craig's girlfriend, Samantha (Alexa Davalos, "The Chronicles of Riddick"), has a secret known only by friend-to-all Carla (Chyler Leigh, "The Practice"). Also in the gang is Aaron (Dave Annable, "Little Black Book"), who's anxious to become more than friends with aspiring actress Jenna (Amanda Righetti, "North Shore").

    Extended flashbacks are standard in "Reunion," which covers a different year each week; 1987 is the backdrop of the second episode, 1988 the third, etc. Often, those segments are cued by questions from Detective Marjorino (Mathew St. Patrick, "Six Feet Under"), the policeman probing the murder. Those he interrogates have to look as much as 19 years older than they do in the sequences set earlier, necessitating careful casting by executive producer Jon Harmon Feldman ("Tru Calling," "Dawson's Creek").

    "Part of making that transformation is physical," Feldman acknowledges, "but a large part of it is acting. The first few episodes turn over one card, or one character, per episode. They age differently, but it's also a matter of how the actor inhabits the character.

    "In the pilot, Chyler just becomes that character at 38, in how she carries herself and changes the tenor of her voice. As an 18-year-old, Carla is the sweet 'flat-chested friend,' as she calls herself; by 38, she's been hardened and she's carrying around some baggage. Part of the fun of the show is exploring how the characters change over the years."

    Big performance swings can follow for the "Reunion" actors. "My manager and a lot of my friends call me 'The Chameleon,'" actress Leigh muses, "because I can basically look like anyone in any time period. I'm very grateful for that because it gives me such variety, whereas other people can have a hard time adapting to a certain look or style. When we see Carla at 38, she has much heavier makeup and a different posture, in a sense. By 38, you really know who you are. At 18, you're still exploring, and there's a certain naivete."

    Just as he was last fall in ABC's "Life as We Know It," Faris is in a show pitted directly against the CBS ratings juggernaut "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," but he has faith in "Reunion." In playing a charmer who persuades others to suit his agenda, the actor days, "I looked at two friends of mine and took different personality traits from both of them. My character means well and has good intentions; he just doesn't realize his selfishness. He's had everything all his life."

    And do his friends know they've served as living research for Faris? "Not in the least. I would never, ever bring that up."

    The ensemble movies "The Big Chill" and "St. Elmo's Fire" might seem like touchstones for "Reunion," but Feldman credits fellow executive producers Steve Pearlman and Andrew Plotkin with the idea to follow six friends over 20 years.

    "Immediately, that concept felt so rife with possibility that I went off and brought back these characters and ideas." Feldman then fleshed out the murder-mystery aspect. "I just thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if there were additional stakes?' It's not uncommon that when you're 38, the innocence you felt at 18 has left. A death brings that home, but the murder is only one part of the show, and it only comes into play in the present day. Most of the stories we tell are distinct and separate from that."

    Period music also plays a big role in "Reunion," with hits by the original artists -- including Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" -- informing the first episode's soundtrack. As with other series like CBS' "Cold Case," the rights to such songs can add a lot to a show's budget, and Feldman is ready for that. "It's no secret that the wish list comes with a price tag," he says, "and we'll have to lose some of them, but my goal is to maintain the essence of that music. I think we'll be able to keep more than you might think."

    Some critics already have voiced doubts about "Reunion's" longevity, since the one-year-per-week premise might seem to exhaust the storytelling possibilities in just one season. Feldman disputes that, maintaining he would still have plenty to explore about the characters for a second season ... and possibly beyond.

    "What I think I'm drawn to is the chance to write young people as adults," he says. "They don't think of themselves as not having the depth of feeling or thought that adults do, and one of the nice things in writing them is to try to accurately portray that."

    TV review: Reunion

    (09/05/05) You'd expect a series programed as a companion for "The O.C." to be filled with young, attractive faces and oozing with teen drama.

    "Reunion" has that, all right, but it goes to the next level as well, adding to the mix a murder mystery and a different concept of series storytelling. Although it will be hard to match "The O.C.'s" ratings, particularly against the blockbuster competition of the time period ("The Apprentice" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"), the "Reunion" pilot offers a more intriguing and creative form of entertainment.

    Exec producer/writer Jon Harmon Feldman opens the premiere with a funeral service. The deceased is one of a group of six friends, all members of the high school graduating class of 1986. One of them has been murdered, and Detective Marjorino (Mathew St. Patrick) has some questions for another member of the group after the service ends. Flashbacks sparked by the responses dramatize the lives of the sextet through each of the ensuing years. The game plan is that, at the end of the season, the murder mystery will be solved and the series will move on to a new group of characters. (Acting contracts were for one or two years only.)

    But first things first. "Reunion" starts out in fictional, rustic Bedford, N.Y., where relations between and among the six friends approach the limit of probability permutations. Rich kid Craig (Sean Faris) is on the cusp of proposing to flirty Samantha (Alexa Davalos), except that, unbeknownst to him, she's pregnant by his best friend, working-class Will (Will Estes), the result of a one-night stand when Craig and Samantha had a brief split. All-around sweetheart Carla (Chyler Leigh) is in love with preppy Aaron (Dave Annable), who only has eyes for Jenna (Amanda Righetti), an aspiring actress.

    The more intriguing dramatic dilemma occurs when an inebriated Craig collides with a pickup. Will is a passenger in the car, but both were out of the vehicle by the time help arrived. If Will takes the rap, it might save Craig's future plans without causing Will serious problems. It is a complex issue in which friendship, guilt, morality and justice all play a part, and it is explored vigorously in the premiere. That alone more than makes up for the wussy way the pregnancy issue is handled.

    This is an effective cast. Faris manages to keep Craig from being easily dismissed as just a stereotypical rich kid. Estes registers strong emotion with his expression and movement. Leigh gives depth and dimension to a character that might otherwise be part of the background.

    Jon Amiel directs with a deft touch, moving smoothly among teen frivolity, gutty drama and the darker tone of the murder investigation. Feldman ends the premiere with a promise of more explosive drama, taking full advantage of TV's increasing permissiveness toward serialized storytelling. Whether or not "Reunion" can hold up in its killer time period, Fox certainly is not shrinking from the challenge.

