Today's News: Our Take


MED DEAD

CBS has pulled low-rated dramas Presidio Med and Queens Supreme from its lineup and will kick off a second nine-episode edition of Star Search beginning Feb. 19. In other reality news, NBC has ordered seven more episodes of the dreadful Meet My Folks. read more

Question: What is the real ...

Question: What is the real name of Cedric the Entertainer? Is he the guy in the funny Budweiser commercials? — Harold, Glendale, Cal.

Televisionary: Cedric Kyles. And yes (though they're technically Bud Light ads).

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WHERE THERE'S SMOKE...

Prosecutors in Michigan may issue an investigative subpoena this week that would "compel" Aretha Franklin to answer questions about the fire that destroyed her home last October. Investigators allegedly have tried at least three times to interview the singer about the blaze, which has been ruled as arson. Franklin, however, is not a suspect. read more

Question: If you can answer ...

Question: If you can answer this, you are my hero. I have asked, searched, looked and dug everywhere I can think of. In the final episode of Providence, Syd was standing in front of the mantel looking at family pics and there was a song playing. It sounded like a cross between Elton John and Joshua Kadison. Some of the words were: "A picture postcard, a program of the play, filed away the photographs of your holiday. And your momentos will turn to dust, but that's the price you pay, for every year the souvenir that slowly fades away." Do you have any ideas on this? Thank you in advance for your time. I appreciate it much! — Jo H.

Televisionary: Not at all, Jo. After all, my uncanny TV powers don't help me catch bankrobbers or solve mysteries or anything, so I'm darned happy to be a hero to somebody.

The song that's hauntin read more

THE LOWEDOWN

NBC apparently isn't holding a grudge against Rob Lowe for quitting The West Wing. The network has tapped the ex-Brat Packer to star in and produce a new legal drama pilot titled Lyon's Den, Variety reports. He'd play an "idealistic attorney trying to make his mark on the world while struggling to escape the shadow of his powerful father, a state senator." read more

Question: Many a year ago, I ...

Question: Many a year ago, I remember watching a program on PBS about a castle being built. It wasn't narrated by some professor walking around the ruins of an old castle, rambling on about how it was built, with the occasional still photo from a book. It was an animated feature of the castle built from the ground up, with the king and his mason discussing what was to be done. It was wonderfully animated and very educational. I would love to know if this feature is available on VHS/DVD anywhere. My children are very interested in castles and I thought this would be a great program for them to watch and learn from. Any clue?

Televisionary: Sounds to me like the program you seek is Castles, which was hosted by David Macaulay and was based on his book of the same name. (Macaulay's the famed illustrator and writer who also brought us Cathedral, Mill Town, Building Big and other such great stuff.) It's available for 20 bucks or so from PBS Home V read more

Question: When I was a kid, ...

Question: When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows was Room 222. I had such a huge crush on Mr. Dixon and wanted him to be my teacher. I thought I remembered reading the actor who played him died. Did he? Thank you for the answer. &#152 Karen E., Alton Bay, N.H.

Televisionary: Sad to report, Karen, that Lloyd Haynes, who played Walt Whitman High School history teacher Pete Dixon during the show's 1969-74 run on ABC, lost his battle with lung cancer at the age of 52 on New Year's Eve, 1986.

And you weren't alone in your affection for the character. Matter of fact, in 1971, real-life teacher Hal Lenke wrote a column for TV Guide about the frustration of having to live up to his TV co read more

Question: My co-worker and I ...

Question: My co-worker and I have a bet. She says that The Mary Tyler Moore Show had the most spin-offs in TV history. I say it's Happy Days. Who's right? Whoever wins has to cover the other person's shift for President's Day weekend. — Scott S.

Televisionary: Technically speaking, you're both wrong, Scott, though you're closer than she is.

First of all, let's define spin-off. The classic definition is a show whose main characters were regulars on the parent show (so that would pretty much disqualify the various Law &#038 Order shows, for example).

Going by that, All in the Family is the spin-off king, with three series directly spun off (Maude, The Jeffersons, read more

Question: What night did The ...

Question: What night did The Love Boat and The Dukes of Hazzard air? Friday or Saturday? — Shawn, Athens, Tex.

Televisionary: The Dukes raised hell on Friday nights from January 1979 to August 1985. The Boat was a capital ship for an ocean trip on Saturdays from September 1977 to May 1986, before switching to Fridays for the final four months of its voyage. If you're a schedule fanatic (and even if you're not), you'll find fall prime-time line-ups going all the way back to 1953 in our What Was On feature.

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An Alias Movie? Secret Plot Exposed!


If you thought last night's post-Super Bowl episode of Alias was big, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Exec producer J.J. Abrams confirms to TV Guide Online that there have been some informal discussions about transporting Jennifer Garner's double-agent alter ego onto the big screen in an Alias feature film.

"It has come up, and... it's an interesting idea," he says. "My agents have talked to me about it, and I know that they have talked to Disney about it, but it's nothing that is seriously being pursued.

"Given the fact that we try every week to do a movie version of the show, it's not clear to me what we would try to do that we aren't already trying to do," adds the former Felicity read more

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