Forget "Survivor." What we want to know is who'll survive the "Monday Night Football" cut? Rush Limbaugh? Ex-coach Jimmy Jones? Um, Dennis Miller?!?! Yup, smug comic Dennis Miller, of HBO's self-titled, self-satisfied talk show, is among those rumored to be up for a seat in ABC's primetime sports show. The network will unveil its picks for the revamped "MNF" today in an afternoon press conference at 5 p.m. (EDT).
The Web site NFLtalk.com is reporting that Miller is a lock for the gig. But to a San Diego, Calif., radio station this morning, the "Saturday Night Live" alum professed to know nothing about a deal.
Radio host Limbaugh, meanwhile, is thought to be out of the picture after an early run as a wildcard pick.
Other possibles: Retired Miami Dolphins (and Dallas Cowboys) head coach Jimmy Johnson and the requisite ex-jock Dan Fouts.
Following a lackluster ratings year, ABC canned Boomer Esiason from the "MNF" booth and promised to pair play-by-play guy Al Michaels with more Howard Cosell-esque personalities.
Meet the new Howard Cosell: Smug comic Dennis Miller of HBO's self-titled, self-satisfied talk show is joining the booth of ABC's "Monday Night Football." In an afternoon press conference today, "MNF" producer Don Ohlmeyer announced that Miller will join returning play-by-play man Al Michaels and former NFL pro Dan Fouts when the revamped primetime show kicks off this fall.
Additionally, ESPN's Melissa Stark and ex-Los Angeles Rams star Eric Dickerson were tapped as sideline reporters for the showcase broadcast, replacing Leslie Visser who handled those duties last season.
Five-time Emmy winner Miller, 46, is best known for three things: (1) the HBO show (which he'll continue hosting); (2) his 1985-90 stint on "Saturday Night Live"; and, (3) dropping arcane pop culture references.
As for his qualifications for the "MNF" gig?
"I'm a sports nerd," Miller told reporters. "I've watched it all my life."
While Miller is a sports outsider, Fouts, 49, is the ultimate insider. On "MNF," he'll fill in TV sports' requisite ex-jock spot. Formerly a quarterback with the San Diego Chargers (1973-87), Fouts worked with ABC last season as a college football analyst.
The Michaels-Miller-Fouts team means the following guys (reputed "MNF" candidates) won't be in the booth: Radio host Rush Limbaugh and retired Miami Dolphins (and Dallas Cowboys) head coach Jimmy Johnson.
Miller and Fouts replace Boomer Esiason, another ex-jock, who was canned after a lackluster ratings year.
After 13 years on the road and 22 million albums sold worldwide, the Smashing Pumpkins bid farewell to their fans Saturday with a blistering 4 1/2-hour show in Chicago on the very same stage they made their debut on Oct. 5, 1988.
The band’s retirement show took place at the Metro, a 1,100-capacity club where the band first got it start –- led by a tall, lanky guitarist named Billy Corgan, Reuters reports. The band broke their show up into four separate “acts,” with a clown prancing around on stage to circus music in between.
“Welcome to the last gasp of the Smashing Pumpkins,” Corgan said at the outset of Saturday's show.
The Pumpkins played a musical collage of all their hits from the past decade, starting off the show with “Rocket” and continuing with such memorable hits as “Cherub Rock,” “Today,” “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and older favorites such as “Rhinoceros” from their 1991 album “Gish.”
The Smashing Pumpkins is one of the last influential bands from the early 1990s when guitar-driven rock reigned on radio stations. Corgan decided earlier this year to retire the band after album sales began to slip and semi-facetiously cited competition from manufactured pop stars of the moment such as Britney Spears.
Joining Corgan on stage Saturday were drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, guitarist James Iha and touring bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur. D’Arcy, the band’s original bassist, left the band early this year. Saturday’s concert ended after midnight with Corgan thanking his fans, shedding tears and hugging his roadies.
But the fans who attended the show didn’t go home empty-handed. They each received a free copy of a previously unreleased recording from the band’s first Metro show. Meanwhile, Corgan said he will mostly likely take a year off before he considers writing more music.
LOVERBOY GUITARIST MISSING: The guitarist for the 1980s rockers Loverboy was swept off his boat and into the cold Pacific Ocean on Thursday and is feared dead, The Associated Press reports.
Scott Smith, 45, was heading to Southern California on his 37-foot sailboat off the coast of San Francisco when presumably a wave knocked him into the frigid water. He was about four miles off the Bay Area’s Ocean Beach, an area where the sea floor shallows and wave heights can grow tremendously.
