Today's News: Our Take


EYE POPPING

Former CNN reporter Greta Van Susteren showed up to host the debut of her Fox News Channel show On the Record looking dramatically different. The 47-year-old freely admits that she recently went under the knife for eyelift surgery and even discussed it on the air. Helping to publicize her new program, Van Susteren sneak-previewed her new look on fellow FNC show The O'Reilly Factor. read more

Question: I know you in the ...

Question: I know you in the TV world frown on old fogies like us, but we've got a Murder, She Wrote question. Obviously, Jessica Fletcher was a writer on the show, but my friend says that's all she ever was. I say she was a teacher before that. Who's right? We're not betting people, but each of us would very much like to lord being right over the other. Thank you for your time. — Carole D., Keene, N.H.

Televisionary: Before I get into that, Carole, allow me to distinguish between myself and those flighty show-biz folks. I am not of the TV world; I'm an outsider. And I call on my television powers to help those of all ages, not just those impertinent young 'uns with their too-loud music and too-low jeans.

That said, it's a shame you're not a bettin' woman because you could've gotten at least a free lunch out of this one. On the successful CBS series, which ran from September 1984 to August 1996, Jessica Fletcher (the t read more

Question: I'm a Reba watcher ...

Question: I'm a Reba watcher and would like to know if the gentleman (Christopher Rich) is the same person who played a reporter on Murphy Brown. Thanks. — Patricia M.

Televisionary: That he is, Patricia. The Dallas, Tex., native — who portrays estranged husband Brock to Reba McEntire's Reba Hart on the WB sitcom — played anchorman Miller Redfield on the hit CBS show from 1995-97. Fans will recall that on the series, the newsman's job depended on style rather than substance. You also might remember him as Dr. Neal, a plastic surgeon who hung out at the bar with George Carlin's George O'Grady on Fox's short-lived George Carlin Show, as Sandy on Another World or from his work in a variety of TV movies.

Or you may have caught him on the big screen. The actor has appeared in such films as The Joy read more

CAUSE CELEB

In an effort to reach out to young people, Titanic actor, nightlife aficionado and sometime environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has gone directly to the teen mothership by writing a treatise for MTVNews.com about the dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Inviting readers to go to the National Resources Defense Council website to send a message to their representatives and senators, DiCaprio has also promised to respond to MTV readers' questions. read more

Question: Can you tell me who ...

Question: Can you tell me who played Mr. Hall (the flying man) in the last episode of Ally McBeal and what show he used to be on?

Televisionary: Oh, if only it was the last episode. But that kind of thinking is as wishful as Mr. Hall winging it across the river and not collapsing of a heart attack so that narcissist Ally (Calista Flockhart) could once again make someone else's tragedy all about her. (No doubt it was only the belief that a better script lay across the river that kept the poor man aloft, and the disappointment at finding it wasn't so laid him low.) And did I mention that whole flying plot was ripped off from William Wharton's far superior book Birdy (though since no one in Hollywood reads, Kelley and company probably cribbed it from Alan Parker's movie version, which definitely had its moments, too)?

What does that show have agai read more

Question: I have submitted ...

Question: I have submitted this question to a lot of columns but have never received an answer. Yet I know that this program existed. I'd like to purchase it for myself (and — oh, yeah — the grandchildren). Can you help? My question is: Shirley Temple hosted a show that reenacted fairy tales. It was shown on Saturday nights. She would end the show with this song: "Dreams are made for children, and a dream is a fairy tale..." — Regi

Televisionary: It did indeed exist, Regi. Shirley Temple's Storybook started off as a run of ABC specials in 1958, but began airing more regularly the following year and then moved to NBC the next year as The Shirley Temple Show, a regular weekly series that went off the air in 1961.

Episodes featuring productions of Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor's New Clothes, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Hiawatha, Rip Van Winkle and other classics were released on video, but as f read more

A Very Special Girlfriends


Quick, name a show about four tight-knit gal pals who aren't afraid to dish about sex! If you're thinking Sex and the City, think again. Girlfriends also follows a quartet of feisty females, while also tackling the complicated issue of race. As UPN kicks off Black History month, tonight's "Sister, Sistah" episode (airing at 9:30 pm/ET) explores what racially defines a person.

"It's a really huge topic they try to address in 22 minutes, and that's courageous," says Tracee Ellis Ross, who plays neurotic but loveable lawyer Joan. In the episode, Joan and Toni get upset when they meet Lynn's white sister, Tanya — who's gone a bit overboard in embracing black culture. Ross admits she caught some discrepancies in the original script and felt compelled to suggest changes to the show's producers.

read more

SUPER RATINGS

Fox's telecast of the Super Bowl averaged a 42.5 rating and a 61 share — up three percent from last year's Giants/Ravens contest on CBS. Meanwhile, NBC's special Playmate-themed Fear Factor was no match for U2 at halftime: FF ranked a distant third from 8-8:30, behind Fox's moving halftime show and CBS's 60 Minutes. read more

SHORT CUTS

The Others won eight Goyas, including best picture, at Saturday's 16th Spanish Academy Awards, the country's version of the Oscars.... Academy Award winner Julia Roberts will make her third appearance as a presenter at next month's Oscar ceremony. — Michael Ausiello read more

PIANO MAN ON BROADWAY

Billy Joel is the latest rock star headed for the Great White Way. Movin' Out, a musical featuring 26 of the Piano Man's tunes, will begin previews at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre on Sept. 30. Its official opening is set for Oct. 24. (Movin' Out will have a brief trial run at Chicago's Shubert Theatre from June 25 to Aug. 4). read more

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