Plus: a Friend lives his dream, Trump movie slammed, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 24, 2005 08:00 AM

RATED: Sunday’s season finale of ABC’s Desperate Housewives attracted a record 30.3 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings. The new high beats the numbers for the Nov. 28 episode (about Mrs. Huber’s death) by some 3 million. Even so, shows that did even better during this Sweeps period also included season finale for CBS’s CSI (30.7 million) and the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond (32.9 million). As for Desperate Housewives, the hopes are high for season two this fall. Joining the cast as a regular, Variety reports, will be Roger Bart, who this past season occasionally cropped up as pharmacist George Williams, who developed a crush on Bree (Marcia Cross) and fatally tampered with her husband Rex’s pills.

PREPARED: In his life after Friends, Tuesday night brings David Schwimmer, 38, to the London stage, where he will make his West End debut in Neil LaBute’s play about commitment, Some Girls, also starring Saffron Burrows, Catherine Tate, Lesley Manville and Sara Powell. “To be knocked about by these four extraordinarily strong, sexy and funny women, that trumps any fantasy I had as a boy,” says Schwimmer, as quoted by the BBC. “I get to be on the London stage, a dream of mine since the age of 12.” Also on stage in London (or due by the end of the year): Brooke Shields (in Chicago); Ewan McGregor (Guys and Dolls); Val Kilmer (The Postman Always Rings Twice); Kevin Spacey (The Philadelphia Story) and Rob Lowe (A Few Good Men).

SUBBED: Huff star Hank Azaria, who also voices roles on The Simpsons, is bolting from his armor in the Broadway musical Monty Python’s Spamalot, so he may resume his role on the Showtime series. His replacement as Lancelot on stage will be Alan Tudyk, whose credits include Paul Rudnick’s 1998 The Most Fabulous Story Every Told. Azaria, who is nominated for a Tony for Spamalot, is due to return to the show in November, for six months.


Prosecutors in Phil Spector’s murder trial can introduce evidence to try to show the famed music producer had a history of threatening women before he was charged with murdering B-movie actress Lana Clarkson at his suburban L.A. mansion in 2003, the Associated Press reports. In issuing his ruling Monday, Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler acknowledged that allowing the evidence was “a dangerous path to go down,” but concluded the incidents seemed to illustrate the state’s theory. Outside the courthouse, Spector insisted he “never pulled a gun on these women.” He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail.

DIED: Comic actor Howard Morris, 85, who costarred with Sid Caesar on the ’50s TV classic Your Show of Shows before going on to success as a film director (and to fame as poetry-spouting Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show), died Saturday, AP reports. Morris’s movie roles included those in Boys’ Night Out (with Kim Novak), 40 Pounds of Trouble (with Tony Curtis), Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor and Way… Way Out and Mel Brooks’s High Anxiety and History of the World, Part I.Thurl Ravenscroft, 91, who for 50 years provided the voice of Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger as well as a host of Disney characters, died Sunday of prostate cancer. “I’m the only man in the world that has made a career with one word: ‘Grrrrreeeat!'” Ravenscroft told the Orange County Register in 1996.

SLAMMED: Tuesday night’s ABC movie Trump Unauthorized, a warts-and-all bio of Donald Trump (as played by a bewigged Justin Lewis), isn’t scoring well with critics. The Hollywood Reporter blames the flick’s “slapdash style of storytelling that fails adequately to probe its unsympathetic subject,” who comes across in the movie as “a publicity-chasing egomaniac and braggart who dives through tax loopholes the way a trained dolphin jumps through hoops.” The Washington Post is even more dismissive, saying the movie’s “implicit promise of scandalous poop isn’t kept, either; Trump is shown to be cold, ruthless and megalomaniacal at times, but that shouldn’t shock anyone.”