Question: On The Man from U.N.C.L.E., what did the acronym T.H.R.U.S.H. stand for? Thank you. Carol S.
Televisionary: The meaning of the evil international group's name was never revealed on the series, Carol. In fact, it was never made clear that it was an acronym at all. However, in one of the U.N.C.L.E. novels, it was revealed that the syndicate's name stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. (Try fitting that on a business card.)
T.H.R.U.S.H. was called W.A.S.P. in the pilot, by the way, but was changed for legal reasons. If you'd like to know what U.N.C.L.E. stood for (and learn all sorts of other fascinating details while you're at it), read my Oct. 23, 2001, column.read more
Question: I have seen two late-night runs of a show with Annie Potts, in which her character and a black friend (now an attorney) grew up together. What is the name of this show and when and where does it run? E.K., Uvalde, Tex.
Televisionary: Sounds like you caught reruns of Any Day Now, which originally ran on Lifetime from August 1998 to March 2002. The network runs old episodes of the series it wasn't renewed because Potts opted out after its initial four-year order was up weeknights at 1:30 am/ET.read more
Ben Affleck will not be marrying J.Lo on Valentine's Day, he reveals in the latest Vanity Fair. "I think it will be sometime next summer," he tells the mag. The Sexiest Man Alive adds that the public's fascination with him and his fiancée is all about race and class. "The fact that I am white and she is Puerto Rican... that's what's underneath," he says, "although nobody says it, because it's not politically correct." For the record, Affleck also states in the interview that he doesn't wear a toupee, he's not gay and he never had a fling with Britney Spears. But what about Colin Farrell? read more
Question: My wife and I have a bet, with the loser making dinner for two Friday nights in a row. What was Danny Thomas's real name? Thank you for your help. Jason W.
Televisionary: There are technically two correct answers to that one, Jason. Here's hoping yours is one of them (I always try to root for whichever warring party takes the time to write).
Thomas was born Amos Jacobs, which was the anglicization of his Arabic name, Muzyad Yahkoob (his parents were Lebanese immigrants), in 1914. And that wasn't the only interesting detail of his birth: A veterinarian delivered him in a barn on the family's Deerfield, Mich., farm during a violent snowstorm. (It seems his mother went into labor while watering the horses and couldn't be moved back to the house because of the weather.)
Sound like a tough life? It got tougher. When Thomas was only four months old, his dad bet the read more
Whatever Fox is paying American Idol meanie Simon Cowell, it's not enough. Fueled by two highly-rated editions of Idol (as well as a little show called Joe Millionaire), Fox was the most-watched network last week the first time it has scored such a feat on the strength of its entertainment programming alone. In other ratings news, the Sunday premiere of Dragnet on ABC drew 13.3 million viewers while NBC's competing Kingpin had 12.5 million. read more
Sex is getting more common on television, but shows are more likely to include some references to making it safe, according to a study released today from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report found that 26 percent of shows with sex references also included messages of abstinence or protection. That is nearly double the rate that the foundation found in 1997-98, the first year of its ongoing study. read more
Question: I recently was playing Trival Pursuit and got a question that said Kelsey Grammer is one of the few actors to have played the same role on three different shows (in his case, Dr. Frasier Crane). I was wondering what the third show was, besides Cheers and Frasier. Thanks for your help! R.S., Boston, Mass.
Televisionary: Actually, that's old info. The third show the game's researchers were thinking of was Wings, a 1992 episode of which ("Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes") featured Dr. Crane. (That particular guest work earned the actor an Emmy nomination.) But the character also appeared in a 1995 episode of The John Larroquette Show, bringing the grand total to four.read more
Question: Without hair he looks different, but didn't Michael Chiklis play a cop on another TV series? I can't think of the name, but hated that they took it off the air. Sandra W., Spartanburg, S.C.
Televisionary: Actually, Chiklis was busted down to detective to play Vic Mackey on FX's The Shield, Sandra. You're thinking of ABC's The Commish, which ran from September 1991 to August 1995.
In it, Chiklis, who just picked up a Golden Globe for his Shield efforts (the series itself won best TV drama), played a Brooklyn native who was the police commissioner of Eastridge, a suburban New York town. Theresa Saldana portrayed his wife and David Paymer read more
Question: My grandmother and grandfather love the actress who played Miss Parker in The Pretender and would like to know what new show she is on. Thanks. Jennread more
Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is developing a series for HBO set in the world of political consulting... Calvin Klein model Travis Fimmel has been tapped to play the title role in the WB's upcoming drama Tarzan... The UPN sitcom One on One has replaced Fox's The Bernie Mac Show as the top-rated show this season among black households, according to a recent study by ad agency BBDO... Fox is bringing young billionaire Richie Rich back to life in the form of a new TV series... Claudia Schiffer has named her newborn son Caspar. I bet he'll grow up to be a friendly fella. read more