Today's News: Our Take

Question: Whatever happened ...

Question: Whatever happened to that funny show The Wackiest Ship In the Army? My cousin says there was never such a show. I say there was and there was a cute guy with a last name like Smoltz. Who's right in this family melee? — B.J., Carlsbad, N.M.

Televisionary: Why, you are, of course. The Wackiest Ship in the Army ran on NBC's schedule for a year beginning in September 1965.

Based on the true story of the Echo, a sailing ship of questionable seaworthiness given to the U.S. by New Zealand in 1942, the show focused on an old two-mast schooner commanded by the Navy's Gary Collins at sea and the Army's Jack Warden in its home port. (Whichever one wasn't in command reported to the other, and, of course, they didn't agree on much.)

Others in the cast included Rudy Solari, Don Penny, Mike Kellin, Charles Irving, William Zuckert and, as you say, Fred Smoot (though I can't back you up read more

Question: Who was the guest ...

Question: Who was the guest actress on the Dec. 4 episode of Without a Trace? She played a con artist. — Julie, Syracuse, N.Y.

Televisionary: The woman playing missing confidence woman Whitney Ridder was Jessalyn Gilsig. If she seems familiar, you most likely recognized her from her recent stint as teacher Lauren Davis on Boston Public.

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Question: A simple question: ...

Question: A simple question: How many total episodes of M*A*S*H aired in the 11 years it was on television? No bets, just curious. — Terri, Aurora Ill.

Televisionary: A simple answer: 251. See for yourself in our M*A*S*H ShowGuide.

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Oprah Winfrey has extended an olive branch to David Letterman, just as the duo's very public tiff had started to get ugly. On Friday's Late Show, Letterman announced that Winfrey had finally invited him to appear on her program — an offer he has yet to formally accept. "It can't possibly happen because that would screw up the Super Bowl of Love," he said. "Because here's what would happen: I would go on the Oprah show and I would break down and sob like a little girl." read more


Outspoken office manager Sandra Diaz-Twine outwitted a double-crossing Boy Scout leader and a really good liar with really scary hair to win Survivor: Pearl Islands last night. The 29-year-old mother of two collects $1 million, a new SUV and a 10 percent discount at the CBS commissary. Meanwhile, Nielsen estimates an average 25 million viewers watched the two-hour finale, easily making it Sunday's top program. read more

Tim McGraw's Peace Plans

Tim McGraw is quail hunting in Tennessee with his pal Clint Black when he calls. Yes, the man who headlines the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Concert says he's "all about the peace," except when it comes to quails. "It's either us or the coyotes." The concert — airing Dec. 21 on A&E — honors Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist. McGraw, 36, who's married to Faith Hill, says he's thrilled that he was invited to sing. "To think that country music has brought me far enough to do something like this is humbling."

TV Guide Online: Are you a peacenik?
I've got three daughters and a wife, so I've got to make the peace all the time at home. I'm always separating the girls.

TVGO: Will you join the Dixie Chicks and start speaking out against war?
I'm a country sin read more


Ozzy Osbourne is once again breathing on his own at a London hospital, where he continues to recover from last week's quad bike accident. read more


Nearly a month after his arrest, Michael Jackson is expected to be formally charged with multiple counts of child molestation this week. Someone better sedate Jermaine. read more


Moviegoers made love, not war, their genre of choice at the box office this weekend, as the Jack Nicholson-Diane Keaton romance Something's Gotta Give debuted at No. 1 with $17 million. That pushed Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai to second with $14 million, followed by the new Matt Damon-Greg Kinnear conjoined comedy Stuck on You (No. 3 with $10 million) and Love Don't Cost a Thing (No. 4 with $6.5 million). read more


The American Film Institute has unveiled its picks for the 10 best movies of 2003, and there's not a Jennifer Lopez flick in the bunch. The unranked list includes American Splendor, Finding Nemo, The Human Stain, In America, The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Monster and Mystic River. read more

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