Today's News: Our Take


Question: Silly question ...

Question: Silly question time. Was Doogie Howser based on a real person? Thank you. — Rory O., Seattle, Wash.

Televisionary: No question is silly, Rory, particularly when I can get a column out of it.

No, Doogie Howser, M.D., which ran on ABC from September 1989 to July 1993, wasn't based on a real medical whiz-kid. In fact, it wasn't even based on any kind of reality. You see, even though it was a decent enough show (and I'm an admirer, generally, of creator Steven Bochco), there's no way a 16-year-old could be a practicing physician.

My word not good enough for you? Fine.

"Impossible," Harvard Medical School admissions officer Helen Rakin told TV Guide in 1989. "The youngest person we have on record ever to enter Harvard Medical School was 18. Doogie Howser would have had to graduate f read more

Question: I was just ...

Question: I was just wondering who sings the theme song for Oliver Beene. It's a really catchy song. Thanks. — Zach, Gallatin, Tenn.

Televisionary: The band in question is the Solids, the song is "The Future Is Now" and dat's da name o' dat tune.

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Question: Can you tell me the ...

Question: Can you tell me the name of a movie with Farrah Fawcett in a small part as a Playboy bunny? I just remember seeing her in some sort of bunny outfit. I remember seeing this as a kid and for some reason it's always stuck in my mind. — S.W., West Hollywood, Calif.

Televisionary: You're thinking of The Feminist and the Fuzz, a 1971 ABC TV-movie in which Ms. Fawcett did indeed play a bunny. The real story, of course, revolved around a feminist (Barbara Eden) and a male-chauvinist cop (David Hartman) who become roommates. The cast also included Jo Anne Worley, read more

Question: When is the season ...

Question: When is the season finale of Without A Trace? Thank you. — Leda C., Cobden, Ill.

Televisionary: It's actually a two-part season finale, Leda, so I'd image you'll want to catch both. (Canny assumption, eh? That's why I'm the Televisionary.)

Part one of the story, set for May 8, involves Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) and company searching for a woman who's vanished from the workplace without — you guessed it — a trace. But the case turns into a hostage crisis that threatens one of the main characters.

Being the Televisionary, I know which one, of course, but revealing that information would undoubtedly annoy you, the network, or both. And if either of you came after me it'd get out that TV omniscience isn't much of a power when it comes to self-defense. Plus I emit a rather unpleasant, high-pitched read more

Question: I could swear that ...

Question: I could swear that when Ellen debuted, it was originally called Friends. This has been bugging me for a long time. Please help put an end to my wondering. — Stacey M., Piney Flats, Tenn.

Televisionary: Close. When the Ellen DeGeneres vehicle debuted on ABC in March 1994, it was called These Friends of Mine and Ellen managed the Buy the Book bookstore rather than owning it, as she later did before it bit the dust in an earthquake and she ended up selling the rebuilt operation to a chain and managing it again. Pals Holly (Holly Fulger) and Anita (Everybody Loves Raymond's Maggie Wheeler) helped with t read more

Question: Can you settle an ...

Question: Can you settle an argument between my sister and me? She claims that the role of Helen Chappel on Wings was originally played by Park Overall before being replaced by Crystal Bernard during the second season. I say that Helen was played by Crystal from the beginning. Who's right? — Elizabeth M., Portland, Maine

Televisionary: You. The role was Bernard's during the comedy's entire 1990-97 run on NBC.

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Meet Jaws' Granddaddy, Meg!


Since Steve Alten reacquired the rights to his engrossing bestseller Meg, about a prehistoric predator that makes Jaws' Great White look like a guppy, showbiz sharks have been circling. However, it's not only the scribe's screenplay adaptation that's sparked the feeding frenzy. It's also the fact that his book and its follow-up, The Trench, have made "finatics" of the hard-to-hook adolescent demographic.

"For a while, nothing was happening," the author tells TV Guide Online. "But recently, some developments have been spurred on because it seems that teens love Meg — so much so that high school teachers were using the book as part of their curriculum. I didn't know this until English teachers started e-mailing me that the book was a huge hit in their classes.

"So, essentially, we have a growing army of kids who are wanting to see a movie [adaptation]. I wasn't aiming to do that, but it just worked out," he continues, amazed. "No read more

Hugh Jackman Plays Gay on Broadway


Aussie actor Hugh Jackman displays "berserker rage" as Wolverine in X2: X-Men United (opening Friday). But that's nothing next to the scenery chewing he'll likely be doing on Broadway this October! He's signed a 12-month contract to play Peter AllenLiza Minelli's gay first husband — in The Boy From Oz.

"Peter used to be the opening act for Judy Garland, who he met drunk in a club in Hong Kong," Jackman says. "He then became a prolific songwriter, winning an Oscar for 'Arthur's Theme.' He did many hit songs you would know. His life was truly amazing, this boy from the Australian outback.

"If I said he was the polar opposite of Wolverine," Jackman laughs, "I'm really not exaggerating. He was very flamboyant, our Peter. He was famous for his Hawaiian shirts, gold tap dancing shoes, jumping on the piano, making out with anyone who came in his path, and dancing with the Rockettes. He was an outrage read more

Real Cancun Star Bares All

There's little doubt that 18-year-old Texas Tech freshman Alan Taylor is the star of The Real Cancun, the reality feature from the producers of MTV's The Real World. His progression from reserved, non-drinking outsider to fun-loving party animal over the course of the eight-day spring break free-for-all was almost as compelling as those wet T-shirt contests. After watching him complain about girl trouble and shyness, we were pretty shocked when the lapsed teetotaler told TV Guide Online all about his thespian past, not to mention that understanding girlfriend back home...

TV Guide Online: You seem so reserved in the movie, but I hear you're actually involved in theater at school.
Alan Taylor:
That's the thing people don't understand about me. They say throughout the movie I find my confidence. But I've done theater since I was 15! People are asking what my aspirations will be now, and I kind of hate to say professio read more

CRIB NOTE

Lovebirds Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have shelled out $16 million for an 83-acre plantation on Georgia's tony Hampton Island. The lush property resembles a set out of Gone With the Wind, complete with a 10,000-square-foot main house, miles of unspoiled forest and convenient access to the 6 train. read more

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