Today's News: Our Take


MUST-FEE TV

NBC's Thursday lineup will remain Must-See TV next season: Friends will return for a ninth — and final — season, the Peacock network confirmed late Monday. As part of the new deal, the six stars will each earn $1 million per episode — up from $750,000. "Since we all had the same objective, this was the easiest deal we have ever made," says Jeff Zucker, NBC's entertainment president. "Everyone wanted it to work out, because everyone wanted to be able to send the series out appropriately... and in style." What he really means is, "Phew!" read more

Question: My boyfriend and I ...

Question: My boyfriend and I were watching a Night Court rerun the other night and ended up having an argument about Harry Anderson. I think he was a magician before he had that show, but he said he read that he made a living as a con man. Who's right? And don't make fun of us. We fight about everything. — Amy J., Genoa, Wis.

Televisionary: Me, make fun of my loyal readers? Perish the thought, dear woman, for it is you whose page hits help generate my paycheck, thus keeping me fat and happy.

The answer to your question is a little of both, but I must say the magician part is easier to prove due to Anderson's appearances on Saturday Night Live and Cheers, where he played a hustler named, appropriately enough, Harry. He's on record saying he used to run shell games in various cities before going straight, but Anderson was notorious for making up entertaining tales about his past life read more

Question: Did the television ...

Question: Did the television show Inside Schwartz get canceled? It was on NBC. Also, what was the name of another sports-based sitcom that starred Farrah Fawcett? It probably aired in late '80s or early '90s. Thanks for your help. — Greg K.

Televisionary: No problem, Greg. Well, at least it's not a problem so long as you don't mind that NBC yanked Inside Schwartz from its schedule back in early January. Though the show was averaging a hit-level 16.40 million viewers and an 8.0/20 performance in adults 18-49 when the decision was announced in December, most of that was due to a strong lead-in from Friends, so Schwartz joined shows like Jesse and Union Square in the ranks of the post-Friends departed.

As for your second question — and I usually don't allow two-for-one deals since I don't want you guys getting all greedy on me read more

Question: What a great column ...

Question: What a great column for TV Trivia buffs! There should be some kind of site that deals with questions about performers in commercials. But since I know you know — and I don't and would like to — who is the long, lean, lovely blonde in the Old Navy spots that ran after Carrie Donovan's passing? Thanks for watching. — Mike W.

Televisionary: No, no, Mike, thank you for reading. It sounds like you're thinking of model Molly Sims, host of MTV's House of Style. But she not only appeared in those ads after the death of Donovan, the New York Times fashion editor who passed away last year, she also worked with her to shill for the chain.

If you're now a fan, you'll also find her in various fashion print ads as well as in the Victoria's Secret catalog and in the 2000 edition of the Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. And she's not only cover material, she's loaded with fashion advice, too! Among the more choice be read more

Question: The other night, I ...

Question: The other night, I went to see Bruce Willis and the Accelerators perform at B.B. King's club in Times Square. My friends all said I was crazy when I recalled a (possibly made-for-cable) special Willis did called The Return of Bruno, in which he played the part of his musical alter-ego Bruno, and performed some of the songs from his first album. Is this memory just wishful thinking? Will I have to foot the bill for the next club show my friends and I attend? (Yes, there's money on this one.) Many thanks. — Sean F., New York, N.Y.

Televisionary: Looks to me like it's your pals who'll be ponying up for the next outing, Sean.

The former Moonlighting co-star did indeed put together an HBO special, Bruce Willis: The Return of Bruno, which debuted in 1987 and was released on home video the same year. A combination of concert footage and faux documentary featuring Bruno Radolini, the ficti read more

I SPY A TOP 40 HIT

Madonna will contribute a tune to the soundtrack of the next James Bond film. "She is doing a song for the film but she won't be acting," Madonna's rep tells Reuters. "We don't know if it will be the title song yet." The currently in-production 007 flick — starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry — has yet to be given an official title. read more

NO LAUGHING MATTER

A Friends spokesperson is denying a tabloid tale that the sitcom's writers are toying with the idea of killing off Rachel. Star magazine reports that Jennifer Aniston's pregnant character may die in the season (or series) finale while giving birth to her child with Ross. "It's not true," the rep insists to TV Guide Online. read more

Heaven Rev: It's Hip to Be Square


God love him, Stephen Collins doesn't care that, although 7th Heaven is currently the WB's most-watched show, you're about as likely to hear foul language in church as you are to catch co-workers conversing about the hit show around the office watercooler. "What I love about our show is that we're sort of a guilty pleasure," admits the actor, who plays holier-than-thou Rev. Eric Camden. "A lot of teenage girls will say, '... never miss your show,' but they don't want their friends to know that, because it's not cool.

"I've always said," he adds, "we're so uncool that we're cool."

The small-screen mainstay (A Woman Named Jackie, A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story) concedes that Heaven depicts an idealized vision of post-millennial suburban life. But, so long as the program keeps off-camera clans gathering around th read more

Angel and Cordy: Let's Get It On?


Boy, does it suck to be Angel, the toothsome title hero of the WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff. He's growing hotter every week for she-demon sidekick Cordelia, but if he ever achieves true happiness — ahem, horizontally — an age-old gypsy curse will transform him instantly from a haloed hero back into a soulless villain... or will it?

Although, in the undead do-gooder's days on his estranged sister show, his birthday hook-up with then-girlfriend Buffy returned him to his wicked ways, such a metamorphosis won't necessarily occur every time he hits the sheets. Rather, executive producer David Greenwalt reveals that only a perfect union precipitates Angel's about-face. "That's why [after a walk on the dark side last season] he [slept with fanged former flame] Darla and woke up... good again. It brought him back to real read more

Britney's Hollywood Screen Kiss


Pop princess Britney Spears is very devoted to boyfriend Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync, who even accompanied her on her recent Saturday Night Live hosting gig for moral support. But as the budding actress debuts in the buddy flick Crossroads — opening Friday — she admits some of her steamier screen scenes made her sweetie uncomfortable. As Spears reveals to TV Guide Online: "[Justin] had to turn his head during the kissing scenes.

"I know it's part of what we do," the 20-year-old acknowledges, adding that she has her own issues whenever their roles are reversed. "I prefer not to watch the person I love kiss somebody else."

Turns out, Timberlake had no reason to be jealous after all. Spears's hunky co-star Anson Mount apparently went out of his way to ma read more

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