Today's News: Our Take

Question: What was the ...

Question: What was the program with the Chinese detective named Sammo? — Bob, Deltona, Fla.

Televisionary: Tell you what, Bob, I'm going to make you happy with a new thing I'm doing. Since I receive multiple questions about shows I've already discussed, I'm going to link back to old answers more frequently so the curious newcomers can sleep at night with some comforting TV info to prompt pleasant dreams. You're thinking of Martial Law, and I wrote about it last September.

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Question: I was humming a ...

Question: I was humming a song from an old cartoon from my youth to my 6-year-old and would love to know all the words to it. Dick Dastardly sings it to his dog Smudley: "Wake up, Smudley. You're dreaming again. You're not Daniel Boone and you're not Gunga Din." Can you help? My brothers and I used to love this cartoon with Penelope Pitstop and gang. — Veda, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Televisionary: First things first, Veda. The dog's name was Muttley rather than Smudley. The song you're thinking of is from the "Magnificent Muttley" segment of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, which ran on CBS's Saturday-morning schedule for two years, beginning in September 1969. As you probably remember, the second Wacky Races spin-off (The Perils of Penelope Pitstop was the first) revolved around Dastardly, Muttley and Co. flying around in their World War I planes, trying to stop the brave (and annoying) Yankee Doodle pigeon.

The "Magnifice read more


Matt LeBlanc has found a new friend in John Travolta's wife. Kelly Preston has signed on to do a two-episode story arc on Joey this November, TV Guide Online has learned. Preston will play the best friend of Joey's sis, played by Drea de Matteo. According to a source close to the spin-off, producers initially eyed an Oscar-winning actress for the part, but the thesp ultimately passed. Here's a hint: It was not Meryl Streep. Or Brenda Fricker. Or Judi Dench.... read more

Question: I'm trying to ...

Question: I'm trying to collect all of the TV Guide covers with Charlie's Angels on them, Farrah to Tanya. Could you give me a list? — Pamela D., Florissant, Mo.

Televisionary: That I can. But working in the teach-a-man-to-fish vein, anyone looking for similar stuff can just head to our Cover Gallery and search away.

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In response to the recent storms affecting the southeastern U.S., Sesame Street is rerunning a five-part hurricane story line that originally aired in Feb. 2001. It shows Big Bird and Co. dealing with a nasty storm and its aftermath, and was written to help kids deal with their feelings about natural disasters. Look for the hurricane to hit Sesame Street (again) during the week of Oct. 4. read more

North Shore With Tessa's help,...

North Shore
With Tessa's help, Shannen Doherty's Alexandra seizes control of the Grand Waimea from Vincent and utters the most loathed and overused catchphrase since "Where's the beef?" — "You're fired." Alexandra may be a viper, but the words lacked bite without The Donald's signature cobra hand gesture. Anyhow, because of the baseball playoffs, we're gonna have to wait until November for new episodes. But there is one consolation: The show's moving to Thursdays, where it will be paired with The O.C. as a sudsy alternative to NBC's Sort-Of See lineup of Joey, Will & Grace and The Apprentice, and CBS heavy hitters Survivor and CSI.

Listen Up
Thankfully, Malcolm-Jamal Warner says tonight what I said about Jason Alexander's mouthy daughter last week: "I never would have gotten away with what she does. My father would have brought the hammer down." And while I was read more


"If those girls are so scared, I can go ahead and drop them off in Harlem and see how long they last." — Apprentice castoff Stacie J. on her teammates' frightened reaction to her Magic 8-Ball freak-out during a Q&A with TV Guide Online. To read the rest of my interview with SJ, click here. read more

Question: What ever happened ...

Question: What ever happened to the younger Pinciotti daughter, Tina, on That '70s Show? In one episode Donna had to baby-sit her, and then we never heard about her again. — Nicole, Hartford, Conn.

Televisionary: Ah, but we did, Nicole. After appearing in the 1998 episode "Eric's Burger Job" (her only appearance), she was mentioned by the announcer during the credits sequence of the 1999 episode "Vanstock." Not that it told us anything; it was more of a joke. Basically, Tina went the way of Chuck Cunningham and other disappeared characters. The writers didn't want to deal with them, so they were wished into the cornfield.

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Question: When I was a kid, ...

Question: When I was a kid, my older brother got to watch S.W.A.T., but I wasn't allowed to because my mom and dad said it was too violent. Looking back, I can't believe it was that bad. Was it? — Vicki V., Norman, Okla.

Televisionary: Well, "bad" is really a question of time period, Vicki. Was S.W.A.T. bad compared to, say, The Shield? Nope. But it was violent stuff for network TV in the mid-'70s, when it aired. And concern over the violence was also complicated by the post-Vietnam politics of the time, when plenty of pundits and viewers had had enough of gunplay and anything they took to be pro-police-state imagery.

During its run from February 1975 to June 1976 on ABC, S.W.A.T, like the recent feature film spawned by the seri read more

Late Late Show Hires Temp

The years have been good to Michael Ian Black. By just happily existing during the '70s, '80s and '90s, the actor/comedian did enough research to provide VH1's popular I Love The... specials with some of its funniest observations and spot-on comments. But since VH1 has momentarily run out of decades, the former bowling-alley manager on NBC's Ed is keeping busy with a pilot for Comedy Central (with two of his comic cohorts from The State). Tonight and tomorrow night, he'll also be sitting in The Late Late Show's guest-host chair.

TV Guide Online: Have you ever done any interviewing or guest-hosting stuff?
Michael Ian Black:
I did. When Stuck on You came out, I interviewed Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Cher and the Farrelly brothers for a special on Comedy Central. And I learned that, in person, Matt Damon is actually gorgeous. Incidentally, so is Cher. The woman is stunning, to the point where, I read more

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