Today's News: Our Take

Question: I was just using ...

Question: I was just using your search function and read about how Jonathan Winters played Mork's son on Mork &#038 Mindy. My next question is... why? — Colleen C., Ansonia, Conn.

Televisionary: To be perfectly frank? The network and producers were desperate because they'd managed to ruin a show that was wildly successful in its first season, driving it into the ground with ill-advised creative and scheduling changes.

So in the final season, they went for broke. Mork (Robin Williams) and Mindy (Pam Dawber) got hitched, and Mork became a proud papa by popping out an egg, which grew larger and, when it cracked open, revealed the happy couple's new baby, Mearth, played by the 6-foot-1, 220-pound, middle-aged Winters. (The gag was that Orkan babies aged backwards, appearing younger as they grew older.)

Sounds like a bad idea, no? It was. But by that point they were ready to try anythin read more

Question: I vaguely remember ...

Question: I vaguely remember this show Coast to Coast, where a man hitchhiked across America while doing news stories on the people he met. The stories weren't earthshattering; they were about regular events (one story was on pickpockets). It must have aired pre-1997 on PBS, CBS, NBC, or ABC. Do you have any idea what this show was? — Carly S., St. Paul, Minn.

Televisionary: Actually, Carly, it was a team of correspondents — Cynthia Bowers, Bernard Goldberg, Steve Hartman, Jennifer Laird, Vicki Mabrey, Derek McGinty, Alison Stewart and David Turecamo — filing stories from around the country, rather than just one person.

As you say, CBS show focused on offbeat human-interest stories. Subjects included, for example, a pair of women who researched their family trees and found the white woman's ancestors owned the African-American's in the days of U.S. slavery, a stunt where Hartman left read more

Phil Collins Bearly Sings

After winning his best song Oscar for "You'll Be In My Heart" from Disney's Tarzan, Phil Collins was delighted for the opportunity to lend his voice to their newest animated film, Brother Bear. But things didn't work out exactly the way he planned. While he penned all of Bear's tunes, the star was obliged to share vocal duties on several of its musical numbers.

"When I said yes to the project, I figured I was going to be singing it all," Collins says. "I think, for a while, [Disney] figured that, too. But I guess a couple of years into the project, it was decided, 'Why risk people jumping to conclusions with comparisons to Tarzan?'

"Slowly, the bad news started to trickle down that I wouldn't be singing it all," he sighs. "It was a bit of a disappointment, because I [usually] write songs that I sing myself. They tried read more


The third time's the charm for the Scary Movie franchise. The third installment of the horror-spoof series topped the box office with $49.7 million, the best October debut ever. (Note to Good Morning America movie critic Joel Siegel: My 84-year-old grandmother went to see SM 3 based on your glowing review — only to storm out of the theater 10 minutes in. "It was revolting," she told me last night. "Can you get me Joel's address, because I want to write him a letter.") Meanwhile, the Scary windfall pushed last weekend's No. 1 flick, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to No. 2 with $14.7 million. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s feel-good drama Radio opened in third place with an impressive $14 million haul. And read more


NBC may want to rename its Thursday night lineup Might-See TV. For the first time on record, CBS beat NBC last Thursday among adults 18-49. Contributing to the Peacock network's woes: another disastrous performance from the hiatus-bound Coupling. (The moral of this story? Don't air TV shows that suck.) In other ratings news, Fox's coverage of the World Series averaged 20.1 million viewers over the six games — up from 19.3 million last year when no one cared who won. read more


Former Different World star Jasmine Guy has dropped out of Broadway's The Violet Hour two weeks before opening night. The actress left the production during intermission at last Thursday's preview performance for unspecified "medical reasons." She was replaced by understudy Robin Miles, who looked rather shaky at Friday night's preview. Still, the production is worth your dime — mostly because Scott Foley is really good in it. And I'm not just saying that because he was on Felicity. read more


HBO is partnering with the BBC on an epic drama series set in ancient Rome. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two networks have ordered 12 episodes of the series, which is slated to debut in 2005. The budget? A hefty $5 million per episode. read more


After an exhaustive search, Less Than Perfect has finally delivered two actresses to play the lesbian mothers of oddball dad-to-be Owen (Andy Dick): sitcom queens Valerie Harper (Rhoda) and Joanna Kerns (Growing Pains). Cagney & Lacey alumnae Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless were originally approached, but Daly passed. For more "TV News" scoop — including the latest on Jessica Simpson's wish to star in a big-screen remake of I Dream of Jeannie — pick up the current issue of read more

Spaces Hunk On Ty Clones

What's the O.C.? For Fox, it's their biggest hit of the new season. For fans of The Learning Channel's Trading Spaces, it's Ty Pennington — the Original Carpenter. A former J.Crew model whose beauty rivals any creation of designer Vern Yip's, Pennington is the prototype for all the cute cable carpenters that followed. But Pennington's more than just a pretty face — he's a full-on character whose good-humored goofiness is just the right tonic on the show's sometimes tense set. And as the home-show hottie proved during a recent interview with TV Guide Online, even when he's off camera, he's on.

TV Guide Online: You just had a birthday [on Oct. 16]. You're 38 now?
Ty Pennington:
Yeah. I'm an old soul. I can feel the cobwebs. I'm a decrepit soul, that's what I am.

TVGO: But you act much younger. Much, much younger.
read more


Just when we thought controversial Big Brother alum Will Mega had vanished from the pop culture landscape for good, the 31-year-old antagonist formally known as William Collins decides to run for Philadelphia City Council on the Education Party ticket. Mega is calling himself a "hip-hop political-activist candidate." I call him homeless in two years. read more

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