Question: I am having a debate with some friends. I say Maude and The Jeffersons were two of the great spin-offs of All in the Family, but nobody else agrees. Some say The Jeffersons was, and nobody thinks that Maude was. Wasn't Maude one of Edith Bunker's cousins? Anne-Marie, East Bridgewater, Mass.
Televisionary: You're right. They're wrong. Maude was All in the Family's first spin-off and it, in turn, spawned Good Times before All in the Family sired its second series, The Jeffersons. Follow these links for more of my brilliance on Maude and Good Times.
Question: Settle a bet, please. If Bill Cosby was the first black lead on a TV show, my wife cuts the grass for the rest of the summer. Am I right? Thank you. Carl K., Rochester, N.Y.
Televisionary: I hope the mower's self-propelled, at least, Carl, because you'll still be the one muscling it around the lawn. As I wrote when answering a similar question about Diahann Carroll on Julia last year, African-Americans were the leads on shows like Beulah and Amos 'n' Andy more than a decade before Cosby and Robert Culp's three-year run as U.S. cloak-and-dagger-types on NBC's I Spy kicked off in September 1965.
But if it's any consolation to you as you're shvitzing and circling the old backyard oak with the Lawn-Boy, Cosby was the first African-American lead on a drama. And his Alexander Scott, a language expert and Rhodes scholar to boot, was certai
Question: Born in '73, I fondly remember the Super Friends cartoons featuring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Can you tell me how many episodes were made and when the series ran? Have they been collected for DVD? Jeff W.
Televisionary: The original Super Friends series, featuring Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Batman and Robin, and Marvin, Wendy and Wonderdog, included 16 episodes that had their initial run from September 1973 to August 1975 on ABC. (And yes, Ted Knight was the narrator.) Other versions of the lineup included The All-New Super Friends Hour (which added the Wondertwins and Gleek the monkey), Challenge of the Super Friends, The World's Greatest Super Friends and The Super Friends Hour. As far as I know, only Challenge is available on DVD.
Question: There is a new promo for the new season of Gilmore Girls, more specifically the season premiere, that features the story line of Rory and Dean's affair and Lorelai's disapproval of it. I've become obsessed with knowing the song that plays during it. Thanks. Josh B.
Televisionary: And I've become obsessed with helping you, Josh. If we're both thinking of the same version of the promo, that's Frou Frou's "Shh" and you'll find it on their CD Details (Universal Island).
Another billionaire with bad hair sponsors a reality-TV show in ABC's answer to NBC's The Apprentice. The setup is basically the same: 16 handpicked contestants participate in a series of assignments designed to highlight their strengths and expose their weaknesses to Mark Cuban, who eliminates those he feels don't want the money bad enough until one player remains. I know what you're thinking because I thought the same thing until Cuban, who's on a blatant Revenge of the Nerds power trip, announced he was going to eliminate someone based solely on their first impression, which he got via house cameras a la Big Brother just 15 minutes into the show. After cutting "stupid is as stupid does" Rich, Cuban then announced that two more players were going to go before the show was over. Wait a minute. A reality show that doesn't drag out the climactic elimination rounds for 20 minutes for "dramatic effect"?
Question: I saw in the Aug. 29 issue of TV Guide that Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher of Lois & Clark both have new series starting up this fall after long absences from episodic TV. I remember hearing about a supposed "Superman curse" that has affected numerous people involved in various Superman-related TV and movie projects over the years. We know about Christopher Reeve's accident and paralysis, of course, but what else has been attributed to this "curse"? Maybe this is more of a FlickChick question. If so, I apologize. Emily, Carlisle, Pa.
Televisionary: Well, it covers territory for both of us, Emily, so I'll tackle it (and no apology needed).
On the big screen: In addition to Reeve, Richard Pryor (Superman III) suffers from multiple sclerosis and Margot Kidder (Superman) has battled mental illn
After seven years at Access Hollywood, Pat O'Brien has taken his hypester act over to Entertainment Tonight's new spin-off, The Insider (debuting tonight; check TV Guide listings). The professional schmoozer took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to give us the scoop on the new gig, his ugly split with Access and a certain farewell e-mail that got leaked to the New York Post.
TV Guide Online: How will The Insider be different than, say, the 78 other ET clones on the air?
Pat O'Brien: A four-letter word: Time. We'll have more time to do things. Entertainment Tonight will be the record of the day and we'll be able to fill in a lot of blanks.
TVGO: Conventional wisdom says that viewers' attention spans are decreasing, though.
O'Brien: But their appetite for celebrity news is not. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think it would work.
TVGO: What's the
When NBC's Las Vegas left off last season, Ed (James Caan) looked worried as Danny McCoy (Josh Duhamel) was recalled to the Marine Corps for a mysterious intelligence mission. Just before leaving Sin City, Dan the Man finally made love to his childhood best friend, Mary (Nikki Cox). (Jackpot!) But will the dapper Duhamel be MIA when Season 2 begins tonight at 9 pm/ET?
"We've had so many fans asking if Josh Duhamel is leaving the show," says creator Gary Scott Thompson. "No, he's not! Danny is back in Vegas in the season opener. He will have completed his mission off screen over the summer."
It's not that simple, though. Danny will struggle with post-traumatic stress. "Much like real soldiers returning from Afghanistan after watching their buddies get killed," Thompson says, "it's going to be a difficult adjustment back to normal life." On the (kinda) bright side, Ed and Danny "will be more simpatico" now that they share psycholog
Sharon Stone raised some eyebrows at Saturday's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, where she picked up the Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series statue for her multiepisode arc on The Practice. In accepting her trophy, the out-there thesp who played a lawyer who communicates with God told the audience, "You are the voice of God that speaks through me. Thank you." (Paging CVS Rapid Refill.... ) Elsewhere, Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series went to Stone's Practice costar William Shatner, while Laura Linney and John Turturro won for their respective comedic stints on Frasier and Monk. Meanwhile, HBO's underrated Dust Bowl d
Unfortunately for Big Brother 5's Marvin Latimer, the same qualities that made him a great TV presence also made him a good number of enemies. Both a gamer and a playa, the self-proclaimed ladies' man made his female housemates uncomfortable by flirting incessantly; his status as a rogue male had the same effect on the Four Horsemen's boys' club. (Even he must now realize that he was the fall guy in the shaky Santa Monica Van Boy alliance he formed with Jase, Scott, Michael and Drew.) But perhaps his most egregious offense against the unwritten rules of conduct for Big Brother contestants was tellin' it like it was. (If there's any justice in the world of reality television, evil twin Adria is still licking her wounds after the tongue-lashing he delivered upon her ouster.) Mind you, we at TV Guide Online can handle the truth. So, before Marvin got sequestered in the jury house, we got the lowdown on his two-faced roomies.