Today's News: Our Take

Question: Please help! At ...

Question: Please help! At least 10 years ago, there was a Hallmark movie or movie of the week about an abused young girl who found solice with an African-American neighbor lady (maybe Oprah Winfrey). The name of it escapes me. I believe the mom was played by Ellen Barkin, but I'm not sure. Sorry for the limited info, but if anyone can figure it out, it's you. Also, do you know if it's available for purchase any where? Thanks! — Christine, Sumner, Wash.

Televisionary: Sounds to me like you're thinking of Ellen Foster, a 1997 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that starred Jena Malone as the titular Ellen, a young girl trying to escape life with her abusive father (Ted Levine) and grandmother (Julie Harris) after the death of her caring mother (Glynnis O'Connor). The home of her friend Starletta (Allison Jones II) and Starletta's mother (Lynne Moody) proved to be her salvation.

The film, based on the acclaimed read more

Question: What was the name ...

Question: What was the name of the train on The Wild, Wild West? — Anthony C., Amityville, N.Y.

Televisionary: The gadget-laden train in which undercover agents James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) tooled around the old West was called the Wanderer, and a beauty it was.

Exteriors were shot using a real antique locomotive and train cars from Nevada's old Virginia and Truckee Railroad. Interiors were shot in CBS sets. The Wanderer's cars were upgraded and changed over the course of the show (The Wild, Wild West ran from 1965-70), but initially they included a bedroom, a parlor, a kitchen and a combination gun room-laboratory, all of which cost only about $35,000 to build.

"People are fascinated by this train," associate producer Len Katzman told TV Guide in 1966. "It has everything from a 75 mm cannon to carrier pigeons.... On a coffee table we had two mounted pistols — decorator pieces read more

Big Fat Secrets Revealed!

Steven Bailey should be sweating bullets. When the harrowing conclusion of Fox's My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé airs tonight (at 9/ET), a place in hell is sure to be reserved in his name. After all, as the most uncouth bridegroom since the Stone Age, he reduced faux sweetheart Randi Coy's unsuspecting family to tears on an almost hourly basis. But, to hear him tell it, he doesn't give a... um, darn.

"We put the Coys through a lot, and I certainly felt guilty at times," he acknowledges, then adds with confidence, "but it is a practical joke!"

Whether said joke was actually practical, it was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, cruel. Not only did Bailey make the Coy clan believe that Randi was marrying someone she hardly knew, he made them think they were inheriting a poor relation whose table manners paled in comparison to those of most house pets. On top of it all, the Coys seemed pretty nice.

"[Regardless of] them being sweet people o read more


It didn't take long for reality guru Mark Burnett to find a home for The Contender, his latest unscripted experiment that's basically American Idol set within the boxing world. NBC agreed to shell out a record $2 million per episode for the show, beating out rival bids from ABC, CBS and Fox. As we reported here Thursday, The Contender — which Burnett is producing with DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg and erstwhile Rocky, Sylvester Stallone — aims to find America's next boxing superstar. read more


Getting married or engaged? Have a class reunion coming up? Got a scary-ass hairdo? If you answered yes to any of these questions (especially that last one), you could qualify for a makeover on Blow Out, Bravo's upcoming reality series set inside a new Beverly Hills salon. If interested, head to for more information. After that, get thee to Super Cuts. Pronto. read more

Trump Previews Apprentice 2

Donald Trump recently sealed a deal with NBC for a second edition of his reality smash, The Apprentice. But questions loom: Will the show stay on Thursday nights next fall? Have we seen the last of Sam Solovey? Will the next batch of males get a chance to redeem their gender? Is a second-season makeover in the cards for the show's star-tycoon? Will The Donald agree to talk to TV Guide Online about all of the issues put forth in this introduction? Oh, that last one's easy — you betcha!

TV Guide Online: Did you work it into the negotiations that The Apprentice remain on Thursdays next fall?
Donald Trump:
It's gonna stay in the same slot.

TVGO: You have an assurance from [NBC entertainment president] Jeff Zucker about this?
That's what they've told me. (An NBC rep tells TV Guide Online that no decision has been made about where and when The Apprentic read more


A pair of quirky indies dominated the Writers Guild of America's 56th annual awardsfest Saturday. Sofia Coppola won best original screenplay for Lost in Translation, and Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer snagged the best adapted screenplay prize for American Splendor. On the TV side, trophies for best comedy and drama writing went to Frasier and 24. read more

Queer Eye Goes Straight

Move over, Fab Five, there's a new crew of fashionistas in town. Beginning tonight at 10/ET, the Flab Four of Comedy Central's Straight Plan for the Gay Man will help a few lucky gay men discover their inner straight dude. TV Guide Online spoke with two of these heterosexual experts, Billy Merritt and Curtis Gwinn, to get their take on fashion, interior design and their competition.

TV Guide Online: Billy, you're credited as the "Appearance Guy" on the show, and Curtis, you're the "Environment Guy." So what makes you experts in your respective fields?
I like to consider myself the Minister of Style, like a defense minister. I'm all about fashion, and since doing this I have become more fashion conscious.
Curtis: Except for today, right?
Billy: What's wrong with today, man? Look, this tie matches this shirt! If I can get my tie to match my shirt and my belt, I win. Basically, my style is: Does it fit? If I can get my cloth read more


Regis Philbin has come to ABC's rescue once again. Last night's debut of Super Millionaire hit the jackpot with 17.5 million viewers — making it the night's top-rated program. The five-night event wraps up Friday. read more


In case you missed Sex and the City's 45-minute climax last night, here's a quick recap: Carrie chose Big, whose real name was revealed to be John; Charlotte's adoption came through; a chemotherapied Samantha found her sex drive again; and Miranda performed the ultimate act of love for Steve when she gave his demarbled mom a place to stay and a sponge bath. All told, the Fab Four ended on a happy note, and, despite what you may have heard, I didn't shed one measly tear. Not even when the girls took to the sidewalk for one final stroll through Manhattan. Oh, who am I kidding — I cried like a little girl. read more

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