Today's News: Our Take


ASHLEE STRIKES BACK

Lip-syncin' teenybopper Ashlee Simpson is in full-tilt damage control following her big Saturday Night Live debacle. On MTV's TRL Monday, Jessica's kid sis said she was suffering from "severe acid reflux" prior to her SNL performance, forcing her to sing with the aid of a guide track (i.e., lip-sync). But in a previous interview with Lucky magazine, Simpson said she was "totally against" lip-syncing, adding, "I'm going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I'd never lip-sync. It's just not me." Well, a subsequent cortisone shot allowed Simpson to perform live (I think) and without incident at last night's Radio Music Awards. She also poked a little fun at her big goof, announcing just as her band read more

The Benefactor What a fall ABC...

The Benefactor
What a fall ABC is having, huh? Thanks to Lost, Desperate Housewives and Wife Swap, the network finally appears to be back on the ratings map. Of course they're still stuck with According to Jim. And Rodney. And Complete Savages. Oh yeah, and this Apprentice knockoff that no one bothered to watch. Realizing that their bid to make Mark Cuban the next Donald Trump was failing miserably, ABC actually skipped a couple of episodes and aired the season finale last night. So now that it's over, let's analyze the reasons The Benefactor didn't work:
Reason No. 1: Mark Cuban has zero personality.
I don't care if he does own a basketball team, this Tony Robbins look-alike earns the Mischa Barton award for Most Wooden Screen Presence. I never thought I'd say this, but I missed Donald Trump's bottomless ego — and his nonstop parade of kooky ties.
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Question: Here's a Halloween ...

Question: Here's a Halloween question for you: I seem to remember in the mid to late '80s there was a show about a werewolf. It involved a young man who had been bitten by a werewolf and had a pentagram burned into his palm. He was seeking the original werewolf to free him from the curse. This was the first time I remember seeing a wolflike head on a werewolf character rather than just a fuzzy face. — Rob, New Brunswick, N.J.

Televisionary: You're in luck, Rob. Continuing with my new policy of referring back to old answers for people who didn't see them the first time around, you can read about Werewolf here.

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Question: Dear Esteemed ...

Question: Dear Esteemed Televisionary, can you please provide me with the name and composer of the theme music used during the end credits of the Incredible Hulk TV series? Also, is this music available on CD? Thanks! — Matt B., New York, N.Y.

Televisionary: That touching piano music is called "The Lonely Man Theme," and it was written by Joe Harnell, who composed the music for that series plus the themes from V, The Bionic Woman and Alien Nation, among other works. The good news? It was made available on an Incredible Hulk soundtrack released in 1999. The bad? It was a promotional release rather than a retail one, so you'll have to hunt for it at your favorite collectors' sites and stores.

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Question: I just stumbled ...

Question: I just stumbled upon Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" program. My favorite is Sealab 2021, which is just a wickedly wonderful show! Do you know any history on the show and whether they will make any new episodes? — Yolanda, Marshall, Tex.

Televisionary: When you say history, I assume you mean of the original Sealab 2020, a half-hour Hanna-Barbera production which ran on NBC's Saturday-morning schedule for a year beginning in September 1972.

On that show, Captain Mike Murphy and his kids, Bobby and Sally, were rescued from a shipwreck and came to stay in Sealab, an underwater facility run by Dr. Paul Williams, manned by Williams' "oceanauts" and populated by 250 citizens. Voices for that series included actresses Pamelyn Ferdin (Charlotte's Web) and Ann Jillian (It's a Living).

Of course, if you're watching Sealab 2021, you know the hilarious folks behind it have turn read more

Question: I watched a movie ...

Question: I watched a movie on Oxygen on Thursday, Oct. 7, with Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones. It was about a serviceman whose wife had an affair, and it was discovered he knew about a cover-up of radioactive side effects. It was listed as Tuesdays with Morrie, but that was not it. Could you please find out what the movie was? — Carol E.

Televisionary: That I could, Carol. The flick was 1994's Blue Sky and you can read more about it here.

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Question: As I remember, ...

Question: As I remember, McHale's Navy moved from the Pacific to Italy. Why? Thank you for answering this. — Harold S., Jacksonville, Fla.

Televisionary: The simple answer? After three seasons and 108 episodes, the folks behind ABC's World War II comedy, which kicked off in October 1962, thought it was time for a new look and locale.

"After three years in the Pacific, we thought the Allied and Japanese forces had had enough of McHale," producer Si Rose told TV Guide writer Peter Bogdanovich (yes, that Peter Bogdanovich) in 1965. "You know, new enemy, new relationships, a new dimension for McHale. We'll say he had an Italian grandmother and understands Italian. Which, of course, Ernie [Borgnine, the show's star] does. The ratings have held up pretty well, but next year we'll be up against Skelton and read more

FAIR AND BALANCED SOLUTION

Settlement talks are reportedly continuing between embattled Fox News Channel loudmouth Bill O'Reilly and Andrea Mackris, the female producer who accused him of sexual harassment. On Friday, Celebrity Justice issued a press release saying that both sides were "in serious negotiations and a settlement could be reached as early as today." read more

Buffy Star Holds Grudge


First things first. Yes, Sarah Michelle Gellar is happy with the way Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended its seven-year run. "I love that it ended full circle with her sharing her power," says the 27-year-old actress. "I do believe that the finale should have been two hours. There was a lot of time for those Slayerettes and I felt that some of the characters, specifically Xander, didn't get enough screen time.

"I know that some stuff had to get cut," Gellar continues. "For example, there was a scene where I was walking down the hallway of the high school and having flashbacks to all of us from the first season. But in terms of the actual episode, yes, I was happy."

Don't look for The Artist Formerly Known as Buffy on television anytime soon. "I can definitively say that I won't be doing series TV for the next five years," she says. "I just physically couldn't do it."

Instead, Gellar is focusing full-time on her big-screen career. Currently, she sta read more

Biggest Loser Gone A-Weigh

Sick of watchin' those stick-thin mannequins on America's Next Top Model? Maybe NBC's The Biggest Loser (Tuesdays at 8 pm/ET) is your cup of reali-tea. In the pilot episode, 12 overweight contestants split into two teams. Their task: Give up indulgent snacking and carry out a strict plan of diet and exercise with trainers. The Red team lost more weight, so they kept all their players. Meanwhile, the Blues were required to trim the fat — namely, littlest loser Dana DeSilvio, 21. Even so, the bubbly blond from Nashville tells TV Guide Online she's proud of shedding five pounds during her week on the show. So there!

TV Guide Online: Lost any more weight since leaving Loser?
Dana:
I have. I've lost almost 15 pounds.

TVGO: What possessed you to do this show?
Dana:
I wasn't eating healthily. I really just wanted a healthier lifestyle and I needed some motivation.

TVGO: Money is a good motivation.
Dana:
W read more

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