    Cast: Aaron: Dave Annable; Samantha: Alexa Davalos; Will: Will Estes; Craig: Sean Faris; Carla: Chyler Leigh; Jenna: Amanda Righetti; Detective Marjorino: Mathew St. Patrick.

    Executive producers: Jon Harmon Feldman, Steve Pearlman, Andrew Plotkin; Producer: Robert Lloyd Lewis; Creators: Jon Harmon Feldman, Sara Goodman; Director: Jon Amiel; Teleplay: Jon Harmon Feldman; Story: Jon Harmon Feldman, Sara Goodman; Director of photography: Adam Kane; Production designer: Steve Wolff; Editor: Mark Manos; Music: John Frizzell; Set decorator: Linda Cooper; Casting: Susan Edelman.

    A Decade of Dinner Together: Gail O'Grady and National Pork Board Celebrate 10th Annual National Eat Dinner Together Week

    (09/04/05) In the past decade, dinnertime distractions have multiplied with the advances in technology. But despite the ringing telephones, blaring televisions, pumping portable MP3 players and text-messaging cell phones, family dinnertime is still as important as ever.

    Through a decade of great change, dinner remains at the heart of the family. In celebration of the 10th annual National Eat Dinner Together Week (September 18-24, 2005), a recent survey by the National Pork Board uncovered this comforting truth amidst all the sensory stimulation of 21st century life.

    This year, more than three out of four people surveyed (78%) said that it is very or extremely important to enjoy an evening meal together as a family, up five percent from 1996. And, more than half (52%) said they eat dinner as a family five or more times per week.

    Ten Years Strong

    In 1996, America's Pork Producers and the National Pork Board established National Eat Dinner Together Week as a forum to develop and nurture relationships with family members.

    "America's Pork Producers remain committed to celebrating the natural connection between food and family by providing tools and solutions to make dinnertime more enjoyable," says Pamela Johnson, Director of Consumer Communications for the National Pork Board. To help families focus on connecting during dinner, the National Pork Board supports busy parents by providing recipes, time management tips and family activity ideas at TogetherForDinner.com.

    Additionally, to help raise money for hunger relief, the National Pork Board is sponsoring a special celebrity-designed dinner plate auction, benefiting America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network. O'Grady and other celebrities will donate personalized dinner plates that will be available via this special online charity auction, hosted on eBay®, The World's Online Marketplace™, from October 3-13, 2005. For more information, check out TogetherForDinner.com.

    Reality: It's Not Like TV

    To mark the 10th annual National Eat Dinner Together Week, Gail O'Grady, star of ABC Television Network's "Hot Properties" and formerly of NBC's "American Dreams," is helping the National Pork Board salute the importance of shared family dinners. "For my family, time spent around the dinner table is among the most precious time in my day. It's a chance to recap the day's happenings and keep connected with one another's lives," says O'Grady.

    As a busy mom, O'Grady says she prefers menus that offer satisfying flavors and relatively simple preparations. To make the most of mealtime, O'Grady says she also feels it's important to consider preparation and clean-up as fair game for family involvement.

    "I tend to gravitate towards easy-to-prepare meals -- whether I'm grilling or sautéing -- and pork is a delicious option that's very versatile," says O'Grady. "My favorite recipe is pork tenderloin with apricots and fennel." One of O'Grady's family favorite recipes is a sweet and savory Brandied Apricot Pork Tenderloin.

    Special Web Site Honors a Decade of Dinner Together

    To draw attention to the importance of sharing the dinner meal, the National Pork Board also has launched a new Web site -- TogetherForDinner.com -- to celebrate the 10th annual National Eat Dinner Together Week. The site features 30 recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, meal management tips, family activity ideas and more.

    Imagine and Win

    Visitors to TogetherForDinner.com will also have the opportunity to banish the blahs by entering the "Imagine and Win" sweepstakes for a chance to win a dream family getaway including air travel, lodging and spending money -- a total trip value of $10,000. If you can imagine it, you can win it. Whether your family dreams of enjoying Southern barbecued ribs at Graceland in Memphis or a family reunion pig roast on a Hawaiian beach, there'll never be another family dinner like it! Just provide your family's favorite dinnertime tip for a chance to win. Complete details and entry information can be found at TogetherForDinner.com.

    Go to `Reunion' to see how friends change

    (09/03/05) What's a murder between friends?

    Some possible answers play out in ``Reunion,'' an intriguing Fox drama premiering Thursday at 9 p.m. on FOX. (The pilot episode will have an encore the following night.)

    An attractive cast of young actors charts the highs and lows of a tight-knit group from 1986 to the present. But one initially unidentified character won't make it all the way through. The resulting funeral sparks the premiere, which was directed by feature-film veteran Jon Amiel (``Entrapment,'' ``Copycat'').

    Played by Sean Faris (``Life as We Know It'') and Will Estes (``American Dreams''), pals Craig and Will have a car accident that sets off many of the events, but privileged Craig's girlfriend, Samantha (Alexa Davalos, ``The Chronicles of Riddick''), has a secret known only by friend-to-all Carla (Chyler Leigh, ``The Practice''). Also in the gang is Aaron (Dave Annable, ``Little Black Book''), who's anxious to become more than friends with aspiring actress Jenna (Amanda Righetti, ``North Shore'').

    Extended flashbacks are standard in ``Reunion,'' which covers a different year each week; 1987 is the backdrop of the second episode, 1988 the third, etc. Often, those segments are cued by questions from Detective Marjorino (Mathew St. Patrick, ``Six Feet Under''), the policeman probing the murder.

    Those he interrogates have to look as much as 19 years older than they do in the sequences set earlier, necessitating careful casting by executive producer Jon Harmon Feldman (``Tru Calling,'' ``Dawson's Creek'').

    ``Part of the fun of the show is exploring how the characters change over the years,'' Feldman said.

    Milo Ventimiglia Movie Opens Today

    (08/26/05) In limited release this weekend, Freestyle Releasing will unveil "American Pie" knockoff "Dirty Deeds" in 64 theaters. Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Lacey Chabert and Charles Durning, the PG-13 film centers on a high school senior who tries to become the first student ever to complete a series of twisted challenges called the "dirty deeds."

