Today's News: Our Take

Question: There is a Simpsons ...

Question: There is a Simpsons episode that features a John Denver song that starts with the words "starry starry night/paint your palette blue and grey..." What is that song title? — Melanie O., Ottawa, Ont., Canada

Televisionary: Actually, that's Don McLean singing the classic "Vincent" in the episode "'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky," Melanie. You'll find it on his classic album American Pie, named for his best-known song.

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Question: You'll see by my ...

Question: You'll see by my question that I'm no youngster, but you'll also see I've been wondering about this for a long, long time. I grew up watching Howdy Doody and my sister always claimed the beloved puppet I grew up with was not the original. So settle this for me after so many years. Has she been correct all along? Thank you. — Ira S., Sturgis, S.D.

Televisionary: That she has, Ira. The original Howdy Doody puppet, first seen when Bob "Buffalo Bob" Smith went from radio to creating a kids' TV show called Puppet Playhouse in December 1947, was a country character based on Elmer, a holdover from Smith's radio show who greeted listeners with the phrase "howdy doody." After a week, the show's name was changed to Howdy Doody and when Frank Paris, creator of the original Howdy marionette, couldn't come to terms with NBC over ownership of the show and filed suit, Smith and show producer Roger Muir commissioned two former D read more

Question: My son was asking ...

Question: My son was asking me about a sitcom that was like a video game and I cannot remember the name of it, what station it was on, or if it is still airing. Could you help me please? — Angela S., Bradford, Mass

Televisionary: Sure can, Angela, but I don't think your son's going to like it. He's talking about UPN's Game Over, which is an apt title given that the show is officially "on hiatus" but is understood to have been canceled. Sorry.

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Heather Locklear has been tapped to play Hilary Duff's mother in Universal's upcoming romantic comedy The Perfect Man. The film, which begins shooting April 29 in Toronto, centers on Duff's efforts to find her romantically challenged mom a mate. Worse case scenario there's always Andrew Shue. read more


Cosmetics icon Estee Lauder, who parlayed face creams and bath oils into a $5-billion-a-year international empire, died of cardiopulmonary arrest Saturday at her home in Manhattan. She was 97. Lauder, the lone female to make Time magazine's 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the century, was once quoted as saying, "There are no homely women, only careless women." read more

Meet 7th Heaven's Junior Hottie

Look out, Barry Watson. You're so old school. A new male heartthrob is taking over on 7th Heaven! Well, a heartthrob-in-training, anyway. Executive producer Brenda Hampton likes to joke that "the puberty fairy was extraordinarily good to" Scotty Leavenworth, who plays Peter. But will he ever live down that puberty quote?

"Everybody goes through that," the 13-year-old Californian tells TV Guide Online. "It's a normal thing." In fact, Leavenworth loves the idea of making fans all swoony. Laughing, he says, "I have no problem with it!"

The young actor — whose credits include Erin Brockovich and The Green Mile — teaches viewers a grown-up lesson on tonight's 7th Heaven. He says his character, Peter, "does something he shouldn't." Well, if he won't spill, we will: Peter's caught drinking alcohol with his friends — and there'll be serious consequences for it.

Aside from read more


Jennifer Garner has a new alias: Box-office draw. The actress's first solo effort on the big screen, 13 Going on 30, opened at No. 2 over the weekend with a better-than-expected $22 million. The lighthearted comedy came in just a hair behind Denzel Washington's violent thriller Man on Fire, which snagged the No. 1 spot with $23 million. Kill Bill — Vol. 2, meanwhile, fell from first to third with $10.4 million — a steep 59-percent drop from its big debut last weekend. read more


Oscar nominee Cate Blanchett, 34, gave birth to a baby boy, Roman Robert, Friday in London. This is the second child for Blanchett and her screenwriter hubby Andrew Upton, but the first to be named after a popular character from Days of Our Lives. For more on what is becoming Hollywood's hottest new baby-naming trend, click here. read more


Michael Jackson's two A-list lawyers, Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman, beat it over the weekend due to "a number of complicated legal and practical issues." Jackson promptly replaced them with high-powered criminal attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., who briefly represented Robert Blake in his murder case. The big switcheroo comes just days after a grand-jury indictment was dangled before the former King of Pop and less than a week before his latest arraignment. read more

Buffy Babe Jumps on Bandwagon!

Does life go on after Buffy the Vampire Slayer? It does for Emma Caulfield, the babe behind Sunnydale's late she-demon Anya. "I had been ready to go for a while — [for various] reasons," she tells TV Guide Online, cryptically. "It had nothing to do with [series creator] Joss Whedon; I love him. There were just certain politics around there that made it very difficult to grow."

So, what's a disgruntled vengeance demon to do? Try her luck on the big screen, natch. Since biting the dust in Buffy's May 2003 series finale, Caulfield headlined the hit horror flick Darkness Falls and produced and starred in the indie mockumentary Bandwagon. In the latter pic, which recently debuted at the Newport Beach Film Festival to rave reviews, the former Beverly Hills, 90210 star plays a self-absorbed Hollywood thesp named, um, Emma Caulfield.

The actress concedes that her peeps were a bit worried that audiences read more

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