Today's News: Our Take


Question: I have the song ...

Question: I have the song from the Levi's commercial in my head and I don't know what the name is. Please help me. It's the one with the French dictionary. — Marie, Houston, Tex.

Televisionary: Why am I such a sucker for these name-that-tune questions? The song you seek, featured in the Levi's "French Dictionary" campaign, is "Playground Love," by the French electronica band Air. You'll find it on the soundtrack from The Virgin Suicides, but you can also buy it as a CD single on the Astralwerks label.

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Question: When is The Shield ...

Question: When is The Shield starting its second season? — Wilbert C., Endwell, N.Y.

Televisionary: Look for Det. Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and the boys to make life miserable for the bad guys (and, well... a lot of the good guys and everyone else they come in contact with, too) once again in January, Wilbert.

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Question: No one believes me. ...

Question: No one believes me. I remember a short-lived game show, hosted by Don Adams, where he would have two contestants act out a movie scene. Then the studio audience would vote for the winner. What there ever such a show? — Robert B.

Televisionary: That there was, Robert. On the syndicated Don Adams' Screen Test, 26 episodes of which were produced from 1974-75, contestants appeared in staged scenes from classic films such as Lifeboat, The African Queen, On the Waterfront and From Here to Eternity, putting up with the intentionally schlocky production values in hopes of being chosen by a participating director for a tiny role in a real production.

Helping the former Get Smart read more

Question: What ever happened ...

Question: What ever happened to Caroline Rhea taking over for Rosie O'Donnell? — Howie W., Fords, N.J.

Televisionary: She did. Search your local listings for the syndicated talk show to find out when and where it's on in your area.

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MOB HIT

The mob has regained control of Sunday night. The fourth season premiere of HBO's The Sopranos attracted a record 13.4 million viewers, beating all the broadcast networks. Mediaweek's Marc Berman calls the show's Nielsen performance "amazing." Despite the huge tune-in, viewers remain split as to whether the episode was worth the 16-month wait. According to a TV Guide Online poll conducted Monday, nearly half of those surveyed found Sunday night's installment — yikes! — boring. On the plus side, next week's episode is business as usual (read: it's really good.) read more

Question: What are the names ...

Question: What are the names of the three other actresses who co-starred with Queen Latifah in the 1990s black sitcom Living Single?

Televisionary: Not a problem. Characters played by Kim Coles (In Living Color), Kim Fields Freeman (The Facts of Life) and Erika Alexander (The Cosby Show) all roomed with Khadijah James (Latifah, n&#233e Dana Owens) in the Fox comedy, which ran from August 1993 to January 1998.

As fans remember, Latifah's Khadijah may have been single, but she certainly didn't spend much time alone. She was the editor of Flavor magazine and lived in a Brooklyn pad with read more

Question: Who played Peter ...

Question: Who played Peter Gunn in the late '50s or early '60s? Thank you. — Lorenzo

Televisionary: Actor Craig Stevens played the titular lady-magnet P.I. on Peter Gunn, which ran for two years on NBC beginning in September 1958 before jumping to ABC for another year and moving to the big screen for a movie version. And while you struggled to remember the star's name, I'm betting you have no trouble recalling the familiar Henry Mancini theme, a tune even those who've never seen a Gunn episode have heard, even if they're not aware of its origin. (Sorry, I can't do any better th read more

RISK TAKER

Will & Grace's Debra Messing has been tapped to play Ben Stiller's wife in an untitled big-screen romantic comedy from Universal. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stiller plays an anal-retentive, risk-averse man who gets involved in a risky romance with Messing. read more

REEVE PEEVED

An "angry and disappointed" Christopher Reeve is accusing the Catholic church and President Bush of obstructing research which might help him walk again. The paralyzed Superman star tells Britain's Guardian newspaper that Bush caved in on the issue of embryonic stem cell research after the Catholic church expressed opposition to cloning. "If we'd had full government support, full government funding for aggressive research using embryonic stem cells from the moment they were first isolated," he says, "I don't think it unreasonable to speculate that we might be in human trials by now." read more

Agency Head: Who's In, Who's Out, What's Next

Think real-life politics are hard to follow? Just try keeping track of the comings and goings of the CIA operatives that keep the revolving door spinning on CBS's sophomore series The Agency. Luckily, TV Guide Online wouldn't dream of letting you turn on the Sept. 28 season premiere without first updating your scorecards — and neither would the show's executive producer, '70s teen idol-turned-Joss Whedon wannabe Shaun Cassidy. Here, the former pop star reveals the changes in personnel — and direction — that he hopes will make sure the sleeper still rocks 'n' rolls for us.

Good-bye, Gil Bellows. "[It's] no reflection on Gil," says Cassidy of the Ally McBeal casualty who played Matt Callan. "Gil's terrific. But it's sort of l read more

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