Today's News: Our Take

Question: I can't remember ...

Question: I can't remember the name of the actress who played Goldie Hawn's character in the sitcom Private Benjamin. And how long did the series last? — Julie T., Taylor Mill, Ky.

Televisionary: In taking the hit feature film from the big screen to the small, Lorna Patterson stepped into Goldie Hawn's boots as pampered widow Judy Benjamin, who enlisted after her hubby died. The only two actors to carry over from the movie version were Eileen Brennan as Judy's C.O. and Hal Williams as her D.I. Her fellow recruits included read more

Question: I have two ...

Question: I have two children, so I'm usually listening in on cartoons. Some voices really sound familiar, like Patrick on SpongeBob SquarePants. Is that the guy who played Dauber on Coach? And what about the penguin on Oswald? Is that Squiggy from Laverne &#038 Shirley? — Ginny, Mount Prospect, Ill.

Televisionary: Right you are, Ginny, on both counts — good ears. Bill Fagerbakke, who played Dauber Dybinski on ABC's Coach for eight years beginning in February 1989, is the voice of Patrick Star. And David Lander, who portrayed Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggman on ABC's Laverne &#038 Shirley from January 1976 to May 1983, is the voice of Oswald's penguin pal, Henry.

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Question: There was a ...

Question: There was a short-lived television show in the late '80s or early '90s that featured a large (eight to 10 people) band. The band also had a record out at the same time. I believe part of the name was "heights." Any ideas? — Laura W., Lawrenceville, Ga.

Televisionary: Well, one. You're thinking of The Heights, a drama which ran on Fox for only three months beginning in August 1992.

As you say, the band was nearly big enough to field its own baseball team, with Dizzy (Ken Garito), Stan (Alex Desert), Rita (Cheryl Pollak), Hope (NYPD Blue's Charlotte Ross), J.T. ( read more

Question: I haven't seen you ...

Question: I haven't seen you settle any bets in a while, so I hope this will get you to answer my question, especially since I'm sticking to the rules and telling you what we bet. If I'm right, my wife has to go to an Angels game with me. Didn't Mark Hamill play David on Eight Is Enough before the actor who eventually played him over the long haul did? Please answer soon. Thanks. — George T., Fullerton, Cal.

Televisionary: I sense two words in your future, George: Play ball! Hamill did indeed play eldest Bradford child David in the original, unaired pilot for the ABC series, which ran from March 1977 to August 1981. However, after shooting the pilot — entitled "Never Try Eating Nectarines Since Juice May Dispense," which stood for Bradford kids Nicholas, Tommy, Elizabeth, Nancy, Susan, Joanni read more


Who was Carly Simon thinking about when she wrote "You're So Vain"? Mick Jagger? Warren Beatty? Cat Stevens? The Fab Five? Well, the 58-year-old singer is ready to spill the beans — to the highest bidder, that is. According to People, Simon plans to auction off the answer to raise money for Martha's Vineyard Community Services. Naturally, there's a catch: The winner has to sign an agreement never to tell anyone. read more

Sarah Jessica Defends Baryshnikov Casting

We must confess: Sex and the City's decision to cast 55-year-old dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov as Carrie's new artist-boyfriend caught us way off guard. When exec producer Michael Patrick King told TV Guide Online he snagged a "big name" for the plum part, we were thinking Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Sean Penn... you know, movie stars. Not a freakin' ballet dancer. That said, given that it was Carrie's portrayer, the delightful read more

Skin Star Defends Porn

When TV vet Ron Silver (Rhoda, Veronica's Closet) last graced the small screen, he was Emmy-nominated as Bartlet's campaign strategist on The West Wing. His next career move: Playing a porn mogul in Skin, a spicy new fall Fox drama. Why take this shady flesh-peddler role?

"You may want to ask my first wife's lawyer," he quips, then launches into a serious defense of the adult film business. "This guy is providing a service. It's an $8-10 billion-a-year industry. It's legal. He's not being hypocritical, like many people in public life are, about the role of sexuality in our lives and how we approach it."

Despite his trashy line of work, Silver's alter ego, Larry Goldman, sees himself as a family man. This sparks the show's main c read more


The Motels are back. Or at least lead singer Martha Davis is. Last night at the Knitting Factory in New York City, the 1980s siren, whose hits include "Only the Lonely," "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Take the L," introduced her crackerjack new band, announced plans to release a CD in early 2004 and performed an album's worth of soul-stirring punk-pop. On the downside: no mint on our pillow when we got home. read more


Kobe Bryant got what appeared to be a hero's welcome at Saturday's taping of the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, where the embattled basketball player was named favorite male athlete. Fox will broadcast the ceremony Wednesday, the same day Bryant is due in court for a preliminary hearing on charges that he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old hotel worker. read more


For the real story behind Sex and the City's decision to cast 55-year-old ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov as Carrie's new love interest, read my interview with exec producer-star Sarah Jessica Parker in today's Insider. And don't let her snippy response to the Mr. Big (Chris Noth) question mislead you into thinking the 38-year-old Square Pegs grad is a diva. Parker left a rather sweet (and very Carrie-esque) message on my voice mail later that evening to make sure I got everything I needed and to thank me for the interview. She said a bunch of other stuff too, but that's between her, me and everyone who crowded around my desk Fri read more

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