    Dick Clark is back

    (08/15/05) Dick Clark is back — and he's not alone. American Idol's Ryan Seacrest has inked a long-term deal to executive-produce and join the ageless entertainer in cohosting this year's installment of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve — and ultimately replace Clark as the countdown special's solo host. Clark, who last year, in the wake of his December stroke, was spelled by Regis Philbin, says, "I am elated that Ryan has agreed to join me on America's favorite holiday special." I can hear Seacrest now: "Five... four... three... two... and we'll be back with 'one'... after this!"

    'Dream' lives on for one more episode

    (08/14/05) If there's anything TV viewers hate more than commercials or Shannen Doherty, it's unresolved cliffhangers -- end-of-season mysteries that turn maddeningly eternal when a show is unexpectedly canceled.

    But if there's anything TV executives hate more than TiVo or Shannen Doherty, it's spending even a nickel on a show that's already been consigned to the junk heap.

    That's why ABC viewers, who were invited to vote on which of the three female characters on Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place would become pregnant never learned exactly who they knocked up at the end of the 2001 season. And why Fox viewers to this day ask Dominic Purcell the real identity of the brilliant but amnesiac character he played in John Doe before the show was abruptly canceled in 2003.

    Sometimes the producers actually embrace the mystery. In 2003, the final episode of CBS' excellent CIA drama The Agency ended with a swirl of dust and debris after a North Korean bomb exploded with three characters huddled around it. Last month I ran into Shaun Cassidy, The Agency's executive producer, and asked which characters would have survived if the show had come back for another season.

    ''I can't tell you that,'' he said, looking like I'd asked him for a naked photo of his mom.

    But at last a network executive has shown evidence of a heart. Well, a small, shriveled one, anyway. NBC President Jeff Zucker isn't willing to bring back American Dreams, the 1960s family drama his network canceled in May. But he has given the go-ahead to air a revised version of the show's season finale that ran in April, one that will neatly tie off American Dreams' most raggedly dangling thread: What happened to Meg?

    A sweet teenage girl-next-door who fell under the influence of a violent anti-war radical, Meg was last seen on the back of his motorcycle, headed off to Berkeley, which depending on how you remember the 1960s was either the triumphant capital of an ascending counterculture or a bottomless hellhole seething with drugs, communism and deviant sex. (Parents, including the fictional ones in American Dreams, tended to hold the latter view.)

    So what was Meg's future? Would she have snapped out of it and returned to Philadelphia? Or become some kind of hippie den mother? Telegraph Avenue junkie? Weatherman bomber? In my more paranoid moments, I could even imagine her winding up in the Symbionese Liberation Army, the real-life Berkeley radical group that kidnapped Patty Hearst and murdered establishment figures with cyanide-tipped bullets.

    Well, I needn't have worried -- at least, not that much. Meg went through some rough times; her boyfriend joined the terrorist wing of the anti-war movement, planting bombs and fighting cops. She had other unsavory experiences. But, three years after she disappears, her older brother J.J. heads to Berkeley to rescue her.

    That's the plot of the new 13-minute ending to the season finale. NBC doesn't have a firm air date yet, but it's expected before the new fall TV shows roll out in mid-September.

    ''It's all edited and ready to go,'' says American Dreams creator Jonathan Prince. ``All they've got to do is decide whether they want to use the 60-minute version, or the 90-minute version -- I did it both ways.''

    American Dreams, which followed two middle-class families -- one black, one white -- as they were washed along by the cultural and political tidal waves that swept through the 1960s, was an instant critical success when it debuted in 2002. It was consistently NBC's highest-rated show in critics' polls, including one taken this summer after the show had already left the air.

    Unfortunately, the high ratings that count most with network executives are the ones from Nielsen, and American Dreams was never better than so-so there. The show floated uneasily on the cancellation bubble every year, and once even fell through.

    ''Nobody knows this, but Dreams was canceled last year, just before Christmas,'' says Prince. NBC executives told him to shut down production, that they would air only the 13 episodes already completed. Prince thought it over a moment, then replied: ``I'm not OK with that.''

    He wangled a promise from NBC that he could complete his scheduled 17 episodes if he could come up with advertising support for them. After some intense negotiations, Prince struck product placement deals with Kraft cheese and Oreo cookies. (The latter was particularly memorable: Without ever mentioning the cookie's name, American Dreams dad Jack Pryor and son Will had a long, funny on-screen argument about the best way to eat Oreos.)

    ''Through the whole thing, the scripts kept coming in, everybody showed up for work, and the actors never knew we'd been canceled,'' Prince says. ``And of course, once we got the deals with Kraft and Oreo, we weren't canceled.''

    But Prince knew the show's chances to return for a fourth season were dwindling. He didn't want to shoot the last episode as a series finale -- that would be like inviting cancellation -- but he didn't want to leave fans dangling, either. So he went to Zucker and Kevin Reilly, NBC's chief programmer, with an odd request.

    ''I asked them for money for an extra day and a half of shooting,'' he recalls. ``I said, if the show gets canceled -- if -- we'd be able to put a satisfying conclusion on it for the fans. I think they were a little surprised, but they gave me the money.''

    Prince's original plans called for Meg to spend only the first six episodes of next season in Berkeley before her Vietnam-vet brother J.J. went to rescue her. But for his secret ending, Prince altered the story. The epilogue he shot takes place in 1969, three years later.

    ''It was really touching,'' he says. ``We had Gail O'Grady and Tom Verica [who played Meg's parents] in updated clothes, and we used makeup to age them, so they look really different than you saw them through the run of American Dreams. I think Gail and Tom were a little weirded out by the abrupt change of their look, and they were genuinely upset because shooting this really brought home the idea that the show might be canceled.

    ``The result is really, really emotional -- I promise you that anyone who watches will be weeping. If there are 15 lines of dialogue in the new ending, I'd be surprised. We use a lot of pictures, a lot of music, and a lot of silences. I think silences say a lot.''

    The new ending almost didn't have to be used. A letter-writing campaign by Dreams' maniacally devoted fans -- they even hired a plane to buzz NBC headquarters here, towing a banner demanding that the show return -- came tantalizingly close to success. But in the final week of preparation of NBC's fall schedule, American Dreams got the ax. Though not before Prince tried one last gambit, which he cheerfully admits was a little dirty.

