Today's News: Our Take

Question: I read recently ...

Question: I read recently that Alyson Hannigan has signed on to star in a sitcom for, I think, NBC in the fall of 2004. Can you tell us anything about this yet? Thanks! — Amy, Ithaca, N.Y.

Televisionary: Not much to say yet, Amy. Hannigan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) signed a talent-holding and development deal earlier this month with NBC, which means the network has the exclusive right to match her with a starring role in a comedy project until the pact expires. They're trying to do that now, but if nothing clicks by next spring, she has the right to walk away and talk to other networks for the fall 2004 season.

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ABC News reporter Chris Wallace has defected to Fox News. The Primetime Live correspondent will replace Tony Snow as host of Fox News Sunday beginning in mid-November. read more


A workers' rights group is accusing P. Diddy's Sean John clothing line of using laborers from a Honduran sweatshop. According to a report by National Labor Committee, workers at the Southeast Textiles factory in Choloma, Honduras, are subjected to 11- to 12-hour daily shifts, and paid 24 cents for each $50 Sean John shirt they sew. A Sean John exec says the company is "looking into this matter immediately." read more

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: What apartment did ...

Question: What apartment did Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson live in on The Jeffersons? — Amanda Y., Bessemer, Ala.

Televisionary: I know you already know this and are merely testing me. 12D. And before you ask, Harry Bentley lived in 12E and Helen and Tom Willis lived in 14F.

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Question: There was a sci-fi ...

Question: There was a sci-fi show that appeared on afternoon television in either 1976 or 1977 (and this may have been repeats) that featured a young, Asian boy who could control a giant robot through a wrist-watch communicator. I was only 5 or 6 at the time I was watching it, but from the vague memories I have, it was a live-action production most likely set in Japan. I believe the robot was built by Japanese scientists, but I cannot recall why the boy would have the ability to control it as he does. Can you identify the show? — Scott B., Monroe, La.

Televisionary: You're thinking of the legendary (to me, anyway, 'cause I loved it) Giant Robo, the live-action Japanese kids' show from Toei Co., Ltd. that was broadcast in 1967-68 under that name in Japan and was syndicated here as Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot in the late '60s and early '70s.

The setup was that young Johnny Sokko was aboard a cruise ship destroyed by a giant monster. Turned out t read more

Question: First off, I'm a ...

Question: First off, I'm a dedicated reader of your column and would like to thank you. I was wondering if any stations are doing any special Halloween programming. Most importantly, is anyone airing It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown? As far as I can tell no one is. This is a Halloween classic and I can't believe no one is going to run it. Last year ABC ran it on a Thursday, but so far they have regular programming scheduled. Thank you. — Dawn

Televisionary: No, thank you for reading, Dawn. And I hope you see this the day it goes up because ABC is running The Great Pumpkin tonight (Oct. 28) at 9 pm/ET. As for other Halloween programming, check our heavenly Halloween guide.

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Is it just me or are networks...

Is it just me or are networks starting shows later in the season and turning to repeats sooner? I only ask because last night both Girlfriends and CSI: Miami were already hit by the "previously broadcast" bug. Not that that made me turn the TV off or anything. I'm just saying.

Fat Like Me
OK, people. Only in America does spending a few hours in a fat suit constitute "a life changing experience." Yeah, right. I'm sorry. I don't mean to knock a special that's got such good intentions, but you've got to be kidding me. Meredith "I-was-the-fat-girl-in-the-red-coat" Vieira telling me what it's like to live large? That has about as much credibility as Sharon Osbourne giving lessons on living within a budget. I mean, seriously. BTW: Is it wrong that I was eating dinner while watching this?

Joe Millionaire 2
Again I say "poor David." This short drink of water is not going to last for the run of t read more


Rod Roddy, the jovial announcer from CBS's The Price Is Right, died Monday at Century City Hospital in Los Angeles after a long battle with prostate, colon and breast cancer. He was 66. Roddy, who had been with TPIR for 17 years, taped his last show about two months ago. "He never complained," says host Bob Barker. "The courage he showed during those difficult times was an inspiration to us all." Before he started inviting contestants to "come on down," the onetime radio personality narrated the classic '70s sitcom Soap and served as an announcer on such game shows as Battlestars, Hit Man, Press Your Luck and Love Connection. He also played himself in a 1999 episode of Fox's That '70s Show. A memorial service is in the works. 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

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