Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is developing a series for HBO set in the world of political consulting... Calvin Klein model Travis Fimmel has been tapped to play the title role in the WB's upcoming drama Tarzan... The UPN sitcom One on One has replaced Fox's The Bernie Mac Show as the top-rated show this season among black households, according to a recent study by ad agency BBDO... Fox is bringing young billionaire Richie Rich back to life in the form of a new TV series... Claudia Schiffer has named her newborn son Caspar. I bet he'll grow up to be a friendly fella.
Question: Without hair he looks different, but didn't Michael Chiklis play a cop on another TV series? I can't think of the name, but hated that they took it off the air. Sandra W., Spartanburg, S.C.
Televisionary: Actually, Chiklis was busted down to detective to play Vic Mackey on FX's The Shield, Sandra. You're thinking of ABC's The Commish, which ran from September 1991 to August 1995.
In it, Chiklis, who just picked up a Golden Globe for his Shield efforts (the series itself won best TV drama), played a Brooklyn native who was the police commissioner of Eastridge, a suburban New York town. Theresa Saldana portrayed his wife and David Paymer
Whatever Fox is paying American Idol meanie Simon Cowell, it's not enough. Fueled by two highly-rated editions of Idol (as well as a little show called Joe Millionaire), Fox was the most-watched network last week the first time it has scored such a feat on the strength of its entertainment programming alone. In other ratings news, the Sunday premiere of Dragnet on ABC drew 13.3 million viewers while NBC's competing Kingpin had 12.5 million.
Question: I recently was playing Trival Pursuit and got a question that said Kelsey Grammer is one of the few actors to have played the same role on three different shows (in his case, Dr. Frasier Crane). I was wondering what the third show was, besides Cheers and Frasier. Thanks for your help! R.S., Boston, Mass.
Televisionary: Actually, that's old info. The third show the game's researchers were thinking of was Wings, a 1992 episode of which ("Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes") featured Dr. Crane. (That particular guest work earned the actor an Emmy nomination.) But the character also appeared in a 1995 episode of The John Larroquette Show, bringing the grand total to four.
Question: On The Man from U.N.C.L.E., what did the acronym T.H.R.U.S.H. stand for? Thank you. Carol S.
Televisionary: The meaning of the evil international group's name was never revealed on the series, Carol. In fact, it was never made clear that it was an acronym at all. However, in one of the U.N.C.L.E. novels, it was revealed that the syndicate's name stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. (Try fitting that on a business card.)
T.H.R.U.S.H. was called W.A.S.P. in the pilot, by the way, but was changed for legal reasons. If you'd like to know what U.N.C.L.E. stood for (and learn all sorts of other fascinating details while you're at it), read my Oct. 23, 2001, column.
Question: I have seen two late-night runs of a show with Annie Potts, in which her character and a black friend (now an attorney) grew up together. What is the name of this show and when and where does it run? E.K., Uvalde, Tex.
Televisionary: Sounds like you caught reruns of Any Day Now, which originally ran on Lifetime from August 1998 to March 2002. The network runs old episodes of the series it wasn't renewed because Potts opted out after its initial four-year order was up weeknights at 1:30 am/ET.
Question: My wife and I have a bet, with the loser making dinner for two Friday nights in a row. What was Danny Thomas's real name? Thank you for your help. Jason W.
Televisionary: There are technically two correct answers to that one, Jason. Here's hoping yours is one of them (I always try to root for whichever warring party takes the time to write).
Thomas was born Amos Jacobs, which was the anglicization of his Arabic name, Muzyad Yahkoob (his parents were Lebanese immigrants), in 1914. And that wasn't the only interesting detail of his birth: A veterinarian delivered him in a barn on the family's Deerfield, Mich., farm during a violent snowstorm. (It seems his mother went into labor while watering the horses and couldn't be moved back to the house because of the weather.)
Sound like a tough life? It got tougher. When Thomas was only four months old, his dad bet the
On Sunday's Malcolm in the Middle, Lois got a surprise from the stork — the show's hot-tempered matriarch is pregnant with a fifth child! Funnily enough, actress Jane Kaczmarek and hubby Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) just welcomed daughter Mary Louisa in November. So why wasn't Kaczmarek's real-life pregnancy simply written into the show last year?
"The reality of it is Jane was pretty far along [in her pregnancy] when we started the [fourth] season for doing an 'I'm pregnant and playing it out,'" says exec producer Linwood Boomer. "We didn't have quite enough time to really plan out great episodes. Our lead time on the scripts is so far in advance.
"So," he conti
Still suffering from Felicity withdrawal? You're not alone. Scott Foley, who spent the better part of the last four years crushing on Keri Russell's angst-ridden alter ego, admits he grieved long and hard following the WB drama's swan song last May.
"I'm embarrassed to tell you this, but I'll let the cat out of the bag: I watched that final scene — the montage with the Sarah McLachlan song 'I Will Remember You' — probably 30 times over the course of two weeks," he confesses to TV Guide Online. "It just makes me so sad. I finally had to erase it from my Tivo and I haven't watched an episode since. I had to cut the cord.
"Shooting that final scene was one of the hardest days of my life," he adds. "We were all bawling our eyes out. I'