Today's News: Our Take

Question: This isn't a bet ...

Question: This isn't a bet since we're not betting people, but it is an argument. Wasn't Vega$ Robert Urich's first TV series? I say no. Thank you for helping out. — Meredith M., Owasso, Okla.

Televisionary: And you're right, Meredith, in keeping with the grand Televisionary tradition of whoever tends to write in about these things usually having their facts straight. The late Urich, who starred in a whopping 15 TV dramas and comedies over his career, appeared on Bob &#038 Carol &#038 Ted &#038 Alice, SWAT, Tabitha and Soap before jumping into the role of T-bird-driving private eye Dan Tanna on ABC's Vega$, which ran on ABC from September 1978 to September 1981.

And it was a long road to that point. After growing up in a small Ohio town, attending Florida State on a football scholarship and getting an M.A. in broadcast management ("When I went home on vacation, t read more

Question: I just finished ...

Question: I just finished reading your column for this week and noticed an error in one of your answers. A woman was asking about a TV movie with Ellen Barkin and Oprah Winfrey. Your answer was that it was Ellen Foster but in actuality the movie was called Before Women Had Wings, a 1997 TV movie starring Barkin and Winfrey. This film was produced by Oprah and the story revolved around an abused child who sought refuge with a coloured neighbour in 1960s southern America. Don't mean to be picky but I love it when my brain full of useless knowledge comes in handy. Love your column! — Tammy P., Hamilton, Ont., Canada

Televisionary: I love it when my own useless knowledge comes in handy, too, especially since it seems to do so on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, in this case, I was, well... wrong.

The movie in question in my Feb. 24 column was indeed Before Women Had Wings, not Ellen Foster read more

Question: A coworker and I ...

Question: A coworker and I were recently watching the Seinfeld episode "The Cadillac," in which Jerry's father is fired as president of the condo board. The episode ends in a film parody, but we can't think of the movie being lampooned. Please help. — Corey H., Sioux Falls, S.D.

Televisionary: It's only parodying a movie insofar as the movie reflected real life, Corey. That scene is a takeoff of Richard Nixon's exit from the White House after his resignation. In a famous bit of footage, he walks with wife Pat to a waiting helicopter, then turns, smiles and gives his famous double-V salute before getting in. (The movie in question is, of course, Nixon.)

read more


Speaking of Return of the King, the trilogy's Oscar-winning climax is coming to DVD on May 25 as part of a two-disc set. A special extended edition will hit stores around Christmas. Meanwhile, the first installment — The Fellowship of the Ring — will make its broadcast debut on the WB during November sweeps. read more

WB to Hottie: Get Lost!

Thus far in his career, Mike Erwin has been most widely recognized as "the guy in the coma" on Everwood. But that will soon change, if WB's Lost in Space pilot takes off: The 25-year-old has been cast as the proposed remake's major hottie, Maj. Don West. "I actually get to play a cool character for once," he tells TV Guide Online enthusiastically. "I'm totally excited.

"[Buffy the Vampire Slayer grad] Doug Petrie is the writer, and he and I have a great relationship," he continues. "He even opened the door to allow me to create some of my character's choices. He wanted my input; that's really rare."

Although the actor bought the whole series on DVD to research his role, "I don't think we're going to be anything like the old one was," he says read more


Former Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar has not ruled out making a guest appearance on Angel's upcoming series finale. "I go back and forth on the idea, especially because Angel had such a hard time, in my opinion, getting out from Buffy's shadow," she tells SCI FI Wire. "And it never got to stand on its own. And I would hate for it to go out being about Buffy." One key factor sure to impact her decision: Gellar, currently in Tokyo shooting the horror film The Grudge, might not be home in time for Angel's last stand. What's more, the erstwhile Chosen One claims no one has approached her — which sounds a little shady considering what Joss Whedon told me last month. read more

Sela Ward's Shocking Slap

After wrapping her stint as a modern mom on ABC's Once and Again, Sela Ward traveled back in time to the 1950s in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. She plays lead girl Ramolo Garai's mother, who's a frustrated former ballroom dancer. While filming in Puerto Rico, Ward was thrilled to strap on sexy heels and show off her moves on the dance floor, albeit very briefly.

"Damn it, I practiced for two solid weeks and there was only 30 seconds [on screen]," Ward laments to TV Guide Online. "I was so proud of all that dancing. That's the hardest work I've ever done, physically."

Is she kidding? This 47-year-old's killer body must require serious work! "I'm [usually] doing boring things like the treadmill, the weights and resistance training," she explains. "[While dancing,] I had sweat pouring off of me in rehearsal. It was g read more


The body of 62-year-old actor-writer Spalding Gray, who disappeared from his Manhattan apartment two months ago, was pulled out of New York's East River on Sunday. The cause of death was still under investigation. Gray — who was probably best known for his Obie-winning monologue, Swimming to Cambodia — had suffered from depression in recent years. read more


Last Comic Standing judge Drew Carey is accusing NBC of being "crooked and dishonest" in selecting the reality show's next batch of contestants. During last month's Vegas-based semifinals round, Carey claims the input of the judges in selecting the final 10 comics was discounted in favor of Peacock execs and the show's producers — a fact NBC won't deny. "The casting decisions were made by NBC and NBC Studios in consultation with talent scouts and we appreciate their valuable input," NBC said in a statement. "Now that the 10 participants have been selected, the program will begin." read more


Viacom has stuck a fork in Martha Stewart's syndicated series, Martha Stewart Living, in the wake of the domestic diva's conviction Friday for obstruction of justice. read more

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