Today's News: Our Take


UGLY TURN

Fox's apocalyptic makeover series The Swan sagged a bit in the ratings last night, attracting just 8 million viewers in its first Monday airing. That's off sharply from the 15 million who checked out the show's premiere last Wednesday. read more

Question: Was there a TV show ...

Question: Was there a TV show in the '80s called Voyagers that had something to do with time travel? — Marcus K., St. Charles, Mich.

Televisionary: That there was, Marcus, though not for all that long. (It ran for less than a year on NBC beginning in October 1982.)

The educational show featured late Cover Up co-star Jon-Erik Hexum as bumbling voyager Phineas Bogg, a former 17th-century pirate who worked as a time overseer, hopping across the past in his Omni device, making sure major events occurred as they were supposed to and preserving history's integrity. Twelve-year-old Jeffrey (Meeno Peluce) went along for the ride as an invaluable helper because he knew more about the past than Bogg did. (In the first episode, Jeffrey's dog made off with Bogg's guidebook so the kid had to fill in the gaps in Bogg's knowledge, which greatly outnumbered the things he did know.)

Sound a lot like Cartoon Network's Time Squad? Y read more

PAGING THE SPICE CHANNEL...

Britney Spears' reps are shopping around a reality series featuring backstage footage from the European leg of her current Onyx Hotel Tour. According to The Hollywood Reporter, OnTourage would chronicle the "Toxic" singer's adventures with her dancers, bodyguards and managers from the tour bus to the nearest wedding chapel. The six-episode series could be on the air this summer. read more

KITSCHY CHRISTMAS

The success of Sunday's Nick and Jessica Variety Hour — the retro-revue won its timeslot with more than 11 million viewers — has prompted ABC to move forward with plans for a Christmas special hosted by the Newlyweds pair. This time around, suicide hotlines will staff up to meet the extra demand. read more

THE RICH GET RICHER

Donald Trump's salary will double for the second edition of The Apprentice. According to the Los Angeles Times, NBC's savior will see his per-episode paycheck increase from $50,000 to at least $100,000 next season. Meanwhile, rumor has it that Trump's voluptuous secretary, Robin Himmler, is on the verge of securing full medical coverage, access to the company's 401k plan and a cubicle with a partial view. read more

THEY'LL BE BACK

ABC has renewed Hope & Faith, Extreme Makeover, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, According to Jim, My Wife and Kids, George Lopez and America's Funniest Home Videos for next season. Noticeably absent from ABC's pick-up list: Alias and 8 Simple Rules. The net previously announced that NYPD Blue would return in the fall for a 12th and final season, albeit sans leading lady Charlotte Ross. read more

Bernie Mac "You know she's a like...

Bernie Mac
"You know she's a like a play-cousin to me," Bernie told Wanda about his new friend Lynette. Play-cousin. I haven't heard that term since I was 12. Lord, sometimes this show makes me want to call home.

The Venus Divine Commercial
"Reveal the goddess in you..." So what are they trying to say, that goddesses don't have hairy parts? I don't know about that. Some Hindu goddesses have, like, eight arms. Ain't no way they're shaving all those pits.

Bernie Mac: The Second Episode
Oh, I get it. First a queen of comedy guest starred on a king of comedy's show. (How sweet.) Now Ashton Kutcher's sitting witty on the "prankster" episode. (How apropos.) Seriously America, what's with all the guest stars on tonight's two episodes — Mo'Nique, Dr. Phil, Flavor Flav, Ashton Kutcher and Carl Reiner? Have I jumped forward in time? Is it, like, sweeps or something?

The Target B read more

HEALTH SCARE

Actress-model Lauren Hutton was airlifted to a New Mexico hospital Monday after experiencing chest pains. Docs later determined that the 60-year-old beauty was just suffering from a little indigestion. In a statement, Hutton said it's important to understand the heart-related risk factors for women and seek treatment immediately. It's equally as important to take a TUM, TUM, TUM, TUM, TUMS after eating anything with curry, as I found out last Valentine's Day. read more

Question: In Buffy's ...

Question: In Buffy's sixth-season finale, after "veiny" Willow has tried to destroy the world, there is a song that sounds a lot like Sarah McLachlan singing "The Prayer of St. Francis." I have looked on her website and the Buffy website, but there was no acknowledgement of the song. Do you know the artist? And do you know where I can buy a copy? It's quite beautiful. Thanks! — Therese, College Station, Tex.

Televisionary: That track, played in the "Grave" episode, can be found on the soundtrack CD Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale (Virgin) or on on McLachlan's Surfacing, but only on the limited-edition two-disc version of the CD. If you already own the standard CD, you can buy the second disc separately if you hunt around online, or you can buy the whole two-disc set as an import if you're willing to cough up some extra bucks.

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THE SWAN

A fast-food addict from Missouri was crowned Miss USA 2004 Monday night. Shandi Finnessey, 25, who listed wrestling a greased pig in a mud pit as one of the craziest things she has ever done, will now represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in Quito, Ecuador, on June 1. read more

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