Today's News: Our Take


Question: Did 7th Heaven's ...

Question: Did 7th Heaven's Happy the dog die in real life? I read that he died on the WB site's message board. Please clear this up for me. — Mel, Fla.

Televisionary: You're barking up the wrong tree, Mel. A nice lady at the WB tells me Happy is alive and well. Don't believe such tails.

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Question: Hello. Can you ...

Question: Hello. Can you please help me find the Tennyson piece that Frasier quoted in his final episode? Thanks so much! — Jeanne B., Secaucus, N.J.

Televisionary: No problem, Jeanne; I'm always happy to help promote the cause of literacy in pop TV. That was from "Ulysses," which you'll find in Tennyson's Poems, in Two Volumes, as well as a whole slew of collections. It's too long to run in its entirety (for that you can look here, among other places). But here are the parts Kelsey Grammer read in the finale of the show. (He cut a couple lines out; so I did, too, because accuracy's my bag — at least, when I'm not making the rare mistake you eagle-eyed guys are so happy to correct.):

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles...
...and tho'
We are not read more

Question: Am I imagining ...

Question: Am I imagining things, or did I see Sesame Street's Maria on an episode of Law & Order, and Gina on a few episodes of The Sopranos? If so, they've come a long way from fixing toasters and treating animals. — Patricia M., Wheaton, Ill.

Televisionary: That they have, Patricia.

It was indeed Sonia Manzano, who has portrayed Maria on the Street for more than three decades, playing Barbara Benitez in the March 3 L&O episode "Hands Free." And you weren't alone in recognizing her. While shooting that installment, "The sound guy kept calling me Maria and telling me he grew up watching me. It was funny," she told The Detroit News.

As for Alison Bartlett, who portrays Gina, if you saw her on The Sopranos as the girlfriend of Tony B. (Steve Buscemi), the read more

Question: Was The Paper ...

Question: Was The Paper Chase's John Houseman a real law professor before he took up acting? I thought I remembered reading that. — Jonathan T., Stoneham, Mass.

Televisionary: Nope. But the late Houseman, who passed away in 1988, was many other things, certainly, before taking that role. Matter of fact, he didn't even start acting until he was 70, though by then he was already renowned as a theater and film innovator.

Born Jacques Haussmann, the Romanian native was in New York by the age of 25, cornering the soybean market as well as writing reviews and short stories. However, his business career was not to be: He was wiped out in the Depression and turned to the stage. He directed and produced and then hooked up with a young Orson Welles, working under the WPA to form the Negro Theater Project and Classical Theater and staging, among other things, a voodoo version of Macbeth. The two went on to form the Mercury Theater, scaring the he read more

CINEMA INTERRUPTUS

HBO has dropped plans for a Sex and the City feature film after Kim Cattrall refused to commit. (But she's nothing like Samantha. Really.) According to Variety, Cattrall insisted on having both script approval and a paycheck equal to series star Sarah Jessica Parker. When HBO refused to meet her demands, the diva apparently backed out and instead signed on to Disney's upcoming skating flick Ice Princess. Cattrall's rep says her client "waited as long as possible with no script or start date and felt she had to take other offers that were presented to her." Responds HBO, diplomatically: "We've had six wonderful years with the show and we're extremely proud of what we've accomplished." Translation: "We let you frolic naked with Jason Lewis and this is read more

NATURAL DOWNSIZING

Have you ever fantasized about what The Swan would look like without all of the apocalyptic overtones and Amanda Byram? NBC is betting you have. According to Variety, the network has greenlit production of The Biggest Loser, an eight-episode reality series in which plus-size contestants compete to see who can achieve the most spectacular physical transformation — without going under the knife. "People will have to work to get healthy," says producer Ben Silverman. "There are no short cuts." (Unless you're really freaky looking, in which case a little nip, tuck and suck will be allowed.) read more

Question: Who played one of ...

Question: Who played one of the detectives in the made-for-TV movie The Perfect Murder on Lifetime? Was it Kris Kristolferson or Tom Skillet? — Kimberly H., Conshohocken, Pa.

Televisionary: I assume you mean the 2000 movie Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. If so, that was Kris Kristofferson, Diane. I also assume you mean Tom Skerritt. Nope, wasn't him. Nor was it Tom Skillet. I checked on that, and it didn't pan out.

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SPICE GIRL SPEAKS!

Victoria Beckham is standing by her man, telling the new Marie Claire that "David's never cheated on me... I really do believe deep down that I have the most faithful husband I could hope for." Posh Spice also squashed reports that her studly hubby is into porn, claiming he actually prefers to watch the British gardening show Ground Force. (Insert your own hoe joke here.) read more

GET YOUR GROOVE (BACK) ON

American Idol producer Simon Fuller is teaming up with Dick Clark to resurrect TV's seminal song-and-dance revue, American Bandstand. The new version, which will feature a fresh competition element, is slated to debut in summer 2005. read more

Yes, Dear This episode makes me...

Yes, Dear
This episode makes me ask myself one question: How nice would the guesthouse have to be for me to willingly move onto a crazy rich old man's property? Hmmm.

Eve
Have we ever discussed the fact that this show is called Eve — the real name of its rap star — but the star's character's name is Shelley? I'm just saying.

But anyway...

Why is Eve, I mean, Shelley, forcing J.T.'s hand? "Does our relationship have a future?" she asked. "Can you see yourself spending the rest of your life with me?" Now you know that's a dangerous question. Even if he does see himself having a future with you (which he does), he doesn't want to think of it in those terms. Girl, have you lost your mind?

The Swan: The Pageant
OK. The "world's most unique pageant" was also the world's worst pageant ever in the history of bathing-suit competitions everywhere. I mean, damn: Just because something read more

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