Question: Can you please tell me the longest-running prime-time drama and comedy? Thanks. Maryanne
Televisionary: My pleasure, Maryanne. That's what they pay me for (and I'm hoping they'll never figure out I'd do it for free). The western drama Gunsmoke enjoyed an incredible 20-season run on CBS, debuting in September 1955 and leaving the network's schedule in September 1975.
It gets a little stickier with comedies. The Jack Benny Show and The Jackie Gleason Show are tied for that record with 15 seasons each, but there are some technical matters to address. When the Benny show first hit the TV airwaves in October 1950, it was as a sporadically scheduled, Sunday-night special on CBS. In 1952 it began airing every four weeks before becoming a bi-weekly show in 1953 and then a weekly in 1960, a frequency which held through the 1964 jump to NBC and its September 1965 exit from the airwaves.
The Gleason show, for its part, began li
In his new film Enemy at the Gates (opening Friday), The Talented Mr. Ripley's Jude Law stars as legendary Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev, a soldier whose skill at shooting German officers during World War II was the stuff of legend. Ironically, the actor who never picked up a firearm in his life admits the role proved to be a hands-on lesson in gun control.
"It scared me how easy it is [to shoot]," Law tells TV Guide Online. "Guns are very well designed to be terribly straight-forward. You pick them up, point them and squeeze."
To play the expert sharpshooter, Law spent two months training using live rounds. "I started at 100 meters and you just blow things apart," he explains. "Then they took me down under the trenches to get the feeling of having shots whizzing over my head, and I heard the sonic boom. It's terrifying!"
While Law may have been a combat novice, his co-star Ed Harris who plays the German assassin
Aspiring actress Jerri Manthey, the 30-year-old contestant from Survivor: The Australian Outback labeled "a bitch" by one of her fellow tribemates (see today's Insider), will star in the play Lady Macbeth Gets a Divorce. According to Playbill, Manthey plays a young woman caught in a love triangle in Macbeth, which runs at the Beverly Hills Playhouse from March 23 to April 29.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon director Ang Lee may want to make room on his mantle for a little guy named Oscar. The filmmaker won the Directors Guild of America's prestigious Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film award for the Chinese-language crossover smash. In 53 years, DGA winners have in all but four instances gone on to win the best director Oscar. Translation: Steven Soderbergh is in big trouble.
Jeff Varner, the conniving Internet project manager who became the latest castaway to get booted from Survivor: The Australian Outback, seems to agree with the rest of America about contestant Jerri Manthey.
Appearing on CBS's The Early Show Friday morning, the 34-year-old Internet project manager from Port Washington, N.Y., admitted that as he watches the episodes play out, he can understand why Manthey is getting such a frosty reception with viewers. "In the game, she is a bitch and I can't stand her... and she needed to go," he groaned, adding that had he and his fellow Kuchas seen her true colors, they would have targeted her at Tribal Council instead of innocent hottie Colby. "She sat there with two votes beside me, and we had no idea.
"The only time we ever knew anything about Ogakor is when we came [together for] the [Immunity] Challenges," added Varner. "And we just could sort of gauge their body language. And Jerri was alw
All told, it was a good weekend for Julia Roberts. In addition to picking up a SAG Award, the actress's latest film, The Mexican, held on to the top spot at the box office for the second consecutive weekend. The comedy adventure co-starring Brad Pitt grossed another $12.1 million, bringing its 10-day total to $38.3 million. The poorly-reviewed Robert De Niro-Edward Burns thriller 15 Minutes opened at No. 2 with a lackluster $10.5 million. Rounding out the top five were See Spot Run (No. 3 with $6.6 million), Hannibal (No. 4 with $5.7 million) and Down to Earth (No. 5 with $5.5 million). The teen comedy Get Over It lived up to its title, debuting at No. 6 with a weak $4.4 million.
A WB publicist is denying a report in Time magazine that the network's low-rated soap spoof Grosse Pointe has been cancelled. "It is currently not on the schedule but has not been cancelled," the rep tells TV Guide Online. "The show will be considered along with everything else for next season." Meanwhile, diehard fans hoping to save the show from getting the axe have been mailing bars of soap (get it?) to WB execs. If you're in a lather over the show's possible demise, drop a bar in the mail to the WB Network, 4000 Warner Blvd., Building 34R, Burbank, CA 91522.
NBC's Friends often criticized for its lack of racial diversity will be getting a little more colorful this Thursday. Gabrielle Union, star of last year's hit cheerleading flick Bring It On and a resident of CBS's now-defunct medical drama City of Angels, will pop up as a love interest for Ross (David Schwimmer)... and Joey (Matt LeBlanc).
"I'm this random girl that they both find attractive, and I date both of them unbeknownst to the other," Union tells TV Guide Online, adding that her character moves into the neighborhood and catches the boys' eyes. "Ross comes along first and says, 'Oooh hot chick.' He asks me out, and then Joey comes around and asks me out."
Though no fuss was made of the racial difference between Union and her leading men, the actress still couldn't help feeling like the 'black sheep' in the Friends family. Keeping an eye
Julia Roberts, Benicio Del Toro and the cast of the drug drama Traffic were the big winners at the 7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, held last night in Los Angeles. Roberts, a shoo-in to pick up an Oscar on March 25, won best actress honors for Erin Brockovich. During her acceptance speech, the choked-up thesp admitted, "I am a fraud to stand here alone because so many people make me look like I know what I am doing." Del Toro was named best actor for Traffic, and that film's cast was awarded the coveted outstanding ensemble trophy. Supporting kudos went to Albert Finney (Erin Brockovich) and Judi Dench (Chocolat). On the TV front, NBC's The West Wing swept the drama categories, winning best cast, best actress (Allison Janney) and best actor (Martin Sheen). The Peacock comedy Will & Grace
Lauren Holly married New York investment banker Francis Greco over the weekend in the groom's native Toronto, the Toronto Sun reports... Kelly Hu (CBS's Martial Law) has climbed in the ring opposite WWF star the Rock in The Scorpion King, the film based on the character in The Mummy Returns, according to The Hollywood Reporter... Former Melrose Place resident Grant Show has been cast in the NBC pilot Undercover playing the head of a special five-member unit within the Justice Department... DreamWorks has acquired film rights to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's as yet unpublished biography on Abraham Lincoln. According to Variety, studio helmer Steven Spielberg may direct. Michael Ausiello