Today's News: Our Take


Acting vet Rod Steiger, who won an Oscar for playing a bigoted police chief opposite Sidney Poitier in the 1967 film In the Heat of the Night, died Tuesday of pneumonia and kidney failure. He was 77. Steiger's resume also included memorable roles in On the Waterfront, The Pawnbroker, and Doctor Zhivago. read more

Question: On the episode of ...

Question: On the episode of Grounded For Life entitled "Relax," the actress who plays the mother was making dinner, with a side dish which I believe she called "Oose Goose." I have searched everywhere for a recipe for this dish. Could you please tell me what it is and where I can find out about this uncommon dish? I also heard the same dish mentioned in the movie Sweet November. Thank you. — Betty, Pensacola, Fla.

Televisionary: You mean couscous? A staple of North African eating, it's made from semolina (the ground wheat that's also the basis for most pasta). It's often mixed with meat, vegetables or both and flavored with various spices. It's good stuff, and you should be able to find recipes for it in any decent cookbook. (And, yes, I know this is only tangentially related to TV, but give me a break, people — how often do I get to answer cooking questions?)

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Robert Altman will direct Cate Blanchett in the upcoming HBO espionage drama Mata Hari, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Blanchett will portray the real-life World War I spy in the three-hour film. read more

Question: Did Denise Austin ...

Question: Did Denise Austin ever play as one of the roommates on the show Three's Company?

Televisionary: Nope, although the exercise diva does offer a thigh-toning machine, as former Three's Company star Suzanne Somers (who played the bubble-headed Chrissy Snow) does. The other beauteous roomies to share the Santa Monica pad with John Ritter's Jack Tripper were Joyce DeWitt (Janet Wood), Jenilee Harrison (Cindy Snow) and Priscilla Barnes (Terri Alden).

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Question: In the early '80s, ...

Question: In the early '80s, there was a television mini-series called V, which was about aliens invading earth. Has it ever been shown again? Is there a VHS of the mini-series? — Ben G.

Televisionary: Not only is the original mini-series V: The Original TV Miniseries available on VHS, Ben, but it's also available on DVD. Check your favorite video store or online retailer, where you may also find V: The Final Battle. To read more about the series, see my March 14, 2000 column.

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Question: I read somewhere ...

Question: I read somewhere that Robert Sean Leonard is going to be starring in a new TV series called Rosebud with John Larroquette, Patrick Dempsey, and others. Is this true? If so, what network, and when? — Leanne, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Televisionary: Well, half-true, unfortunately. Leonard, Larroquette (Night Court), Dempsey, Martin Landau (Space: 1999), Balthazar Getty and read more

Question: If I'm not ...

Question: If I'm not mistaken, around 1993-94 I watched a series called Matrix. It was about a mafia hit man who was shot to death but was given a second chance to live. But he had to do good in order to stay on earth instead of being sent to hell and he had a partner who knew he was dead plus sort of an angel to watch everything he did. Do you know the actor's name? I liked the series very much, but it was short-lived.

Televisionary: Actor Nick Mancuso played "family" man Steven Matrix in the USA series, which debuted on the cable network in March 1993. As you say, Matrix died of lead poisoning (well, the lead was delivered via a bullet to the noggin, so you make the diagnosis) and went to a Purgatory-like placed known as The City In-Between. There he was told he could skip the usual trip to Hades if he was willing to return to earth and help troubled people out (essentially the same read more

Question: I'm trying to ...

Question: I'm trying to figure out where this came from. In a movie years ago, a man said, in a high pitched voice, "Topo Gigio." It became a joke in my family and we can't figure out which movie it came from. Can you? — Caryn

Televisionary: I'd imagine that name's been uttered in countless movies, Caryn, and I have no idea if you guys caught the Italian film The Magic World of Topo Gigio in 1961. So I'll go even further back and explain the reference to you, then use it as a springboard for one of my fabulously informative screeds. (Well, my mom says they're informative, anyway.)

Topo Gigio, a longtime TV hit in his native Italy, was a mouse-puppet character first introduced to American audiences in 1963 on The Ed Sullivan Show. Created by puppeteer Maria Perego and manipulated by three people (a fourth provided his high-pitched voice), Topo was calle read more


Jessica Capshaw is joining the cast of ABC's The Practice this fall. The actress — who is the daughter of Kate Capshaw — will play a young associate. read more

Men In Black II's Troubled Production

Sure, Men In Black II made a mint at the box office over the just-concluded Fourth of July holiday weekend, but let's face it: The follow-up pales in comparison to the rollicking original. That comes as quite a disappointment considering the much-hyped sequel reunites many of the same players behind the 1997 smash, including producers Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes, director Barry Sonnenfeld and stars Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.

Of course, given all the behind-the-scenes drama, it's little surprise that MIB II saw much of its quality neuralized. "It was read more

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