Today's News: Our Take

Question: I saw your April 1 ...

Question: I saw your April 1 answer about Larry David's wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm. That got me thinking about Mad About You. Weren't Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt married in real life, or did I hallucinate that? — Debbie S., Annapolis, Md.

Televisionary: I can't say where the notion came from, Debbie, but it's, well... wrong. Reiser's wife is named Paula and for the bulk of Mad About You's 1992-99 run on NBC, Hunt was with Hank Azaria (they eventually married and split up).

Perhaps read more

Question: Where is the girl ...

Question: Where is the girl who played Punky Brewster today? — Bridget, Lincoln, Neb.

Televisionary: Not a Sabrina or Proud Family fan, eh, Bridget? Soleil Moon Frye now plays Roxie, the young witch's roommate on the WB series, and provides the voice of Zoey on The Proud Family.

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Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera issued an apology Sunday. Not for wasting our time with that whole Al Capone debacle. Or for that ugly chair-hurling melee that marred his late, not-so-great talk show. Or for all those bad hair days. No, Rivera expressed regret for breaking military rules last week when he revealed U.S. troop movements in Iraq. In an interview Sunday on Fox, he said he admitted he "should have been more careful." read more


David Letterman, who was sidelined from CBS's Late Show for a month due to shingles, has been dealt another major blow: His cue card guy Tony Mendez (known to viewers as "Big Ink") has quit for personal reasons. "He informed us that he wanted to move on," exec producer Rob Burnett told Variety. read more


Eddie Griffin's stand-up comedy concert movie DysFunKtional Family — which was DOA at the box office with $1.1 million — is under attack from the Sikh Coalition. The group wants Miramax to remove a scene from the film in which Griffin points to a Sikh man and declares: "Bin Laden, I knew you was around here!" TV Guide Online is also demanding the sequence be deleted because it's just not funny. read more

How Will & Grace Nabbed Madonna

Madonna's April 24 guest shot on NBC's Will & Grace caps a two-year pursuit on the part of the sitcom's coexecutive producer Tim Kaiser — a mission that involved some wishful thinking, a little behind-the-scenes diplomacy and, perhaps most importantly, a bribe no material girl could resist. "I sent a lot of flowers," Kaiser laughs. "Madonna loves English roses, so I began to send these fantastic arrangements."

The floral fawning helped Kaiser penetrate Madonna's inner circle, although, "There wasn't much interest," he notes. "I was informed Madonna didn't own a television, or know Will & Grace existed." But, crazy for the pop icon, the scribe didn't give up. "I sent tapes of appearances by Matt Damon, Michael Douglas and whatnot, and... pitched how wonderful it would be for her to come on the show."

But it wasn't until last November — shortly after her late read more


I'm going to refrain from overloading today's box office report with too many telephone puns and just report the fax: Colin Farrell's new thriller Phone Booth, which was put on hold as a result of last fall's real-life sniper crisis, got a ringing endorsement from moviegoers over the weekend, dialing up $15 million to debut at No. 1. Amanda Bynes's teen flick What a Girl Wants opened in second place with $12.1 million, followed by Vin Diesel's latest action saga A Man Apart (No. 3 with $11.2 million). Last weekend's top movie, Head of State, dropped to fourth place with $8.8 million. read more


Here's your chance to own a piece of Hollywood history: Winona Ryder wants to auction off for charity the $5,500 worth of already-way-overpriced merchandise she stole from Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001. Ryder's attorney made the offer at today's progress report hearing in Beverly Hills, during which Judge Elden Fox praised the 31-year-old actress for completing her community service ahead of schedule. Fox postponed a decision on the whole charity auction idea. read more


NBC newsman David Bloom, who was one of 600 journalists embedded with U.S. and British forces in Iraq, died over the weekend while covering the war. He was 39. Bloom's death was not combat-related; he died after suffering a blood clot possibly caused by immobility. Colleagues reported that Bloom had complained of leg pain from sitting in one position for hours in a tank. On Sunday's weekend edition of Today, where Bloom served as co-anchor opposite Soledad O'Brien, a solemn Matt Lauer and Katie Couric joined O'Brien in paying tribute to their fallen colleague. "He was a dedicated, tenacious and talented reporter," said O'Brien. "He died doing what he loved, and doing what he did best." Bloom is survived by his wife, Melanie, and three daughters. read more


Extra has hired Bachelorette runner-up Charlie Maher to serve as a special correspondent... The third (and likely final) season of The Osbournes kicks off on June 10, MTV confirms. read more

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