Today's News: Our Take

Question: I recently watched ...

Question: I recently watched 13 Going on 30 and saw Mark Ruffalo. He looks incredibly familiar, but I've never seen any of his other movies. Has he been on any TV shows? I would appreciate your response because it is really bugging me. Thanks! — Sarah, Baltimore, Md.

Televisionary: I'm betting if you saw him on TV, it was when he played opposite Derek Cecil's Off. Mike Dorigan as Off. Zane Marinelli on UPN's The Beat, which ran from March to April in 2000, Sarah. The show also featured Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace) and Lee Tergesen (Oz). And if you're in the market for a Ruffalo showcase, I strongly suggest You Can Count on Me, which is more than worth your time and boasts a truly great performance.

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Alan Jackson nabbed a field-best seven nominations for the 38th annual CMA Awards, including entertainer of the year and best male vocalist. Album of the year nominees include Toby Keith for Shock'n Y'all, Brooks and Dunn for Red Dirt Road, Kenny Chesney for When the Sun Goes Down, Gretchen Wilson for Here for the Party and Brad Paisley for Mud on the Tires. Big deal. Hose 'em down and quit your whining. read more

Question: Oh, great ...

Question: Oh, great Televisionary, please help me resolve one of the great mysteries of my television-viewing life. Back when I was young, I remember watching a show on TV that was a live-action version of The Flash. I think it was a TV-movie, and the only scene that I can remember was when the man who was The Flash got sick and sneezed, it caused him to shoot backward. The show had to have aired before 1994. Can you tell me what I saw? Is there any way I can see it again since I remember really liking it? — Carly S.

Televisionary: Sure thing, Carly, but I can also tell you about the dangers of e-mailing two people at the same company with the same question. See, Matt Roush forwarded the mail you sent to him, and don't think I didn't notice that you called him both great and wise. I'll assume you're very sorry and feel just terrible.

The Flash ran on CBS from September 1990 to July 1991 and starred John Wesley Shipp (read more

Look, people. Please stop writing...

Look, people. Please stop writing me, complaining about how I keep talking about reality shows. I want to watch new episodes of scripted comedies and dramas. Really, I do. There's just nothing on. Believe me. I, like you, am counting the days until the fall season kicks in. I'm already envious of Daniel R. Coleridge because Scrubs comes back tomorrow and he gets to watch it. Lucky sonofagun.

When "E" (aka Pizza Boy) accidentally drunk-dials his ex-girlfriend Kristin instead of Emily — the girl he's currently seeing — Turtle says, "Either marry this girl or kill her. We can't take this anymore!" Yeah. Riiiiight. Here, ladies, is a peek inside the male mind. Apparently, among these guys, death/murder and marriage equal the same thing. And, yes, I know this is a repeat from Sunday night. But let me have this one. OK?

Fear Factor
I knew it! I knew after they lost that $1 million that Adam and read more

Question: Here's what might ...

Question: Here's what might be an odd question, but I don't know the answer and I bet you do. On BJ and the Bear, why was the chimp called Bear? — Rachel S., Ponca City, Okla.

Televisionary: Bear (played by a chimp named Sam) was named for late University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant, Rachel. The odd (or, at least, unexpected) part is how indie trucker BJ McCay (Greg Evigan) partnered up with his furry pal. It seems that while BJ was a POW in Vietnam, Bear saved his life by bringing him food.

Now I'm betting one of your next questions will surely be among the following: BJ was a trucker and a Vietnam vet/POW? They had the temerity to have him meet a chimp while starving? What the heck was a chimp doing there?

To which my answers are yes, yes and I don't know. Full disclosure time: I can't remember exactly what Bear was doing in Vietnam, though I understand a group of chimp vets has organized to tell everyone he never r read more

Question: Is the photo of ...

Question: Is the photo of Colonel Potter's wife on M*A*S*H really Harry Morgan's wife? If not, do you know who she is? Thanks. — Jennifer, Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

Televisionary: No, it wasn't and yes, I do. The photo of Mildred Potter, Col. Sherman Potter's beloved wife, was actually a shot of actress Spring Byington, with whom Morgan worked on CBS's December Bride from 1954 to 1960. Byington played the lead on that series, which featured Morgan as neighbor Pete Porter before his character got his own spin-off, Pete and Gladys (1960-62).

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Question: While watching ...

Question: While watching Olympic swimming last night, my friend and I got into a dispute over the flags that are shown on the lanes. Daniel Roberts mentioned it in the Watercooler today. I believe that the flags are projected into the pool, so that the live audience can see. My friend thinks that they are only shown this way on television so that the TV viewers could see it. I'm pretty sure I'm right, but I need someone to verify this for me! Thanks! — Christa, Scranton, Pa.

Televisionary: Sorry, Christa, but that someone won't be me. Those flags are an only-on-TV effect, much like the first-down line you see when watching football.

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Kelly Osbourne's Dramatic Life

It's tough to come of age on TV, much less to do it on a reality series that follows you and your foulmouthed family 24/7. But that's just what 19-year-old Kelly Osbourne did on MTV's The Osbournes. Now, the reformed wild child (so reformed in fact that, prior to our interview, she grimaced and asked for water after mistakenly sipping from a mixed alcoholic drink) takes on scripted television. Once again, she's coming of age — this time playing the sweet, sexy and self-assured Deborah on ABC's new teen soap, Life as We Know It (debuting Oct. 7).

TV Guide Online: Was it hard to move from reality to scripted drama?
Um, no. It actually was not. I was really shocked at how easy and how natural it came to me, and how much fun I had doing it. So I'm really excited.

TVGO: After your MTV antics, did you have to win over the cast to respect you as an actress?
No. We were instantly friends.

TVGO: It seems read more

Jet Li's Hero Worship

With more than 30 movies to his credit, it's safe to say that Jet Li isn't an on-screen novice. But his latest movie, Hero, was a bit of a departure for the popular action star. It's the first time he's appeared in a movie where the martial arts take a backseat to the drama. "This film isn't just action, action, action," Li explains to TV Guide Online. "It uses martial arts to tell a story that teaches that violence is not the only solution."

That's not to say that Hero (now in theaters) is completely devoid of the awesome fisticuffs fans have come to expect from Li. In fact, it contains some of the most spectacular martial-arts battles ever captured on film, including a balletic sword fight over a lake and a showdown that takes place amid hundreds of swirling, golden leaves. As usual, Li was very involved in the choreography of the sequences — and he's got the bruises to prove it.

"Of course I get hurt," he laughs. "I also hurt other pe read more

Practice Star's Maternal Instinct

Where has Kelli Williams been since she exited The Practice last year? After learning she was one of six pink-slipped series regulars — including her TV hubby Dylan McDermott — the actress focused on motherhood.

"I had my third child four months after I left The Practice ," she says. "So I got to spend a ton of time with my kids [Kiran, 6, Sarame, 3, and Ravi, 1]. I worked a little bit, but it wasn't a priority to me. I just wanted to not have to go to work, be with the kids and look for something for this TV season."

By the way, she's past feeling bitter about losing her signature role as lady lawyer Lindsay Dole. "Things have a way of working themselves out," Williams shrugs. "It's never fun to be let go from a job. They say you should experience that once. It's all good in the course of life, even when it's hard. I went back and directed an episode with James Spader and my own cast mates, which read more

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