Today's News: Our Take

Question: More and more, I ...

Question: More and more, I see or hear the phrase "the powers that be". I first recall hearing this often on Angel in reference to the gods passing on visions. Do you know where this phrase came from? Did it get into pop culture through Angel, or something before that? — Amber P., Toronto, Ont., Canada

Televisionary: I can't say for sure which show introduced that to TV, Amber, but I'm certain you'd have to go a little farther back than Angel. As for the origin of the phrase itself, you'd have to go a ways back to the dawn of TV technology in 1927, when Philo T. Farnsworth first demonstrated a working television system (he called it an "orthicon").

The phrase is biblical, from Romans 13:1. The entire quote is: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God."

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Former Dawson's Creek star James Van Der Beek married longtime girlfriend, actress Heather McComb Saturday in Malibu, Calif. The private beachfront ceremony culminated in a spectacular fireworks display. read more


Big Brother 4 doesn't debut until tonight and already there's trouble. Producers have dumped 28-year-old contestant Brandon Showalter after he was caught trying to make contact with his girlfriend, the New York Post reports. He'll be replaced with an ex-flame of one of the show's other players, increasing the "X Factor" from four couples to five couples. read more


In the end, Spike Lee did the right thing. The filmmaker has settled his court battle with Viacom, paving the way for TNN to call itself Spike TV. "As an artist and a filmmaker," Lee said in a statement, "I feel that protection of freedom of expression is a critical value and I am concerned that my efforts to stop Viacom from using the Spike TV name could have the unintended consequence of threatening the First Amendment rights of Viacom and others." read more

Question: I am trying to find ...

Question: I am trying to find the full series of Doctor Who on video. Any idea where I could find them? — Amanda

Televisionary: The whole series, Amanda? That's 26 seasons worth of the good Doctor. Many of them are out on VHS and DVD, but many more have yet to be released. For a good resource on what's out and what's coming, check the BBC's official site (

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Former L.A. Law attorney Blair Underwood has signed on to appear in at least four episodes of Sex and the City. Although HBO is mum on which Sex character Underwood will be involved with, rumor has it he'll set his sights on Miranda. read more

Question: Was Welcome Back, ...

Question: Was Welcome Back, Kotter based on a real-life teacher? I always thought it was. Thank you. — Terri K., Quantico, Va.

Televisionary: Nope, but the show was inspired by star Gabe Kaplan's stand-up comedy routines, which in turn drew from the comic's own past as a juvenile delinquent and academic underachiever. Not that Kaplan wasn't bright; he just didn't feel like doing his assignments at Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall, which ranked him a four out of five in its one-to-five intelligence rating system. "I was always in the fours, next to the dumbest," he told TV Guide in 1976. "Actually, the fours were the dumbest because the fives were the troublemakers."

Kaplan eventually dropped out of high school altogether, so there was no hint of any future success, never mind the fame and fortune that came when he playe read more


On last night's painfully bloated and convoluted two-hour finale of For Love or Money, so-skeevy-he's-scary Rob Campos tried (and failed) to find the right words to dump Paige and pick Erin. Too bad Erin took the $1 million and ran — straight to a starring role on NBC's For Love or Money 2! And me? I ran straight to the kitchen and drove a fork into the palm of my hand as punishment for sitting through this godawful excuse for a TV show. read more


Jesus was wrong. He told America's Next Top Model contestant Shannon in a dream that our fave, Elyse, would make the final two, but at halftime of last night's season finale, the future M.D. got eliminated, paving the way for endearing dark-horse candidate Adrianne to come from behind and win a Revlon contract, a Wilhelmina representation deal and a restraining order against judge Janice Dickinson. read more

Question: My husband has been ...

Question: My husband has been driving a lot of us crazy over this question: What TV show had a bassett hound named Cleo on it? I think that Jackie Cooper was the lead and my best guess is Peoples Choice, but I can't find anything to verify or deny. Can you help? — C.B., Muncie, Ind.

Televisionary: That's why I'm here, C.B. And you're correct: Hubby is thinking of the sitcom The People's Choice, which ran on NBC from October 1955 to September 1958 and featured former child star Cooper as Socrates "Sock" Miller, a naturalist and city councilman.

Cleo was Sock's basset hound who, unbeknownst to him, his girlfriend Mandy (Pat Breslin) or the rest of the characters, routinely g read more

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