Today's News: Our Take


Question: On a recent episode ...

Question: On a recent episode of Joan of Arcadia, they read a poem for Rocky's funeral. Can you tell me who wrote the poem? — Veronica, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Televisionary: Not only can I tell you, Veronica, I can present it here for you.

The poem read in the Jan. 9 episode has been shared and sent around the world with slightly different wording, different titles, and with its lines in varying order to comfort the bereaved after major disasters, terrorist attacks and the deaths of ordinary people. (Four lines have even been lost along the way.) It's been set to music, used on cards and in various needlepoint projects and was even read by John Wayne at Howard Hawks' funeral. Most of the people who've quoted it never knew who the author was.

Over the years, many different people have claimed authorship, even driving researchers working on the Dear Abby column to distraction when they tried to read more

GRAMMY PREVIEW

Fresh from his shocking Super Bowl duet with Janet, Justin Timberlake has been confirmed as a performer at Sunday's Grammy Awards. He'll be joined by Prince, Beyoncé Knowles, Celine Dion and Alicia Keys — all of whom will be lining their brassieres with Shards O' Glass Freeze Pops just in case Justin gets frisky again. read more

Dynasty Diva Redux


Now that ABC has given the green light to a TV-movie about the making of Aaron Spelling's seminal primetime soap, Dynasty, execs are pulling out their hair — and not because they are imitating babelicious bruisers Joan Collins and Linda Evans, either. (If that were the case, they'd be pulling one another's hair!) The suits are faced with the daunting task of finding two actresses who could fill out their predecessors' Nolan Miller evening gowns. But not to worry: As always, we've got a few bright ideas. See if you don't agree that Krystle and Alexis Carrington would be well played by:

Suzanne Somers and read more

SPOT ON

Bud Light's spot featuring a crotch-biting mutt ranked as the most popular Super Bowl commercial, according to USA Today's annual ad meter contest. The 136 adults polled also gave high marks to Pepsi's ad, in which a bear disguises himself as his human owner, and Frito-Lay's spot featuring Grandma and Grandpa fighting over a bag of chips. Surprisingly, no one seemed to like FedEx's alien office worker ad — which was my personal favorite. Eh, what do I know. read more

YOU GOT NO. 1

With the country's rapt attention focused on Janet Jackson's boobie, er, I mean the Super Bowl, it was a slow weekend at the box office — with one exception. The urban dance flick You Got Served surprised industry analysts by debuting at No. 1 with a potent $16 million. Two other newcomers — the SAT heist flick The Perfect Score and the Owen Wilson comedy The Big Bounce — flunked, taking in a combined $8 million. Meanwhile, last week's Oscar nods gave a slight boost to best picture contenders Lord of the Rings, Mystic River, Master and Commander and Lost in Translation. read more

GET OUT!

Seinfeld vet Julia Louis-Dreyfus is joining the cast of Fox's Arrested Development for a two-episode arc later this season. She'll play a blind attorney assigned to prosecute Jeffrey Tambor's jailed patriarch. For more on this, click here. read more

PAGING MANDY...

Barry Manilow was hospitalized over the weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., after suffering from stress-related chest pain. According to his rep, the singer was coming off of "two of the most grueling days of arbitration" in a lawsuit over rights to the musical Harmony. He's expected to remain hospitalized for a few days while doctors run more tests. read more

REALITY OVERLOAD

Fox has set a March 29 premiere date for The Swan, a makeover show in which 18 female contestants undergo plastic surgery as part of their transformation. The catch? They won't be able to see their new faces until the finale, a two-hour beauty pageant airing May 24. Meanwhile, the network has scheduled Playing It Straight for Fridays at 8 pm/ET, beginning March 12. The show revolves around a single woman who must choose a mate from a pool of single men — some of whom are gay. read more

OH, YOU NASTY GIRL

It'll likely go down as one of the most thrilling moments in Super Bowl history — and I'm not talking about the New England Patriots' victory-clinching field goal during the final seconds of last night's game. I'm referring to the climax of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show when Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson's black leather bustier, prompting my brother David to shout: "I just saw Janet Jackson's boobie!" CBS immediately issued an apology for the incident, which Timberlake later dubbed an unfortunate "wardrobe malfunction." MTV, which produced the halftime show, said the striptease was "unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional." The NFL said it was probably the music network's Super Bowl swan song. "It's unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime," said NFL exec vice president Joe Brown, who was last seen chomping read more

OH, DEAR

Former California governor Gray Davis is moving in on successor Arnold Schwarzenegger's territory and taking up acting. The embattled politician will play himself in the March 1 episode of CBS' Yes, Dear. The plot finds Davis getting into a fight with Greg's father (Tim Conway) on the floor of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. read more

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