Today's News: Our Take

Question: Was one of the ...

Question: Was one of the actors on the ABC hit Alias in the movie Never Been Kissed? One of the cast members looks strangely familar. — Henry K.

Televisionary: Good eye, Henry. Michael Vartan, who plays CIA operative Michael Vaughn on the show, appeared as a dreamy English teacher in the execrable Drew Barrymore vehicle. You may also have seen him as Launcelot in TNT's Mists of Avalon mini-series or as the head of the family Robin Williams was obsessed with in One Hour Photo.

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Question: Why did Delta Burke ...

Question: Why did Delta Burke leave Designing Women? Wasn't it because of her weight? — Debi L., Oswego, N.Y.

Televisionary: As with many a public spat, Debi, the reasons given for the very public battle between Burke and the show's producers vary according to whom you ask and — even more important in this case — when you ask.

What I can tell you is that when DW creators Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and husband Harry declined to bring Burke back as the tart-tongued Suzanne Sugarbaker after the hit CBS sitcom's 1990-91 season, they and their producers placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of her husband, Gerald "Major Dad" M read more

Question: On Star Trek: The ...

Question: On Star Trek: The Next Generation, what was the name of the song that Picard learned to play on his flute? — Linda, Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada

Televisionary: Grabbed you, did it? That's all right — quite a few people have asked about that song, which Picard (Patrick Stewart) learned to play while experiencing the thrill of family life (courtesy of an alien energy beam) in the "Inner Light" episode.

The track, Jay Chattaway's "Orchestral Suite from the Inner Light," is available on the Best Of Star Trek: 30th Anniversary Special! Original TV Soundtrack CD. Look for it online or at a retailer near you.

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Question: My wife and I ...

Question: My wife and I fondly remember a TV movie from the early '90s that starred Jaclyn Smith and John Spencer. The only problem is that we can't recall its title! We think it was a detective story with the two protagonists in a Tracy-Hepburn kind of relationship. — Rob A., Lancaster, Pa.

Televisionary: The film in question is a 1992 TV movie called In the Arms of a Killer, which starred Smith, Spencer and Michael Nouri. The plot, for all of you who who didn't catch it way back when, involved a detective (Smith) whose one and only is her read more

Question: What is the name of ...

Question: What is the name of the actress who plays the grandmother on Charmed? — Dee, Saugus, Mass.

Televisionary: That's Jennifer Rhodes playing the dead Penny "Grams" Halliwell on the WB drama, Dee. You may recognize her from the short-lived late '80s T&#038A show Nightingales or from her guest stints on shows like Family Matters, Friends and 3rd Rock from the Sun. If you're a horror-flick buff, you may have seen her in such fare as Night of the Demons 2 and Slumber Party Massacre II.

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Charmed Scoop! Alyssa's Demon Lover Lost

Three Charmed sisters have much evil to vanquish, kids. So these witchy women have no more time for Phoebe's triflin' ex-husband, Cole. You know, the "Source of All Evil," as played for two years by Aussie looker Julian McMahon. "The 100th episode [airing Jan. 19 on the WB] is Julian's last episode," exec producer Brad Kern confirms. "It's time to free up Alyssa Milano's [Phoebe] character, and Julian has expressed interest in exploring other creative opportunities. I'll miss him terribly, personally and professionally."

"It is bittersweet to celebrate the fact that I'm dying!" McMahon laughs. "But I need to push my boundaries a bit creatively, so I called up Brad and asked if I could get off the show. He's been wonderful in regard to everything with the exit and demise of my character."

The consensus is that Phoebe and Cole's dysfunctional demon romance has gone too soapy. "We were stretching read more

Stars Recall Fave Holiday Surprises!

Sure, their fame and wealth can buy Hollywood celebrities all manner of exciting toys. But nobody ever forgets the simpler stocking stuffers — and bigger gift-wrapped goodies — they truly yearned for as kids. Now, join TV Guide Online as we take the stars down Santa's snow-covered memory lane to recall their Yuletide jollies. What's the best holiday present you ever got growing up?

Jim Belushi (According to Jim ): "Well, I ask for it every year, and I never get it — a TV Guide cover."

Busy Philipps (Dawson's Creek ): "My favorite toy I received growing up was a Barbie dream house when I was 5 years old. My dad stayed up all night putting it together. A piece was missing, so we had to make another piece to replace it."

Jill Hennessy (Crossing Jordan ): "I remember one Dece read more

Claire Danes Rises to Occasion in T3

Claire Danes's so-called life got turned upside down the day she was cast in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Three weeks into filming last spring, producers realized that then-19-year-old Sophia Bush (Van Wilder) was a bit too young for the role of veterinarian Kate Miller. With no time to spare, they sought Danes, 23, to replace her. "I got the script literally that night, read it and had to evaluate it very quickly," recalls the actress, who decided to "take the leap of faith" and join the big-budget sequel. "It was very overwhelming and disorienting."

As the Yale coed quickly discovered, that was nothing compared to her first day on the T3 set. "I'm doing this scene at night with flames all around me," she recalls, "and I'm on the ground when Arnold [Schwarzenegger approaches] in his Terminator garb holding a machine gun. He's looking down on me and I'm thinking, 'This is not happening.' I was like, 'H read more


Liza Minnelli and hubby David Gest are gearing up for a legal fight against VH1 over their failed reality show. The odd couple have hired attorney Michael Sherman "to seek appropriate remedies and take appropriate action." VH1, claiming it wasn't given the cooperation it needed, axed Liza & David before a single episode made it to air. read more


Sopranos fans are attempting to analyze this today: Did Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) essentially get whacked on last night's episode? In what came as a bit of a shock to viewers, a frustrated Tony (James Gandolfini) suddenly quit therapy — leaving the fate of Bracco's therapist up in the air. Is the actress — who recently replaced Kathleen Turner in The Graduate on Broadway — leaving the mob drama? "We don't discuss plot points," says an HBO rep. Well, we're going to go out on a limb and assume that Tony's days on the couch are far from over. read more

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