    With American Dreams on the bubble, its cast was given permission to audition for other shows, with the understanding that they'd have to back out of them if Dreams returned. Three actors -- O'Grady, Will Estes (who played son J.J.) and Jonathan Adams (who played Henry Walker, patriarch of Dreams' black family) -- got important roles on new series on other networks.

    ''Because I'm not a very nice person, I called Kevin Reilly and said, `Hey, if you pick up our show, you not only get American Dreams, but you can screw over Gail's new show on CBS and Will and Jonathan's shows on Fox,'' confesses Prince.

    It didn't work. But thanks to Prince, American Dreams viewers didn't get screwed over, either.

    Gilmore Guy Returns

    (08/10/05) Milo Ventimiglia is briefly returning to Gilmore Girls this November. According to exec producer Amy Sherman-Palladino, Jess' arrival will throw lovebirds "Rory and Logan into a bit of a tailspin."

    Life Is Beautiful for Melrose Alum

    (08/08/05) Daphne Zuniga is back on television — not that she ever really left. It's just that her most recent bid for a longtime prime-time run, as former Playboy pinup Shelly Pierce on American Dreams, was snipped short when the ratings-challenged NBC drama got snuffed. Now the beautiful brunette best known for playing Melrose Place's relatively (being the key word) moral Jo and Spaceballs' Druish Princess Vespa, is betting on Beautiful People. The new drama (premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET on ABC Family) presents Zuniga as Lynn Kerr, a newly single mother of two girls who, because of one of her daughter's academic aspirations, must relocate from a small town in New Mexico to big, bad New York City.

    Zuniga can relate to the upheaval. "I did the reverse, which is just as horrific," she tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. "When I was in high school I moved from the big city" — in this case, San Francisco — "to a tiny village of 500 people in Vermont. It was like The Waltons!"

    Beautiful People isn't just about the Kerr women. No, the girls of course are magnets to cute boys and, wouldn't you know it, once in the Big Apple Zuniga's designer-wannabe character bumps into the college sweetheart (Rescue Me's James McCaffrey) who broke her heart years ago. "He says to me, 'Wow, Lynn Kerr — the one that got away,' and I say, 'Yeah, only I didn't go anywhere,'" relates Zuniga. "It's a great line."

    "Great" is also a word she used to describe her TV daughters, Sarah Foret (Clubhouse) and Torrey DeVitto. "A lot of the times we have been finishing shooting at 5 am, and they have never complained," she marvels. "I have to shut my mouth. 'Daphne, calm down, the girls are doing just fine... and you can, too.'

    Long shoot days aside, Zuniga is definitely a People person, and hopes against hope that the series lives beyond its original eight-episode commitment. "I would absolutely love that," she enthuses. "I hope it does go a long time."

    Not that any new role is likely to make fans on the street forget Jo or Princess Vespa anytime soon. "I usually get recognized for Spaceballs," she says, adding that she'd be open to doing, but has heard no details about, the new Star Wars trilogy-inspired sequel Mel Brooks reportedly has been pondering. "When people recognize me for that, they have this gleam in their eye and they're happy, and that makes me happy. It's nice to be a part of that."

    1 Emmy Nomination

    (07/14/05) American Dreams unfortunately only recieved one Emmy nomination. The category is Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series.

    The 57th Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Sept. 18 on CBS.

    TV review: Beautiful People

    (08/07/05) ABC Family's new original series "Beautiful People" goes for wholesome family drama and pretty much succeeds.

    The weekly scripted "People" follows the story of a single mother and her two teenage daughters after they move from a small town to the big city and learn the ways of more sophisticated folk. The series focuses on family values that are predictable but not too cumbersome in their bid for wholesomeness.

    Daphne Zuniga is the mom who moves her family from Esperanza, N.M., to New York when her daughter Sophie (Sarah Foret) receives an academic scholarship at a prestigious private school there. Mother and daughters (including Torrey DeVitto as the older teen, Karen) face the usual demons one finds in a big city: big crowds, congestion and traffic, but the series focuses mainly on Sophie and her coming of age in her new school. As would be expected, some of the kids (especially the "Beautiful" people, the in-crowd) are horrors in their own right. The adjustments are sometimes hard to make for Sophie, but the series takes its time navigating in and out of crises and successes as Sophie learns to hold her own in Manhattan. It's all easygoing stuff here -- a little too sweetened in some places and more realistic in others.

    Zuniga Is Among 'Beautiful People'

    (08/06/05) Not that there was ever a doubt, but now it's confirmed fact: Daphne Zuniga is one of the "Beautiful People."

    After her final-season stint on "American Dreams," the former "Melrose Place" star is bouncing back fast in an ABC Family drama series premiering Monday, Aug. 8. "Beautiful People" casts her as deserted wife and aspiring designer Lynn Kerr, who relocates with her two daughters from New Mexico to New York after youngest offspring Sophie (Zuniga look-alike Sarah Foret) lands a private-school scholarship. Older sibling Karen (ex-Ford model Torrey DeVitto) struggles to continue her modeling career in Manhattan.

    With former "Dawson's Creek" producer Paul Stupin on its staff, "Beautiful People" suits Zuniga's desire to be fully back in the acting business after a self-imposed hiatus. "I had been through a whole cycle of fear of being so well known," she reflects, "but now I can look at it in hindsight. I wanted to go deeper inside myself, and I did meditation retreats and yoga, and made real connections with people who were liking me for who I was as a human being in that place and time. I just had to go for all of that, and I came out with a real fearlessness and a joy for what I do."

    Zuniga is pleased to be working with two younger actresses with whom she can share her experience ... and experiences. "I can see this look in their eyes that I remember. What they bring to the table refreshes me. These are long hours, and sometimes you forget the magic because your clothes aren't fitting right or the coffee is bad or whatever. Then, Sarah and Torrey walk in, and what I see in their faces reminds me why I'm here. I'm so grateful to have them. It's a gift."

