Today's News: Our Take


Question: What guest singer ...

Question: What guest singer appeared as Fran Drescher's father in the season-six Nanny episodes "Ma'ternal Affairs" and "Finale"? — Dean, Brandywine, W.V.

Televisionary: That was veteran singer Steve Lawrence playing Fran's dad, Morty. Over the years, you may also have caught his guest work on episodes of such shows as Diagnosis Murder, Empty Nest and Murder, She Wrote.

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Question: Wasn't Law & ...

Question: Wasn't Law &#038 Order's Steven Hill on Mission: Impossible when it first started? Why did he leave? — Grant D., Lee's Summit, Mo.

Televisionary: The reason was said to be due to Hill's strict observance of Orthodox Judaism. The devout Hill had it written into his contract that he be released from the set in time to make it home by sundown on Fridays (when the Jewish sabbath begins) and that he wouldn't have to work on the Jewish High Holy Days. Whether that was truly the only reason isn't certain — and you'd sure as heck never get anyone to admit if it were a factor on a contemporary show — but there were signs that it was a problem five months after the show's September 1966 launch.

Hill's schedule was "occasionally inconvenient," M:I creator and executive producer Bruce Gellar admitte read more

Question: I have been ...

Question: I have been watching reruns of Roseanne on TBS. The final season is very weak, and John Goodman was noticably absent from several episodes. Was it his choice not to participate in much of the season? — Eric, Los Angeles, Cal.

Televisionary: Indeed it was, Eric. In the show's 1996-97 season, the hit comedy's last, Dan and Roseanne Connor spent time apart because Goodman wanted to cut back on the number of episodes he appeared in.

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Tearful Toni's Paradise Lost


Even though Toni got eliminated from Fox's Paradise Hotel last week, we'll still be glued to the tube tonight and Wednesday at 9 ET. (We can't wait to see underdogs Charla, Dave and Keith stick it to the catty original clique!) However, it won't be the same without the onetime Love Cruise passenger's temper tantrums and crying jags. Thank goodness we can look forward to seeing her again soon on another reality show... or can we?

"God, no!" the volatile 29-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "I think the world's had enough of Toni. I think they've overdosed on Toni, and they want me out. They're done with me. I don't think the world would miss me if I was gone."

But... but what about us, the personal trainer's throngs of admirers who have shuddered at her every threat and chortled over her frequent meltdowns? "For the most part, the people that have loved me being back on TV, it's really appreciated and v read more

Reality TV With the Greatest of Sleaze


If there remains any doubt that sin is in, today's reality-show singletons lay it to rest by adhering to one simple rule: To enjoy 15 minutes of fame, one must indulge in 15 minutes of shame. As a result, we've been introduced to an incredibly uninhibited stable of mack daddies and hoochie mamas, each of whom is more eager than the last to score points with viewers by, well, scoring with each other. But which of them deserves the coveted title of the Big Sleazy? A quick rundown of their hook-up highlights tells the sordid story.

Key
Kind of incorrigible: man magnet Jennifer Lopez -J-
Singularly skanky: boy toy Ashton Kutcher -A-
Too trashy for words: late hoops playa Wilt Chamberlain -w-

Trishelle: After starting a hot- read more

LET'S MOTOR

The Fab Five are setting out to make over the planet — one country at a time. NBC announced on Friday that the Bravo hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy will soon begin airing in Britain, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. read more

COLOR BLIND CASTING

Minorities are finally making some progress in Hollywood. According to a new report issued by the Screen Actors Guild, TV and movie roles for minority actors inched up in 2002. Leading the way were black thesps, who accounted for 15.5 percent of all parts — up from 14.4 in 2001. read more

WHAT A DRAG

Martin Lawrence has signed on to reprise his gender-bending role as a plus-sized matriarch in a follow-up to Big Momma's House. read more

WB Star Recalls Street Roots


In the new WB sitcom Like Family (Fridays at 8:30 pm/ET beginning Sept. 19), Holly Robinson Peete plays the matriarch of an African-American family who has invited her white best friend and her 16-year-old son to move in. While Peete has no experience with this type of blended household, the For Your Love star does have fond memories of her own unconventional upbringing. Her father, the late Matt Robinson, was the original Gordon on Sesame Street and a writer for The Cosby Show.

"It was a bizarre situation because I was only 4 years old when my dad started Sesame Street," says Peete, whose father succumbed to Parkinson's disease last year. "And to most 4-year-olds, Sesame Street was — is still to this day — very real. So when I looked on TV and I saw my dad, you know, walking down the street talking to a muppet in a trash ca read more

THE NEXT BIG THING?

Showtime has ordered six one-hour episodes of an American Idol-style contest for wannabe rappers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Interscope Presents the Next debuts this fall. read more

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