Today's News: Our Take


JUST JANET

As you read this, Boobygate star Janet Jackson is taping her very own guest spot on NBC's Will & Grace. Mirroring the setup of J.Lo's cameo, she's there to let Jack (Sean Hayes) live his recurring fantasy of being an iconic pop tart's backup dancer. Damita Jo's episode — appropriately titled "Back Up, Dancer" — airs on Sept. 23. read more

Question: On Full House, why ...

Question: On Full House, why did Uncle Jesse's last name change from Cochran to Katsopolis after the first season? Was any explanation given for this in the show? — Tim, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Televisionary: Jesse (John Stamos) and his parents (John Aprea, Yvonne Wilder) changed their names in the beginning of the 1990-91 season after Jesse's Greek grandparents came to visit. They wanted to honor their heritage, and Stamos himself is Greek.

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SPLITSVILLE

Ex-LA Laker Rick Fox is soon to be the ex-husband of actress Vanessa Williams. The basketball player filed for divorce this week. The couple have a 4-year-old daughter, Sasha, in addition to their kids from previous relationships. "They are both extremely devoted parents, so the most important thing to them right now is the welfare of their child," Fox's publicist told The Associated Press. "They are committed to working out what's best for her." No reason was given for ending their marriage of five years. read more

HELLO, OLD PAL

Hal Linden — star of the '70s sitcom Barney Miller — will guest star in an upcoming episode of !HUFF, TV Guide Online has learned. The Showtime comedy, starring Hank Azaria as a kooky shrink, debuts Nov. 7. Linden will appear as a judge who has lustful designs on Blythe Danner's character sometime in January. read more

REMEMBERED

Guitarist Tony Mottola died Monday night at Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville, N.J., from complications of pneumonia and a stroke. He was 86. Mottola is best known for playing on The Tonight Show in the '60s and '70s, and touring with legendary singer Frank Sinatra in the '80s. read more

North Shore So the producers were...

North Shore
So the producers were desperate enough to hire Shannen Doherty, huh? Gotta admit, it's a gutsy move, one that could either backfire on a massive scale or add the suds this soap desperately needs. Until La Shannen makes her appearance though, we're stuck with the usual crew of Baywatch: Hawaii cast-offs. The one bright spot is Frankie (Jason Momoa) the bartender, a character I bashed a couple of weeks back but have since grown to tolerate. Not only does he resemble a dreadlocked Billy Zane (picture that... if you dare), but he's also the one person on the show who demonstrates anything in the way of higher brainpower, which of course means that he'll never, ever get laid. At least on purpose anyway.

Broadway's Lost Treasures II
Now that it's been off the Great White Way for a few years, is it okay to admit that I never really liked Les Miserables? I know that it's basically the Star Wars read more

CAUSE REVEALED

Authorities have cited an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription pills as the cause of death for Eric Douglas, the youngest son of Oscar-winning actor Kirk Douglas. According to the New York medical examiner's office, the aspiring actor's death was due to acute intoxication from the lethal combo. Douglas was found dead inside a Manhattan apartment building on July 6. His rep had no comment on the findings. read more

THE GRADUATE

Rob Reiner has replaced Ted Griffin as the director of Warner Bros.' updated version of The Graduate, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Griffin, who penned the screenplay, apparently clashed with the cast, including star Jennifer Aniston. Graduate would have been his directorial debut. Production resumes Aug. 18. read more

Question: I was a fan of Dr. ...

Question: I was a fan of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and remember the change in the actress who played Colleen from Erika Flores to Jessica Bowman. Jessica was okay as Colleen but I never got used to her. What prompted Erika's leaving the show? I remember reading that some of the cast were very protective of her, and a reason for her leaving was never given. Can you help? This has bugged me for some time. Thanks. — Jo, Philadelphia, Pa.

Televisionary: CBS asked all the Quinn cast members to sign a five-year contract. Flores didn't want to commit to that length of time, so she moved on and they replaced her. As I understand it, it was as simple as that.

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Question: I tried to think of ...

Question: I tried to think of the most diplomatic way to put this, but gave up. So here it is: Who was the fat detective with the mustache in the early to mid-'70s? He was played by William somebody. Thanks. — Keith A., Montpelier, Vt.

Televisionary: That was late radio, movie and TV star William Conrad, who died in 1994, Keith. And while I appreciate your trying not to offend, in this case I'd say the word "fat" is perfectly acceptable because Conrad sure thought so. And, of course, after starring on CBS's Cannon for five years beginning in September 1971, he went on to co-star on that network's Jake and the Fatman for five years beginning in September 1987. So it's not like he had a problem with it.

"There's nothing wrong with the word 'fat,'" Conrad told TV Guide in 1971, when the 5-foot-9 actor tipped the scales at 230. "If you're fat, you're fat. I'm as healthy as I can be; I haven't felt so good in 20 years. We had a stuntman do read more

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