Today's News: Our Take


Question: When will we know ...

Question: When will we know if Ed has been canceled? — Donna R., Powder Springs, Ga.

Televisionary: Not to be a wiseacre, but as the joke says, who's "we," Kemo Sabe? The rest of us got used to the idea that the show was gone after it aired its series finale.

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Question: In the Celebrity ...

Question: In the Celebrity Poker Showdown finale, Dave Foley said he worked with both Maura Tierney and Lauren Graham on NewsRadio. I remember Maura's character on the show, but can't recall Lauren's. Can you help enlighten me? — Kathy

Televisionary: Sure can, Kathy. Graham (Gilmore Girls) appeared a handful of times on the series in 1997. She played Andrea the efficiency expert.

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Question: When I was a kid, I ...

Question: When I was a kid, I remember my parents liked a controversial show called Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. I was never allowed to stay up that late or watch it. Was it that bad? — Tara B., Owatonna, Minn.

Televisionary: People seemed to think so when it debuted in January 1976, Tara. Matter of fact, the Norman Lear comedy, which was produced from 1975-78 and featured sexual shenanigans and other taste-testing fare, was syndicated because all of the major networks rejected it.

ABC initially put up the money to develop the series, which focused on the lives of Mary and her cohorts in fictional Fernwood, Ohio, but backed away from it. CBS stepped in and paid for a pilot, then turned it down. Then NBC passed on it, and ABC gave it a thumbs-down a second time. So Lear and Co. sold it directly to 101 stations — who weathered a storm of bad reaction from the shocked masses in the series' first week.

In Boston, as many as 500 phone read more

Press Tour Diary: Day Seven


If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: Thank God for Les Moonves. Just as press tour's big reality-cloning controversy was beginning to lose steam, Viacom's iron-fisted dictator stepped in late last week and fired two disgruntled CSI cast members amid a contract dispute. The move not only gave critics something to buzz about besides dueling boxing shows and crappy elevator service, but it ensured that CBS's press-tour debut on Sunday would be Must-See TCA. Of course, I would have showed up no matter what — if only to get Moonves to explain how the wretched John Goodman sitcom Center of the Universe made it onto the network's fall lineup. And to thank him for the Snapple, of course.

EXECUTIVE SESSION
9:11 am
CBS kicks things off on a defiant note by replaying a controversial short film it produced for last May's Upfront in which a cab read more

Metallica Drama Part Deux


Everyone makes mistakes, even rock stars. Still, having your worst faux pas recorded in a feature-film documentary has gotta be tough. In last week's Insider, you read about Metallica's interpersonal dramas, which play out in Some Kind of Monster (currently in theaters). For drummer Lars Ulrich, there was something even more painful to relive than watching himself undergo group therapy with the band.

"There is a part in there where the drummer gets involved with a company called Napster," Ulrich says, ruefully shaking his head. "That makes me cringe a lot. That is about the hardest thing to watch. I took a lot of hits, and it was a very difficult time in my life. So it is very difficult to re-experience that."

He's referring, of course, to Metallica's 2000 lawsuit against the popular Internet file-sharing company. The band disagreed vehemently with Napster's policy on free music downloading read more

GRACE NOTES

Two days before its Sept. 16 seventh-season premiere, Will & Grace is releasing a companion CD, Let the Music Out!. Along with previously released material by performers such as J. Lo, Cher and Elton John, the album will include several new recordings. Among them are "Living with Grace," a duet between Barry Manilow and leading man Eric McCormack; a cover of Carly Simon's "Loving You's the Right Thing to Do," sung by Simon and Megan Mullally; and "He's So Hot!" featuring the whole cast, plus a sample of guest star Madonna's "Ho read more

BEAM THEM UP, SCOTTY!

Man, we hope those Federation uniforms have elastic waistbands. According to Enterprise executive producer Rick Berman, Star Trek captain William Shatner has approached him with "a great story idea," in which (naturally) he'd play a prominent role. Although UPN says talks are underway with the actor — a regular on fall's Practice spin-off, Boston Legal — an insider at ABC, the network that currently signs his checks, counters that no formal offer has been made. In other Enterprise news, Star Trek: The Next Generation alumnus Brent Spiner has signed on to appear in three episodes (four through six, for you Trekkies who just have to know!) as the evil Dr. Soong, great-grandfather of Spiner's TNG character, Data. read more

MOTOR MENACE

Ex-Baywatch star Michael Bergin was arrested Friday night and charged with felony DUI, TheSmokingGun.com reports. Cops picked up the 35-year-old after he allegedly plowed his SUV into a female roller skater, then refused to take a sobriety test. Bergin made headlines last spring by publishing The Other Man, a trashy tell-all bestseller about his supposed affair with Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Coincidentally, his July 16 arrest fell on the fifth anniversary of the plane crash that killed Bessette Kennedy and husband JFK Jr. This weekend, Bergin spent about 11 hours in police custody before posting $50,000 bail. The skater, meanwhile, went to L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she's expected to undergo knee surgery. read more

THERE AIN'T NO SECRET

The Sci Fi Channel has a confession to make: The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan unearthed no actual "buried secret" about the director behind Signs, The Sixth Sense and the upcoming thriller, The Village. It was all a hoax! Sci Fi had previously claimed that Shyamalan got peeved when their documentarians' questions got too personal, and framed Secret as a "disturbing expose" of his mysterious past. But, in fact, Sci Fi president Bonnie Hammer now admits it was all a "guerilla marketing campaign" that "went too far." Talk about embarrassing. read more

I WON! I WON!

At this rate, Will Smith's head is gonna swell so much, he'll only be able to appear in IMAX movies. Co-starring with a bunch of funny-looking 'droids, the king of the summer blockbuster watched his new thriller, I, Robot, rack up $53.3 million at the box office. (That's $13.3 million more than producers hoped for and $1.1 million more than Men in Black II took in two years ago.) As if any other film mattered to movie-goers over the weekend, Spider-Man 2 fell to second place with $24.2 million, Hilary Duff's A Cinderella Story opened in third with $13.8 million, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy dropped to No. 4 with $13.4 million and Fahrenheit 9/11 read more

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