Today's News: Our Take


Question: I'm not sure if I'm ...

Question: I'm not sure if I'm splitting racial hairs here, but I'm just curious. Wasn't Chico, from Chico and the Man, supposed to be a Chicano since the show takes place in L.A.? A friend of mine says he was Puerto Rican. — Hector R., San Diego, Cal.

Televisionary: Funny you should ask, Hector, since Chico (the late Freddie Prinze) started the show as one, but ended as the other. A little explanation is in order (and I assume you don't mind — why else would you be reading this in the first place?).

When the hit NBC sitcom launched in September 1974, Chico Rodriguez was a Chicano (an American of Mexican descent) who came to work with curmudgeonly garage owner Ed "The Man" Brown (Jack Albertson) and help save his business. The series immediately found a big audience — and just as quickly drew fire from prominent read more

Question: Rick Springfield ...

Question: Rick Springfield was the voice of a cartoon character I watched as kid. I cannot remember what the show was called. It was about a witch who taught a class and would have to take the kids with her. They would go through the chalkboard to get wherever. I seem to remember Rick's character was always involved. I think he used to sing as well. Could you please help me out? — Curtiss N., Seattle, Wash.

Televisionary: That I can. Springfield voiced an animated version of himself on an ABC Saturday-morning cartoon called Mission: Magic, which ran from 1973-75, I believe. On the show, teacher Miss Tickle and her magic cat took the student members of her Adventurers Club through a magic door she drew on the board. Rick and his owl guided them on their adventures, and Springfield also penned and performed original tunes for the show.

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MONSTER INK

Jennifer Lopez is thisclose to signing a deal to star in the New Line Cinema comedy Monster-in-Law. According to The Hollywood Reporter, J.Lo would play a girl who's set to marry the perfect guy until she meets his evil mother. Somewhere, Ben's mom is plotting her revenge. read more

GOOD HAIR DAY

Hairspray brushed past the competition at last night's Tony Awards, picking up eight trophies including best musical, lead actor (Harvey Fierstein) and lead actress (Marissa Jaret Winokur). The gay baseball dramedy Take Me Out was named best play, while Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night and Nine the Musical collected top revival honors. read more

OFF 2 FAST START

Vin Diesel is no doubt nursing a bruised ego today. The street-racing sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious — which some predicted would tank sans Diesel fuel — sped to No. 1 at the box office with $52.1 million. The original pic grossed $40.1 million in its opening weekend in 2001. That bumped Disney's Finding Nemo to second place with a still-potent $45.8 million. The animated smash's 10-day total stands at $143.3 million. Rounding out the top five: Bruce Almighty (No. 3 with $21.7 million), The Italian Job (No. 4 with $13.3 million) and The Matrix Reloaded (No. 5 with $9.1 million). read more

SMOKED OUT

The 33-year-old attorney at the center of NBC's new dating show For Love or Money has a skeleton in his closet, and sure enough, the folks at TheSmokingGun.com have uncovered it! According to the site's sleuths, Rob Campos had his military career derailed after he drunkenly groped the breasts of a Navy officer after barging uninvited into the woman's dormitory room early one morning. The drunken escapade allegedly occurred in mid-1999 at the Newport Naval Station in Rhode Island. As a result, Campos was expelled from the JAG training program, slapped with an administrative punishment, and ordered to enroll in a substance abuse treatment program. In a statement, NBC said it was not aware of Campos's checkered past. "Clearly, this would have been material information during the screening process." read more

The Return of Tom Green

Who knew sucking on a cow's udder and throwing plastic babies at cars would launch both a career and a national obsession with televised pranks? Well, Tom Green apparently did. The outrageous stunts on his short-lived but influential MTV series The Tom Green Show (1999-2000) literally spawned the shock TV trend. (Think Fear Factor, Jackass, Punk'd and The Jamie Kennedy Experiment). But just as quickly as Green rose to idol status with his teenage male audience, he came crashing down with a series of set backs. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer, he wed (and shed) Drew Barrymore and wrote, directed and starred in a spectacularly horrible movie, Freddy Got Fingered.

Green, now 32, is getting back to his roots with MTV's The New Tom Green Show (debuting at m read more

Brooke Burke Feels The Heat

When Brooke Burke exited E!'s skin-driven Wild On travel series last year, the bikini industry and much of the male population softly wept. But thankfully, you can still catch her on Rank, E!'s pop culture countdown show, as well as Maxim's Hot 100, NBC's TV version of the men's mag's annual female revue (Saturday at 9 pm/ET). We asked Burke, 31, to reflect on this head-turning honor.

TV Guide Online: Congratulations on your three-peat on the Hot 100. You've made the list for three years in a row now.
Burke:
Thank you. It's pretty cool. I didn't think of it that way. Suddenly [number] 82 doesn't look that bad! (Laughs) I think it's always great to be included, and 100 is a pretty small number when you look at all the women in the world.


TVGO: So what did you think of the rest of the list?
Burke:
It's really bizarre this year. I'm absolutely shocked at the results. You're looking at some controversy.

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Singer Tyrese Keeps On Acting


After starring in 2001's Baby Boy, R&B singer Tyrese said he wasn't "feeling" acting anymore. Yet there he is, cracking jokes and racing hot rods alongside Paul Walker in 2 Fast 2 Furious! Whazzup wit dat, yo?

"I thought the experience of doing Baby Boy was so draining and grueling, I didn't look forward to doing another [movie] no time soon," Tyrese explains. "It's been awhile since I've done another movie. I've got plenty of offers, scripts coming to the table and all that. I just didn't want to do it, because it didn't make sense. The cards didn't line up correctly."

Translation: Tyrese isn't up for doing films he doesn't like, even if there's big time bling bling involved.

"If you take me out of my music game to do a movie, it bett read more

MORE TONY STUFF

Marc Shaiman and Scott WittmanHairspray's Tony-winning songwriting duo — revealed backstage at last night's ceremony that they are working with Steven Spielberg on a musical version of Catch Me if You Can. On a related note, rumor has it Harvey Fierstein has expressed interest in chasing after Leonardo DiCaprio. read more

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