Today's News: Our Take


THE CHASE IS ON

Picture The Fugitive as a reality show and you've got The Chase, a Court TV special airing April 30 that drops a bunch of nobodies in a remote location with 24 hours to elude a team of professional trackers and find a cash prize. If it's a success, The Chase could morph into a weekly series. read more

Question: I know I'm right ...

Question: I know I'm right and my girlfriend's wrong about this: Wasn't Benson a spinoff of Soap? — Ron R., Hutchinson, Kans.

Televisionary: That you are and that it was, Ron. Robert Guillaume left the popular Soap and jumped to his own series in September 1979, when his butler character went to work for Jessica Tate's cousin, Gov. James Gatling (James Noble), and his clan. And by the time he did so, the Benson folks benefited from the fact that the outspoken Guillaume had already worked the bugs out of the character on his previous show.

"Back then," an unnamed member of the Soap cast said of that series' early days, "things could get real uncomfortable around the set, almost scary. At note sessions, when we were going over scripts, Bob fought violently about his lines. He felt that the Benson character had no substance. That all he h read more

Question: I am a huge fan of ...

Question: I am a huge fan of Angel and Buffy. I was wondering what else James Marsters has been in. Also, how old is he? Thanks. — Allyson, Terre Haute, Ind.

Televisionary: Marsters first hit TV in a Northern Exposure guest spot before coming into his own as Buffy's Spike. He also appeared on such shows as Strange Frequency and Andromeda. On the big screen, you may have caught him in House on Haunted Hill.

Marsters is one of those actors who's so good in his signature role — pretty much overshadowing any other Angel or Buffy players doing scenes with him, in my opinion — that you'd think he'd get more work than he does. As for his age, his official bio doesn't list it. But he reportedly read more

Question: I was watching a ...

Question: I was watching a movie starring Kirstie Alley on Sunday, March 14, on CBS. It began at 9 pm, I think, and it was such a great program. The only problem is that I have no clue what the title is. I've been trying to search online for it, but I haven't been able to find a thing. This has been tormenting me since I began to watch the movie. Could you tell me what the name of the program was? Thank you so much! — Sara B., Temple City, Calif.

Televisionary: Sure thing, Sara. The movie in question is Family Sins. As you know, it starred Kirstie as a model mom and wife who, behind the scenes, ran a crime family. Not the mob kind, either; she had her kids heading out to do deeds heinous enough to give Batman's entire villain bullpen a run for their money.

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Question: Hopefully, you can ...

Question: Hopefully, you can help me out with this. There was a short-lived show on Fox in the early '90s that was a comedy. It had different "serials" that it would show, I think — two 15-minute episodes of different shows each week. I remember the guy who played Oswald on The Drew Carey Show, Deidrich Bader, was on it, and I also remember Adam West was on the show as well in some sort of action spoof. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the show. — Matt, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Televisionary: Short-lived it was, Matt. You're thinking of Fox's Danger Theatre, which was hosted by Robert Vaughn and ran for only a month after debuting in July 1993.

As you say, the show consisted of two 15-minute segments, each a spoof of a popular current or past TV show. The two main segments were the Knight Rider-Renegade takeoff, read more

Question: I thought I heard ...

Question: I thought I heard that Sally Field was filming a pilot for one of the networks. What happened to that? She was going to be a judge, I believe. — Anne, San Jose, Calif.

Televisionary: If you're thinking of ABC's The Court, in which she played a Supreme Court justice alongside Pat Hingle, Miguel Sandoval, Chris Sarandon and Diahann Carroll, you're too late. It debuted in March 2002 and was gone in early April. (And if your next question is about James Garner's Supreme Court show, CBS' First Monday kicked off a little earlier, in January of the same year, and was gone in June.)

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Question: Speaking of Rick ...

Question: Speaking of Rick Schroder, what happened to his character on NYPD Blue? I missed a few episodes and never learned what the deal was when he disappeared. — Nancy C., Arlington Va.

Televisionary: Det. Danny Sorenson was killed while investigating the Tailfeathers strip club. His body was discovered in Brooklyn in the Season 9 opener, "Lie like a Rug."

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Bernie Mac Why was Bernie's little...

Bernie Mac
Why was Bernie's little devil clean as the board of health? Think about it. The fact that his inner voice is always dressed to kill must say something important about him. And it's not necessarily a good thing. Hmmm... But poor Bernie. Brotherman was just trying to get a little peace and quiet. Or, as he likes to call it, "a day off." But there's no rest for "Uncle Bernie." You gotta love him for trying to get some, though. You've also gotta love his boys for not letting him off the hook with Juanita and the kids. That man knows he had some nerve sneaking off to Vegas at night. (Goodness gracious, I love that this show is on Monday nights!)

Cracking Up
Forget the Bundys. Lesley and Ted Shackleton are officially the most twisted parents on television. Their crazy competitive streak and fear that Tanner will be an artist was over the top. But it didn't crack me up. In fact, this show has me convinced that creator Mike White read more

Sesame Street Secrets Revealed

On Sesame Street, the multi-talented Sonia Manzano has served both as a performer (she's played Maria since the Nixon Administration) and a staff writer (sharing 13 Emmys for writing for a children's series). Recently, TV Guide Online met with Manzano at the Sesame Workshop on New York's Upper West Side to learn all about one of TV's most unique jobs.

TV Guide Online: Maria must be one of the longest-running characters on television. You're right up there with Susan Lucci's Erica on All My Children!
Sonia Manzano:
Right. In the beginning, she used to run a lending library in a bookstore where the fix-it shop is now. In those days, 20-year-olds looked 14, not like today. So I kinda came on the show as a "teen." I've been able to be the same character — albeit one that fell in love, got married, had a baby, grew up. I've been able to read more

Wonderfalls Daddy Sings Out


Actor William Sadler is best known for serious roles in films like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Still, the 54-year-old has a sense of humor. After all, he did play the Grim Reaper in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey! He taps into his funny side again in the new Fox comedy Wonderfalls (Fridays at 9 pm/ET). His role is Darrin, Jayne's loving yet outspoken father — and as Sadler points out, a young lady who converses with inanimate objects needs a firm parental hand.

"[Darrin] isn't like the father on Malcolm in the Middle, who is overtly wacky. He's more curmudgeonly," he tells TV Guide Online. "He's one of those conservative types, who works hard and cares a lot. He's a man of measured mirth, except f read more

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