Today's News: Our Take


SURRENDER, DIANE

CBS has tapped Diane Keaton to produce and star in an adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's novel Surrender, Dorothy, reports Variety. The story revolves around a tight mother-daughter relationship that ends abruptly after the daughter dies in an accident. read more

Question: Two questions. ...

Question: Two questions. First, what was the name of the show where Raymond Burr was in a wheelchair? And second, do I remember correctly that he fabricated some of his personal history (marriages, etc.)? — Ray P., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Televisionary: Well, those two questions do have Raymond Burr in common, Ray, but beyond that they're pretty incongruous, no?

Anyway, the answer to the first is Ironside, which ran on NBC from September 1967 to January 1975. Burr starred as Robert Ironside, a consultant and former chief of detectives for the San Francisco Police Department who was wheelchair-bound after being shot.

As for the second, Burr was an obsessively private person who did indeed fire off a few fibs to the press in his day. He claimed to have been married three times and to have had a 10-year-old son who died in 1953. Wife No. 1, a Scottish actress whom Burr said died when the plane in which she was flying was shot down by Nazis duri read more

Question: My children and I ...

Question: My children and I know we've heard the voice of Mr. Opportunity on the Honda clearance commercials before, but who is it? — Carl, Stetsonville, Wis.

Televisionary: That's voice artist Rob Paulsen, Carl. Most likely, you've heard him as either Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or as the dopey Pinky from Pinky and the Brain.

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Question: Can you please tell ...

Question: Can you please tell me the theme song for the wonderful (but now canceled) State of Grace? It starts something like this: "Do you believe in magic, in a young girl's life..." — Roslyn, New York, N.Y.

Televisionary: Actually, that's in a young girl's heart, Roslyn. But it's the Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic?" and you'll find it on their Greatest Hits CD (Buddha/BMG). An added note: lead songwriter John Sebastian also had a hit with his theme song for Welcome Back, Kotter.

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Question: My wife and I were ...

Question: My wife and I were eating Jimmy Dean sausage for breakfast and were wondering what ever happened to him. Why isn't he in those commercials anymore? — Tony R., Newport News, Va.

Televisionary: Funny you should ask, Tony, since Jimmy Dean and wife Donna address that question in their Dean autobiography, Thirty Years of Sausage, Fifty Years of Ham (Berkley), due out next month. And from Dean's perspective, at least, it's not a pretty story.

According to his account, everything was hunky-dory in 1984 when Consolidated Foods, parent company of such brands as Sara Lee, Coach, Hanes and Champion, bought the Jimmy Dean Meat Company from the singer, who was earlier known to the public as the singer of the folk hit "Big Bad John" and the host of his own musical-variety TV show from 1957 to 1966. But over the next two decades, he grew unhappy with working under a large conglomerate (which eventually changed its name to Sara Lee) as it slowly t read more

HE REALLY IS A CARTOON

Playboy chieftain Hugh Hefner and comic book legend Stan Lee are joining forces on an animated series for MTV. Titled Hef's Superbunnies, the show will find Hefner battling crime with the help of a team of, um, "specially-trained" Playmates. Well, that's one way to put it. read more

A Quick Note This will be my last...

A Quick Note
This will be my last night watching the Monday shows. Starting Sept. 13, the fabulous Ms. Rebecca Peterson will work Watercooler Mondays and I'll move to Thursday nights. Wish me luck!

North Shore
It's back! And, apparently, where there's trouble, there's Tessa. First the formerly broke Miss Con Woman secretly gives fine Mr. Bar Manager Frankie $10,000 to open a nightclub/lounge in the Grand Waimea Hotel. "I'll be your silent partner," she says. (No word on why she happens to have that kind of money lying around.) Then, after Nicole moves in with her billionaire dad to find out if he killed her mother, Margaret (who, it turns out, was in love with her boss Vincent back in the day), Tessa goes to "Daddy" and offers to spy on the whole Grand Waimea family. The reason she volunteers to be a back-stabbing beyaatch: "I want the money, the career, the man. I want it all. And I will get it." Now we're talking. Thank you, producers, for amping read more

Question: I have some ...

Question: I have some pictures of old TV Guide covers, but there's no information on them as to date, subjects, etc. Where might one look to identify the person or persons on the cover? Thank you. — Kelly

Televisionary: You're welcome, Kelly, but you're going to be doing all the work. The info's there, but you'll have to do a bit of browsing through our Cover Gallery. Not that that's a bad thing, of course, since it's a fascinating nostalgia trip. Enjoy!

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Smallville Scoop! Clark Meets Lois

Things were pretty bleak on Smallville last season. And we're not just talking about the WB drama's 25-percent drop in ratings. What with all those dank caves and secret labs and depressing story lines, life for Tom Welling's Clark Kent was, frankly, more sad than super. But the Frog isn't bringing out the killer kryptonite quite yet. Executive producer Al Gough promises TV Guide Online he's giving the show's dreary, complicated mythology a rest. This season, look for football, fun and romance! After all, it's Clark's senior year in high school. Spoiler alert: If you don't want to know anything, ya better not read this dishy, in-depth Q&A....

TV Guide Online: What's happening this season with Clark Kent?
Al Gough:
We pick up three months after he was sucked into the cave under Jor-El's tutelage. We'll see him dumped out in a cornfield buck-naked, and he'll run into Lois Lane. That's their first meeting — and he has no memory of being read more

WHEN IT RAINS...

A report on tonight's Dateline NBC claims Michael Jackson fended off a second child-molestation accusation in 1990 by paying $2 million to the son of an employee at his Neverland Ranch. That would be in addition to the $15 million Jackson reportedly paid to his first accuser. "We always believed there were eight to 10 other children out there," former Santa Barbara sheriff Jim Thomas tells Dateline. read more

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