Today's News: Our Take

Question: Hi, Jeff. Who was ...

Question: Hi, Jeff. Who was America's first female game show host? — Todd G., Fayetteville, Ark.

Televisionary: First things first, Todd. Who the heck is Jeff?

Moving on: America's first female game show host was Arlene Francis. The late Ms. Francis, probably best known for her What's My Line? days, handled the hosting duties on Blind Date, which debuted in 1949. There weren't many other lady hosts for decades until Betty White and Just Men! in the early '80s.

Now, your next question may well be: Why so few? In that case, as Anne Robinson would say, I am the weakest link. I can't tell you.

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News flash for Stuart Smalley: Doggone it, not everyone likes you. Fox News Channel is suing liberal humorist Al Franken (aka Stuart) to stop him from using the slogan "fair and balanced" in the title of his upcoming book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Fox — which is also seeking unspecified damages — claims it registered "Fair & Balanced" as a trademark in 1995. A rep for Franken's publisher, Dutton, responds, "The attempt to keep the public from reading Franken's message is un-American." read more


Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled his 2000 and 2001 income tax returns over the weekend, and the actor-turned-politico made roughly $57 million in those years. Of that, Uncle Sam took only $15.4 million. Note to self: Find out who Conan's accountant is and hire him. read more

Question: Last week you ...

Question: Last week you answered a cat question, so here's another: What was the name of Willow and Tara's cat on Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I remember it had a real funny name. — Bill, Tucson, Ariz.

Televisionary: Well, I hope you're proud of yourself, Bill. What you probably thought of as a simple question led to the involvement of several people here at Televisionary central and eventually led to us pestering the main Buffy man himself, Joss Whedon.

The first bit of info. is easy: Willow and Tara's cat was named Miss Kitty Fantastico. But that got me thinking: What the heck ever happened to that cat? There was that throwaway line from Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) in the "End of Days" episode. Remember? She told Xander she no read more

Question: What TV series did ...

Question: What TV series did Doug E. Doug have a supporting role in a few years ago? — Helen T., Congress, Ariz.

Televisionary: Doug played neighbor/pal Griffin Vesey to Hilton Lucas (Bill Cosby) for the four-season run of CBS's Cosby, which debuted in September 1996.

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At a Monday press conference to promote his latest Project Greenlight baby The Battle of Shaker Heights, Ben Affleck dodged questions about whether his recent visit to a Vancouver strip club affected his upcoming wedding to J.Lo. "You can tell your news editors that you are too big for that kind of stuff," he laughed, "that you are better than that, that you rise above it." (Yeah, I told him that — but he still wants the freakin' scoop!) Affleck was much more forthcoming when the topic turned to Gigli, a film he confesses ultimately didn't hold up "as a whole." read more


Film great Ann-Margret will guest-star on three episodes of NBC's Third Watch in November. She'll play a a judge who is being stalked and must be protected by New York's finest. read more


Two stars of Sex and the City are getting a little action on the side. Kim Cattrall will exec produce and star in the HBO movie The Country Girl, based on Clifford Odets's 1950 play. And Kristin Davis has scored the female lead opposite Matthew Modine in the TNT telefilm The Winning Season, which revolves around a 12-year-old boy who finds a magic baseball card. read more


The Anti-Defamation League is blasting Mel Gibson's upcoming film The Passion, claiming the project — which chronicles the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ — will fuel anti-Semitism. "The film unambiguously portrays Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob as the ones responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus," says Abraham Foxman, the league's national director. Gibson's rep insists the pic is "about love, hope, faith and forgiveness." read more


The Game Show Network will spoof the California recall election in an upcoming special, Who Wants to Be Governor of California? The Debating Game. Airing Oct. 1 (a week before the election), the show will feature five of the candidates in a wide-ranging debate, including buzz-in answers and bonus questions. The winner will receive $21,200, the maximum corporate campaign contribution allowed by California law. read more

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