Charlie Mason

Who Should Play Frasier's Maris?

After a decade as the most talked-about character on NBC's Frasier, if not in television history, Maris Crane may finally be ready to show her face. "About a third of the way through this season," teases executive producer Christopher Lloyd, "there's a big, life-altering event involving Maris once again making trouble in Niles's life" — and, he adds, there's "a chance" that we'll at last get a gander at the mystery woman. Ah, but who could possibly portray her, given the seemingly impossible qualities she is said to possess? "It's virtually impossible to find a human being who contains all [of Maris's] attributes," Lloyd acknowledges. Nonetheless, we've come up with a few unusual suspects:

Calista Flockhart: The McNugget-eschewing erstwhile read more

Jordan Frieda Makes Wills a Prince Charming

Winning as high-profile a role as the lead in ABC's buttoned-down Prince William biopic would have sent many a young Briton running for his mum and dad. But not Jordan Frieda. Even though he's a bit of a royal himself — his folks are pop singer Lulu and renowned hairstylist John Frieda — the fair-haired bloke headed in exactly the opposite direction. Blimey, he wouldn't even let Pop trim his bangs!

"I haven't let my father cut my hair in years!" he tells TV Guide Online, horrified. "The problem is, he can be the best hairdresser in the world, but because I'm his son, he makes my hair look all preppy and conservative. He could've just come from a fashion shoot, but to do my hair, his personality changes and he becomes a father."

Luckily, Frieda didn't need much parental guidance, anyway. Having matriculated at Eton College alongside Chuck and Di's No. 1 son, he'd gotten the lowdown on his highness long bef read more

Emmy Shows Couch Potatoes a Good Time

You know, we're supposed to believe that watching the Emmys on TV is the next best thing to being there, but damn — last night's live broadcast of the 54th annual award ceremony sure didn't make it easy. During his opening monologue, host Conan O'Brien joked that, in hopes of sending ratings through the roof, NBC had asked him to become smitten with someone in the audience right then and there. He balked, of course. Then, as the opening strains of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" began to play, he caught sight of Jennifer Aniston blowing him a kiss — and, a moment later, a surprisingly game Brad Pitt glowering. So, on O'Brien quickly moved to alluring read more

Never Laugh at Julia Roberts's Brother!

His relation to America's sweetheart notwithstanding, Eric Roberts is best known for appearing in films like Final Analysis and The Specialist as hooligans who would sooner crack skulls than jokes. So you can understand his agents' incredulity when he asked them to get him a sitcom audition.

"They laughed at me," the tough guy recalls. "So I fired them. [Eventually] I got a new agency, and they laughed at me, too. So... I went away and made a bunch of action-adventure B movies about killing people."

Now, at long last, Roberts has won the chance to slay us in an altogether different fashion — and forever shed his rough-and-tumble image — by playing Will, an egomaniacal TV anchorman, on Popular read more

Agency Head: Who's In, Who's Out, What's Next

Think real-life politics are hard to follow? Just try keeping track of the comings and goings of the CIA operatives that keep the revolving door spinning on CBS's sophomore series The Agency. Luckily, TV Guide Online wouldn't dream of letting you turn on the Sept. 28 season premiere without first updating your scorecards — and neither would the show's executive producer, '70s teen idol-turned-Joss Whedon wannabe Shaun Cassidy. Here, the former pop star reveals the changes in personnel — and direction — that he hopes will make sure the sleeper still rocks 'n' rolls for us.

Good-bye, Gil Bellows. "[It's] no reflection on Gil," says Cassidy of the Ally McBeal casualty who played Matt Callan. "Gil's terrific. But it's sort of l read more

Formula One: Time Travel Returns!

The fall TV season has only just begun, yet you might well find yourself crying, "Reruns already?!" Why? Although ABC's That Was Then and WB's Do Over differ a bit in tone — the former is earnest to a fault; the latter, sweetly goofy — the comedies have the same premise: grownup gets zapped back to the 1980s to relive his adolescence. And the parallels go way beyond greed-decade music cues and retro fashions.

Hapless hero: Travis, an almost-30-year-old door salesman, wonders, "Is it wrong when an 11-year-old is cooler than you?"
Shock treatment: Travis wakes up in 1988 after lightning sends a jolt of electricity through his stereo headphones.
Dorky sidekick: Travis breaks it to tress-obsessed chub Pinkus that he eventually goes bald.
Dream girl: A poster of Heather Thomas hangs on Travi read more

Elvira's Big-Screen Nightmare

For a party ghoul who's spent two decades scaring up laughs as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Cassandra Peterson sure does spook easily. In fact, the mere mention of the Rumanian shoot for her blood-curdling new comedy Elvira's Haunted Hills (having its New York premiere Friday) sends a chill down her spine.

"It was really brutal... one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my entire life," she tells TV Guide Online without a hint of the cheekiness that is her stock in trade. "Everyone had to work under unbelievably awful conditions — horrible food, horrible rooms... There were moments when you thought you were just going to fall down and cry because you weren't going to make it."

On the rare occasions when day-to-day hardships didn't give Peterson nightmares, Haunted Hills still made her toss and turn — she not only stars read more

Witchblade Cutie Laughs in the Face of Fear

After making a killing in blockbusters, A-listers such as Brad Pitt and Renée Zellweger tend to go pale whenever their old slasher flicks turn up on cable. Yet, no matter how successful John Hensley becomes, the Witchblade co-star isn't likely to scream bloody murder over a broadcast of his indie gorefest, Campfire Stories (which bypassed the multiplex and recently went straight to video).

"I did it right after the pilot for [ABC's ill-fated 2000 Gabriel Byrne sitcom] Madigan Men," the 25-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "It was described to me as being just as comical as it is gruesome, and the idea of getting splattered and all that sounded read more

That Girl Is an Old Friend

Jennifer Aniston gives a great performance in the black comedy The Good Girl. But that's no surprise, considering that the Emmy nominee's Friends job has basically been one big, eight-year-long rehearsal for her to play Justine, the movie's woebegone heroine. In fact, if only Justine had a better hairdresser and Rachel a Texas twang, they'd have loads more in common than even twin sisters Phoebe and Ursula. — Charlie Mason

Wage slave:
Wrangles discounts on designer duds working in Ralph Lauren's Big Apple headquarters.

Significant other:
Was briefly wed to Ross, a college professor who likes talking about prehistoric rocks.

Boy on the side:
Jeopardizes her future with Ross by accepting a marriage proposal from much dumber ex-roommate Joey.

Girl talk:
Claps her hands when daffy Phoebe sings that smelly read more

Buffy Casualties: Dead and Loving It!

Most TV stars get scared to death when the Grim Reaper makes a guest appearance — with good reason. Anybody hear from NYPD Blue fatality Rick Schroder lately? ER flatliner Kellie Martin? Didn't think so. However, Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast members know that being killed off isn't necessarily a grave matter. In fact, a little tomb raiding among the recent arrivals at Sunnydale Cemetery reveals that at least a few actors' careers actually blossom after their characters start pushing up daisies. And the others? Well, may they rest in peace.

The dearly departed: Kristine Sutherland, a five-season Buffy vetera read more

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