Today's News: Our Take


Who knew lobbing softball questions could be so profitable? Talk show host Larry King has signed a four-year contract extension with CNN worth $7 million annually. But according to the New York Post, once stock options and other incentives are factored in, King could earn as much as $56 million. read more


Newcomer Donovan Patton has been tapped to replace Steve Burns (Steve) as the human star of Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues. Patton will play Joe, the younger brother of Steve. The switcheroo will take place during a three-episode arc beginning April 22. Burns — whose alter ego is going off to college — is leaving to pursue other interests. read more


Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to star in the heist flick Six Bullets from Now. According to Variety, the film is inspired by the events of New Year's Day 1972, when five gunmen stole more than $10 million in cash and jewels from the Pierre Hotel in New York City. It was the biggest hotel heist in history. read more


Tom Cruise solidified his good-guy rep while appearing as a guest on Friday's edition of The View. During commercial breaks, the Vanilla Sky star made his way into the audience to sign autographs and pose for photos. When one young fan told Cruise that 2001 was a tough year for her, the actor promptly hugged her. "It was a dream come true," she later gushed to TV Guide Online. She better hope Pen&#233lope wasn't watching... read more

Question: I know most of the ...

Question: I know most of the world remembers Alfred Hitchcock as a master filmmaker, but I've always been a big fan of his TV show, too. Recently a friend was telling me he just put his name on it and didn't really work on it much. True or false? (Please say false!) Thank you. — Nicole B., Greensboro, N.C.

Televisionary: That depends on your definition of the word "work," Nicole. Let's face it: If you do any job long enough it becomes toil, but I guarantee you the people who performed the day-to-day functions on Alfred Hitchcock Presents during its initial 1955-65 run on CBS and NBC would have told you that they were the ones doing the heavy lifting. Matter of fact, one of the major players did just that. "He contributes nothing except script supervision," Hitchcock prot&#233g&#233e and series producer Joan Harrison read more


How's this for irony: Where was CNN American Morning host Paula Zahn when she first saw the cable network's now-infamous TV spot touting her as "just a little sexy?" "I was working out on my Stairmaster," the 20-year news vet tells Access Hollywood. Still, Zahn insists that she wasn't flattered by the ad — even though it implied that her cardio workouts were paying off big time! "It was offensive. I've worked in this business for more than 20 years proving my credibility and what you want to hear promoted is the strength of your journalism." (Or your quadriceps.) For his part, Fox News Channel troublemaker Bill O'Reilly isn't buying Zahn's politically correct reaction to the ruckus, saying: "If Paula Zahn doesn't think she's there partially because she's a good-looking babe, then she's in never-never land." Hey Bill, jealous much? read more

Question: I am having an ...

Question: I am having an intense debate with a friend of mine, so please settle this! I say that the only one who ever saw Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street was Big Bird. I think this was changed at least 10 or 15 years ago because Sesame Street didn't want kids to think adults wouldn't believe them if they told them about something like child abuse that the parents didn't see, just as no one believed Big Bird. He thinks I am crazy! Thanks! — Ilyse P.

Televisionary: Y'know, if you think about it, you're Big Bird in this situation, Ilyse. How's the view from up there?

Rest easy, my feathered friend — your sanity is no longer in question. From the time he was introduced in 1971, Snuffleupagus was visible only to Big Bird. But in late 1985, the creative forces behind the thoroughly wonderful Street did indeed reveal Snuffy, as his pals call him, to all on the show. To be honest, my own Television powers didn't reveal the set-up to me, but a s read more

Question: Please help me. I ...

Question: Please help me. I seem to remember a show on TV called something like Chase. I think it was a police show. All I can remember is a German shepherd police dog and a Plymouth police car. I am not exactly sure of the year. I think maybe 1970? Did such a show ever exist? Was it a series? Of course, I was only a little kid back then, so maybe my mother spiked my Bosco and it never existed. Thanks. — Vincent M., Staten Island, N.Y.

Televisionary: If your mom was spiking your Bosco with anything, it was plain old milk, as it should have been, Vincent. The police drama did indeed exist, albeit rather briefly, on NBC's schedule from September 1973 to August 1974.

Mitchell Ryan (Dharma &#038 Greg) starred as Capt. Chase Reddick, a cop whose unit tackled cases others in the L.A. Police Department couldn't handle. Under him was a team of specialists that included Officer Norm Hamilton (Reid Smit read more

Question: A strange subject ...

Question: A strange subject came up at work the other day. Who was the actor on the Paul Masson wine commercial of several years ago who said, "Drink no wine before its time?" Thank you. — Chris M.

Televisionary: Actually, Chris, that's sell no wine, as in, "We will sell no wine before its time." And that was no mere actor, mind you. That was the late, great Orson Welles, who together with writer Howard Koch scared the bejeesus out of the entire country, convincing listeners nationwide with the too-real radio production of War of the Worlds that we were being invaded by aliens in 1938.

Welles, who was overweight and being treated for a heart condition and diabetes at the time of his death in 1985, was an actor, producer, writer and director who worked on 60 movies in his lifetime after kicking off his long showbiz career on the stage. He shilled for Masson and other companies for what he termed "grocery money," but he's probably best know read more


"I always thought I would never do Survivor in America, but maybe from a patriotic point-of-view — post 9/11 — it might not be a bad idea." — Survivor producer Mark Burnett in an interview with Extra. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge and Delaina Dixon read more

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