The next generation of Xbox technology doesn’t have a name and it doesn’t have a release date, but gamers will get a sneak peek at the new equipment May 12 on MTV.

Gamer and sometime-hobbit Elijah Wood will host “MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed,” a special announced by Microsoft on Monday. In addition to offering behind-the-scenes footage of the new Xbox developments and previews of some of the new games, the special will also have performances by The Killers.

“Just as MTV revolutionized the way the world experiences music, the next-generation video game console from Xbox will spark a revolution in how consumers experience games and other forms of digital entertainment,” gushes Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide marketing and publishing for Xbox at Microsoft. “We are ecstatic about our alliance with MTV and unveiling a video game platform in a way that has never been done.”

North American viewers will get to experience the special on May 12 and it will air around the world the following day. The next Xbox is expected to be released later this year, but actual details are sketchy. Additional information may be revealed at the E3 industry trade show the week after the MTV special.

‘Apprentice’ cast member arrested

All through this third season of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” one contestant after another has accused Chris Shelton of having anger management issues. Donald Trump has expressed regular reservations about the young man he calls a “mess,” all without firing him. Over the weekend, though, Shelton ran into some less generous authority figures in the Tampa (Fla.) police department.

According to the good folks at TheSmokingGun.com, Shelton was arrested for disorderly conduct early Sunday morning after an incident at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Shelton – more memorable for his chewing tobacco habit, frequently foul language, occasional boardroom outbursts, random homophobia and carelessness with corporate credit cards than anything positive he’s done on this season’s show – was attending a birthday party. Shelton reportedly was unhappy that he had to pay a cover charge to get into one of the Hard Rock bars and behaved in a way that was “loud and inappropriate.”

Booked into the custody of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department at 4:14, Shelton ultimately posted a $250 bond on the misdemeanor charge.

In his “Apprentice” bio on the NBC Web site, Sheldon – currently among the five remaining finalists – is described as a 21-year-old Las Vegas native with a portfolio of properties valued at over $1 million.

UPN wants more ‘Veronica Mars’

UPN’s “Veronica Mars” is the second lowest rated scripted drama to air on any network this season (Sorry, “The Mountain”). But every once in a while, a network decides that there are things more important than ratings. UPN is reportedly bring “Veronica Mars” back for a second season.

The news of the “Mars” renewal spread through the Internet over the weekend with many fan sites celebrating the decision as if their site in particular forced UPN’s hand. Several of them may have had a point, given that despite critical adulation and low-level cult buzz, the show’s audience has remained almost entirely low and stable since its premiere.

“Mars” stars Kristen Bell as a teenage girl who has to balance high school, moonlighting as a private eye and a variety of mysteries and tragedies from her past. Creator Rob Thomas (“Cupid”) has promised that many of the show’s central puzzles will be wrapped up by its first season finale.

Back in late September, “Veronica Mars” premiered to an audience of just under 2.21 million viewers. The show’s most recent episodes have been in line with its season average of 2.4 million, with only minimal signs of growth. Airing on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. EDT – one of television’s most competitive time slots, particularly now that “American Idol” has transformed “House” into a hit – “Veronica Mars” has only rarely risen above sixth place for the hour.

In the absence of any breakout hits this year, though, UPN seems willing to take a chance on one of the most original and praised shows the network has ever produced. The jury is still out on “Kevin Hill,” which launched with “Mars” this fall and has also failed to find a substantial audience despite warm reviews. The industry trade papers speculate that the fate of “Hill” will be tied to the netlet’s development season.

ABC keeps ‘Anatomy’ on sunday

It’s the kind of choice that most networks not named “CBS” would probably kill for: Do you return your successful first-year drama to the air after a planned hiatus, or do you stick with the even more successful replacement drama? In the end, ABC just looked at the numbers and elected to have “Grey’s Anatomy” keep the coveted 10 p.m. ET time slot on Sunday nights, rather than having “Boston Legal” return on April 24 as previously scheduled.

As a result of the move, announced Friday, “Grey’s Anatomy” will continue to be partnered with “Desperate Housewives” through the end of the May sweeps period and the conclusion of the official 2004-05 season.

ABC gave “Boston Legal” an early 2005-06 renewal earlier this week, but the David E. Kelley won’t air again until next fall. The five unseen episodes from this season will become the start of a 27-episode second season for “Boston Legal.”

“We’re in the enviable position of having two shows that have each performed extremely well for us Sundays at 10 – “Boston Legal’ and “Grey’s Anatomy,”‘ says ABC Entertainment Present Stephen McPherson. “We had already picked up “Boston Legal’ for next year based on its stellar run thus far this season. Now, with the strong debut of “Grey’s Anatomy,’ we are very optimistic about having an additional asset of tremendous value heading into fall. However, with this embarrassment of riches comes a tough decision.”

The numbers were fairly straight forward. For the season, “Desperate Housewives” has averaged nearly 22.8 million viewers per week, as the drama has come out of nowhere to become television’s second most watched drama. With its 17 original episodes this season, “Boston Legal” has averaged 12.5 million viewers, making it one of year’s top new shows. However, in two episodes since its midseason premiere, “Grey’s Anatomy” has averaged just under 17 million viewers, building on its audience from its first to second weeks.

Originally, the “Anatomy” Sunday run was only to be four episode, but its instant success led to a reevaluation of those plans. There had been rumors that ABC was considering shifting “Boston Legal” to Monday nights at 10, which would have mirrored a similar scheduling shift that nearly killed its parent drama “The Practice.”

“Ultimately we decided that, without having adequate lead time or marketing dollars to devote to moving either show so late in the season, we’d continue to let “Grey’s’ build on its tremendous momentum through May,” McPherson explains. “We’re extremely excited that this will give us the amazing luxury of bringing “Boston Legal’ back next season with an unheard-of 27 original episodes.”

Someone’s checking out of ‘Scrubs’

Despite the frequent flights of fancy – dance numbers, non-sequitur Carrot Top cameos and the like – on “Scrubs,” creator Bill Lawrence has always insisted that the show be grounded in real-life experience.

Which explains why one of the cast regulars may be shipping off at the end of the season.

“We try really hard not to be one of those shows that it’s like, everybody goes to high school for 11 years,” Lawrence says. “In medicine, if you try to stay true to it at all, this is the year – because of the way they progress from intern to resident, people would have to go out and get new jobs and not always at the hospital they work in.”

So as the fourth season of “Scrubs” comes to a close on Tuesday, May 17, “one of our main group takes off.”

“And we don’t know, it could be forever,” star Zach Braff adds.

His burgeoning movie career aside (he’s set to film a movie called “The Last Kiss” on his hiatus), Braff’s J.D. isn’t likely to be the one leaving, and Lawrence isn’t dropping any further clues yet as to who will. He does say, though, that the transition theme will continue into next season (NBC has already renewed “Scrubs” for 2005-06).

“People’s lives change, they take jobs elsewhere, move in and out, and eventually they have to go,” Lawrence says. “So I think the general thrust of next year will be that it’s really the year that feels like the characters aren’t kids learning things anymore. We can only do “J.D.’s scared about some medical thing and then gets a big lesson from Dr. Cox’ so much.”

The change could also lead to some new cast members coming in, which puts Lawrence in an advantageous position over any star whining about his or her character arc. “It’s a great thing,” he deadpans. “Any cast member gives me that fifth-year lip, they just walk out the door and a new one walks in.”


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