STEVE CARELL AND STEPHEN COLBERT With all due respect to Tina and Jimmy, the ”Even Stevens” of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart remain the most consistently funny mock-news duo on TV. Separately, their Dateline-skewering ”reports” provide gleefully misanthropic counterpoint to Stewart’s genial goofing. Together — especially in their Crossfire-esque debates — they’re more than the human rib cage can withstand.
NICKY KATT Boston Public and Boiler Room only hinted at Katt’s potential: His well-honed alpha-jerk persona is put to spectacular use in Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal (August), where he steals scenes as a small-time, egomaniacal stage actor searching for his not-so-elusive inner Hitler.
ROBIN TUNNEY No longer ”that girl from The Craft who’s not Neve Campbell or Fairuza Balk,” Tunney sets herself apart from the coven as a neurotic stalking victim boxed in by electronic house arrest in the creepy-sexy Cherish.
BOB BERNEY, OF IFC FILMS Go Tigers! The Business of Strangers. Y Tu Mama Tambien. All in the last nine months. Berney and two-year-old IFC present an interesting rebuttal to the Miramax carpet-bomb strategy: What if all of the films on your slate were good?
DEREK LUKE Here’s an indicator of instant Itness: Denzel Washington picks you to star in his directorial debut, Antwone Fisher (December). Luke — who’d only guested on sitcoms — was working at the Sony lot gift shop when he got the role.
THE HISTORY CHANNEL It’s not just footage of old Nazi parades anymore. When Tony Soprano and Ozzy Osbourne tune in, maybe you should too.
getting IT back
ROBERT EVANS Well, whaddaya know: The kid really did stay in the picture. With his tawdry Hollywood tell-all transformed into a lauded documentary, the producer who embodied the 1970s (with films such as The Godfather and a lifestyle like Caligula’s) has wedged a loafer-clad foot in the door of the 21st century.
ANDREI TARKOVSKY ”But Tarkovsky’s been dead since 1986!” you protest. Nyet by a long shot: The Cannes-conquering Soviet exile is scheduled for a revival via the Steven Soderbergh-helmed, James Cameron-produced Solaris. Due in December, the George Clooney starrer is based on the director’s 1972 sci-fi thriller and the Stanislaw Lem book.
TREAT WILLIAMS Many thought Williams’ best days (top-lining artifacts such as Hair and Prince of the City) were behind him. But with the promising Everwood, a Providence-ish drama about a widowed big-city surgeon who moves his family to the Rockies, Williams may suddenly find himself the premier act of fall’s TV season.
JAMES SPADER No more talking smack about Spader — unless you’re referring to his edgy S&M romance Secretary (September), which made a stir at Sundance (nabbing a Special Jury Prize). Audiences snapped to attention for his role as a spank-happy lawyer administering love taps to his assistant (It Lister Maggie Gyllenhaal).
SUPPOSEDLY WASHED-UP GUYS NAMED DAVID A year ago, they were barely fit to be the butts of South Park jokes. Now, thanks to CSI: Miami and Quentin Tarantino, Caruso is starring in TV’s most-anticipated spin-off and Carradine is getting top billing in Kill Bill (fall 2003).