Today's News: Our Take


Question: Did a cast member ...

Question: Did a cast member of the Waltons TV show pass away this week? — Wanda C., Blairsville, Ga.

Televisionary: Not a cast member, Wanda, but the youngest brother of series creator Earl Hamner, who based the show on his own family and his life growing up in Schuyler, Va. James E. Hamner, who was the inspiration for Jim-Bob, died April 1 at the age of 67.

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Question: After reading your ...

Question: After reading your column about Robert Reed fighting Sherwood Schwartz about the quality of The Brady Bunch, I wonder what the cast of his earlier show, Gilligan's Island, thought. Did any of them complain, too? — Neal K., Philadelphia, Miss.

Televisionary: Only Tina Louise gave truly critical quotes to TV Guide during the show's original 1964-67 CBS run, Neal. And Schwartz fired back in kind.

"I was ashamed when I saw the first show," the actress, who played siren Ginger Grant on the series, told TV Guide in 1965. "I had studied at the Actors Studio and I'd started to get some interesting roles and some good reviews. I mean like my scene was singled out in read more

Question: I've been thinking ...

Question: I've been thinking about this comedy I watched within the past six years, but I don't remember the name. It was about a teenage boy who eats an old hamburger he found under his friend's bed. The hamburger kills him but he turns into an angel who can go back in time to help the friends and family he loves. I don't know if that helps, but do you know what I'm talking about? Thank you for your time. — Tac

Televisionary: Sure do. You're talking about ABC's strange Teen Angel, a comedy featuring Mike Damus as Marty, a teenager who did indeed die after eating an old burger he found under his pal Steve's bed. Sent back to earth as a superpowered angel, Marty set about helping out Steve (Corbin Allred). Maureen McCormick was Steve's mom, Judy; Katie Volding was his little sister, Katie; and Jordan Brower was Steve's new buddy, Jordan.

Unfortunately for Marty, however, his powers weren't super enough to save his show. Th read more

Question: Maybe you can ...

Question: Maybe you can answer my question. No one else seems to be able to. There is a Judging Amy episode about an antique rosebush of Maxine's that Amy accidentally destroys. It's also about a child whose mother died on 9/11. I'd like to know the name of the song that is playing at the end of the show when they are planting the rosebush. — Caron L., Austin, Tex.

Televisionary: The song in question, from the fourth-season episode "The Frozen Zone," is David Gray's "Shine." You'll find it on his Century Ends CD.

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Welcome to a night in my TV-watching...

Welcome to a night in my TV-watching life.

7:30 PM: Family Plots
Remind me never to die in San Diego. I just finished watching a preview tape of tonight's Family Plots episode. It's a new show on A&E about three sisters and a dad who work at the Poway-Bernardo Mortuary. And, yeah. It taught me a little more than I need to know about the realities of working at a funeral home. I mean, I don't want to know that embalmers occasionally have to do a rush job on people. Nor do I want to know that they use wax on dearly departed faces, "forget" folks' funerals or have to tape some body parts to keep them from oozing. Yuck.

8 PM: Bernie Mac
I'd like to be watching my man Bernie. Right. Now. But I can't because the thousandth American Idol special is on. Like Bernie, I say, "America, can't a woman get some peace and quiet to watch her show?" Tonight, apparently not.

8:18 PM: American Idol Uncut, Uncens read more

Question: Please, please help ...

Question: Please, please help me. I am dying to find out what song is playing during a Barilla pasta commercial. The woman is preparing for a dinner party and the handsome neighbor leaves pasta on her doorstep. The song playing throughout the commercial is beautiful and I'd love to find out what it is. Thanks so much. Love your column! — Lisa, Portland, Ore.

Televisionary: OK, one more song question. That's Andreas Bocelli's "Mille Lune Mille Onde" and you'll find it on his Cieli Di Toscana CD.

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Question: The guy that ...

Question: The guy that starred in Early Edition was on a TV show before that, set in the '50s or '60s. Do you know the name of that show and what it was about? Appreciate your time. Thanks. — Erica, Byron Center, Mich.

Televisionary: Appreciate your question, Erica. I assume you're thinking of ABC's late and oft-lamented Homefront, a prime-time soap that featured Edition star Kyle Chandler and a host of others. Running from September 1991 to April '93, it revolved around a group of soldiers returning home to small-town Ohio after World War II and the people waiting for them there.

Loved by critics and nominated for numerous Emmys, it featured David Newsom as a G.I. who came home to discover that his gal (Alexandra Wilson) had fallen in love with his brother (Chandler), married her anyway, then left town after her death. Chandler's character went on to play pro baseball, while others read more

Does Kwame Blame Omarosa?

Just hours after Donald Trump fired Kwame Jackson in front of 28 million people on Thursday's Apprentice finale, opportunity knocked big-time for the 30-year-old Wall Street wiz. Dallas Mavericks' billionaire owner Marc Cuban tracked Jackson down at the show's after-party and offered him a job. "He laid out a great offer to work with some of his investment-portfolio companies," marvels the Apprentice runner-up, who says he's "strongly considering" taking the plum gig. "It's not every day that you have billionaires waiting for you in clubs." Translation: Despite a certain saboteur's best efforts, Jackson is destined to become the most successful loser since Clay Aiken. Still, Troy's right-hand man deserves a big "L" to the forehead for not dropping a bucket of cement on Omarosa after she lied to him not once, but twice during his final make-or-break assignment. Why did he let her off the hook so easy? Good question. Let's as read more

Swan to Maxim: Call Me!

Talk about your mixed blessings: Judges on The Swan elected not to send enlisted woman Kristy G. on to their ugly-duckling pageant because she was too pretty before they worked their magic on her! But the California girl remains determined to take her place in the spotlight — and preferably while wearing her undies! Here, she reveals to TV Guide Online her unique master plan.

TV Guide Online: So, how does it feel to know that you were too cute pre-surgery to earn a place in The Swan pageant?
Kristy G.:
Oh, I didn't need them to validate the progress that I had made. The only disappointment, if any, was that I wasn't going to get to win any cash or prizes. (Laughs) Honestly, I already feel like the swan. So I don't need [the pageant]. What I have is enough already.

TVGO: One of the first things you said in the recovery room was that you couldn't wait to put on a halter top, go-go boots and a canary-yellow miniski read more

Showdown! Punisher vs. Kill Bill

As the Punisher, Marvel Comics' iconic gun-toting vigilante, Thomas Jane squares off against an army of gangsters led by über-baddie John Travolta. But his bloodiest battle is actually happening offscreen, and it can't be won with bullets or hand grenades. That's the showdown between The Punisher and Quentin Tarantino's highly anticipated Kill Bill, Vol. 2 — which both hit theaters today, competing for the same action-hungry audience.

"I'm sure they'll hurt each other at the box office," Jane sighs resignedly. "It's inevitable. But The Punisher will find its audience. It's a niche movie; it doesn't have to make $150 million to be successful. Besides, as a kid, I loved going to the theater and seeing two films I really wanted to see up on the marquee. It's going to be a fantastic weekend for people who love these kinds of movies."

Unlike other actors-turned-superheroes, Jane genuinely can count himself as a lifelong read more

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