Today's News: Our Take


FIRESTARTER

Denis Leary has signed on to play a New York firefighter in Rescue Me, a one-hour dramedy pilot for FX. The comic-actor — whose real-life Firefighters Foundation has raised more than $1 million for local fire departments — also serves as the project's creator-exec producer. read more

Question: When did The ...

Question: When did The Incredible Hulk's first season start? Was it '77 or '78? — Mike P., Roseville, Mich.

Televisionary: The Bill Bixby-Lou Ferrigo series ran on CBS from March 1978 to June 1982, jumping from Friday to Wednesday, to Friday, and then back again.

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GUINEY PIG?

The owners of a $4.5 million Malibu estate are suing the producers of The Bachelor, claiming their crib was trashed during the show's month-long shoot there. According to TheSmokingGun.com, Kenneth Chyten and his wife claim that when the cast and crew (including star Bob Guiney) vacated the two acre spread, they left behind holes in the walls, a poisonous spider infestation and a rodent problem (we assume they mean host Chris Harrison). The couple is seeking $5 million in damages. read more

Warning: Things are about to get...

Warning:
Things are about to get uggglllyyy! Pretty soon five good shows will all air at 9 pm on Mondays: Fox's Skin; NBC's Las Vegas; WB's Everwood; CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond; and UPN's Girlfriends. What are network execs trying to do, kill me? Let the tape-one-show-watch-another-and-channel-surf experiment begin. Wish me luck. (Or pray that I get a life, whichever you prefer.)

Fear Factor
People always ask why I like this stupid show. And I'm just going to put it out there: It's a free reality check. Every week I learn one more thing that I would or would not do for money. Plain and simple. This week's two-hour, play-for-a-$1 million episode raised the stakes. Would I lie in a glass casket as it filled with water teeming with live leeches? For a million bucks? Hell, yeah! Now, could I bob in raw ostrich eggs, grab five pig tongues with my teeth, then eat one chased by five live leeches? Um... no. I couldn' read more

Question: Where was the TV ...

Question: Where was the TV series M*A*S*H filmed? Whenever I see reruns, I think that they did a really good job of finding a place that looks like Korea. — Kate, Wellington, New Zealand

Televisionary: During the hit show's 1972-83 run, most exteriors were shot in California, on a Malibu Canyon parcel of land that used to be known as the Fox Ranch but is now Malibu Creek State Park. (Fox gave the property to the state while M*A*S*H was still in production.) The interiors and certain outside scenes were shot on a Hollywood soundstage.

In 1982, a brush fire burned down most of the show's exterior set, which is why a similar blaze was written into the series' final episode. But up until then, those behind the show considered themselves lucky to have, as you say, found a place so similar in appearance to the area surrounding the real-life Korean M*A*S*H unit that inspired the book the movie and show were based on. How did they know? They went to Korea t read more

EMMY RATINGS

Maybe it was the failed multiple-emcee format. Maybe it was the three-hour-plus running time. Or maybe, just maybe, it was Bill Cosby's shades. Whatever the reason, Sunday's Emmys notched a below-average 17.7 million viewers. That's off 11 percent from last year's show on NBC, when Conan O'Brien hosted — alone. Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge. read more

ARE YOU STILL GAME?

The Game Show Network has acquired rerun rights to the original Regis Philbin-hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Rumor has it GSN may follow ABC's groundbreaking strategy of airing the quizzer as often as possible until viewers get sick of it and stop watching. read more

MYSTERY QUOTE

"I just took the Mensa IQ test, and I was down seven points from last year. I think I've been [in this business] too long." Can you name the D-list celeb who uttered these words while killing time on the red carpet at Sunday's Emmys? Send me your best guess via the link at the bottom of this page. Look for the answer later this week. read more

POOL HOG

Former Hollywood Square Alec Baldwin will play Burt Lancaster's role in a remake of the 1968 film The Swimmer, which revolves around an ad exec who swims home through every backyard pool in his tony neighborhood. read more

Question: I need some help ...

Question: I need some help because this is driving me nuts. I want to know the name of a show that was on Showtime a few years ago. It was about a group of friends, but the twist was part of it took place around 1993, another part in 2001 and a third part in 2008 (I'm guessing, but it was around those years). It was on the air a few years ago and I think it only lasted a season. Also, I remember they used "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads in their promos. Can you name this show for me? — Matt

Televisionary: Showtime's Leap Years did more than promote with that tune, Matt; it was the series' theme song.

Leap Years debuted in July 2001, relating the lives of a group of New York friends in the years 1993, 2001 and 2008. Among them were actress Athena (Michelle Hurd), movie critic (and future therapist) Gregory (Garret Dillahunt), lawyer Joe (Bruno Campos), developer Josh (David Julian Hirsh) and teacher Beth (N read more

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