Today's News: Our Take

Question: When I first saw ...

Question: When I first saw Brittany Murphy in Clueless, I knew she looked familiar. I am just now recalling where I may have seen her. Did she used to be on that old show, The Torkelsons, after the family moved and the mother worked for a wealthy father and his two kids? — Sarah, New York, N.Y.

Televisionary: Well, sort of (technically, it was the second incarnation of the series). Murphy and Jason Marsden (the most excellent Spirited Away) were the irritating son and daughter of rich guy Perry King (Riptide), whom Millicent (read more

Question: Did Robby the Robot ...

Question: Did Robby the Robot appear on the TV series Lost in Space and was he called by name? In other words, did people on the show call him Robby or Robby the Robot? — Dina F.

Televisionary: Forbidden Planet's Robby (well, the costume, not the character) appeared in the first-season episode "War of the Robots," in which he was found disabled and repaired by young Will and promptly set about trying to enslave the Robinsons and destroy their own robot. To the best of my knowledge, he wasn't called Robby in the episode.

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Question: My favorite TV show ...

Question: My favorite TV show when I was 11 or 12 was The Magician, starring Bill Bixby. I was crushed when it didn't last very long. Can you tell me when it aired, the show's premise, how many episodes there were and if there's any chance of seeing this show again? Thanks! — Chris H., Cypress, Tex.

Televisionary: Bixby (The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Incredible Hulk), an amateur magician himself, starred as wealthy illusionist and escape artist Anthony Blake, who'd been unjustly imprisoned in South America and decided to devote his time to making the world right for people in need. Of course, that making always involved mental acrobatics, sleight of hand and illusions. The show's 90-minute pilot kicked things off on NBC in March 1973. The 22-episode series debuted as an hour-l read more

Question: You were wrong on ...

Question: You were wrong on Doogie. He was a resident, not a full-fledged doctor. As to whether it is possible, the University of Chicago Medical School has just admitted a 12-year-old. After three years of school he will begin his residency at the age of 15. — Bob A., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Televisionary: Right you are, and wrong I was.

Young Dr. Howser was indeed a second-year resident on the series, which means the age analysis from the Harvard Medical School admissions officer I cited was slightly off the mark. (Just goes to show you what happens when you're blinded by the university name and assume anyone from there must know what they're doing.)

Embarrassing me further (oh, my powers... why have you failed me?), as you say, is the recent full-scholarship admission of a 12-year-old kid to med school at the University of Chicago. That's not quite Doogie territory, but it's darn close.

Thanks to everyon read more


The WB is adding four new comedies and two new dramas to its fall lineup, including a modern-day Tarzan starring Calvin Klein model Travis Fimmel and a sketch-comedy starring Steve Harvey. As reported yesterday, the Frog network is moving Smallville to Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET, where it will be paired with the returning Angel. Among the WB's other new entries: Fearless, an FBI drama starring Rachael Leigh Cook; All About the Andersons, a sitcom about a single dad who moves back in with his parents; Like Family, a comedy about black and white families living under the same roof; and Run of the House, a comedy about siblings forced to raise their 15-year-old sister. read more

Question: Was the house used ...

Question: Was the house used for the PBS show Manor House also used for the movie Gosford Park? — Paige

Televisionary: Nope, though many wondered the same since to the untrained eye (most viewers, myself included) the two locations are close enough in appearance to cause confusion. Manor House was shot at Manderston, a 109-room Edwardian mansion near the Scottish border town of Duns. Robert Altman's Gosford Park was filmed at Wrotham Park, an estate in England's Hertfordshire countryside.

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Question: I was always a ...

Question: I was always a devoted fan of two medical shows created by James Moser, Medic and Ben Casey. But I thought I remembered hearing about another show he was going to do, Medicine Man. Whatever happened to it? Was it ever produced or broadcast? — Andrea H., Tallmadge, Ohio

Televisionary: Yes, it was, Andrea, but it was called Ben Casey and it ran from October 1961 to March 1966. Medicine Man was the title Moser intended for the series, but Oliver Treyz, the head of ABC when the pilot was created, gave that the thumbs-down. "It was an allegorical title," Moser told TV Guide of his initial choice in 1962. "I guess Treyz doesn't dig allegory. He wante read more


Talk-show host John Walsh broke his ankle on the job Thursday. Seems the 57-year-old got overenthused while taping a segment on extreme sports, injuring himself while imitating a kid skateboarder's stunt. Walsh's wipeout airs on The John Walsh Show's May 16 episode. Tempting, but we still won't watch. read more

Renée Zellweger's Ewan Obsession

Renée Zellweger may consider herself somewhat "cinematically ignorant," but it sounds to us like there's at least one actor whose oeuvre she's mastered. "For seven years, I've been going, 'Where's Ewan McGregor? What's Ewan McGregor doing? Is he making this? Is there a girl? What kind of girl? Can we make that happen?" she says, with a laugh. "We've been acquaintances for a long time, but I've been his fan for even longer."

Thank goodness Down with Love, an homage to the comedies of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, finally came along — if only for her agent's sake. Zellweger stars as Barbara Novak, an author whose 1962 titular best seller encourages career-minded women to say "no" to lo read more

Dreams Come True

If there were any relation between ratings and quality, American Dreams would be the No. 1 show on TV. But hey, we're not complaining; at least NBC has renewed the soul-stirring '60s-set dramedy for a second season. "We're the little engine that could," executive producer Jonathan Prince tells TV Guide Online. "It's hard to call yourself a hit on the network that gives us Friends and ER ... but I feel really good about what we've done, especially up against The Simpsons and such tough competition."

Prince's boss, NBC prez Jeff Zucker, seconds that emotion. "He said, 'I'm going to make Sundays work,'" reveals Prince. Heaven knows he and his Dreams team are trying. For this week's season finale (airing at 8 pm/ET), they've recruited Destiny's Child vocali read more

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