Today's News: Our Take

Question: Is Ruthie Camden ...

Question: Is Ruthie Camden adopted? My friend said she saw an episode where Ruthie and the Camdens talk about her adoption, but I don't think so. Please help settle this dispute. — Jessica R., New Orleans, La.

Televisionary: Nope. On 7th Heaven, all seven Camden kids are the biological children of Eric (Stephen Collins) and Annie (Catherine Hicks).

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Question: Is it true that Tim ...

Question: Is it true that Tim Allen was a drug dealer? My boyfriend says he was, but I can't believe they'd let him star on Home Improvement. What's the story? — Allison L., Ruston, La.

Televisionary: Well, the story is that for the Tool Time man, timing was everything, Allison. Allen, who starred on the hit ABC sitcom from September 1991 to May 1999, was indeed arrested as a young man in Michigan for trying to sell $43,000 worth of cocaine in the late '70s and ended up doing a two-year prison stint. But that wasn't common knowledge when he subsequently parlayed a stand-up comedy career into his own network show, so it wasn't a factor in getting the series on the air. And when Allen and his publicists learned the story was about to come out during Home Improvement's first season — two advertising firms had already pulled nati read more

Question: Who are the stars ...

Question: Who are the stars of Monk? I want to know if the detective with Monk is Ted Levine from Silence of the Lambs. — Jane H., Salisbury, Md.

Televisionary: That is indeed Levine playing Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, the cop whom obsessive-compulsive sleuth Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) drives batty on the hit USA detective drama. Levine is probably best known for his big-screen work as murderer Buffalo Bill in the chilling Silence, but you may also have spotted him in such films as Ali, The Fast and the Furious and Evolution. Other Monk stars include read more

Question: Is it true that the ...

Question: Is it true that the actress who played Bill Cosby's wife (Phylicia Rashad) never received an Emmy nomination for her role on The Cosby Show? Did Bill Cosby ever receive a nomination during the show's run? — Denise, Swansea, N.C.

Televisionary: No and no, Denise. Ms. Rashad was nominated for an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1985 and 1986. The first time, she was beaten by Kate and Allie's Jane Curtin, who also garnered more votes than K and A co-star Susan Saint James, Cheers's Shelley Long read more

Question: When I was younger ...

Question: When I was younger I watched My Friend Flicka and Fury every Saturday morning (along with Sky King). Bobby Diamond starred on one of these shows. Whatever happened to him? — Sue, Logan, W.V.

Televisionary: Young Mr. Diamond did indeed star in Fury, Sue, playing alongside Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible) in the series, which aired on NBC from 1955-66. He then went on to appear with Nanette Fabray and Wend read more

Question: At one time in the ...

Question: At one time in the '70s didn't Alan Alda produce or direct (or both) a short-lived sitcom called We'll Get By? — Leslie B., Hollywood, Cal.

Televisionary: That he did, Leslie. Alda, best known as M*A*S*H's Hawkeye Pierce, created the sitcom, which starred Paul Sorvino, Mitzi Hoag, Jerry Houser, Willie Aames and Devon Scott as a suburban New Jersey family. The comedy ran on CBS from March to May in 1975.

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SNL Giving Martha a Free Pass?

Ana Gasteyer's decision not to return to Saturday Night Live this season probably seemed like a good thing for Martha Stewart. The absence of Gasteyer — whose dead-on send-up of Stewart was the stuff of SNL legend — meant that Lorne Michaels and Co. would likely miss out on the golden opportunity to lampoon the embattled domestic diva's current ImClone stock woes. Or would they?

"I talked to Ana about this, and I'm hoping that if we do a Martha skit she will come back," head writer and "Weekend Update" co-anchor Tina Fey tells TV Guide Online. "We don't have one planned right now, but we'll wait and watch the news and see if Ana is around and feels like coming in." Gasteyer's spokeswoman confirms that the new mom "agreed to return as a special guest sta read more

Skins Stands Up to Stereotypes

As one of the only Native American — no — American Indian directors in the biz, Smoke Signals filmmaker Chris Eyre knows a little something about setting a movie on a reservation. But nothing could have prepared him for his latest effort — the just-released low-budget drama Skins.

For starters, there was the hurdle of filming in the impoverished Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. "There's no economy in Pine Ridge," he tells TV Guide Online. "There's 75 percent unemployment. They didn't even have motels [for us] to stay in. We had to stay an hour and a half outside of Pine Ridge in an adjacent town and drive two and a half hours each day."

Skins, about an alcoholic Vietnam vet (Graham Greene) an read more


There's nothing like a good liberal cause to coax Barbra Streisand out of semi-retirement. The diva delivered a nine-song set Sunday night at a star-studded Democratic fundraiser in Hollywood. The event — which also featured performances by Barry Manilow and comedian Steve Harvey — raised $6 million toward Dems' efforts to take back Congress. read more

Why Wes Craven Hates Fear Factor

So far this fall, Fear Factor's ratings have not impressed. Could NBC's gross-out fest be hemorrhaging fans? They lost one early on: big-screen horror maven Wes Craven. "I enjoyed the first couple episodes," the Scream scribe tells TV Guide Online. "It was interesting, like when people cross between two high buildings on a high cable. But when they started eating bugs... as strange as this sounds, I felt bad for the bugs!

"It seems strange entertainment to kill a living creature for some banal amusement," he gripes. "It just reveals such a lack of human dignity that, for money, they'll do this really disgusting stuff." Shrugging, he adds: "Eh, maybe I'm just being tight-assed. Who knows? But there is a fascination we all have with overcoming fear, dread and disgust."

That's the focus of Craven's new TV series, Phobia — debuting tonight a read more

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