TV Notes: 'Gilmore Girls' creator bids farewell with season finale

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"Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino is going out on a high note, with her last episode for the WB series filled with her musical favorites.

Frank Ockenfels/Associated Press/The WB
"The Gilmore Girls" on the WB, stars, from left, Scott Patterson as Luke Danes, Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore, Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore and Matt Czuchry as Logan. The show's season finale airs tonight.
Click photo for larger image.

"It might be the coolest thing we've ever done," Sherman-Palladino said of tonight's season finale featuring the "eclectic" musicians she admires and lured to the show.

"We've put together our own Gilmorepalooza," added her husband, Daniel Palladino, a fellow executive producer on the series.

The couple said last month they were leaving the comedy-drama after failing to reach agreement on a new studio contract. Dave Rosenthal, a writer and producer on the show, will be in charge when it makes its expected move to the new CW network, the result of a WB-UPN merger.

Among the artists featured on the sixth-season finale are Sonic Youth, Sam Phillips, Yo La Tengo, Sparks and Joe Pernice.

They've flocked to Stars Hollow, the fictional town where "Gilmore Girls" is set, after hearing that the town troubadour (Grant-Lee Phillips) was discovered by Neil Young's manager.

"We're playing our own reality that there's an East Coast troubadour community, people who play music on street corners," said Daniel Palladino.

The couple put together a "wish list" of artists to appear as the street musicians and got an enthusiastic response, he said.

"Gilmore Girls" is about the close relationship between a young single mother, Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham), and her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). With the stars under contract for one more season, next year is widely considered to be the show's last.

Sherman-Palladino and her husband said their contract dispute centered on working conditions, including adding more writers to ease their burden. The couple said they have written the majority of scripts for the show and worked on all of them.

In a statement from CW and the studio, Warner Bros. Television, the companies said they were disappointed with the couple's departure but looked forward to a "seamless transition."

The network and studio reportedly wanted to give the couple a one-year deal. Sherman-Palladino, whose own snappy patter was reflected in the Lorelai character, said she believed the show could run longer than another year.

There's more than music to the finale. Also at issue in the episode co-written by Sherman-Palladino and her husband are Lorelai's postponed wedding to Luke (Scott Patterson) and Rory's up-and-down relationship with boyfriend Logan (Matt Czuchry).

The episode sets up "strong places to go next year," Sherman-Palladino said.

She was grateful for the creative freedom she enjoyed on the series and for the excellence of its cast. Leaving was hard, she said.

"I had fully intended to shepherd it forward to the bitter end. I've often said I know what the last four of the final episodes are, and I've known it for a long time," she said. (Lynn Elber, Associated Press)

Woodruff set on returning

ABC anchor Bob Woodruff, who suffered serious injuries while working in Iraq in January, has nearly recovered from his physical wounds and is undergoing rehabilitation with the aim of returning to his post as soon as possible, one of his brothers said in an interview.

Much of the treatment is focused on restoring his cognitive functions through "thinking processes, talking with therapists," said David Woodruff, the anchor's older brother. "It's exercising the brain."

Although Woodruff has made remarkable progress since he was hurt by a roadside bomb, doctors still do not know when he might return to the air, a situation that has left ABC in limbo.

It appears likely that Woodruff's co-anchor, Elizabeth Vargas, will continue to helm "World News Tonight" alone for the immediate future, as she has for much of the past three months.

ABC officials appeared poised in March to name either Charles Gibson or Diane Sawyer to fill in for Woodruff, but the staff of "Good Morning America" was told this week to expect that show's anchor team to remain in place through the fall.

That's when Katie Couric moves to CBS, and ABC executives believe they have a chance to make a run at NBC's top-rated "Today."

It remains unclear whether ABC will tap a replacement for Woodruff before this summer, when Vargas, who is due to have a baby in August, is planning to go on maternity leave. News division executives declined to comment on their plans but are scheduled to hold a meeting this week with the program's staff to discuss its future.

"There's not an urgent reason to make a change or alteration," said Jon Banner, executive producer of "World News Tonight." "With Elizabeth here every night, we feel very comfortable. We know at a certain point she needs to go off and have her baby, and that will necessitate a change."

ABC may feel compelled to make a move before then. So far this season, the second-place newscast has averaged 8.6 million viewers, a drop of 924,000 from the same point last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"We'd clearly like to be doing better," Banner acknowledged.

For the past three weeks, Woodruff has been undergoing vigorous outpatient treatment four to six hours a day, his brother said. Aside from a still-healing shoulder injury, the anchor has largely recovered from his physical wounds and is now focused on regaining his stamina.

"The real issue with Bob right now is he's tired," his brother said. "His energy level is nowhere near where it was before." (Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times)

Aguilera on MTV Movie Awards

Christina Aguilera will take the stage at this year's MTV Movie Awards. The event, hosted by Jessica Alba, will be filmed June 3 at Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, Calif. The show will air June 8 (9 p.m.).

Aguilera will perform and debut music from her awaited new album, "Back to Basics," the network announced yesterday. She last performed at the MTV Movie Awards in 2001.

Punk rock band AFI will perform songs from their new album, "Decemberunderground," slated for release June 6.

Presenters will include Kate Beckinsale, Jamie Foxx, Owen Wilson, Justin Timberlake, Matt Dillon, Will Ferrell, Kate Hudson, Rebecca Romijn, Kate Bosworth and rappers T.I. and Ludacris. (Associated Press)

Channel surfing

CNN's Anderson Cooper will contribute up to five stories a year to CBS's "60 Minutes" beginning this fall. He'll remain a full-time CNN employee. ... According to the Associated Press, after a brief flirtation with NBC, Mike Wallace has signed a four-year contract to continue contributing an occasional piece to "60 Minutes." ... Just in time for the movie theater premiere of "Poseidon," AMC will air the original "Poseidon Adventure" at 8 p.m. Thursday. (Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV editor)



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