Today's News: Our Take


ABC's telecast of the 76th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday attracted an average 43.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Oscars in four years. Nielsen, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how many of those 43.5 million people were actually awake by the end of the nearly four-hour show. Looking for answers to other burning Oscar questions? Well, click here! read more

Question: What station ran ...

Question: What station ran the movie Call Me Anna in 1990? It was the Patty Duke story, directed by Gilbert Cates and released on Nov. 11, 1990. Thanks so much! — Mamie S., Gaston, S.C.

Televisionary: That aired on ABC, Mamie, with Ari Meyers as child-star Patty, Jenny Robertson playing her as a young adult, and Duke playing herself as an adult. (Howard Hesseman and Deborah May were her managers, and Karl Malden was the psychiatrist who helped her.)

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Alright, CBS, the ball's in your court. Everybody Loves Raymond exec producer Phil Rosenthal hinted Monday night at a Museum of TV & Radio event in New York City that he and Ray Romano may return next fall for a Friends-esque shortened ninth season, TV Guide Online has learned. He added that the decision now rests in the hands of financial execs (including, we presume, CBS' Les Moonves) who are trying to determine whether doing a partial season would be economically feasible. We're going to go out on a limb and predict it would be, but there's no official comment yet from CBS. read more

Question: Where did Meredith ...

Question: Where did Meredith get the rose dress that she wore on the cover of TV Guide? I would like to buy one. — S.D., Atlanta, Ga.

Televisionary: Assuming you mean the rose bustier the bachelorette wore on the table of contents in our Feb. 7 issue, it was custom-made by Los Angeles designer Maggie Barry. Barry tells me that you, too, can have one made by calling her Silver Lake store (called, oddly enough, Maggie Barry) at 323-644-1129.

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Don't be fooled by last night's finale of Average Joe: Hawaii, folks. Despite what NBC led us to believe, pretty vapid boy Gil did not dump pretty vapid girl Larissa after learning that she once dated pretty vapid model Fabio. Appearing on the Today show this morning, the pretty vapid couple confirmed that they are still very much an item. Where does all this leave jilted everyman Brian? Pretty much better off. read more

Question: My husband and I ...

Question: My husband and I have a bet that Norm's wife, Vera, on Cheers was never seen. I say that she was never shown on the show, but my husband insists that she was seen on one episode. I find it funny he cannot remember what she looked like, though. Can you settle this bet for us? — Samantha S., Jacksonville, Fla.

Televisionary: Vera's face was never seen, so I say you win, Samantha. Probably the closest she came to revealing herself was when Diane threw a pie at Sam and hit the off-camera Vera in the face with it. When Vera stepped into the shot, of course, her face was obscured by the pie. (And the answer to your next question is yes, Vera's voice was heard on the show, courtesy of actress Bernadette Birkett, actor George Wendt's real-life wife.)

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Although there's no official confirmation from Fox, the ax reportedly has fallen on Boston Public. That would explain why the show's star, Chi McBride, just signed on to play a SWAT team leader in the ABC drama pilot Countdown. read more

The Mystery of Natalie Wood Holy...

The Mystery of Natalie Wood
Holy melodrama! File this next to Mommie Dearest for child abuse. The damage Natalie Wood's — I mean, Natasha Brukalakayou'vegottobekidding
mewiththisnameashviska's — mother does to her in the first hour of this made-for-TV biopic is over the top. Seriously. That kind of abuse takes skill. In the first hour, the controlling Stage Mom From Hell makes sure her child will forever be afraid of water ("Gypsy say you will drown!"), lightning, poisoning, kidnapping, touch and any kind of emotional intimacy. Hello! Mama Wood even refuses to let a doctor tend to her injured child's broken wrist (which heals crooked and literally scars Natalie for life) and tries to pimp her out to Frank Sinatra. ("Maybe if you nice to him, he put you in movie.") Oh, and then she drops the best anti-baby, just-say-no-to-sex one-liners ever: "If you get baby, you die!" she tells Natalie with a thick Russian accent. Or, my favorite: read more

Question: What year did Honey ...

Question: What year did Honey West air? — Steve, Hardyston, N.J.

Televisionary: The lady detective played by Anne Francis launched her ABC series in September 1965, Steve. The formidable Ms. West kicked around with partner Sam Bolt (John Ericson) and her beloved ocelot, Bruce, for a year before leaving the air.

It's worth noting, however, that she first appeared opposite Gene Barry on an episode of Burke's Law in April 1965 before landing her own show.

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Question: I hope you'll ...

Question: I hope you'll answer this question because Google has finally, inevitably, failed us. The theme song for the show Airline is a jazzed-up version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane." It sounds a lot like Counting Crows, but... not quite. We love it, though, and find ourselves randomly singing it around the house for days after an episode. Can you please tell us who performs that song, and if it's available anywhere? Thank you for doing what Google cannot. We love you, man. — Toni M., Manassas, Va.

Televisionary: Well, if Google could dial a phone and ask an A&E publicist, it could probably write this column, too. But it can't, so I remain employed.

The version you enjoy so was recorded by singer Jimmy Coup and studio musicians Steven Miller and John Fields specifically for the show. Coup tells me it'll soon be available for purchase, but he doesn't have details on that right now. However, if you'd like to check for updates read more

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