Today's News: Our Take


SHE STILL WANTS TO BE WITH MIKE

Michael Jordan and his wife, Juanita, have decided to stay together after all. Though she filed for divorce last month, citing irreconcilable differences, the wife of the basketball superstar has withdrawn her petition in an attempt to save their 12-year marriage. read more

EYE POPPING

Former CNN reporter Greta Van Susteren showed up to host the debut of her Fox News Channel show On the Record looking dramatically different. The 47-year-old freely admits that she recently went under the knife for eyelift surgery and even discussed it on the air. Helping to publicize her new program, Van Susteren sneak-previewed her new look on fellow FNC show The O'Reilly Factor. read more

SHORT CUTS

Tony Award-winning dance musical Contact is getting ready to hit the big screen, according to Variety. USA Films tapped acclaimed Broadway director Susan Stroman to helm the project... New Line Cinema, high on the success of their first installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, purchased the rights to another mystical trio of books entitled His Dark Materials, reports Variety. The series of children's books were penned by British author Philip Pullman.... Nathan Lane has RSVP'd to CBS to become the Life of the Party, a sitcom about a one-time TV star who lands on a much bigger stage in Washington when he wins a seat in Congress, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. — Angel Cohn with Stephen Miller, Daniel Coleridge and Tanya Edwards read more

CAUSE CELEB

In an effort to reach out to young people, Titanic actor, nightlife aficionado and sometime environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has gone directly to the teen mothership by writing a treatise for MTVNews.com about the dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Inviting readers to go to the National Resources Defense Council website to send a message to their representatives and senators, DiCaprio has also promised to respond to MTV readers' questions. read more

PLEASE BE SEATED

This year, as Oscar's home moves to Hollywood's Kodak Theater for the 74th annual Academy Awards, they're changing the house rules: For security reasons, diehard fans can no longer camp out all night on L.A.'s city sidewalks to snag bleacher seats in hopes of catching a glimpse of potential nominees Nicole Kidman or Russell Crowe. Instead, you'll have to make a reservation for the 400 or so available spaces on the Academy's website. Better hurry — it's first come, first served! read more

Question: I know you in the ...

Question: I know you in the TV world frown on old fogies like us, but we've got a Murder, She Wrote question. Obviously, Jessica Fletcher was a writer on the show, but my friend says that's all she ever was. I say she was a teacher before that. Who's right? We're not betting people, but each of us would very much like to lord being right over the other. Thank you for your time. — Carole D., Keene, N.H.

Televisionary: Before I get into that, Carole, allow me to distinguish between myself and those flighty show-biz folks. I am not of the TV world; I'm an outsider. And I call on my television powers to help those of all ages, not just those impertinent young 'uns with their too-loud music and too-low jeans.

That said, it's a shame you're not a bettin' woman because you could've gotten at least a free lunch out of this one. On the successful CBS series, which ran from September 1984 to August 1996, Jessica Fletcher (the t read more

CRYSTAL HITS A HOMER

Baseball has been very good to Billy Crystal. The television drama 61*, which recounts the home-run race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, has earned Crystal a best director nod from the Directors Guild of America, reports The Associated Press. His competition in the television film category includes directors Robert Allan Ackerman for Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, Jon Avnet for Uprising, Frank Pierson for Conspiracy and Mark Rydell for James Dean. read more

Question: I'm a Reba watcher ...

Question: I'm a Reba watcher and would like to know if the gentleman (Christopher Rich) is the same person who played a reporter on Murphy Brown. Thanks. — Patricia M.

Televisionary: That he is, Patricia. The Dallas, Tex., native — who portrays estranged husband Brock to Reba McEntire's Reba Hart on the WB sitcom — played anchorman Miller Redfield on the hit CBS show from 1995-97. Fans will recall that on the series, the newsman's job depended on style rather than substance. You also might remember him as Dr. Neal, a plastic surgeon who hung out at the bar with George Carlin's George O'Grady on Fox's short-lived George Carlin Show, as Sandy on Another World or from his work in a variety of TV movies.

Or you may have caught him on the big screen. The actor has appeared in such films as The Joy read more

Question: Can you tell me who ...

Question: Can you tell me who played Mr. Hall (the flying man) in the last episode of Ally McBeal and what show he used to be on?

Televisionary: Oh, if only it was the last episode. But that kind of thinking is as wishful as Mr. Hall winging it across the river and not collapsing of a heart attack so that narcissist Ally (Calista Flockhart) could once again make someone else's tragedy all about her. (No doubt it was only the belief that a better script lay across the river that kept the poor man aloft, and the disappointment at finding it wasn't so laid him low.) And did I mention that whole flying plot was ripped off from William Wharton's far superior book Birdy (though since no one in Hollywood reads, Kelley and company probably cribbed it from Alan Parker's movie version, which definitely had its moments, too)?

What does that show have agai read more

Question: I have submitted ...

Question: I have submitted this question to a lot of columns but have never received an answer. Yet I know that this program existed. I'd like to purchase it for myself (and — oh, yeah — the grandchildren). Can you help? My question is: Shirley Temple hosted a show that reenacted fairy tales. It was shown on Saturday nights. She would end the show with this song: "Dreams are made for children, and a dream is a fairy tale..." — Regi

Televisionary: It did indeed exist, Regi. Shirley Temple's Storybook started off as a run of ABC specials in 1958, but began airing more regularly the following year and then moved to NBC the next year as The Shirley Temple Show, a regular weekly series that went off the air in 1961.

Episodes featuring productions of Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor's New Clothes, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Hiawatha, Rip Van Winkle and other classics were released on video, but as f read more

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