Today's News: Our Take


Um, are we mistaken or didn't they already do The Real World: Hawaii? With its new series North Shore — debuting Summer 2003 — the WB joins in reality TV's obsession with shared living quarters in exotic locations. The sitch: Seven surfing champions will bunk together — it's coed, natch — in an Oahu, Hawaii, beach house while competing to win the $750,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Cowabunga! read more


Dennis Quaid has been cast as Sam Houston in Disney's upcoming adventure The Alamo. The project — which also features Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett — will reunite Quaid with his Rookie director John Lee Hancock. The film begins shooting in January. read more

Question: I say Wilma ...

Question: I say Wilma Flintstone had two different maiden names, but my friend says Slaghoople was the only maiden name she had. Can you tell me if she had another maiden name and, if so, what it was? — Leah, Sarnia, Ont., Canada

Televisionary: Believe it or not, this generates real controversy among Flintstones fans. In the series, Wilma's maiden name was twice said to be Pebble, but in later episodes it was Slaghoople. 'Stones experts (hey, everyone needs their hobbies) generally accept that the latter is correct, especially since that name was used in the films based on the cartoon.

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Russell Crowe is taking a chill pill. Just days after reportedly being involved in a London restaurant brawl, the Oscar champ says that he has been under a "massive level of stress" and is heading back to Australia to be with his father and girlfriend. What's more, he announced that his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, were canceling their upcoming U.S. tour. In a message posted on the group's website, Crowe cited his father's upcoming surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome as a factor in his decision to return home. read more


A Los Angeles judge has agreed to let Paula Poundstone regain custody of her three adopted children, who have been living in foster homes since the comic was arrested on child-endangerment charges 17 months ago. However, her lawyer — citing mountains of legal red tape — says it may be weeks before the reunion takes place. read more


Oscar-winning tough-guy James Coburn, best known for his roles in such 1960s action flicks as The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, died Monday at the age of 74. According to reports, Coburn suffered a major heart attack at his Beverly Hills, Calif., home while listening to music with his wife Paula. The actor won an Academy Award for playing Nick Nolte's abusive, alcoholic father in 1998's Affliction. More recently, he provided the voice of corrupt CEO Henry J. Waternoose III in Monsters Inc. read more

Question: Lea Thompson ...

Question: Lea Thompson starred in a mini-series in 1998 called A Will of Their Own. Could you tell me the title and author of the book it was based on? — Brenda

Televisionary: Sure thing. The NBC mini-series, which also starred Dharma and Greg's Thomas Gibson and Will &#038 Grace's Eric McCormack, was based on Susan Richards Shreve's novel Daughters of the New World.

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Question: I loathed Stanley ...

Question: I loathed Stanley Kubrick's filmed version of The Shining, but loved the ABC Miniseries Stephen King himself wrote. ABC made It, The Stand, and The Langoliers available on video, so are there any plans to release Stephen King's The Shining as well? I certainly hope so. — Eric S., Glendale, Ariz.

Televisionary: Y'know, Eric, I've never insulted a reader (well, not this week, anyway), but I want you to think long and hard about some of your beliefs and the effect they may have on how others see you. You loathed the Kubrick film but loved the network version? Whenever I'm faced with a difference of opinion I try to think of my dear, level-headed dad and his mantra of "that's why there's vanilla and chocolate," but you're out of your tree on this one, mister.

On my side, I've got a master read more


Nominees for the American Music Awards came out Tuesday, with hip hop's usual suspects grabbing up the glory. Glamour girl Ashanti got five noms, including best female artist. On the boys' side, Eminem and Nelly each took four, including nods for favorite male artist. The Osbournes will host ABC's three-hour kudocast, airing Jan. 13. read more

Question: I just saw the Oct. ...

Question: I just saw the Oct. 31 episode of CSI. The murderous magician character looked like the same actor who played the Hannibal Lecter-type character in the movie Manhunter, which also starred William Petersen as the investigator who hunted him. Was it the same actor? — Ralph, Flower Mound, Tex.

Televisionary: Sharp eyes there, Ralph. In the hit crime drama's Halloween episode, entitled "Abra Cadaver," actor Tom Noonan played the villainous illusionist. That's the same Tom Noonan who, as maniac Francis Dollarhyde, worked with Petersen, Dennis Farina, Joan Allen and read more

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