Today's News: Our Take

Question: Which character ...

Question: Which character died in the "Increase the Peace" episode of Hanging with Mr. Cooper? — Andrew W., Whitehall, Pa.

Televisionary: Funny thing, Andrew. In finding this answer, I came across the exact same question in an Internet scavenger hunt that looks like it was given by a teacher to her technology class as an assignment. Now, the only reason I'm answering this is because by the time it appears, the deadline for your homework (if that's what it is) will have long since passed.

The character who died in the Season 4 episode of the ABC series was named Monica, a girl whom Earvin (Omar Gooding) got involved with and whose brother's gang activities got her killed.

The reason you couldn't find it yourself, by the way, is because you were searching on "hanging" when you should've been looking for "hangin'," as in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.

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Question: This isn't a bet ...

Question: This isn't a bet since we're not betting people, but it is an argument. Wasn't Vega$ Robert Urich's first TV series? I say no. Thank you for helping out. — Meredith M., Owasso, Okla.

Televisionary: And you're right, Meredith, in keeping with the grand Televisionary tradition of whoever tends to write in about these things usually having their facts straight. The late Urich, who starred in a whopping 15 TV dramas and comedies over his career, appeared on Bob &#038 Carol &#038 Ted &#038 Alice, SWAT, Tabitha and Soap before jumping into the role of T-bird-driving private eye Dan Tanna on ABC's Vega$, which ran on ABC from September 1978 to September 1981.

And it was a long road to that point. After growing up in a small Ohio town, attending Florida State on a football scholarship and getting an M.A. in broadcast management ("When I went home on vacation, t read more

Question: In the Feb. 25 ...

Question: In the Feb. 25 episode of Angel, Wes was reading a book to Fred, but we weren't told what the book was. Do you know what it was? My coworker Angela and I are both wild with curiosity! Thanks! — Melissa, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Televisionary: Sure do. It was Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic A Little Princess.

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The Power of Intention So, basically,...

The Power of Intention
So, basically, you can have what you want in life. But only if you really, really intend to get it. Blah, blah, tapping into energy, blah. That's about all I got from this PBS special because I could only stand 13 minutes. I mean, I know people pay good money to hear Dr. Wayne Dyer talk, but dang. [Me channeling my inner Chandler Bing] Could this self-help guru be any more boring?

Yes, Dear
OK. I missed the first half of this show (Blame Dyer!). But somehow Jimmy managed to get onto Big Brother. And he was doing pretty well until Greg tried to "save" him from being ousted and got him kicked out of the house instead. But that's not what got me. My real deal with this episode — a funny repeat. But hey it's new to me! — is that it doubled as a blatant infomercial for Big Brother. Not only was it taped on the Big Brother set (which happens to be on the same lot as Yes, Dea read more

Question: What was the ...

Question: What was the instrument that Sting played during his performance for the nominated song from Cold Mountain on the Academy Awards? — Anne, Durham, N.C.

Televisionary: That was a hurdy-gurdy, also called a vielle &#224 roue and other names. It's a stringed instrument that uses a rotating wheel to play the strings.

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Question: I just finished ...

Question: I just finished reading your column for this week and noticed an error in one of your answers. A woman was asking about a TV movie with Ellen Barkin and Oprah Winfrey. Your answer was that it was Ellen Foster but in actuality the movie was called Before Women Had Wings, a 1997 TV movie starring Barkin and Winfrey. This film was produced by Oprah and the story revolved around an abused child who sought refuge with a coloured neighbour in 1960s southern America. Don't mean to be picky but I love it when my brain full of useless knowledge comes in handy. Love your column! — Tammy P., Hamilton, Ont., Canada

Televisionary: I love it when my own useless knowledge comes in handy, too, especially since it seems to do so on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, in this case, I was, well... wrong.

The movie in question in my Feb. 24 column was indeed Before Women Had Wings, not Ellen Foster read more

Question: A coworker and I ...

Question: A coworker and I were recently watching the Seinfeld episode "The Cadillac," in which Jerry's father is fired as president of the condo board. The episode ends in a film parody, but we can't think of the movie being lampooned. Please help. — Corey H., Sioux Falls, S.D.

Televisionary: It's only parodying a movie insofar as the movie reflected real life, Corey. That scene is a takeoff of Richard Nixon's exit from the White House after his resignation. In a famous bit of footage, he walks with wife Pat to a waiting helicopter, then turns, smiles and gives his famous double-V salute before getting in. (The movie in question is, of course, Nixon.)

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Sela Ward's Shocking Slap

After wrapping her stint as a modern mom on ABC's Once and Again, Sela Ward traveled back in time to the 1950s in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. She plays lead girl Ramolo Garai's mother, who's a frustrated former ballroom dancer. While filming in Puerto Rico, Ward was thrilled to strap on sexy heels and show off her moves on the dance floor, albeit very briefly.

"Damn it, I practiced for two solid weeks and there was only 30 seconds [on screen]," Ward laments to TV Guide Online. "I was so proud of all that dancing. That's the hardest work I've ever done, physically."

Is she kidding? This 47-year-old's killer body must require serious work! "I'm [usually] doing boring things like the treadmill, the weights and resistance training," she explains. "[While dancing,] I had sweat pouring off of me in rehearsal. It was g read more

WB to Hottie: Get Lost!

Thus far in his career, Mike Erwin has been most widely recognized as "the guy in the coma" on Everwood. But that will soon change, if WB's Lost in Space pilot takes off: The 25-year-old has been cast as the proposed remake's major hottie, Maj. Don West. "I actually get to play a cool character for once," he tells TV Guide Online enthusiastically. "I'm totally excited.

"[Buffy the Vampire Slayer grad] Doug Petrie is the writer, and he and I have a great relationship," he continues. "He even opened the door to allow me to create some of my character's choices. He wanted my input; that's really rare."

Although the actor bought the whole series on DVD to research his role, "I don't think we're going to be anything like the old one was," he says read more


The body of 62-year-old actor-writer Spalding Gray, who disappeared from his Manhattan apartment two months ago, was pulled out of New York's East River on Sunday. The cause of death was still under investigation. Gray — who was probably best known for his Obie-winning monologue, Swimming to Cambodia — had suffered from depression in recent years. read more

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