The Coast Guard spent two days searching a 133-square-mile area but came up empty-handed, petty officer Carl Hausner said. Smith was wearing tracking pants and two sweaters but no life jacket when he went into the 52-degree water. Hausner said the average person could not survive more than 2 ½ hours in such conditions.
Loverboy released their first album in 1980 and hit the top of the charts with such hits as “Working for the Weekend,” "Lovin' Every Minute of It" and “Turn Me Loose.”
A RIVALRY HAS ENDED: Pop stars will be pop stars. After a heated rivalry fanned by reports by several British tabloids, Oasis’ Liam Gallagher and pop singer Robbie Williams have put an end to their long-running feud, Reuters reports.
“We've patched up our differences. I don't really want to go into it, but we've had a chat and come to the conclusion it had got really silly,'' Williams said in a British tab.
Last month Williams stormed out of an awards ceremony in London after Gallagher took to the stage and accused Williams of being homosexual.
``At the start it was quite a laugh and then it just became too destructive,'' said Williams, whose solo hits have included ''Angel'' and "Millennium." ``It wasn't nice, so I'm really pleased that I've spoken to Liam,'' he added.
Gone 'til March.
That's what it's looking like at CBS, where its franchise late-night show (name of, um, "Late Night") might be out of commission for up to 10 weeks while host David Letterman rehabs from emergency quintuple bypass surgery.
Starting tonight, the network will deploy repeats in place of all-new Dave.
All-new Dave last taped on Thursday. On that edition, Letterman revealed to guest Regis Philbin (as well as his TV audience) that he was about to undergo a heart test. The angiogram, performed Friday, turned into a bypass (also Friday) -- the result of severely blocked arteries.
Doctors say Letterman, 52, is "doing great" and could be home by the end of the week. As for Dave himself? He (and/or his writers) are already yukking it up.
"I feel fantastic," the comic said in a statement released Saturday. "In addition to rerouting the arteries, they also installed an E-ZPass."
To "Late Night" producer Rob Burnett, Letterman supposedly joked that he felt "better than Jimmy Johnson" -- the Miami Dolphins coach who quit last weekend after a humiliating playoff blowout loss.
All right, so the quips aren't Coward. But take 'em for what they could be -- the only fresh Dave material until spring.
LOVE LOST: She may have three names, but come next month, Jennifer Love Hewitt won't have one stinkin' TV series on the air.
The Hewitt-headlined "Time of Your Life" is being benched by Fox for the duration of the ratings-mad February sweeps. In its place, the network will enlist the semi-hit sitcom "That 70s Show" to fill the 8-9 p.m. EST/PST time slot. (New "70s" episodes will air at 8 p.m., with repeats to follow at 8:30 p.m.)
And the future for "Time of Your Life" doesn't necessarily get any brighter after February. According to today's Daily Variety, Fox "may" bring back the twentysomething drama in March -- but not on Mondays where it was paired with "Ally McBeal," but to Tuesdays where it would be paired with "Party of Five."
"Life," of course, is a spinoff of "Party of Five," featuring Hewitt's Sarah Reeves Merrin character. The pilot, broadcast in October, saw Sarah leaving the "PO5" Salinger clan in San Francisco to seek out her biological father in New York City.
Despite Hewitt's status as a supposed "It" girl and teen icon, "Life" has floundered in the ratings. For the season to date, it ranks in 103rd place -- below already yanked stuff such as NBC's "Suddenly Susan" (No. 95). The show has proved to be no lead-in help at all for Fox's prized "Ally McBeal" (No. 24).
In other bad news, Fox also will pull "Get Real," its new hour-long "Dawson's Creek"-esque family drama, for the upcoming sweeps. That show's 8-9 p.m. EST/PST Tuesday time slot will be filled by Fox's usual sex, scandal and camcorder specials.
MOB HIT: "The Sopranos," HBO's critically acclaimed family mob drama, has been designated a future TV classic by cable's TVLand. The series, which launched its second season Sunday, "exhibits the qualities of a classic in the making, sure to resonate with TV viewers for generations to come," the network said in presenting its Future Classic Award. Past winners include ABC's "Sports Night."
TUBE TONIGHT: Norm MacDonald hosts the 27th Annual American Music Awards (8-11 p.m. EST/PST) on ABC. Scheduled performers include Britney Spears, 'N Sync and Creed. Sorry, earplugs not included.