Today's News: Our Take

Question: As a huge Buffy ...

Question: As a huge Buffy fan, when it ended I became curious about something. Other than this show and M*A*S*H, are there any other television shows that became so successful that they overpowered the movies they were based on? There seems to be an infinite number of shows-based-on-movies that come and go in the blink of an eye, thankfully in most cases, but Buffy and M*A*S*H are the only two that I can think of that were not only successful but also leave people shocked when they realize that they were actually based on movies. — Chris C., Pittsburg, Cal.

Televisionary: Well, "overpowered" is a subjective opinion, Chris. (And I'll ignore the fact that M*A*S*H, like several other of the examples I'm about to list, was a book before it was a movie; heck, I have to draw the line somewhere, so I'll stick to the scripted form.) For example, I agree in the ca read more

Question: Do you know what ...

Question: Do you know what the new CSI: New York will be about? I love the original so much I cannot wait to see the new one. — Melinda, Omaha, Neb.

Televisionary: Uh... dead people? (OK, I'm being a wiseacre; but I guess you weren't among the 24.1 million fans who caught the preview on CSI: Miami, huh?)

Anyway, Gary Sinise stars as Det. Mac Taylor and Providence alum Melina Kanakaredes is his partner, Stella Bonasera. Both are driven and all-business since if they weren't it wouldn't be CSI. They head up a team of cops that includes a good-looking Brooklyn native (Carmine Giovinazzo), a surgeon-turned-coroner (Hill Harper) and an investigator touted for her chameleon-like abilities (Vanessa Ferlito).

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Question: On the May 18 ...

Question: On the May 18 episode of Special Victims Unit, who was the guest actress who portrayed the woman with the brain tumor? My husband says it was Heather Graham (with a dye job). I disagree. — Susan, Horsham, Pa.

Televisionary: And there's a good reason you do: It's not Ms. Graham. The actress playing principal Meredith Rice was Stacy Edwards, whom you may also have seen in episodes of Cold Case, CSI, Without a Trace, Chicago Hope, L.A. Law and The Fugitive, among others.

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Question: I used to love the ...

Question: I used to love the '80s show Riptide and really liked Joe Penny. Just out of curiosity, though, was that his first big role? — Dara P., Mason City, Iowa

Televisionary: "Big" is always a relative term, Dara. (Try telling some kid just out of school that a bit part on a TV series or a minor role in a major feature isn't big, for example.) Penny had already done guest work on such series as Nancy Drew Mysteries, Lou Grant and Archie Bunker's Place, and had even landed the role of Bugsy Siegel in the nine-part Gangster Chronicles before he and Perry King co-starred as two beach-bum gumshoes in NBC's Riptide from January 1984 to April 1986.

The thing was, Penny had been trying for the role of King's Cody Allen rather than the role he landed, that of Nick Ryder. "But we asked him back to consider Nick's part," co-e read more

Question: First off I have to ...

Question: First off I have to say I love your column! If anyone knows the answer to my question, it has to be you! I really loved the HBO series Carnivale and I thought it was coming back, but it's been off the air for quite some time. So what's the story? Is it coming back or not? Thanks for your help! — Stefanie, Redondo Beach, Cal.

Televisionary: No problem, Stefanie. All I know is good news: HBO tells me the series is definitely coming back. No other details are available, but look for it early next year.

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SundayIndianapolis 500 Who would...


Indianapolis 500
Who would ever have thought David Letterman would win the Indy 500? (OK, so Buddy Rice was actually behind the wheel, winning after a mid-race delay due to a heavy downpour.) Darned nice driving, fella. But the overpowering feeling of watching this is simply one of heartbreaking frustration. The cars out there flow like water, and all I'm thinking about is how if the drivers on Sunset Boulevard could only take a page out of that book, my commute would be 15 shorter, easy. And in L.A., commuting time is everything.

(Speaking of water, though, I suppose the differences aren't really that huge. Nobody here can drive in the rain, either.)

Uncle Sam Wants You
The Marines need 40,000 recruits a year. It's a sales job, plain and simple — no different from selling cars. Only the kid signing the finance contract on his first set of wheels doesn't have to worry about it read more


ER's Noah Wyle has signed on to play the title role in TNT's action-adventure telepic The Librarian. The story centers ono the discovery of a repository of ancient artifacts hidden beneath the New York Public Library. Wyle's character is tasked with keeping the treasures safe from evildoers. read more

Day After Director Anti-NY?

He's destroyed New York three times — first by aliens, then by a giant lizard, and now with a massive tidal wave — but Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich swears he doesn't have a grudge against the Big Apple.

"I think New Yorkers should be proud that their town plays such a big part in so many movies," the German-born filmmaker says. "And after 9/11, I love seeing New York onscreen even more than before. We discussed beforehand whether it would be appropriate to use New York in this movie, but since it was a natural disaster we felt it would be okay. Also, we were very sensitive about what we did. For example, the Statue of Liberty would have fallen over if that much water hit it, but in the movie it remains standing."

Besides, it's not like New York is the only city that's menaced by out-of-control weather in the film. Scotland turns into an arctic wasteland, giant chunks of hail rain down on Tokyo and, most impressively, Los An read more

Swan Spreads Her Wings

This time last year, Rachel Love-Fraser was a dumpy newlywed working at a Washington construction company. And today? She's The Swan, the ultraglamorous winner of Fox's formerly plain Jane beauty pageant. Has success — and a buxom bod that underwent more plastic surgery than an entire Hooters waitstaff — gone to her pretty red head? To find out, TV Guide Online rang up the hot chick before she took flight for home.

TV Guide Online: So, how sorry is your husband now that he was so unsupportive of you during your extreme makeover?
Rachel Love-Fraser:
Oh, he really wasn't that unsupportive. It was just hard for him to have me gone for so long. I mean, four months... you can imagine! You get kind of edgy. We did have some difficulties a couple of times [during the program], but he was definitely supportive. It's just unfortunate that only that one side of his personality got shown. We're having a blast now, though!

TVGO: I' read more


Fox is pushing Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay back into the closet. The network says the two-hour reality special, which was to feature straight guys trying to pass themselves off as gay, was yanked off the schedule for "creative reasons." The folks at GLAAD blasted the program as "an exercise in systematic humiliation." They then rushed home to watch WB's Superstar USA. read more

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