Today's News: Our Take


UNIDENTIFIED FLYING PROJECT

The Sci Fi Channel and Steven Spielberg, the creative team behind the big-budget UFO saga Taken, are collaborating on a new epic miniseries to air in 2004-05, Variety reports. Details of the plot are being kept hush-hush, but this much we know: The untitled project is being described as a fantasy; it's not a sequel to Taken; and it will air in three separate six-episode bursts. Sci Fi is also developing a four-hour remake of The Thing. read more

Question: On Curb Your ...

Question: On Curb Your Enthusiasm, is Cheryl (Larry David's TV wife) his wife in real life? — Barbara

Televisionary: Nope. David's wife's name is Laurie; his relationship with Cheryl Hines, who plays his long-suffering betrothed on the HBO comedy, is strictly business.

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Question: If you had to ...

Question: If you had to credit one TV host with inventing the talk show as we know it, who would it be? I would name Jack Paar, but my wife says no. What do you say? — George T., Spotsylvania, Va.

Televisionary: Sorry, George, but I've gotta go with your better half on this one, even though she's hedging her bets by simply shooting you down without offering a name herself.

If I had to name one guy who's most responsible for today's nighttime talk-show format, it'd have to be the late, multitalented Steve Allen, original host of The Tonight Show. Allen handled those duties from September 1954 to January 1957; Paar took over six months after Allen departed to concentrate on his own The Steve Allen Show (he'd been hosting both shows up until then). read more

Question: I vaguely remember ...

Question: I vaguely remember a show about a group of people trying to colonize a new planet. Rebecca Gayheart was in the show and it seems like it ended abruptly. What was the name, what was it about, and what happened to it? — Tara, Manhattan, Kan.

Televisionary: That was Earth 2, Tara — a sci-fi offering from Steven Spielberg's Amblin' Entertainment that debuted on NBC in November 1994.

The show took place 200 years in the future and revolved around an expedition started by a scientist and mother (Debrah Farentino) to escape our planet, which was horribly polluted. Headed for a planet similar to Earth, she hoped her young son (read more

Question: What's the name of ...

Question: What's the name of the actress who played Bull's girlfriend on Night Court? She is short with short hair and has a nasally voice. — Amy O.

Televisionary: That was Denny Dillon, who later went on to do a season of Saturday Night Live and then as a regular on Dream On. You may also have caught her in guest roles on such shows as Nash Bridges, Designing Women and Fame. On the big screen, she did voice work in Ice Age and appeared in such movies as Saturday Night Fever and read more

Question: I remember that a ...

Question: I remember that a few of years ago Keri Russell was in a muppet remake of Cinderella. What was this TV movie called? — Mark, Westmont, N.J.

Televisionary: If Russell's the one you remember, I guess Cinderelmo had you looking at the wrong doll, huh, Mark?

I'm betting there were more than a few dads in the audience doing much the same thing while their kids were watching their beloved high-pitched Elmo cavort across the screen in Fox's 1999 TV movie. As you may remember (though I doubt it), he was a male Cinderella, while Russell was the princess and Kathy Najimy was his wicked stepmother. Oliver Platt was his "fairy godperson" and read more

Question: My friends and I ...

Question: My friends and I are huge fans of Friends and we love the episode where Chandler drinks a million coffees before he has to break up with Janice. Can you help us figure out which season this is?

Televisionary: That episode, "The One with the East German Laundry Detergent," was first broadcast on Oct. 20, 1994, way back in Season One. (Check the episode guide on our Friends ShowGuide page if you don't believe me.) And Chandler was drinking espresso rather than coffee, which is has roughly the same intensity ratio as grain alcohol does to beer.

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South Park's Creators Speak Out!

How many 80-year-olds can say they've helped inspire a potty-mouthed preteen? Maybe just one, TV legend Norman Lear, whose beloved All in the Family bigot Archie Bunker was the prototype for South Park's Eric Cartman. So, it should come as no surprise that Lear's been collaborating with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the Comedy Central cult hit's thirtysomething co-creators, on the show's seventh season and 100th episode (which airs April 9, at 10 pm/ET). What's the real secret to their friendship, which dates back to 1998, when Lear's then 10-year-old son Benjamin introduced him to the show? A lot of laughs, and just a little liquor, appar read more

STOP THE PRESSES

Fred Durst and his Limp Bizkit bandmates are in agreeance: Capitalization and spacing are way overrated. Durst announced on the group's website that the band will now be known as limpbizkit. thatisfreakinbrilliant. read more

Happiness Creep Stuck in the Pitts


Since starring in 1998's Happiness, actor Dylan Baker has made 11 major feature films. But people just can't seem to forget his indie-movie turn as a psychiatrist and family man who's secretly a predatory pedophile. Fortunately, his unsavory — however critically praised — image often proves a blessing in disguise. It sure helped when he auditioned to play Chris Rock's presidential campaign manager in Head of State.

"I walked in to meet with Chris Rock and [screenwriter] Ali LeRoi, and they were giggling away!" says Baker. "I thought my fly was down. They said, 'You're that guy from Happiness.' They were laughing and giggling like read more

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