New series debuting on Monday night: "LAX" (10 p.m. ET, NBC), a drama about travelers and workers at Los Angeles International Airport, starring Heather Locklear and Blair Underwood; "The Benefactor" (8 p.m. ET), ABC's answer to "The Apprentice," with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the role of The Donald; and "The Insider" (7 p.m. ET, CBS), an entertainment news show hosted by Pat O'Brien.
"Six Feet Under" went out with a bang (including a cameo by Nicole Richie) in its season finale last night. Some loose ends were tied up (Lisa's disappearance, Maya's possible removal from Nate and Brenda's loving home, David's lingering anxiety over facing his abductor, Claire and Billy's building mutual attraction) and others -- Nate to Brenda: "Let's get married and have a baby" -- were created anew. (Missed it? Check out HBO's recap here.) The day-after consensus on HBO's forums and the Television Without Pity message boards? "Ho. Ly. Crap," "I never saw that coming," "Best. Episode. Ever," and keen observations like "Wow, George got crazy even faster than Billy got sane" and "I'm still wondering about Maya's paternity in light of the Hoyt revelation." The New York Times, for its part, took the opportunity to highlight the controversies raging around the show this season, including complaints that reality and fantasy were getting increasingly difficult to tell apart, particularly in the abduction episode. However, the Times writer herself appears to be confused, writing that David and his insane abductor "did have sex, gay sex, all those weeks ago." In fact, the sex they had took place only inside David's head.
Who wants a piece? Proving that no relationship to celebrity is too tangential to produce a buck, the brother of the father of the kid who was allegedly molested by Michael Jackson in 1993 has released a tell-all book about the alleged abuse of his nephew, "All That Glitters." Ray Chandler, who no longer talks to his nephew or his family, says that his nephew's relationship with Jackson ended when the boy's father found his son and the pop star "spooning" in bed, with Jackson's "hand resting on the boy's crotch on the outside of the covers." The father moved Jackson's hand away, says Chandler, and then moved to end the relationship. Now, Chandler says, his 24-year-old nephew is dating women and managing investments he made with the $20 million settlement from his suit against Jackson. (N.Y. Daily News)
Friends 4-ever: Who will be the first "Friend" to appear on "Joey"? Jennifer Aniston, if recent reports of the actress wandering around the spinoff's set in full makeup are to be believed. "Matt wanted at least one of the old gang to appear in his first season on 'Joey' and he and the producers decided it should be Jen," a source tells Ireland Online. "She couldn't wait to get back on the old 'Friends' stage. She did her thing and spent the rest of the day hanging out with Matt." (Ireland Online)
Never mind the neck injury: Charlize Theron's going to be OK, but her boyfriend, Stuart Townsend says the injury she sustained while performing a backflip on the set of "Aeon Flux" could have been far more devastating. "The slipped disc almost went into the spinal cord," he said. (Rediff.com)
Also: Fred Ebb, the lyricist whose decades-long collaboration with composer John Kander brought the world the Broadway musicals "Cabaret" and "Chicago" and the anthem "New York, New York," died Saturday of a heart attack (N.Y. Daily News) ... Mike Leigh has been awarded the top honors at the Venice International Film Festival for his film "Vera Drake" (N.Y. Times) ... And Bill Clinton's heart problems don't seem to be having a substantial deleterious effect on the sales of "The South Beach Diet" (New York magazine).
Nick Nolte on his 2002 arrest for driving under the influence of the "date-rape" drug, GHB, and the subsequent mug shot heard round the world: "That was a good time for me. Look, everything we repress, we put in a bag and carry behind us. Sometimes it gets too full and breaks open. That's what happened to me a couple of years ago." (Toronto Star)
-- Amy Reiter