    Had NBC given "American Dreams" another season, Zuniga would have tried to continue her Playboy Club-hostess character on that show while also working on "Beautiful People." She says "Dreams" creator-producer Jonathan Prince "was trying to work out other angles for it to come back, because it was really his baby and he was just so in love with the show. I really was grateful Jonathan cast me, so I told him, 'I'll do whatever you need.' Then this came up, and it was just perfect timing."

    On "American Dreams," Zuniga also was the single-parent mother of a teenager. She muses that previously, "I'd been hearing, 'You're too young for that kind of part.' I don't even notice that big a difference, because both the moms I've been cast as are really cool, young-at-heart gals who just happen to have kids. There's also this maternal streak in me, so it didn't feel like I had to do any research. Having grown up myself with a single mom, I understand it is not a traditional relationship. It is very much like being sisters."

    When she returned to Los Angeles after working on the new series in Toronto (which doubles for New York), Zuniga was taken by friends to a mall to see a giant "Beautiful People" poster of all three stars. "What I saw," she says, "was the Daphne who loves to love. I haven't had a chance to be a mom [in real life], but I love kids. When I'm holding [Sarah and Torrey], I love them. We're going to be on this great adventure together."

    Already, some have confused the adventure for true life. Zuniga reports she took her young co-stars to "their first red-carpet function, and pictures of us ended up online with the caption 'Daphne Zuniga with daughter and friend.' My publicist called to correct it, before everyone thought, 'Where's the secret daughter Daphne has been hiding all these years? And who's the dad?' In a way, though, it was a sign of how organically perfect this project has been.

    "I read the script, then went into my usual 'I hope I can get in on this' mode then I found out I was the producers' first and only choice. Everything just fit, but I don't believe there are accidents. Everything is broken down into physics or energy. I went in for the 'American Dreams' audition and was hired pretty much on the spot; I was so much that character, apparently, because I was comfortable with myself."

    Also a published writer now -- through articles on environmental concerns that she has done for Oprah Winfrey's magazine O -- Zuniga adds, "I know that place of being an actor and wishing and wanting for things to happen for you, but the the truth is that it happens inside. Then you show up and someone else responds. I was so happy last year, and things have just continued to happen."

    In fact, Zuniga is happy just to still be working, having started in such iconic 1980s movies as "The Sure Thing" and Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs." She notes she recently "ran into several people I knew from the beginning, and they all said the same thing: 'This is a business about survival, and the fact you're still here is amazing.' It's like a marriage, for better or for worse. It's not like reaching the pot at the end of the rainbow, which you might think at first. It's a life that goes on, a work in progress, and it makes you feel good to be part of this family of survivors."

    Good Ratings For Will's Lifetime Movie

    (08/04/05) A slew of premieres on cable last week brought a mixed bag of results. Lifetime got strong numbers from a pair of literary adaptations, and the heavily hyped "Over There" opened strong for FX. On the flip side, TNT's "Wanted" drew decent numbers but paled in comparison to "The Closer."

    Lifetime scored a pair of hits with its movie "The Dive from Clausen's Pier" and the debut of the short-run series "Beach Girls." The movie, based on Ann Packer's novel and starring Michelle Trachtenberg ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), brought in 4.23 million viewers in its July 25 premiere, placing it among the five most-watched cable broadcasts of the week ending Sunday, July 31.

    "Beach Girls," meanwhile, averaged just over 3.6 million viewers for its two-hour debut. The five-week series, based on Luanne Rice's book and starring Rob Lowe and Julia Ormond, is the highest-rates series premiere in the channel's history.

    Elsewhere, "Over There" debuted to an audience of about 4.1 million people on FX, making it the second-biggest series premiere for the network (tied with "Rescue Me" last year).

    The debut for "Wanted," though, has to rank as a little disappointing. The crime show drew 3.73 million viewers, not much more than a good episode of "Law & Order" on TNT. It's also only a little more than half the audience for the premiere of "The Closer," which averaged more than 7 million viewers in June.

    "The Closer" continues to chug along, hitting the top spot in the cable rankings again last week with 5.2 million viewers.

    One more time for American Dreams

    (07/30/05) Fans left cold by the vague end in May of NBC's family drama American Dreams, starring Tampa native Brittany Snow, will get some closure.

    Executive producer Jonathan Prince, talking Friday with a handful of critics at the close of the Television Critics Association summer meeting, said NBC has agreed to air a revamped series finale for the show that was canceled in May. A broadcast of the re-edited one-hour finale can be expected sometime in August or early September and will include 12 minutes of new footage that will wrap up the series, Prince said.

    Snow, who has gone on to a movie career and is filming in Vancouver, Canada, will figure prominently in the new ending. The new segments pick up three years after viewers last saw Snow heading to Berkeley, Calif. in 1966. She has changed, but she is ready to go home, Prince said.

    The extra minutes will conclude the series properly, he said. Still undetermined is where and exactly when the finale will air, whether it will be on NBC or on a sister station such as cable outlet Bravo. Prince said the episode is complete, although some music fees have to be paid for songs he has never used on the series.

    "I promise you, there will be weeping," Prince said. "It is a beautiful and sad thing to watch."

    Prince said Dreams drew advertising dollars well throughout its run and had broad critical support, but it never got the viewership numbers it needed to keep NBC executives satisfied. The network was getting "creamed" on Sunday nights, and the entire evening had to be revamped from the network's standpoint, he said.

    It was actually canceled in December, Prince said. As producer, he told no one, and instead forged deals with Kraft foods to incorporate Kraft cheese and Oreo cookies in two episodes, for a fee, that ensured the show would finish out the season. Viewers who remember the scene where a child makes a cheese mask out of his slice can now know the shot was bought and paid for.

    By March, as the shooting wrapped up, Prince said he had a bad feeling. On the last days of shooting, he shot an extra 12 minutes, without explaining to Snow or the others why they were going to have to wear different clothes than they normally wore. It took a day and a half to prepare, and then Prince said he put it aside.

    It was his secret. He said he didn't want to let on to network executives because there was still a chance the show could be saved for a whole new season.

    "I smelled a rat," Prince said. "I just sort of smelled the low ratings."

