Today's News: Our Take


Question: Do you know when ...

Question: Do you know when (and if) HBO's Oz is coming back? — Vanessa H., Devil's Lake, N.D.

Televisionary: The edgy prison drama, which kicked off in 1997, is currently shooting its sixth and final season and will return to HBO's schedule with its last eight episodes early next year. Baseball Wives, another series from Oz creator Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street, St. Elsewhere) and partner Barry Levinson, will also debut on the network around the same time. As the name suggests, it will focus on women married to major-league players.

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Question: Please send me any ...

Question: Please send me any information you have on show that I believe aired in 1962. It was called Norby and it was filmed in Pearl River NY, my hometown. I once saw a TV Guide cover that featured the show. — Bill S., Westtown N.Y.

Televisionary: I don't send personal answers, Bill. I don't have much on the show (and don't believe it was ever on one of our covers), but I'll give you what I've got. Norby, the first series shot in color (it was sponsored by Eastman Kodak) aired for only three months on NBC in 1955. It featured David Wayne as the title character, Pearson Norby, a loan officer at the Pearl River First National Bank. Joan Lorring played Norby's wife, Helen, while Susan Ha read more

LIFE AFTER ANN

The Ann Landers advice column — penned by the late Esther Lederer — will be replaced by two columns: one written by her daughter Margo Howard and one by two of her editors. However, the two new columns will not fall under the Ann Landers banner, as per Lederer's wishes. Lederer died of cancer on Saturday at age 83. read more

Question: We are trying to ...

Question: We are trying to find out the name of the sitcom that had a character named Monroe in it. I think it was in an apartment setting, but I can find nothing on it. Could you please help? — Sue W., Muskegon, Mich.

Televisionary: That I could, Sue. You're thinking of ABC's Too Close For Comfort, which starred late Mary Tyler Moore Show veteran Ted Knight as San Francisco cartoonist Henry Rush. Henry and wife Muriel (Nancy Dussault), lived in a two-apartment townhouse — right over a pad occupied by the couple's two young daughters (hence the title). Based on the British series Keep It in the Family, Too Close debuted in November 1980 and stayed on the network until September 1983. It r read more

Question: A few weeks ago I ...

Question: A few weeks ago I caught an episode of Laverne and Shirley in which Ed Begley, Jr. played Shirley's brother, who was a sailor on shore leave. In one scene, Laverne and Shirley were trying to hide him because he was drunk and the captain came in. Was that the guy who played Senator David Palmer on 24? It sounded like him but he was much slimmer. At first I thought it was Denzel Washington but after a few rewinds and pauses, my husband determined it was the almost-prez. And wasn't he also the voodoo guy in Major League (but with a shaved head and bulked up)? — Amy H., Tucker, Ga.

Televisionary: Wow, do you readers have sharp eyes and steel-trap memories, or what? I'm thinking that when my powers wane and I need a worthy succes read more

VAULT MAN COMETH

Geraldo Rivera has been tapped as the lead investigative reporter on Fox's upcoming primetime newsmagazine The Pulse, which kicks off a nine-week run on July 11 (9 pm/ET). Rivera will juggle Pulse with his Fox News Channel program War Zone with Geraldo Rivera. read more

Question: Is Maura Tierney of ...

Question: Is Maura Tierney of ER any relation to Gene or Lawrence Tierney? — Harold, Glendale, Cal.

Televisionary: In name only, Harold. The actress, who plays nurse Abby Lockhart on the powerhouse NBC drama, grew up in the decidedly non-showbiz-oriented Boston suburb of Hyde Park, Mass. Her dad, Joseph, was on the city council there and her mom is a real estate agent — a far cry from both Lawrence and Gene.

Tierney first appeared as a TV regular in the legendary Norman Lear's 704 Hauser, but she made her mark opposite read more

Question: During the late ...

Question: During the late '50s or early '60s there was a daytime magician show on for kids. The magician's assistant was Nonnie Darnell (I'm not sure about the spelling). I can find no evidence that this person ever existed but I did hear a reference to her on an episode of Night Court. Do you have any idea where I can find some info on her? Thank you. — Susan C., Irvington, N.Y.

Televisionary: That was no mere assistant, Susan, that was his wife! Magician Mark Wilson and wife/partner Nani Darnell amazed kids with their Saturday-morning show The Magic Land of Allakazam beginning in 1960. The show ran on CBS for two years and then — poof! — appeared on ABC for another two. You can catch up on all the couple's latest doings and purchase tapes of the show on their site.

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SOUR GRAPES

Quick, get Halle Berry some more Kleenex: Angela Bassett says she turned down Berry's Oscar-winning role in Monster's Ball because she didn't want to play a stereotype. "It's about character, darling," she tells Newsweek. "I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film. I couldn't do that because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality... It's about putting something out there you can be proud of 10 years later. I mean, Meryl Streep won Oscars without all that." Natch, Bassett insists her comments were not intended as a diss to Berry — not that we were reading between the lines or anything. read more

Meet Minority Report's Real Star


If there's any justice in the world, acting vet Lois Smith will receive her first Oscar nomination next year for her sublimely wicked supporting turn in Steven Spielberg's thrilling futuristic cautionary tale Minority Report.

Although she's only in one scene of the film, it's certainly a memorable one: Attempting to solve the mystery surrounding the pre-crime program, Tom Cruise tracks down Dr. Iris Hineman (Smith) — the eccentric old woman behind the revolutionary system. The duo's ensuing cat-and-mouse game is as tense as it is entertaining — mostly thanks to Smith, who caps off the sequence by forceably grabbing Cruise and smooching him!

"He's a good kisser," t read more

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