Today's News: Our Take


C-SPAN got a jolt this weekend when political humorist Al Franken attacked the credibility of Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly during a televised Los Angeles booksellers' luncheon. A verbal argument ensued, complete with name-calling. Franken was there touting his new book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them and O'Reilly was promoting Who's Looking Out for You?. You can catch the debate on Sunday at 5:30 pm/ET on C-SPAN2, if you missed it. read more


Carlos Santana will donate all proceeds from the U.S. leg of his Shaman summer tour to South African AIDS organizations... Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors has cancelled its summer engagement... CBS withdrew its bid to televise the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games... Don Johnson will star in and co-executive produce the upcoming TNT movie, Word of Honor. read more


Good news for Shannen Doherty: Sci-Fi's Scare Tactics is getting an extended run. The network has ordered nine new episodes of the spooky Candid Camera rip-off hosted by the 90210 and Charmed alum. They start airing June 20. And you thought she couldn't succeed without Aaron Spelling! read more

Cheers Postman Always Rings Twice

Since he's TV's most memorable mailman, everyone knows John Ratzenberger's name. But his long-running stint as know-it-all Cliff Clavin on Cheers almost didn't happen.

"In the first season, I wasn't a regular," Ratzenberger, 56, recalls . "I invented the character in the audition, and from week to week, I didn't know whether I was going to do next week's show or not.

"[Once], after we shot an episode," he recalls, "they said, 'Your call time is 10 o'clock on Monday.' And I was looking at the script thinking, 'I'm not in this script.' I didn't want to embarrass anybody, so I walked up to [Cheers creator] James Burrows and said, 'I'm not in this script, so I won't be here on Monday.' And he said, 'What? We'll put you in.' The following year, I was made a regular. That was a big moment for me."

T read more


Things are heating up again for Martha Stewart, who's edging closer to going on trial for insider trading of ImClone shares. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan plans to ask a federal grand jury to return an indictment against Stewart, the chairman and chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., in the near future. For the domestic diva's sake, we hope none of the jurors saw NBC's saucy biopic Martha, Inc. "I asked for merlot!!!" read more


Columbia Records is rushing to release Dangerously in Love, the solo debut album of Destiny's Child diva Beyonc&#233 Knowles, Billboard reports. In hopes of beating out Internet pirates — and striking while her "Crazy in Love" single is still hot — Beyonc&#233's newest effort will now hit stores June 24, instead of July 8. The album's A-list "guest stars" include Jay-Z, Luther Vandross and Missy Elliott. read more

Question: I have asked this ...

Question: I have asked this question several times and here I go again. On the PBS TV show Clifford the Big Red Dog, who is the voice of Clifford? I am betting it's John Ritter. I just never have the chance to see the credits and that is why I am asking. Thanks, for the third time! &#151 Ann, Chicago, Ill.

Televisionary: But look at the bright side, Ann. Clifford's an educational show, this is an educational column, and now I've motivated you to count to three. Everybody wins!

Yeah, I know I'm being a smart aleck. But I'll make up for it by telling you you're right; Clifford is indeed voiced by Three's Company and 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter star Ritter. Since you keep missing the credits and I do so love my readers, I'll tell you the cast also includes read more

Inside The Animatrix

Despite a record-setting opening weekend, it's no secret The Matrix Reloaded hasn't exactly been embraced by moviegoers and reviewers. For all its technical razzle-dazzle, critics lament, the sequel ultimately raises more questions than it answers about The Matrix's machine-constructed "reality." Hopefully, the November release of The Matrix Revolutions — the third and final movie — will bring some closure, but until then, fans can content themselves with the IMAX version of Reloaded (opening on select IMAX screens this Friday) and a new DVD, The Animatrix, which hits stores today.

A collection of animated short films, Animatrix fleshes out stuff the Matrix movies aren't able to address. Four of the nine shorts are written by the minds behind the franchise, the Wachowski brothers. And the DVD's list of direct read more

Emmy's Most Deserving Sitcoms!

The actual nominations for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmys won't be announced until July 3, but since we're so often flummoxed by the selections of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, we've taken it upon ourselves (for the third year in a row) to make a few suggestions. This way, as members of the Academy dicker and deliberate, they'll know which shows they should — and might not have thought to — vote for. To that end, today we submit our recommendations in the comedy-series category. Listen to us, Academy, and for once, the noms might be a laughing matter in a good way.

The Bernie Mac Show: Turning the family-sitcom format on its ear (and, just for good measure, beating it till the white meat shows), this sharply-written Fox breakout scores with its believably bratty moppets, red-hot mama figure and, best of all, a forum in which stand-up comic Mac can earn a standing ovation.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: If read more


Will Wright, creator of the Sims video game, has inked a development deal with Fox, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "It could be a sitcom or something completely different," says Mike Darnell, the network's executive VP of alternative programming in specials. "This deal's not about taking a game and turning it into a TV show; it's about creating new entertainment franchises." However, a separate deal is in the works to bring Sims to the small screen. read more

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