    Whoa, UPN Gets Joey

    (07/26/05) Whether he cuts his hair, does shows like "American Dreams" or flirts with being called "Joseph," he will always be Joey Lawrence to us, cute tot from "Gimme a Break!" and intellectually-challenged brother of "Blossom."

    For at least six episodes this fall though, Lawrence will play Dee Dee's (Essence Atkins) co-worker at her first post-law school job on UPN's Monday night comedy "Half & Half."

    The actor's last stint as a series regular was The WB comedy "Run of the House." In March, he co-starred as Jennifer Love Hewitt's gay best friend in Oxygen's original movie "Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber."

    "Half & Half" premieres Monday, Sept. 19 at 9:30 p.m. on UPN.

    Teen Choice Nominees

    (06/02/05) The Teen Choice Awards air Aug. 16 on FOX

    MOVIES

    Choice Comedy
    "Are We There Yet?"
    "Guess Who"
    "Hitch"
    "Kicking & Screaming"
    "Meet the Fockers"
    "Napoleon Dynamite"
    "The Pacifier" (with Brittany Snow)
    "The Longest Yard"

    TV Guide: Ending To See Light Of Day

    (07/26/05) NBC All-Star Party: 7:57 Scoop! It’s the news American Dreams fans have been dying to hear: The alternate ending series creator Jonathan Prince shot but never aired will finally see the light of day this summer, per NBC chief Jeff Zucker. “Thank you for reminding me about that,” Zucker tells me. “I’m going to make some phone calls about that tomorrow. It’s gonna happen.”

    Sightings

    (07/16/05) Brittany Snow in Yaletown (Vancouver, BC Canada) celebrating Sophia Bush's birthday. They are curently in Vancouver filming the comedy "John Tucker Must Die".

    'Pacifier' video able to fight off 'Black Woman'

    (07/07/05) Action star Vin Diesel's comic turn in "The Pacifier" was the big rage in home video last week as the Disney comedy topped the sales and rental charts its first week in stores.

    "The Pacifier," which grossed a surprisingly strong $112.5 million in theaters, is the third $100 million-plus comedy to hit video since April. The film topped VideoScan's First Alert sales chart for the week ending July 3 and Home Media Retailing's rental chart for the same week.

    The big surprise, however, was the strong showing made by Tyler Perry's box office champ "Diary of Mad Black Woman," from Lions Gate Entertainment. The film, which grossed slightly more than $50 million in theaters, finished a strong No. 2 on the sales chart. Perrymania was so strong that two direct-to-video plays released by Lions Gate that same week, " Madea's Class Reunion" and "Madea's Family Reunion," finished in the top 10 as well.

    "The Pacifier" scored an easy victory on the rental chart for the week with an estimated $11.63 million in revenue. Last week's top renter, Sony's "Hitch," held its own, however. Despite a drop to No. 2, the film's weekly take of $10.17 million was just 1% behind its rental gross the previous week.

    TV Guide: Ask Ausiello

    (06/22/05) Question: First, let me say I look forward to Wednesdays now just to read your column! I know you're as upset as I am that American Dreams was canceled. Do you know if NBC is going to air the alternate series ending that Jonathan Prince said was already filmed? I just hate the way the last show ended! — Sue S.

    Ausiello: First, let me say you exceeded AA's newly imposed 50-word question limit. (Celebs, as always, are exempted from this rule.) Second, let me explain that I made an exception in this instance and only in this instance because you started off by giving me mad props. But third — and most important — don't let it happen again. In case you haven't heard, I've got Acronym Contests to organize a lot on my plate. But back to your question: An NBC spokesperson says "we would like to give the fans closure" and a Dreams wrap-up special "is under discussion." Translation: Don't hold your breath.

    Film review: The Perfect Man

    (06/17/05) If "The Perfect Man" were a sitcom pilot, you could see the possibilities: A desperately single mom with an understanding but exasperated pair of high-energy daughters zeroes in on a new guy each episode as her elder daughter often manipulates events behind the scenes even while coping with homework and boys. But as a movie, the film never quite lives up to its potential.

    Many in its core audience of young women and maybe a few lonely single moms will respond to the message of female empowerment and positive self-image. It's a chick flick with a vengeance but even in its most sentimental moments, stars Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear make this feel-good-about-yourself movie feel . . . well, good. Boxoffice for this counter programing effort should be at or above average with perhaps greater prospects in home entertainment.

    The premise itself is weak. An audience has to buy that Locklear's character, Jean Hamilton, gets dumped by every guy she dates. And whenever this happens, she immediately moves her family to another part of the continent. An opening sequence, which sets up their nomadic lifestyle, takes Jean, a pastry chef, along with her teenage daughter Holly (Duff) and her adolescent sibling Zoe (Aria Wallace) from Wichita, Kan., to Brooklyn. (It's actually Toronto and doesn't much resemble Brooklyn.) Given the spacious apartment she lands, Jean is at least moving up in the world real estate-wise.

    On her first day in the new high school, Holly meets Amy (Vanessa Lengies) and Adam (Ben Feldman). Both figure prominently in Holly's improbable scheme to cheer up her mom. Because Jean is only happy when she is dating, Holly decides to invent a mysterious suitor. The guy sends her mom flowers and romantic e-mails but doesn't in fact exist. Well, actually he sort of does because he is a carbon copy of Amy's restaurateur uncle Ben (Chris Noth), who is both handsome and an expert in what women want.

    Gina Wendkos' screenplay (based on a story by Michael McQuown, Heather Robinson and Katherine Torpey) dives into sitcom quickly enough, but at least it attempts to explore a few feminine issues along the way. The tack taken is too on-the-money, but the film does demonstrate the pitfalls of arranging one's life to attract the opposite sex.

    As mother and daughter, Locklear and Duff bring plenty of vivacity to their roles. Duff conveys the vexation of a teen whose mom flirts far too often with far too many men as well as the genuine love she bears this woman. Locklear can't make you forget she is beautiful, but she does persuade a viewer that this is a woman who sees flaws in herself that no one else does.

    Noth and Feldman are able to rise above the blandness of their roles occasionally, and Lengies shows spunk and charm as Holly's best gal pal. Mike O'Malley has a few inspired moments as a well-meaning but Wrong-with-a-capital-W suitor for Mom. Of course, in a different kind of a movie, he might be mistaken for a stalker. Carson Kressley has fun with a gay waiter in Ben's bistro despite rampant gay cliches.

