Today's News: Our Take

Question: I recently ...

Question: I recently purchased five seasons of Friends and am trying to remember the name of the episode where Phoebe dates a guy who appears to be hanging out of his shorts while teaching her how to shoot a three-pointer. I also can't remember what season it is. — Kevin S., Great Falls, Mont.

Televisionary: You're thinking of the season-three episode "The One where Monica and Richard are Just Friends," which first aired Jan. 30, 1997. For information on all Friends episodes, see our ShowGuide.

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OK, y'all. I'm just going to put...

OK, y'all. I'm just going to put it out there. There is nothing on tonight. I know in TV Guide-land saying that is a sacrilege, but it's the truth. The only reason I'm channel surfing is because I have to watch something while I wrap gifts. (That, and well, it's my how-cool-is-this? job.) With that said, here goes...

King of the Jungle Winner's Special
Tonight, Animal Planet's newly crowned Queen of the Jungle Kelly Diedring gets her just reward: To host a prime-time special about the American alligator and the Nile crocodile. Kelly beat 11 other animal lovers to win this Survivor-esque competition. And having caught a few of the entertaining episodes of King of the Jungle, I say, more power to her.

But (and there always is one) though making this special was a prize for Kelly, it's punishment for us. Hate to knock a girl, especially a 23-year-old zookeeper who waded in alligator-filled mudpits, ming read more

Question: Could you please ...

Question: Could you please tell me the character name of the original lieutenant on NYPD Blue? Thank you. — Charlie, Nashville, Tenn.

Televisionary: That I could, Charlie. Lt. Arthur Fancy (James McDaniel) was on the show from its September 1993 debut until 2001, when he was made a captain and shifted to his next job.

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Question: Could you tell me ...

Question: Could you tell me more about the actress who plays Summer on The O.C.? — Sasha

Televisionary: Not a whole lot, but I'll happily give you what I've got.

Rachel Bilson, 22, was born in L.A. and lives here still. Before landing a steady gig on The O.C. ("ew!"), she appeared on such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 8 Simple Rules and Human Target. You may also have been among the few who caught her on the big screen in The Wrong Guys.

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Question: I don't know the ...

Question: I don't know the name of the Christmas story, but I was hoping you can help me. It's got Heat Mister and Mr. Cold and Mother Nature. If you can come up with name of the story, that would be great! — Darin J., Detroit, Mich.

Televisionary: It's Heat Miser and Snow Miser, and the holiday special in question is The Year Without a Santa Claus. And you're in luck; it's on ABC Family at 7 pm/ET tonight, 9 pm/ET on Christmas Eve and 11 am/ET on Christmas Day, so set your VCR.

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Question: Is Billy Crystal ...

Question: Is Billy Crystal gay, or am I thinking of a part he played on TV? — Todd M., Grafton, Vt.

Televisionary: I'm not in the business of defining anyone's sexuality for them, Todd, but I can tell you Crystal's married with kids. So I'd say the signs point to "no." Or, to put it another way: He's not a gay man, but he played one on TV.

Most likely you are thinking of Jodie Dallas, who, introduced when ABC's Soap debuted amid a storm of controversy in September 1977, was one of TV's first openly gay characters. When the show hit the air, plenty of people assumed the same thing you did and, unfortunately, caused a lot of trouble for Crystal. (Keep in mind that nearly 30 years ago gay TV figures weren't the much-loved hipsters of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or Will &#038 Grace — they were alien and threatening to a lot of previously sheltere read more

Question: I remember watching ...

Question: I remember watching a TV show when I was younger with Jerry O'Connell in it. He lived next door to a professor and had an accident which made him able to fly and do some other weird things. Please tell me that I'm not insane and that I did not imagine such a show, because no one seems to remember it. — Veronica, Burlington, Ky.

Televisionary: As I always say, I can't testify to your sanity, but I can tell you you're thinking of the half-hour syndicated comedy My Secret Identity, 72 episodes of which were produced in Canada, from 1988-91.

In the show, O'Connell played teen Andrew Clements, who possessed super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability and the ability to fly thanks to an experiment by scientist neighbor Dr. Jeffcoate (Derek McGrath). He didn't sport any kind of cool costume or anything; he just ran around, dealt with baddies and helped out Dr. Jeffcoate in secret.

Christopher Bolton played Andrew's buddy Kirk read more

Kelly Clarkson Against the World

Forget ambassadors of good will. The United States is sending Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol winner, to represent in a sing-off against Idol victors from 11 other countries in Fox's World Idol. (The competition airs Christmas Day at 8 pm/ET, and the winner is announced New Year's Day at 9 pm/ET.) But before she goes to face the music in the United Kingdom, we found out what Miss Independent thinks about her global showdown, her movie misfire and whether she's destined to be a Broadway Baby.

TV Guide Online: Think you've got an edge over the other Idols, having been on a world tour?
There's actually a few of us that have gone to other countries, so everybody has that benefit. I have been around in the U.K. and other countries in Europe for quite some time, but in Australia read more

Line of Fire Hires Ex-Con

TV tough guys are a dime a dozen, but Line of Fire's Brian Goodman comes with actual street cred. The 40-year-old actor plays a Mob henchman in the gritty ABC drama — Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET — and his real-life past wasn't too far from his role. Here, Goodman tells us how he went from doing prison time to primetime.

TV Guide Online: Were you a bad kid?
I wasn't a bad kid. Lost, confused and scared was what I was. I was unfortunately from a broken home. South Boston was a cold place, and the area I existed in was violent and I was trying to survive. I was more a scared kid than a bad kid. I was sleeping in hallways at 12 years old and making money on the street and that became all I knew. I feel I was a survivor.

TVGO: Why did you go to prison?
Well, I started to pay a penance for the drug trafficking I did in the '80s. I got myself addicted read more

Elijah Wood's Extreme Stunt

Elijah Wood returns as the diminutive hobbit Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (currently in theaters). Of course, while he's small in stature, that doesn't mean he's afraid to take some big risks. During his time in New Zealand, where the epic Rings trilogy was filmed, Wood and several castmates did extreme sports in their free time.

"I did paraponting, which is awesome," he enthuses. "It is running off a hill with a parachute and catching thermal [pockets of air]. I basically parachuted over Queenstown, [New Zealand]."

In Rings, Frodo braves the terrifying depths of Mordor in an effort to rid Middle Earth of a notoriously troublesome ring. But in real life, Wood's courage only takes him up to a point! He left some of the more reckle read more

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