Today's News: Our Take


OH, LORDY!

The Online Film Critics Society has named The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers the best picture of 2002. The epic also won awards for best director, ensemble acting, editing, sound and visual effects. Julianne Moore won best actress for Far From Heaven and Daniel Day-Lewis was chosen best actor for Gangs of New York. Supporting kudos, meanwhile, went to Samantha Morton (Minority Report) and Dennis Quaid (Far From Heaven). read more

Question: Who played ...

Question: Who played Maxwell's father on The Nanny? — Caroline, Cleveland, Ohio

Televisionary: That was former Man from U.N.C.L.E. co-star Robert Vaughn playing Maxwell Sheffield's dad, James Sheffield. And here's an unasked for bonus: Dynasty's Joan Collins played Maxwell's stepmom, the family maid who lured dad away from Maxwell's mother.

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FASHION GRUMP STRIKES AGAIN

Fussy fashionista Mr. Blackwell has unleashed his "Worst Dressed List" for 2002, and his latest critical spitefest makes Joan Rivers look downright sweet. He calls Meg Ryan a "swap-meet fashion wreck." Scantily-clad celebs also take a hard hit this year: Shakira is labeled "overwrought and underdressed" in "Madonna's old clothes," while Christina Aguilera's "bimbo bombs wouldn't cover a gnat." And as for Kelly Osbourne, she's pegged a "fright-wigged baby doll" in "Ozzy's hand-me-downs." Well, &!$# you! read more

Question: Who played the ...

Question: Who played the fictional detective Nero Wolfe on TV prior to the A&#038E production?

Televisionary: That would be Cannon's William Conrad, who played the titular, reclusive sleuth on NBC from January through August in 1981. Matt Houston's Lee Horsley played his assistant, Archie Goodwin.

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BILLY GOES BAD

Former Once and Again star Billy Campbell will play serial killer Ted Bundy in the upcoming USA Network movie Ann Rule Presents: The Stranger Beside Me. The telepic — airing March 21 — is the first of a new movie franchise featuring best-selling author Rule (played by Barbara Hershey). read more

Question: I hope you can help ...

Question: I hope you can help me settle a bet with my husband. Tonight we were watching Law &#038 Order reruns on TNT. The episode "Mushrooms," from Feb. 26, 1991 aired. I noticed that the part of the children's mother was being played by S. Epatha Merkerson, who now plays Lt. Van Buren. My husband said it wasn't her. We tried to check the credits at the end, but they ran by too quickly. Just wondering if you can find out if she did appear in that episode or point me to a place where I can find out. Thanks! — Jeannie

Televisionary: Now, why would I send you clicking off into oblivion when all your answers are right here, Jeannie? Don't you know your devoted knower-of-all-things-TV better than that?

Ms. Merkerson did indeed appear in that read more

Question: My dad and I were ...

Question: My dad and I were talking about barrier breaking on TV and ended up in a disagreement. Wasn't Julia the first TV show with a black star in the lead? Ted A., Altoona, Pa.

Televisionary: Not quite, Ted. Shows like Amos 'n' Andy and Beulah featured black actors in lead roles years before NBC introduced Julia in September 1968, and Bill Cosby started working as an I Spy co-star three years earlier, becoming the first black lead in a dramatic series. But the first was considered to be racist and demeaning, the second revolved around a character cast in a subservient role and the last, a secret-age read more

WHO'S THE BOSS?

Nominations for the 45th annual Grammy Awards were announced this morning in New York, and an unprecedented eight artists — Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Norah Jones, Avril Lavigne, Sheryl Crow, Nelly, Ashanti and Raphael Saadiq — led the field with five nods apiece. Up for Record of the Year were "A Thousand Miles," Vanessa Carlton; "Without Me," Eminem; "Don't Know Why," Jones; "Dilemma," Nelly; and "How You Remind Me," Nickelback. Album of the Year nods went to Home, Dixie Chicks; The Eminem Show, Eminem; Come Away With Me, Jones; Nellyville, Nelly; and The Rising, Springsteen. Best New Artist nominees were Ashanti, Michelle Branch, Jones, Lavigne and John Mayer. The Grammys will be telecast live on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 23. For a list of the major nominees, clic read more

Question: I believe there was ...

Question: I believe there was a show in the '90s called Sweet Justice. It starred Cicely Tyson and Melissa Gilbert. How long was it on the air, and does any network play reruns? — Crystal, Bel Aire, Md.

Televisionary: Sweet Justice, which starred Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie) as a young lawyer who returned home to sign on with civil-rights crusader Tyson instead of the conservative firm headed by her Old-South daddy (Ronny Cox), ran on NBC from September 1994 through the following April. (The show also featured A Different World's read more

SAD FAREWELL

Guitarist Kevin MacMichael — the '80s rocker who co-founded Cutting Crew with singer Nick Van Eede — has died of lung cancer at 51. They're best known for their Grammy-nominated hit single "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" back in 1987. And a damn fine song it was. read more

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