Today's News: Our Take


Question: How many episodes ...

Question: How many episodes of The Guardian has Farrah Fawcett appeared in? I say two and my friend says three. — Sten, Los Angeles, Cal.

Televisionary: By my count, Ms. Fawcett played Mary Gressler, the woman who first showed up to help Nick (Simon Baker) in the second-season premiere, in four: "Test" (first broadcast Sept. 24, 2002); "The Dead" (Oct. 8, 2002); "No Good Deed" (Dec. 17, 2002) and "Understand Your Man" (Feb. 4, 2003).

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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

Question: On The Twilight ...

Question: On The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare as a Child," which first aired April 29, 1960, who played the part of the little girl? — Raymond W., Leola, Pa.

Televisionary: Terry Burnham played the eerily knowledgeable little girl in that episode, Raymond. If your memory's that sharp, you may also remember her from the 1964 TV movie For the Love of Willadean or from guest-spots on Wagon Train and Leave It to Beaver.

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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

SAVAGE REMARKS

Last month's Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay sex seems to have pushed conservative talk show host Michael Savage over the edge. MSNBC fired Savage on Monday after he referred to a caller as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die." A rep for the struggling cable network told The Associated Press that Savage's "comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one." read more

Pop Idol Goes from 'N Sync to 'N Gaged!


Relax, girls — pop heartthrob Justin Timberlake is still swingin' single. However, 'N Sync bandmate Joey Fatone has taken himself off the market. Last month on The Late Show, the Fame host revealed that he'd proposed to girlfriend Kelly on June 18 and (well, duh!) she said yes. But don't expect to read all about their engagement on TV Guide Online or anywhere else, for that matter.

"I keep my [sweetheart] and my [2-year-old] daughter kind of out of the limelight," he notes. "[Interviewers] ask me questions, and I tell them how [my family is] doing and stuff — it's not a secret. But I just try to keep them out of the limelight as far as pictures and stuff."

Fatone isn't pulling a Jacko, though; on the contrary, he's one of the more down-to-earth platinum-selling recording artists with whom you cou read more

No Sex on the Beach for Paradise Hottie


We know there's no IQ test to become a cast member of Fox's Paradise Hotel (airing Mondays and Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET), but hello? It seemed to us like Andon, the first stud muffin to be eliminated from the hot-to-trot race, was really asleep at the wheel. How could he possibly go two long weeks without scoring?

"It was never really my intention to go there and hook up with anybody," the 26-year-old graphic designer tells TV Guide Online. "But if Fox says to you, 'Hey, we're going to pay you to go hang out with a bunch of really cool people in the most exotic resort known to man... ' What? You're gonna say no? No! Anybody would do it.

"Plus, it's not like in the real world, where you could have sex with somebody, then never see them again," he continues. "You have to live with the person you hooked up with. So you can't just have random sex for sex's sake."

To make matters worse, the tattooed not-so-bad boy spent his e read more

J.R. RETURNS!

SoapNet has acquired all 13 seasons of Dallas, to begin airing weekdays beginning Sept. 8. I'll ask again: What about Santa Barbara?!?! read more

COWABUNGA, EVIL DUDE!

Turns out Simon Cowell's not really bad, he's just drawn that way. As reported in TV Guide magazine's new TV News column (hey, that's my column!), in a recently-taped episode of The Simpsons (to air in March '04), American Idol's Judge Dread voices a brutally honest admissions screener at one of Springfield's most desireable pre-nursery schools. "Homer and Marge are trying to get Maggie into the school, but she has to interview [with Cowell's character] first," explains a show insider, who adds that the biting Brit is parodying, not playing, himself. Suffice it to say, Cowell — who recorded his dialogue on June 27 in London — doesn't react with compassion when he discovers that Maggie's mute. Pick up the current issue of TV Guide (on sale now) to read the Paula Abdul dig that caps read more

MIDDLE GROUND

The U.S. heartland is getting its own cable network. The America Channel launches in the spring and will focus on life between New York and Los Angeles. Among the shows in America's pipeline: Road Trip, about twentysomethings driving cross-country, and Occupational Hazard, in which folks try out an unusual job for a day. Rumored to be in development: Big Cities are the Coolest!, a series in which people in Middle America dream of someday moving to New York or Los Angeles. read more

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