Today's News: Our Take


Question: My wife noticed ...

Question: My wife noticed that this year, for the first time in memory, there was no Great Pumpkin. Is this related to Charles Schulz's death, or just changing TV demographics? It just won't be Christmas without Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy. — Keith Brown (no relation)

Televisionary: Thanks for the clarification, Keith, but I was already pretty sure I don't have a cousin named Brown.

Thank you very much — you've been a great crowd.

In all seriousness, fear not. For 35 years, CBS owned the rights to broadcast the three classic Peanuts holiday specials, but ABC ponied up more and grabbed them in a deal that stunned many in the industry. As of next year, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas will be on the alphabet network.

CBS execs complained that the Schulz estate simply went for the bigger offer, but fans point out that the networ read more

Question: Can you tell me who ...

Question: Can you tell me who played the lead role of Dr. Kimble in the original version of the TV series The Fugitive a number of years ago? Thanks very much.

Televisionary: That would be the very intense David Janssen, who ran from the dogged Lt. Philip Gerard (Barry Morse) from September, 1963 to August, 1967 on ABC.

By now, just about anyone who hasn't been living in an isolation chamber knows the set-up. In a man-on-the-run story inspired by Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and the real-life murder trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard, Dr. Richard Kimble was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his wife. When the train taking him to prison derailed, knocking out police escort Gerard, Kimble went on the lam. He tried to track down the one-armed man he saw leaving his house the night of the killing, all the while staying one step ahead of the tireless Gerard and helping those he encountered each week in his cross-country read more

EVERETT, DENCH TO BE EARNEST

Rupert Everett and Judi Dench are this close to inking a deal to star in the film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, Variety reports. Everett would play Algernon, one of the two male leads, and Dench is slated to appear as the disapproving Lady Bracknell. read more

Question: Mr. Visionary, I am ...

Question: Mr. Visionary, I am normally not a believer in mystics, soothsayers, or anyone mixed up with the dark forces of the occult. However, I have a question that needs answering: What was the name of the magazine for which Mariel Hemingway supposedly worked on Darren Star's failed soap Central Park West (aka CPW)? I need help. The answer to the question is crucial to my future at work. Thanks. — Jeremy

Televisionary: Oh, Jeremy. What do I address first — a detail from a lousy nighttime soap determining your professional future, your belief that I am informed by the dark arts, or your question?

Rest assured my abilities draw upon white magic (well, a little gray here and there, really) — that plus a whole lotta pretzels and soda. I'm definitely more Samantha than Serena.

The fictional magazine in question is Communiqué, a troubled New York glossy which, when the CBS soap debuted in the fall of 1995, brought editori read more

Question: Am I crazy, was I ...

Question: Am I crazy, was I dreaming, or is it just my memory failing? Wasn't there a television series about 10 years ago where there were two cops (can't remember the city, but I think it was set in California), one of whom was slightly older? The younger one had long hair, a long trench coat and a motorcycle. I believe the older cop went on to play opposite Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop. I remember really liking the show, especially the younger cop (who I think played the bad guy in Kindergarten Cop) and being very disappointed when it went off the air several months later. Do you remember the names of the actors and the title of the show? It's driving me crazy that I can't remember the name of it. Thanks. — Ann

Televisionary: Now, settle down there, you. Repeat after me: It's only TV. It's only TV....

However, since TV is my lif read more

ANGELS CLOBBER SATAN

Charlie's Angels fended off a challenge from Satan to retain its perch at the top of the box office for the second consecutive weekend. According to studio estimates, Angels grossed another $25 million, easily beating Adam Sandler's devilish new comedy, Little Nicky, which debuted at No. 2 with a somewhat disappointing $18.1 million. (Sandler's last two movies, 1999's Big Daddy and 1998's The Waterboy, grossed $41.5 million and $39.4 million during their respective opening weekends.) Robert De Niro films held the next two positions, as his military drama, Men of Honor, debuted at No. 3 with $14 million and his blockbuster comedy, Meet the Parents, slipped to No. 4 with $10.6 million. Val Kilmer's sci-fi thriller Red Planet opened at No. 5 with $9 million. British Oscar-hopeful Billy Elliot, meanwhile, went into wider release and climbed to No. 9 with $2.8 million. read more

Marlo Thomas: A Woman of Independent Means


Much like her That Girl alter ego, Ann Marie, a young and prescient Marlo Thomas knew about "Girl Power" long before the Spice Girls hit the scene.

"I remember thinking at a very early age, 'I'm always going to know where I'm going,'" she says in a Lifetime Intimate Portrait airing tonight (7 pm/ET). "Nobody's ever going to say to me 'What does she know? Where is she going to go?'"

As the single-minded daughter of legendary entertainer Danny Thomas and a junior member of Hollywood royalty, where Thomas went was straight into the family business. And in the early '60s — buoyed by a breakout performance in the London stage production of Barefoot in the Park — television beckoned.

"The head of ABC at the time called me in and, just like the old story, said 'Kid, you can be a TV star. I'm gonna find a series for you.'" Unfortunately, he didn't have a concept — but Thomas did. "There [was] all this stuff happening in t read more

Who's That Guy?


Mark Ruffalo, star of the just-released Sundance winner You Can Count on Me, may not be a household name yet, but that's not to say moviegoers don't know him.

"People say that I remind them of their little brother a lot," Ruffalo tells TV Guide Online. "[Or they] think that I look like [an] evil Donny Osmond."

Well, if You Can Count on Me becomes the hit some predict, Osmond soon may be referred to as the good Mark Ruffalo. The film — which is generating Oscar buzz for Ruffalo and co-star Laura Linney — explores the relationship between a brother and sister orphaned at a young age.

"I liked how complex he was," Ruffalo says of his character, an irresponsible yet well-intentioned drifter. "He's got a lot of different emotional notes: He's angry but he's also really open; he's frustrated but [also] willing to hear; he's cruel but, at the same time, very caring. As an actor, it's really exciting [and] challenging to play those d read more

FELICITY, GILMORE EXTENDED

The WB has ordered at least four additional episodes of Felicity and six more segments of Gilmore Girls, Variety reports. Last week, Felicity garnered its highest ratings among women age 18-34 since its debut two years ago. Gilmore Girls, meanwhile, continues to perform respectably opposite Friends on Thursday nights, and was just named the best new drama of the season by Viewers for Quality Television. — Michael Ausiello read more

Schwarzenegger/Cameron Bond Not Terminated


Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to make something perfectly clear: He harbors absolutely no ill will toward James Cameron for opting not to direct Terminator 3.

"Jim told me he's just too busy, and I totally understand his point of view," says Schwarzenegger, whose latest actioner, The 6th Day, opens Friday. "We are such good friends that we have total respect for each other."

Schwarzenegger initially was dead-set against doing T3 unless the Oscar-winning filmmaker returned to the helm. (Fight Club's David Fincher is now on board.) "I changed my mind," he admits. "The script was really good, and I thought that it ought to be made."

Another film Schwarzenegger is feeling passionate about is the sequel to his 1990 blockbuster Total Recall. Unfortunately, unlike his 6th Day alter ego (who clones himself), Schwarzenegger is only one person. "Unless I clone myself for real, I can't do all these sequels to the Term read more

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