Today's News: Our Take


COUNTRY KUDOS

Tuesday was country crooner Toby Keith's lucky day. He leads this year's nominations for the Country Music Association Awards with seven nods, including best entertainer, male vocalist, and album of the year for Unleashed. Johnny Cash snagged four CMA nods — two for his cover of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt." Brooks &#038 Dunn and Brad Paisley also received four each. And despite all their Dubya drama this year, the Dixie Chicks still got two nods, including best album for Home. read more

Question: On The O.C., there ...

Question: On The O.C., there was a song playing when Ryan was carrying Marissa into his bedroom. It had the word "today" repeated in it. I really liked it and was hoping you would know it. — Cassandra D.

Televisionary: Judging by the volume of mail I got on that song, you weren't alone. That was Mazzy Star's "Into Dust." You'll find it on their 1993 album So Tonight That I Might See, which also contains the hit "Fade Into You."

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NOW FEAR THIS

Time to stock up on those barf bags: NBC has reached a deal with Endemol USA to keep Fear Factor on the air for an additional three years, through May 2007. read more

NBC has made it official, to the...

NBC has made it official, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Friends may be over come May, but the end will mark just another beginning for Joey Tribbiani, aka Matt LeBlanc, who'll headline the most significant TV spinoff since Cheers begat Frasier 11 years ago. When Joey premieres a year from September, no doubt in Friends's current Thursday time period, will it be a repeat of Frasier's unexpected success, or will it launch a "Friends curse" on the order of the sorry track record of Seinfeld alums Michael Richards, Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus? It's way too early to tell, but only a complete curmudgeon would wish Matt or Joey anything but good luck. Spinning off Joey makes perfect sense to me, both creatively and realistically. It will be hard to say goodbye to this show and its phenomenal ensemble, but the bitter will be sweetened by the foreknowledge that Joey will still be around to amuse us. read more

Question: I am really diggin' ...

Question: I am really diggin' the music on the new Discovery Channel show Monster House. Who in the world does that music? You are my last hope! — Jod, Duluth, Minn.

Televisionary: Then far be it from me to let you down, Jod. Daniel Mackenzie, a singer/songwriter and actor who grew up in New York and now lives in L.A., is behind the show's music. If you're a big fan of the show, you may have seen him when he appeared as "Cowboy Dan" in the show's Western-flavored episode, and if you're a fan of reality-TV in general, you may have caught him giving a private Hollywood Bowl concert for the For Love or Money 2 contestants.

In addition to scoring a variety of indie films and TV documentaries, Mackenzie has released an album, Shakeytown. And a collection of his Monster House music should be out in time for the holidays.

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Question: I've been watching ...

Question: I've been watching old McMillan and Wife episodes, and I was wondering if they ever delivered that baby she was carrying. I don't ever remember a baby on the show, just a pregnant wife. — Wendy M., Kannapolis, N.C.

Televisionary: They did indeed deliver the baby, though it was only mentioned briefly. In fact, as far as any substantive story developments, the little tyke pretty much didn't exist until the beginning of the 1976-77 season, when its disappearance was explained.

By that time, Susan Saint James had left amid a contract fight. So when the new season started, Sally McMillan and the baby were said to have died in a plane crash, maid Mildred was also gone (Nancy Walker had left for her own show on ABC) and husband Stewart McMillan (read more

HE'S BACK

It's official: Everybody at Everybody Loves Raymond is rich and happy again — including Brad Garrett. The disgruntled Emmy winner has resolved his salary dispute with CBS and is slated to return to work today. Garrett — who has been on strike since the start of the new season — accepted CBS's $250,000 per-episode offer; he had been earning roughly $166,000 an episode. Additionally, he'll get a small ownership stake in the show, also offered to co-stars Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts. Garrett will now be written back into the show's second episode; his Robert character will be absent from the season premiere. read more

Question: Was Robert Stack ...

Question: Was Robert Stack one of the stars of the S.W.A.T. television series in the seventies? — Karen C., Los Angeles, Cal.

Televisionary: Nope. But I bet you're thinking of Steve Forrest and his character, Lt. "Hondo" Harrelson, who, had it been 15 years before the ABC show's 1975-76 run, probably would've been played by Stack. If you're sharp-eyed, you may have spotted Forrest in a cameo in the current S.W.A.T. big-screen feature.

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CHARGING ADMISSION

Ever dream of visiting Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch? No? Well, he's inviting 500 deep-pocketed guests to do just that on Sept. 13, when he'll host a carnival-like dinner party on his $12.3 million estate in California's Santa Barbara County. Tickets for two will cost $5,000, with $1,000 from each sale going to children's charities; the other $4,000 will be applied to Jacko's Visa card debt, um, I mean will cover party expenses. read more

Question: I would like ...

Question: I would like information about a TV series named Bagdad Caf&#233. I don't remember any particulars at all. — Joe K., Haverhill Mass.

Televisionary: The CBS series, based on the thoroughly wonderful 1987 indie hit movie, starred Whoopi Goldberg and All in the Family's Jean Stapleton in the roles created on the big screen by CCH Pounder (The Shield) and German actress Marianne Sagebrecht.

The set-up was pretty much the same as it was in the film: Stapleton's Jasmine was read more

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