Today's News: Our Take


Question: There was a sitcom ...

Question: There was a sitcom starring Jason Bateman and David Garrison where the premise was David's character was dating Jason's mother and Jason, who was a teenage con artist/manipulator, tried different pranks and practical jokes to get them to break up. There was also a character named Eli (the lovable fat kid). Do you know the name of the show I'm thinking of? — Adam B., Bedminster, N.J.

Televisionary: But of course. You're thinking of It's Your Move, which debuted on NBC in September 1984.

As you say, Garrison's Norman Lamb was a writer who dated teenager Matthew Burton's mom (Caren Kaye) after moving into the apartment across the hall. Matthew (Bateman) immediately began scheming and pulling different scams and jokes to try and break them up. But for everything he tried, the resourceful Norman had a counter-move.

Jason's buddy Eli (Adam Sadowsky) was a portly lad with a crush on Jason's sister Julie (Tricia Cast read more

Question: You recently ...

Question: You recently answered a question regarding Aunt Bee's relationship to Andy on The Andy Griffith Show. My question is, what was Barney's relationship to Andy? There are two episodes in which Barney calls Andy "cousin Andy." How were they related? — Roper, Des Moines, Iowa

Televisionary: That's not completely clear, but bear with me here as I try not to confuse myself.

We know Aunt Bee, who's Andy's aunt on his father's side, is not Barney's aunt because Barney says so in a couple of episodes, which rules out that connection. Other times, Barney tells Andy about his mom's family, and Andy doesn't appear to know about these people. That leaves Barney's dad's side and Andy's mom's side. So if they're first cousins, Barney's dad and Andy's mom are brother and sister.

If they're anything other than first cousins — and the show never specified — I'm lost.

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Question: I was watching a ...

Question: I was watching a rerun of Little House on the Prairie the other day and I was wondering if you could tell me how long that show aired. I know it was a long time because the woman who played Laura started out as a little girl and at the end she was a woman with children of her own, but I can't seem to find a Web site. I hope you can help. Thanks. — Tracy

Televisionary: Can't find a Web site? What about our ShowGuide, or the Televisionary search function at the top of this page? Why, just for that, young lady, I'm not gonna tell you. I'm gonna make you read the results of this Televisionary search and our ShowGuide page for yourself!

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Question: Who did the Bonanza ...

Question: Who did the Bonanza theme song? — Donald C., San Diego

Televisionary: The famous theme was written by the Oscar-winning team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, whose other work included the Mister Ed theme and the Christmas standard "Silver Bells." A version sung by show stars Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts and Michael Landon exists, but most people are familiar with the instrumental version used throughout the show's run.

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Question: Who starred with ...

Question: Who starred with James Brolin (Mr. Barbra Streisand) in a medical show in the '70s? And what was the show? — Jane G., Newark, Del.

Televisionary: You're thinking of late TV legend Robert Young and his hit drama Marcus Welby, M.D., which ran on ABC from September 1969 to May 1976, Jane. In it he played the eponymous, Santa Monica-based general practitioner and Brolin played the dashing Steve Kiley, a neurologist in training who assisted Welby.

Why do I call him a legend? Well, first there was the long-running Father Knows Best, in which Young was America's pa (even though years later Young himself dismissed the notion of Dad having all the answers as "just r read more

Question: My mom said she saw ...

Question: My mom said she saw Spike Lee on TV, claiming he owns Spike TV. I think he was claiming to own the name. Who owns Spike TV? — Lisa, Orient, Ohio

Televisionary: Media giant Viacom owns the name and the network, plus CBS, Showtime, MTV and a number of other holdings. Lee sued the company back in June, claiming it was unfairly trading on his name by changing the former TNN's name to Spike. But the two sides eventually settled and made nice, and Spike TV launched in August 2003.

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MARRIAGE-MINDED

Gwyneth Paltrow and rocker Chris Martin — who announced last week that they were expecting their first child this summer — have applied for a marriage license in Santa Barbara County, Entertainment Tonight reports. The license is valid for 90 days. read more

LIVE WIRE

As predicted, Paris Hilton made her first post-sex tape TV appearance over the weekend on Saturday Night Live. The Simple Life star gamely tackled the scandal head-on during a "Weekend Update" segment that found her submitting to a double entendre-laced inquisition from Jimmy Fallon. read more

Tobey Maguire: Oscar-worthy?

Seabiscuit doesn't horse around. The acclaimed film, about the Depression-era racehorse and his rider Red Pollard, took a $110 million bite out of the box office and could win big again on Jan. 27 — that's Oscar nomination day. But Tobey Maguire, who shed 23 pounds from his 5'8" frame to play Pollard, brushes off any talk of a possible nod for himself. "I'm a young guy," says the 28-year-old, never-nominated star. "Right now I'm not concerned with that kind of thing." Instead, like Martha Stewart and her salad, he's here to talk about the Seabiscuit DVD. Due for release Dec. 16 in a single-disc format and a two-disc gift set, it boasts some rare extras — including setside photos (taken by Maguire's co-star, Jeff Bridges) and director Gary Ross delivering read more

Billy Elliot Star Bares All!


Americans know Julie Walters as Ron Weasley's mom in the Harry Potter movies and as Billy Elliot's scrappy ballet teacher. Next up, she drops the maternal routine and strips down with Helen Mirren in Calendar Girls (opening Dec. 19). Yes, the 53-year-old British actress appears nude — although tastefully so — in the true story of some fiftysomething Englishwomen who pose for a cheesecake calendar in order to raise cash for charity. Did she hit the gym to prepare for this daunting task?

"I knew as soon as the script came that [nudity] was inherent in it, somewhere," Walters recalls. "I thought, 'What is this going to be? And what are they going to see?' Because I hadn't done any exercise in a couple of years. And I'm not exactl read more

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