Question: With all the homes that have multiple TVs, VCRs and gadgets like TiVo, how accurate are the ratings that are used to determine the success or failure of a television show? I know that in my home and that of my father, there are several instances where we record one channel while watching another so that we don't miss shows that are on opposite each other. Beverly W.
Televisionary: Good question, Beverly, and the folks at Nielsen Media Research, which provides the numbers on which your favorite shows live and die, have thought of and tackled just that problem. For the benefit of those who aren't as familiar as you may be with the process, though, I'll give a very general outline of how it works before diving into your answer.
Nielsen's national ratings are obtained using what's called a representative sample of the nation's TV households, since polling each and every one of the estimated 99 million households with TVs in them would presen
Question: I just happened to catch sight of the cute girl who played Rob Lowe's ex-girlfriend on last night's The West Wing. She looks so familiar! It's driving me crazy that I can't remember who she is or where I've seen her! Can you help me?
Televisionary: Well, the craziness part is between you and your therapist, friend, but I certainly can assist you on the actress part. On The West Wing, the former fiancée of White House Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn (Lowe) and man, are you guys quick to downgrade the seriousness of relationships once they're over was played by Traylor Howard, whose last major TV role was Sharon on ABC's defunct Two Guys and a Girl.
If you weren't a fan of that show and not enough people were, which is why it's gone you may have caught her in one of her more than 30 ad appearances or on the short-lived NBC sitcom
Question: How many daughters does Matlock have? And who has played the part? I have seen at least three different actresses play it. Steve B.
Televisionary: There were two daughters, by my count, Steve, but three different actresses did indeed carry the role. When Diary of a Perfect Murder, the Matlock pilot, first aired in early 1986, lawyer daughter Charlene Matlock was played by Lori Lethin. However, when the series launched in September on NBC, Linda Purl (Happy Days) handled the daughterly duties. In 1987, Charlene left to start her own practice in Philadelphia and Ben (Andy Griffith) replaced her with Michelle Thomas (Nancy Stafford), who was no relation.
Whatever Charlene said to Ben before she left, it must have been a doozy because when Michelle moved on in 1992 and another kid was called for, he brought in daughter Lee Anne (Brynn Thayer), who appare
Question: Please elaborate on this for my dad, who is a big fan of the late Jack Benny. Two of his biggest character traits were his cheapness and his bad violin playing. Was he really that cheap? And was he really so bad on violin? Thanks. Bill M., Sandusky, Ohio
Televisionary: You provided the answer in your question, Bill, when you used the term "character traits." Benny, who built a career via vaudeville and a popular radio show before launching a TV series that kicked off on CBS in 1950 and finished 15 years later on NBC, played his stinginess to the hilt, played the violin poorly and faked both well enough to become an entertainment legend. It was all part of the insecure, self-centered, no-talent character he invented and pulled off well enough to fool those who didn't know any
Legally Blonde starlet Reese Witherspoon will earn a career-best $8 million to star in an untitled drama set in the world of professional women's tennis, Variety reports. Witherspoon would play a onetime tennis phenom.
At a recent fête for NBC's 75th anniversary, all manner of stars from past and present Peacock shows turned out but no A-lister could compete with the popularity of The A-Team alum Mr. T. (Mostly) unintimidated by the famed 250-lb. bruiser, I fought through his swarm of admirers to go toe-to-toe with my childhood idol. TV Guide Online pities the fool who misses our bizarre, though strangely touching, exchange.
Will the TV sis of 7th Heaven starlet Jessica Biel follow in her feisty footsteps? Though Biel regrets the risqué Gear cover she did back in 2000, co-star Beverley Mitchell seems to admire her for it. "She's a gorgeous girl," the actress tells TV Guide Online. "She's, like, my best friend. I understand Jessie wanting to do something different and extreme. Sometimes that's what you have to do to get Hollywood to notice you."
Has Mitchell who just turned 21, but plays 19-year-old Lucy Camden on Heaven ever gotten any offers to pose? "No," she sighs. "Everybody thinks I'm such a perfect good girl! Sometimes it's frustrating. Don't pigeonhole me! I've been working for 16 years, and my last job before
Maybe they should rename the show CSI: Celibate Scientists Investigating. The brainchild behind CBS's Thursday night smash says he's in no rush to see Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) and Gil (William L. Petersen) throw down their ion detectors and electrothermal atomizers and acknowledge the mountain of evidence piling up right before their eyes: They want each other bad. In fact, creator-executive producer Anthony Zuiker seems content portraying all of CSI's sexy sleuths as poster children for abstinence.
"Our show is not about Gil dating Catherine," Zuiker says. "[It's] about science, about process, about teamwork, about solving crime, about intellect."
Well, when another powerhouse drama series NBC's