Today's News: Our Take


OH, NO, THEY DIDN'T

On last night's Late Show, David Letterman took his network to task for running a prominent photo of Tonight Show host Jay Leno — instead of him — in its online promotion of Sunday night's People's Choice Awards. (Dave and Jay were both up for favorite talk show host.) The network hastily deleted the image and replaced it with a photo of Letterman, but CBS boss Les Moonves nevertheless phoned Dave to apologize. Luckily, TheSmokingGun.com captured the embarrassing ad before it was taken down. If I haven't said it before, God bless The Smoking Gun. read more

Question: The Dec. 16 episode ...

Question: The Dec. 16 episode of Less Than Perfect was dedicated to the memory of someone who apparently died recently. Who was it? — Kathleen, Tewksbury, Mass.

Televisionary: That episode was dedicated to Gail Castleberry, a crew member who worked as Sherri Shepherd's stand-in on the show. Sadly, she recently passed away after battling cancer.

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FUZZY MATH

Turns out there was something fishy about Columbia's weekend box office estimate for Big Fish. According to final figures, Tim Burton's latest tall tale grossed $13.8 million — well below the $14.5 million the studio initially reported. That means Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the real champ with $14.2 million. read more

Question: On the TV version ...

Question: On the TV version of Mister Roberts, was he a Navy SEAL? — John B., Ft. Myers, Fla.

Televisionary: Nope. Played for a year beginning in September 1965 by Roger Smith on NBC, Roberts was a plain old Naval lieutenant (junior grade) on the cargo vessel Reluctant, just as he was when Henry Fonda portrayed him on stage and screen.

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LET'S MAKE A DEAL

Speaking of embattled pop stars, Diana Ross will accept a plea agreement rather than go to trial on drunken-driving charges. Ross — who originally pleaded not guilty — will change her plea at a Feb. 9 hearing. The 59-year-old performer was arrested on Dec. 30, 2002 in Tucson, Ariz. read more

SPRINGTIME FOR FRASIER

Frasier Crane may be trading in the gray skies of Seattle for the bright lights of Broadway. With Frasier going kaput in May, Kelsey Grammer is in talks to take over Nathan Lane's role as rapscallion producer Max Bialystock in The Producers this summer, TV Guide Online has learned. Lane and Matthew Broderick are currently two weeks into their three-month return engagement on the Great White Way. Should Grammer accept the gig, who would play Bloom to his Bialystock? "I don't know," he says. "That's one of the questions." Here's a suggestion: What about his Frasier sib David Hyde Pierce? "That's a funny idea," Grammer says. "I'm not sure if the audience is ready for that yet." In related news, Kelsey Grammer th read more

Antiques Roadshow Value of a 1871...

Antiques Roadshow
Value of a 1871 map of the Great Chicago Fire: $900-1,000.
Value of a men's pocket watch and girly chatelaine: $7,500.
Value of time lost to tonight's show: priceless.
Watching the Antiques Roadshow makes me wonder: Would I be willing to fake surprise at the value of my supposed garage sale finds just to get on television? Not really. But it seems like half the people who get airtime do. They must. Their reactions are too calculated. There was only one guy from tonight's episode that I actually believe had no clue how much his piece was worth. The gray-haired owner of an 18th century map of Virginia and Maryland used in the Seven Years War. Mister-Mister stumbled backwards and didn't know what to do with his hands after the Roadshow expert appraised his piece at $18,000 to $25,000. "You're kidding!" he said. No, Grandpa, they're not. Congratulations.

Fear Factor: Couples
OK. I'm just too bitter read more

Question: I was searching for ...

Question: I was searching for stuff on WKRP's Jan Smithers (I had a crush on her instead of Loni Anderson) and found a 1966 Newsweek cover with a picture of her on it. But WKRP wasn't on until the '70s, so what show was she on there for? Thanks. — Conrad L., Tallmadge, Ohio

Televisionary: Bailey over Jennifer? Join the club, Conrad. Most every target-market adolescent boy I knew chose the quieter beauty of Bailey Quarters (Smithers) over the in-your-face va-va-voom of bombshell receptionist Jennifer Marlowe (Anderson).

Someone at Newsweek thought Smithers was an attention grabber, too, because she was chosen for the March 21, 1966 cover, which showed her perched on the back of a cycle for a story about trends among American teens, without a TV show to her name. The magazine wanted a typical California girl and picked the then-16-year-old Smithers for the shot, stating in the story that she "orbits between the worlds of th read more

Question: I recently saw an ...

Question: I recently saw an episode of Bewitched in which Samantha delivers a little boy. I was amazed to find out she had a child other than Tabitha because I watched the show growing up and have no memory of Sam being pregnant or having this other baby. Was Elizabeth Montgomery really pregnant at the time, or was this just a plot device for the show? — Tracey W., Madison, Miss.

Televisionary: Both. The late Ms. Montgomery was pregnant with her third child, so Samantha gave birth to a baby boy, Adam, in the episode that aired Oct. 16, 1969. The following season, the older Adam was played by twins David and Greg Lawrence.

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PREPARE TO BE CARDED

Fox Searchlight Pictures has decided to release Bernardo Bertolucci's racy new film The Dreamers in February uncut and rated NC-17. It'll mark the first time in six years a major studio has released a film with the adults-only rating. Based on Gilbert Adair's novel, Dreamers centers around three college students who test each other sexually. read more

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