Today's News: Our Take

Wahlberg Tackles Apes Rumors

Now that Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes has hit theaters, star Mark Wahlberg can offer up a spoiler-free look at the rumors surrounding the film — and the final scene that has tongues wagging.

Did a skimpy loin cloth — like the one Charlton Heston sported in the 1968 original — ever find its way into Wahlberg's wardrobe, only to be rejected? "When I first met with Tim [about the film], I said, 'I'll do anything you want,'" the actor recalls. However, he neglected to say that he would be "really uncomfortable in a loin cloth." As a result, Wahlberg had to wait six long weeks before eyeing his Apes wardrobe. "Thank God there was just a space suit," read more

God OK's Angel Casting

Before Touched by an Angel executive producer Martha Williamson approached Valerie Bertinelli about joining the feel-good drama as a series regular, she wanted to be certain that the show would be back this fall. So, where did she go for answers? Straight to the top.

"We turned our computers off and prayed," she confessed to reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. "We said, 'Lord, what do you think about Valerie Bertinelli, because why drag this woman through this if we're not going to be back next season.' And I'll tell you, I had such tremendous peace. We picked up the phone and called right back and said, 'Let's go for it. Clearly, we're going to be back.'"

Well, apparently God didn't let Williamson down: CBS ended up renewing the show for an eighth season, and sure enough, Bertinelli agreed to sprout wings as the angelic Gloria. Still, the image of Williamson and co. read more

Ed's New Love?

It's been a while since NBC's Ed hinted at sparks between bowling-alley lawyer Ed (Tom Cavanagh) and full-figured schoolmarm Molly (Lesley Boone) — but boosters of the quirky duo just won't stop asking when they'll hook up!

Molly's most recent amatory prospect dried up when actor David Eigenberg — who played her book-club buddy, Jeff — left the show for a full-time gig as Miranda's bartender beau on Sex and the City. So why couldn't this funny, fabulous lady explore the natural chemistry she shares with Cavanagh's Ed? Well, Boone herself has hinted that common network policy pushes the series's leading man to chase thinner girls like Julie Bowen's Carol and Rena Sofer's Bonnie. Back in February, the shapely actress told TV Guide Online: "Honestly, in TV land, the classic idea is leading-man-gets-leading-pretty-w read more

Question: Was Sarah Michelle ...

Question: Was Sarah Michelle Gellar ever on a show called Swans Crossing? — Jasmyne B.

Televisionary: That she was, Jasmyne, though Gellar's snotty, rich-kid character was far closer to Cruel Intentions's dark-hearted and scheming Kathryn Merteuil than Buffy the Vampire Slayer's heroic (and, for now, martyred) Buffy Summers. (Also worth mentioning among the young cast was Mira Sorvino, who went on to win an Oscar as the statuesque hooker in Mighty Aphrodite.)

Broadcast in 1992 in its initial run, the syndicated soap opera was aimed at the pre-teen and teen market who, it was hoped, would also shell out their allowance and babysitting bucks for the line of read more

Question: When I was a child, ...

Question: When I was a child, I loved this show called Doctor Who. I remember that it was on PBS, but no one else has ever even heard of it. I know I'm not crazy. It was about a scientist who traveled in an English phone booth to other planets and fought aliens. I know this sounds far-fetched, but I remember it clear as day. I remember that he always wore a scarf around his neck and a long coat. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! — Lori


No one else has ever heard of it? Obviously, you need to hang with the comics convention and role-playing crowd a little more, dear lady. Then again, maybe it's easier to just read about it here.

I'll admit, though, that "easy" isn't a concept that applies to summing up the legendary Doctor Who, which was broadcast by the BBC from 1963-89 in its initial run, making it the world's longest-running TV series (and one that I'll add to my long list of series with top-notch theme songs) read more

Question: I really hope you ...

Question: I really hope you can help me on this one. I have searched the entire Net and have exhausted all efforts to find out from friends and family but can't find an answer. There was a TV show that aired on the educational channels in the late '80s and early '90s that was a high school drama/comedy series. All I can recall of this show was that the storylines were continuous and there was a character named Snake. I remember the stories running from the older to the younger kids. This was an excellent program that tackled serious issues for young boys and girls. It had a pleasurable mix of comedy and romance as well. I'd really like to find these episodes, so that I may share them with my children one day. But first, I'll need the name of this show, of course! Thank you very much for your time and have a nice day. — Chuck

Televisionary: Ah, Chuck. Once again someone combs the entire Web before finally dropping so low as to ask your old pal Televisionary. Must I spend read more

Question: I heard that the ...

Question: I heard that the PAX network was making a new Bonanza series. Do you know anything about the show and the actors? Thanks. — Brian

Televisionary: But of course, Brian. The Ponderosa, which kicks off with a two-hour movie Sept. 9 on PAX (9 pm/ET), is being billed as a prequel to the famous series. In it, Daniel Hugh Kelly portrays rancher Ben Cartwright as a young man, taking on the role originally played by Lorne Greene during the parent series' 1959-73 run on NBC.

Ponderosa takes place 10 years before Bonanza began and it tells the story of how Cartwright and his three sons — Adam (Matt Carmody), Hoss (Drew Powell) and Little Joe (Jared Daperis) — got their start in the ranching business after the death of Cartwright's wife. Trivia fans may also want to tune in: The producers promise to reveal how the ranch got its name, plus the reasons behind Hoss and Joe's nicknames.

read more

Azaria Haunted by Playmate Rumors

Hank Azaria's divorce from Oscar-winner Helen Hunt may be behind him — but sadly, those pesky tabloid rumors about his alleged adultery are not.

You may recall last summer's splashy National Enquirer headline: "Helen Hunt Dumps Hubby as He Romances Playboy Model." Well, Azaria remembers it — and so do far more people than he would like. "That was not true," he tells TV Guide Online. "That really was false. They printed a retraction on that, even. You'd be amazed at how many people think there's at least a grain of truth to that.

"I wish that was true!" Azaria adds, chuckling at the thought of his dating busty Playboy bunnies. "Look, I don't mind if I'm a single guy and they write that... Who cares? But they wrote that in connection to quite an upsetting event. It was quite upsetting t read more

Britney and Cher Join Forces!

Look for fans to give major props to pop princess Britney Spears this fall. In quite a coup, she's snagged a duet with childhood idol Cher for her next televised concert extravaganza, Britney Spears: Live from the MGM Grand Las Vegas (airing Nov. 16 on HBO). And despite her practiced veneer of frosty supermodel coolness, she's clearly excited.

"When I was younger I sang all of her songs — so it's really bizarre for me to be on the same stage with her," Spears told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. "Since the HBO special came up, it just made sense for me to do a duet with someone and she was definitely on the top of my list."

Clad in Bob Mackie glamwear, the divas — who first met backstage at the World Music Awards nearly two years ago — are expected to perform at least one of Spears's fave Cher tunes. "On my first album, I did a remake of 'The Beat Goes On,'" the 19-year-old read more

Chris Tucker: Rising Star

Rush Hour 2 helmer Brett Ratner sums up the appeal of star Chris Tucker pretty simply. "He's funny as hell," the director grins. "He's funny if he just says, 'Hey, maaan.'"

Taking his comedy a bit more seriously, Tucker boasts that his work has "evolved tremendously" since his early days. "I always knew I wanted to keep going to another level," says August's GQ cover boy, who's cleaned up his dialogue plenty since his last collaboration with Ratner, Money Talks.

Rush — hitting theaters Friday — found Tucker a fish out of water, both on and off the set. While the citizens of Hong Kong were already familiar with prominent native read more

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