Today's News: Our Take


IF YOU DO THE CRIME...

WWE wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has plead no contest to a charge of misdemeanor spousal battery. This past June, the 36-year-old grappler — who stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 252 lbs. — allegedly struck wife Debra Williams in the head, back and legs at their San Antonio, Tex., home. Now, he'll pay a $1,000 fine and do one year of probation — this entails 80 hours of community service and a family-violence counseling course. Meanwhile, Austin says he and his ex-beauty queen wife are working on a reconciliation. read more

URBAN RENEWAL

The mechanical bulls are running to Broadway! Urban Cowboy, the 1980 film starring John Travolta and Debra Winger, is coming to the Great White Way this February in the form of a musical, Variety reports. Newcomers Matt Cavanaugh and Jenn Colella will play the lead roles of Bud and Sissy. read more

FAREWELL

Comedian and character actor Jackie Gayle, who appeared in such films as Tin Men and Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose, died Saturday at a Miami Beach hospital of complications following open heart surgery. He was 76. Meanwhile, Parley Baer, best known for playing the mayor of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show as well as providing the voice for the Keebler cookie elf in TV ads, died Friday after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. He was 88. read more

AND THEY SAID IT WOULDN'T LAST

Nicolas Cage has filed for divorce from Lisa Marie Presley after less than four months of marriage. In a petition filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Cage cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. This was Presley's third marriage and Cage's second. read more

CAR TROUBLE

Sounds like somebody needs to enroll in traffic school! Despite his attorney's attempt to get six-year-old traffic charges dismissed, Bobby Brown will stand trial on Jan 21. The scandal-ridden singer was stopped by a cop in 1996 for DUI and speeding (among other charges), and a bench warrant was issued when he failed to appear for his court date. This came back to haunt him two weeks ago, when Whitney Houston's hubby was pulled over and arrested in Atlanta for marijuana possession, speeding and other driving-related faux pas. read more

Question: About 10 years ago ...

Question: About 10 years ago I watched a show called Second Chances, starring Connie Sellecca. I don't think it made it past one season. However, I believe there was an attempted comeback as Hotel Malibu the following year. My question is this: Did Jennifer Lopez play a role on both series? — Angela J., Houston, Tex.

Televisionary: That she did, Angela, though Sellecca didn't.

Second Chances was a CBS nighttime soap that launched in 1993 with Sellecca playing a public defender whose husband was murdered in the show's first episode. She and her younger sister (Megan Porter Follows) were but two of the suspects investigated in the killing, which was the thrust of the show for its first month. Lopez played a Mexican-American college student named Melinda Lopez on the series, which was canceled because a major earthquake in L.A. destroyed its set read more

GRUMPY OLD TWO-TIMER

Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson will star in an untitled Columbia Pictures comedy written and directed by Father of the Bride scribe Nancy Meyers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film centers on an aging man (Nicholson) who falls for his beautiful young girlfriend's mother (Keaton). Yeah, like that would ever happen. read more

Question: Why did Delta Burke ...

Question: Why did Delta Burke leave Designing Women? Wasn't it because of her weight? — Debi L., Oswego, N.Y.

Televisionary: As with many a public spat, Debi, the reasons given for the very public battle between Burke and the show's producers vary according to whom you ask and — even more important in this case — when you ask.

What I can tell you is that when DW creators Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and husband Harry declined to bring Burke back as the tart-tongued Suzanne Sugarbaker after the hit CBS sitcom's 1990-91 season, they and their producers placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of her husband, Gerald "Major Dad" M read more

Question: What is the name of ...

Question: What is the name of the actress who plays the grandmother on Charmed? — Dee, Saugus, Mass.

Televisionary: That's Jennifer Rhodes playing the dead Penny "Grams" Halliwell on the WB drama, Dee. You may recognize her from the short-lived late '80s T&#038A show Nightingales or from her guest stints on shows like Family Matters, Friends and 3rd Rock from the Sun. If you're a horror-flick buff, you may have seen her in such fare as Night of the Demons 2 and Slumber Party Massacre II.

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Question: Was one of the ...

Question: Was one of the actors on the ABC hit Alias in the movie Never Been Kissed? One of the cast members looks strangely familar. — Henry K.

Televisionary: Good eye, Henry. Michael Vartan, who plays CIA operative Michael Vaughn on the show, appeared as a dreamy English teacher in the execrable Drew Barrymore vehicle. You may also have seen him as Launcelot in TNT's Mists of Avalon mini-series or as the head of the family Robin Williams was obsessed with in One Hour Photo.

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