    Mark Rosman's direction lacks imagination, veering into the predictability and colorlessness one finds in TV comedies. Similarly, tech credits are routine.

    Cast: Holly: Hilary Duff; Jean: Heather Locklear; Ben: Chris Noth; Lenny: Mike O'Malley; Adam: Ben Feldman; Amy: Vanessa Lengies; Gloria: Caroline Rhea.

    Credits: Director: Mark Rosman; Screenwriter: Gina Wendkos; Story by: Michael McQuown, Heather Robinson, Katherine Torpey; Producers: Marc Platt, Dawn Wolfrom, Susan Duff; Executive producers: Billy Higgins, Adam Siegel; Director of photography: John R. Leonetti; Production designer: Jasna Stefanovich; Music: Christophe Beck; Costumes: Marie Sylvie Deveau; Editor: Cara Silverman.

    Fire and Pain

    (06/04/05) BEN Taylor (ex-Cal, American Dreams), the son of Carly Simon and James Taylor, certainly knows that being the progeny of pop stars has its ups and downs, but we're not sure his fans get it. At the Cutting Room last week, the younger Taylor's performance of his dad's classic "Fire and Rain" was met with heckling from an audience member: "Does it bother you that everyone says you sound exactly like your father?" Without missing a beat, Taylor replied, "Not at all. Who do you expect me to sound like, Al Green?"

    Brittany Snow decorates pants for charity

    (05/21/05) To celebrate the powerful and enduring friendships women of all ages share that is portrayed in the upcoming film "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," Warner Bros. Pictures, in partnership with the Levi's and eBay, have invited female celebrities to "Join the Sisterhood" by participating in a unique nationwide project to raise awareness and funds for Girls Inc., a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.

    Inspired by the jeans featured in the film, each pair of Levi's jeans will be personally decorated by prominent female celebrities as an expression of individuality as well as allegiance to one another as women -- in friendship and philanthropy. They will be individually created with distinctive items, colors and themes symbolizing the events, interests and accomplishments that have helped make these special women what they are today.

    Emma Watson, who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter films, will be one of the celebrities participating in the project. Also participating are the Sisterhood film's stars, Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Blake Lively and Alexis Bledel, plus Ann Brashares, author of the novel on which it is based. They are also joined by Courteney Cox-Arquette, Selma Blair, Brandy, Katie Couric, Vivica Fox, Jennie Garth, Mary Hart, Jill Hennessy, Lauryn Hill, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Queen Latifah, Virginia Madsen, Nancy O'Dell, Leah Remini, Annasophia Robb, Raven Symone, Jessica Simpson, Amy Smart, Brittany Snow, Jamie Lynn Spears, Lara Spencer, Kirsten Storms, Charlize Theron, Amber Valletta, and Estella Warren.

    Each pair of pants will be auctioned on eBay, with proceeds benefiting Girls Inc. Beginning Monday, May 23rd, and running through Thursday, June 2nd, online bidders can access eBay's Sisterhood Pants auction page directly via www.ebay.com/sisterhood.

    Estes' Reunion Added To Fox Fall Lineup

    (05/19/05) After the massive three-phase, year-round schedule that FOX presented to the networks at last year's upfronts, the two-prong schedule released on Thursday (May 19) is almost a relief. Having already announced that the network is cutting down on new scripted shows for this summer, FOX unveiled programming rosters for fall and then January launches.

    Not surprisingly, the January schedule is based around the return of "24" and a little talent show called "American Idol." The fall schedule -- which will launch before FOX cuts away for playoff baseball and will pick up afterwards -- is built on five new dramas and two new comedies, which impact every night of the week.

    On the drama side, FOX is adding "Prison Break," "Bones," "Head Cases," "Reunion" and "The Gate," with "Kitchen Confidential" and "The War at Home" leading the comedy front.

    "FOX has achieved an amazing set of milestones this season, including finishing as the No. 1 network in Adults 18-49 for the first time in the network's 19-year history. This success is a testament to the dedicated team at FOX," says Peter Liguori, FOX's new entertainment president. "Additionally, we're launching a bold, balanced and stable schedule. We'll have returning shows on all seven nights of the week, and we're scheduling 12 comedies this fall - far more than any network. There is no question that we plan to be aggressive and competitive with this spectacular and youthful year-round schedule."

    Starting in the fall, "Arrested Development" will kick things off on Mondays, setting up "Kitchen Confidential," a loose adaptation of Anthony Bourdain's memoir starring Bradley Cooper ("Alias"). The high concept drama "Prison Break," a heavily serialized offering about, fittingly, a prison break, takes the 9 p.m. ET hour.

    Tuesday will be all about drama, starring with "Bones," a darkly humorous offering about a forensic anthropologist, with Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz ("Angel"). The hit medical drama "House" keeps its 9 p.m. slot to start the season.

    Wednesday kicks off with returning comedies "That '70s Show" (now missing Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace) and "Stacked," which will be used to set up the frequently renamed legal series "Head Cases," which features Chris O'Donnell and Adam Goldberg as slightly unhinged lawyers.

    "The O.C." has given FOX its best Thursday traction in years and on Thursday it shall stay, now serving as a lead-in to "Reunion" (featuring former "O.C." co-star Amanda Righetti), a high concept series that spans 20 years in a single season.

    On Fridays, FOX will start with an hour comedy block of "The Bernie Mac Show" and "Malcolm in the Middle," which moves from Sunday. "The Gate" (formerly "Deviant Behavior"), about deviant criminals and the cops who fight them in San Francisco, will follow in what has affectionately become known as the "Friday Death Slot." Good luck to series stars Johnny Messner and Marguerite Moreau ("The O.C.").

    Thankfully, FOX may never get rid of "COPS" and "America's Most Wanted" on Saturdays. Sunday, though, is almost entirely animation, beginning with random animation encores at 7 p.m., flowing into "King of the Hill." "The Simpsons" stars at 8, followed by "The War at Home," a live action comedy with Michael Rapaport. "Family Guy" and "American Dad" will continue to hold the 9 p.m. hour.

