Today's News: Our Take


LOOK OUT, MISS PIGGY

Singer-actress Ashanti has signed on to star in the upcoming ABC original movie The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Queen Latifah is also expected to join the cast. read more

STUNT ALERT!

Oscar winner Sean Penn will guest-star as himself in the Sept. 20 season premiere of CBS's Two and a Half Men. The stunt-heavy episode also features appearances by rocker Elvis Costello and acting vet Harry Dean Stanton. read more

THE TRUTH IS O THERE

Turns out, Oprah Winfrey wasn't lyin' when she told reporters that her jury-duty stint couldn't last longer than a week because she's "got shows to do." While it's true The Oprah Winfrey Show doesn't kick off its new season until Sept. 13, a brand-new episode — featuring an exclusive interview with new mom Gwyneth Paltrow — airs Thursday. Sorry I ever doubted you, O. In the meantime, if it's possible, can I get eight tickets to this season's "Oprah's Favorite Things"? All of a sudden my Aunt Joan wants to come, too. read more

WAIT A MINUTES

I'm just gonna tell it like it is, folks: CBS has delayed the fall premieres of 60 Minutes, The King of Queens and the new sitcom Center of the Universe by a week to make room for A Dr. Phil Primetime Special: Family First. The two-hour special, which features the Philadiator helping celebs potty train their kids ("You cannot be who and what you are unless you stop peeing your pants!"), airs Sept. 22, followed by the debut of CSI: New York. Minutes, Queens and Universe bow on Sept. 29. read more

Question: On the Charmed ...

Question: On the Charmed episode entitled "Long Live the Queen," there is a very touching scene at the end where Phoebe is weeping because she and her sisters have just vanquished her demon husband, Cole. There is a song playing as the sisters decide to comfort her, and its last phrase goes something like, "Courage couldn't come at a worse time." Please tell me who recorded that song. I really love it. Thanks for your help. — Tiffany, Southfield, Mich.

Televisionary: Oh, what the heck — it's been at least a week since I went on another song-answering tear, and it's fun. You're looking for the Tragically Hip's "Courage (For Hugh MacLennan)," and it's on Fully Completely (Sire).

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Question: Can you tell me the ...

Question: Can you tell me the name of the song that was playing on Rescue Me's Aug. 11 episode, near the end, when Tommy was lighting a candle for his daughter? — Jennifer, Greeley, Colo.

Televisionary: That was Tyrone Wells's "When All Is Said and Done" and you'll find it on his album Snapshot (CD Baby). And for all of you who wanted to know the earlier song from that episode, it's the Von Bondies' "C'mon C'mon" and you'll find it on Pawn Shoppe Heart (Warner).

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Question: Regarding your ...

Question: Regarding your answer to the question about Patty Duke's Star: I've heard of Billy Barty and loved Zasu Pitts. But please, tell me: Who is Olive Borden, and what is a Cantinflas? Love your column. I look forward to it. — Ron A., Attleboro, Mass.

Televisionary: Actually, Ron, in my quest to toss a couple obscure names in there, I strayed into FlickChick territory, since those two are film people. Still, I must finish what I started, so here goes.

Olive Borden was an early silent-films star who was born Sybil Tinkle and, quite understandably, changed her name. At the tender age of 19, she became one of Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauties and later was a movie sweetheart of early cowboy Tom Mix. Sadly, talkies meant the end of her career and she died when she was 41.

Cantinflas read more

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH THEM

Shawn Ryan, creator of FX's The Shield, is developing a drama series for CBS that revolves around the personal and professional lives of the elite military unit known as Delta Force. And if it hits a creative peak in its third season, Emmy voters will no doubt snub it just like they did The Shield this year. But I'm not bitter. read more

Balderdash Oh, Tim Meadows, you're...

Balderdash
Oh, Tim Meadows, you're better than this — an unfunny game show on PAX. I mean, really.

Olympic Beach Volleyball
OK, this has nothing to do with the U.S.A. vs. U.S.A. game. But I'm going to share anyway. Last week my friend Nerina and I were talking about the wild crazy sex the loser athletes must be having in the Olympic athletes' village right about now. (Yes, these are the types of topics we discuss. You should have heard our ranking of the cutest countries based on the parade of athletes. But anyway....) I only mention this because we had a little disagreement: She thought the gymnasts would be the, uh, most popular among the guys. But I think the beach-volleyball players would be. I mean, just look at them... all that diving and jumping and spiking of the balls — in bikinis! Yes, gymnasts are ridiculously flexible and strong. But they're also boxy and suspiciously young. Beach-volleyball players, however, have got read more

Question: I know you're ...

Question: I know you're probably sick of writing about difficult stars, but I was going through your Cover Gallery and found one (Oct. 30, 1982) talking about Trapper John, M.D.'s Pernell Roberts being angry. What was that all about? Thank you. — Arnold K., Selma, Ala.

Televisionary: Well, the funny thing about that story, Arnold, is that while it did its best to chronicle Roberts' fabled anger, it ended up being a bit of what we call a write-around — a collection of quotes and stories about the actor's penchant for critiquing and arguing, with almost nothing direct from Roberts himself. Not that there wasn't any anger displayed when reporter Dwight Whitney gave interviewing Roberts a shot after Roberts refused to cooperate.

"I thought I made it clear I don't give interviews!" Roberts snapped after Whitney, who'd just been discussing a wide range of topics read more

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