Today's News: Our Take

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


Alias badass Jennifer Garner and her actor-hubby Scott Foley (A.U.S.A.) have separated, a rep for the couple confirms. The duo — who met on the Felicity set in 1998 — tied the knot in October 2000. Well, this explains why Garner was escorted to the Oscars last month by best friend Katie Gage and not Foley. At the time, their flak insisted "everything was fine" with the lovebirds. In the publicist's defense, I'm sure she feels really bad about lying to us. 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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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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Further proof that Peter Arnett's career is on its last legs: The embattled war correspondent — fired by NBC and National Geographic Explorer for remarks he made to state-run Iraqi TV over the weekend — has accepted a job writing photo captions for US Weekly. I kid. I kid. Seriously, the embattled journalist has been hired by London's Daily Mirror tabloid, which, let's face it, is pretty sad. read more


Acclaimed character actor Michael Jeter, best known for his Emmy-winning role as an inept assistant football coach on CBS's Evening Shade, died over the weekend at his Hollywood Hills home. He was 50. The cause of death was not immediately known, but Jeter was HIV-positive. read more


David Duchovny has joined the cast of Connie and Carla, the upcoming big fat buddy comedy starring Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette. Duchovny will play Vardalos's love interest, which isn't going to sit well with Scully. read more


Corey, Corey, Corey. American Idol execs beat viewers to the punch on Monday and gave finalist Corey Clark the hook. The expulsion followed yesterday's report that revealed the 22-year-old bad boy was arrested last October after a disturbance in his family's Topeka, Kans., home — an incident he failed to report to Idol producers. Fox released a statement saying a background check missed the arrest because the police report misspelled Clark's first name. "We regret the error," the statement went on, "but the only thing we can do is learn from the incident, continue to improve the background-check process and move on." Clark is the third Idol contestant to get the boot for hiding a skeleton in his closet — but probably not the last. read more


Madonna can no longer justify airing her new video "American Life." The queen of pop has decided not to release the controversial anti-war clip — scheduled to debut Friday on VH1 — out of respect for the men and women fighting overseas in Iraq. read more


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

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