Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Barbara Walters will chat up Teri Hatcher, Jamie Foxx and Will Ferrell on her annual pre-Oscar special Feb. 27... American Idol 2 alumna Kimberley Locke is engaged to marry high-school sweetheart Don Campbell, Extra reports... Meg Ryan has landed The Role of a Lifetime, a romantic comedy about a Hollywood actress and a British director whose paths cross on Broadway, per The Hollywood Reporter... Shark Tale has grossed more than $80 million in its first week on video/DVD... Showtime is developing an American version of the raunchy U.K. comedy Manchild. read more

Question: How did the writers ...

Question: How did the writers write Dr. Joel Fleischman off of Northern Exposure when Rob Morrow left the show? — Tanya D., Meridian, Miss.

Televisionary: With their fingers, I'm betting. Ha!

As fans know, Dr. Joel Fleischman returned to New York, which turned out to be the mythical city he was seeking in "The Quest." In reality, Morrow's leaving didn't go quite so smoothly.

Just ask Janine Turner, who costarred as the good doctor's love interest and frequent sparring partner, bush pilot Maggie O'Connell. "My publicist said, 'They've already figured out how they're going to write him out, and a new doctor is coming to town,' " Turner recalled of the moment in the summer of 1994 when she first heard the news of Morrow's departure. "And I just hit the roof."

By the time Morrow left, he'd reportedly been making life difficult for many on the set and behind the scenes of the show that launc read more

GOT A CUCUMBER?

Dove is giving the latest crop of wannabe Apprentices one more chance to not suck. Following last week's catastrophic challenge — in which the teams created two of the most embarrassing commercials in the history of mankind — Dove is inviting the candidates to take part in a Marketing Boot Camp at the company's New Jersey headquarters. Last week's reject, Kristen, has already taken them up on the offer. Her boyfriend, after all, is a director. read more

LOOK OUT, MIRAMAX

Filmmaker Christopher Guest, the satirist behind Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, is setting his sights on the annual high-stakes scramble for Oscar nominations as the basis for his next movie, according to New York Magazine. read more

CONTENDER TRAGEDY

A contestant on the upcoming NBC boxing reality series The Contender committed suicide early Monday morning in Philadelphia. Najai "Nitro" Turpin, who host Sylvester Stallone describes in the March 7 premiere as a "tough, punchy street kid fighting for a better life for his family," killed himself in front of his girlfriend, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Despite the tragedy, NBC says "the show will continue." read more

ON THE PILOT FRONT

Dylan McDermott is trading in legal briefs for brain scans. The former Practice star has been cast opposite 24's Reiko Aylesworth in 3 Lbs, a CBS pilot about neurosurgeons. ABC, meanwhile, has greenlit a previously announced sitcom starring Freddie Prinze Jr. as a dude raised by women. read more

SOUR NOTE

It appears there weren't a lot of men — black, white, straight or gay — watching Sunday's Grammy Awards. The ceremony drew an average 18.83 million viewers, the kudoscast's smallest audience in a decade. By comparison, Desperate Housewives — which aired opposite the Grammys from 9 to 10 pm — attracted roughly 22 million viewers. Speaking of the Grammys, on the heels of Melissa Etheridge's electrifying Janis Joplin tribute, a reality show is in the works that will aim to find the next Joplin. Search for the Pearl is currently in search of a network. read more

Question: In the early '90s, ...

Question: In the early '90s, I think, there was a show called Grand. Was that a real show? What was it about, and why did it go off the air? If I remember correctly, I really liked it. Thanks. — Shelby, Los Angeles

Televisionary: That it was, Shelby. For just shy of a year in 1990, in fact (January to December), Grand ran on NBC's schedule.

A spoof of soaps, the show revolved around the lives of three families in Grand, Penn. The Weldons consisted of papa Harris (John Randolph), who owned a piano factory, his son Norris (Joel Murray), and their butler, Desmond (John Neville). The Pasettis consisted of Janice (Pamela Reed), who was the Weldons' maid, and her daughter Edda (Sara Rue). The Smithsons consisted of Harris' niece Carol Anne (Bonnie Hunt) and her husband Tom (Michael McKean). Also in the picture was Officer Wayne (Andrew Lauer), who had a thing for Reed's Janice.

Why was it don read more

JACKO HOSPITALIZED

An ailing Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital Tuesday on his way to court, delaying jury selection by a week. According to reports, Jacko is battling the flu. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Taylor, Kobe Bryant, illusionist David Blaine and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter are among the celebs Jackson's defense team may call to testify on the singer's behalf, according to the just-released witness list. Also on the call sheet: members of Marlon Brando's family, 60 Minutes newsman Ed Bradley and, if my hunch is correct, a certain '80s sitcom star whose name rhymes with Smebster. read more

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition:...

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: Family Reunion
While I haven't always loved this behind-the-scenes show, I have to admit that catching up with some of the made-over families is a pretty cool idea.
Most adorable moment: Ty playing guitar for the McCoy triplets while singing the diaper-changing blues. I'm fairly sure I saw one of the babies rolling his eyes. (Don't leave your day job, Ty.)
Most patriotic moment: Mr. T greeting Ben (the boy with brittle-bone disease) dressed in stars-and-stripes-covered bicycle shorts, tank and 'do-rag. God bless America, indeed!
Ty's requisite six-pack moment: Not the kind of guy who misses a chance to show off his washboard abs, Ty strips down to take a soak in Carrie Powell's new hot tub. And leaves Magic Johnson waiting in the garage.
Most Kleenex-worthy moment: When read more

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