Today's News: Our Take


Question: This may be more ...

Question: This may be more complicated (okay, boring) a question than you normally answer, but I was wondering about Hee Haw. I forget which one, but I seem to remember it being a network show. So how come it was on my local UHF station for all those years? I know UHF reveals my age here. Thank you, oh wise one. — Rick G., Tullahoma, Tenn.

Televisionary: I reckon that's the first time I've seen "complicated" and "Hee Haw" in the same sentence, Rick. But then, that show was full of surprises.

As opposed to the syndicated reruns of network shows you see on your local stations (and yes, I grew up watching UHF, too — way back in the days when you needed two dials and two kinds of antennae to watch the tube), Hee Haw was a first-run syndicated show for most of its 24-year lifespan. But it did indeed debut on CBS in June 1969, and quickly became a surprise hit for the network.

Now, the term "surprise" really comes into play here becaus read more

Question: What color blood ...

Question: What color blood did Dr. Spock have? Also, how much money did Jack Benny win on The $64,000 Question? — Glenda D., Harrisburg, Pa.

Televisionary: Administering random testing now, are we, Glenda? Don't give the rest any ideas, please. And to any of you getting 'em, I'm just answering these because I feel like it.

First off, I wonder if you meant this to be a trick question. Famed pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock had red blood like the rest of us. But I'm betting you meant Star Trek's Mr. Spock (this is a TV-oriented column, after all). Because Spock (Leonard Nimoy) had a human mom and a vulcan dad, his blood was green (although it had some human characteristics, apparently — I'll let the Trek purists read more

WILD ABOUT HARRY

NBC may give actor-crooner-Will & Grace star Harry Connick Jr. his own sitcom, Variety reports. Word is the show would not be a spinoff of his W&G character, which is good because that so wouldn't be funny. read more

SAY IT ISN'T SO

The fairytale romance between Liza Minnelli and David Gest is over. After 18 months of marriage, the couple have separated. No word on what caused the split, although rumor has it the last straw came when Minnelli started thinking for herself. read more

I SPY A HIT

Never underestimate the power of cheap, disposable 3-D glasses, folks Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over claimed the top spot at the box office over the weekend, grossing a better-than-expected $32.5 million. That's nearly double what Spy Kids 2 earned during its opening weekend last summer. Also looking strong out of the gate: the Tobey Maguire Depression-era racehorse drama Seabiscuit, which debuted at No. 5 with $21.5 million. That's particularly impressive when you consider the film opened on half as many screens as Spy Kids 2. The news wasn't so good for Angelina Jolie. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life ranked fourth with $21.8 million, about half of what the first read more

Rob Lowe Is So Over West Wing


In NBC's fall drama, The Lyon's Den, Rob Lowe plays good guy attorney Jack Turner, a senator's son who works at a shady Washington, D.C., law firm. One of Jack's first lines in the pilot — "I don't like politics" — suggests that star/executive producer Lowe is taking a crack at his ex-employer, The West Wing. Is he?

"Not a crack against it at all," Lowe, 39, insisted at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood. "That was an amazing, wonderful chapter that I'm really, really proud of. It was more of a knowing wink to the audience that there's a new sheriff in town."

For an actor who claimed to "love Aaron Sorkin," calling him "a genius" during the TCA session, Lowe sure did lots of moaning about the former WW head writer's scripts. Specifical read more

HBO's Rich Kids Tell All


You've heard lots about kids like Jack Osbourne and Nicole Richie. They're the spoiled scions of celebrities, who end up in drug rehab and police stations, not to mention embarrassing themselves on reality TV shows. Despite their cash, it's hard to envy these laughingstocks. But what about the lesser known trust fund babies of gazillionaire industrialists? This fall, HBO's documentary Born Rich peeks into the private, privileged lives of kids too rich (and not quite dumb enough) to bother living The Simple Life.

Born Rich producer Jamie Johnson, 20, is an heir to the Johnson &#038 Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. As he told reporters at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Hollywood, getting his wealthy peers to agree to interviews wasn't easy. Sure, Ivanka Trump — daughter of Donald and Ivan read more

POLITICAL UPHEAVAL

Is there another scandal brewing in The West Wing? According to Variety, four of the show's stars — Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and John Spencer — are once again hitting up their bosses for a raise. The actors are allegedly seeking to double their per-episode take, which currently stands at a measly $80,000. Two years ago, the quartet threatened to skip work if Warner Bros. TV didn't meet their salary demands. Such a drama isn't expected to play out this time around. read more

Recurring Dreams? Sweet!


In case you nodded off the first time we told you, we'll repeat ourselves: Not only is American Dreams the rare family drama that you can actually watch with your family, but the 1960s-set sleeper hit is the only show on TV that leads you onto the dance floor by tugging at your heartstrings. Now you have no excuse not to tune in, either: Beginning Sunday, Aug. 3, NBC is replaying pivotal episodes from the first season, during which high school hoofers Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow) and Roxanne Bojarksi (Vanessa Lengies) tried out for American Bandstand.

Besides, if you don't get acquainted with the golden girls this summer — and trust us, to know them is to love them — you won't have any idea how funny executive producer Jonathan Prince's plans really are for boisterous, boy-crazy Roxanne. "I think what we want t read more

24 HIRES

Several new faces will be clocking in on 24 this season. Film thesp Wendy Crewson (What Lies Beneath) has signed on for eight episodes, playing a possible love interest for one of the show's leading men. (I'd tell you which one, but then I'd get in big trouble.) Newcomer James Badgedale, meanwhile, has been cast as a young CTU agent partnered with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). read more

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