    The beginning of the week changes come January.

    In January, FOX moves "House" from its stable Tuesday home to Monday, where it will take the 8 p.m. hour, providing a strong lead-in for a new -- and presumably uninterrupted -- season of "24" in its 9 p.m. home.

    No matter how bad the fall may be for FOX, "American Idol" returns to its Tuesday 8 p.m. lair, which means that everything will be alright. Provided it doesn't tank fast, "Bones" will be the lucky beneficiary of the "Idol" might, moving to 9.

    On Wednesday, "That '70s Show" and "Stacked" will stick around, with "Idol" returning to fix things at 9. The new comedy "The Loop," with Bret Harrison, will be lucky enough to go in the 9:30 slot.

    Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday will remain the same.

    FOX has the comedy "Freebirds" on hold for midseason, while unscripted offerings "Nanny 911" and "Trading Spaces" are ready to fill in whenever something fails. "The Simple Life" will also return somewhere at some point.

    ABC's Hot Properties with Gail O'Grady

    (05/17/05) "Hot Properties" (half-hour comedy, Friday, 9:30 p.m., ET) -- In a Manhattan real estate office, four very different women cater to high-end clients while coping with their own personal predicaments. Married to a handsome 25-year-old, fortysomething Ava Summerlin wants to start a family, while self-improvement junkie Chloe would settle for any guy who can remember her the next day. Recently divorced after being married ten year to a gay man, voluptuous Lola dreads jumping back into the dating pool, and the latest addition to this eclectic work group is rich girl Emerson Ives, who instantly bonds with the women upon learning that her supposedly virginal fianci was anything but. And the ladies' office neighbors from down the hall, therapist Dr. Sellers Boyd and plastic surgeon Dr. Charlie Thorpe, help keep things lively around the water cooler.

    In the tradition of "Designing Women," "Golden Girls" and "Sex and the City" comes an uninhibited comedy with real career women trying to have real relationships. One of the Emmy Award-winning producers of the mega-hit "Frasier" reveals just how exciting the world of New York real estate can be.

    Cast:
    Audra Blaser: Emerson
    Stephen Dunham ("Monster-in-Law"): Charlie
    Evan Handler ("Sex and the City"): Sellers
    Gail O'Grady ("NYPD Blue"): Ava
    Nicole Sullivan ("King of Queens"): Chloe
    Sofia Vergara ("Chasing Papi"): Lola

    Credits:
    Executive Producer/Writer: Suzanne Martin ("Frasier")
    Production Company: Interbang Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television
    Look for the debut this fall on ABC

    NBC Execs Offer Postmortems for 'Dreams,' 'Jury'

    (05/16/05) When you've fallen from first place to fourth as quickly as NBC has, there will inevitably be casualties. Discussing the new fall schedule with reporters on Monday (May 16), NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker took some time to mourn the passing of several beloved and high profile failures.

    Perhaps no show departing the airwaves will be as mourned by its fans as "American Dreams." Unfortunately, after three seasons of good faith from NBC, "Dreams" was only averaging 7.3 million viewers, an audience that didn't improve when the network temporarily moved it from Sunday to Wednesday. Even though Zucker was one of the period drama's most outspoken supporters, there just wasn't room for "Dreams" on a network trying to change directions.

    "It just becomes, unfortunately, the contradiction of America, I guess," Reilly says. "People say they want quality, family-friendly shows at 8:00 and yet you put them on and what they really want to watch is 'Desperate Housewives.' Ultimately, we are in a business here. We love the show... It just was not pulling the ratings to really justify the cost of the show or to justify another year on the schedule."

    As badly as "American Dreams" performed on Sundays, the heavily hyped "The Contender" drew an even smaller audience (which explains why NBC has transplanted Emmy-winning institution "The West Wing" to Sundays next fall). The boxing series, from industry heavyweights Mark Burnett and Jeffrey Katzenberg, weathered numerous delays and the tragic death of one of its contestants, but it was probably just knocked out by its subject matter.

    "I think that at the end of the day, it was about boxing and that was a pretty high bar to get over," Zucker says.

    Although its weekly audience has been sub-"Dreams," "The Contender" delivered stronger demographic numbers than its time slot predecessor and also produced a fervent base of young, male viewers.

    "I think it was a damn good show," Reilly says. "I think they delivered on the show they pitched and the fans that watched it were very passionate about it and thought it was fantastic. I make no apologies for the quality of the show."

    Another NBC show that wilted under the weight of high expectations was "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," the fourth permutation in the reliable Dick Wolf franchise. Averaging 11.2 million viewers in a slow Friday time period, "Trial by Jury" was one of the network's most surprisingly cancellations, but its departure reflects on the network's diminished status.

    "'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' was ordered last year while we were still the No. 1 network," Reilly explains. "In that kind of environment, it felt like we could sustain four 'Law & Orders.' This spring, we find ourselves in a different situation and it really looked like we needed to open up some more time periods for some new shows."

    Readers will have to check back next May to see if those new shows -- including "Inconceivable" and "Fathom" -- have fared any better.

    New Brittany Snow Movie

    (05/16/05) One Tree Hill" star Sophia Bush and "American Dream's" Brittany Snow are teaming up to take "Desperate Housewives" star Jesse Metcalfe down.

    The actresses are in final negotiations to star in the revenge comedy "John Tucker Must Die" for 20th Century Fox.

    The project stars Bush as one of three girls who vow to get back at their mutual ex, the school's lothario Tucker (Metcalfe), who has broken their hearts. Their vengeance takes the shape of a new girl (Snow) who is supposed to turn the tables on him and dump him after he falls for her.

    Snow, 19, recently starred opposite Vin Diesel in the domestic comedy "The Pacifier."

    Bush, 22, appeared in "Van Wilder" and will star in the upcoming "Supercross," due out in August.

    NBC has officially cancelled American Dreams

    (05/16/05) Bad news for fans of LAW & ORDER: TRIAL BY JURY and the excellent AMERICAN DREAMS, which fall victim to a particularly bad year at the once Must-See network. Insiders say both of those shows would have returned if the rest of the schedule were not in such a shambles.

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