Question: When does Summerland return? Mary
Ausiello: I'm hearing the end of February.
Question: It's that time of year again when the entertainment mags go list-crazy. So, I'm curious: Who do you think are the hottest man and woman on TV? Doreen
Ausiello: Assuming Mariska is ineligible, Evangeline Lilly from Lost and Kristen Bell from Veronica Mars win in a two-way tie among actresses. As for the men, I'm gonna go with Lost bad-boy Josh Holloway (aka Sawyer) and Rory's new college crush Matt Czuchry (aka Logan).
Question: What exactly is "Ask Ausiello"? Is it all about Smurfs, your ego and Keri Russell? If so, I'll pass and keep reading your "Entertainment News" column. At least that's funny. Sandy
Ausiello: I wholeheartedly agree. "Entertainment News" is hysterical.
Question: My friends and I are huge Keri Russell fans and we will definitely check out her new play with super-hottie Jeremy Piven ("Ask Ausiello" 12/1). Any tips on how we can get backstage like you did? Love your column. Ginger
Ausiello: Well, only VIPs are allowed to go backstage. Your best bet would be to wait for her outside the stage door after the show with all the other stalkers/autograph seekers/obsessive journalists. Now, don't go telling her you know me. That's how trouble starts.
Question: OK, I love Gilmore Girls, and usually get all their pop-culture references, but what is Fro-yo? Amanda
Ausiello: It's frozen yogurt, silly. That reminds me, it's time for your daily Tasti D-Lite run, Ismael. Ismael!? Where'd he go now? He better not be flirting with Rochell again.
Question: Oooooh! Can I have your Christmas with the Kranks Advent calendar? Julie
Ausiello: Sure can. Just e-mail me your address and I'll have Ismael, I mean, Mike, drop it in the mail ASAP.
Question: "Stormy Weather" is one of my favorite Falcon Crest episodes, too ("Entertainment News" 11/19). Those Brits don't know good television. Marie
Ausiello: Yeah, I usually have tons of respect for our friends across the pond, but they stomped on the wrong grape when they named Falcon Crest one of the worst U.S. TV imports of all time. If they actually bothered to watch the show especially during Seasons 6 and 7 when the incomparable Jeff Freilich was in charge they would have realized how smart and ahead of its time it was. And I'm not saying that just because it's where Mariska got her start. Seriously, folks. If SoapNet ever gets off the pot (to borrow a pfhrase from my pal T., above) and starts airing the show again, you'll see what I mean.
Question: You need to warn your devoted followers when you're going to be away from your "Entertainment News" column. What kind of business were you out of town on last week anyway? Joe
Ausiello: I was in Detroit with Matt Roush schmoozing with some of TV Guide's advertisers. (Just a quick shout-out to Carrie Sweeney and Steve Holman and the whole gang from BBDO. Thanks for talking me into that peanut butter sundae!) And regarding me giving readers a heads-up about my absences, I subscribe to the Today show school of thought on this issue: If you warn viewers ahead of time that Lester Holt will be filling in for Matt Lauer, no one will watch. That's not to knock our second-string columnist Ben Katner, who always does a smashing job when I'm away. But let's face it, you folks are here for me. You are, right?
Question: I heard a rumor that you got the shock of your life when you returned to New York from Detroit. True? Angel Cohn
Ausiello: I don't usually respond to questions posed by my TV Guide colleagues, but I guess I can make an exception in this case since, well, I kinda begged Angel to submit it. Yes, it's true! I had quite a surprise waiting for me in the lobby of my Manhattan apartment building Thursday afternoon. There, before my very eyes, was Mariska Freakin' Hargitay! In an unbelievable coincidence, Law & Order: SVU was taping scenes for its Feb. 15 episode, "Hooked," on my turf! I. Kid. You. Not. Despite that pesky restraining order (which I'm pretty sure has expired), I marched right up to Mar and here's what came next.
Me: Mariska! It's Mike Ausiello from TV Guide. (Please let her remember me from the Emmys.)
Mariska: (Turns around, waving
Question: Did I miss something on NYPD Blue? Whatever happened to Charlotte Ross? Michael B.
Ausiello: Depends who you ask. Ross' manager (and hubby) says she asked to be let out of her contract because she was burnt out on drama. An NYPD Blue rep, however, claims Ross' real-life pregnancy backed Connie and Andy into a corner story line-wise (married cops apparently can't work in the same precinct together), forcing producers to let her go. The real story? Ross was miserable on Blue and quit. It's too bad, too. Connie's inexplicable absence from Andy's life during Blue's farewell season has cast a pall over the entire show. Steven Bochco would be wise to do whatever he can to get Ms. Charlotte back for the final episode in May. There can be no happy ending for Andy without Connie. Period.