Today's News: Our Take

Question: Who was the new ...

Question: Who was the new lady lawyer character on The Guardian last night (the one with the dark hair who is his new boss)? She looked very familiar, but I could not remember what other shows or movies I saw her in recently. Thanks for your help. — Kenneth F.

Televisionary: Louisa "LuLu" Archer, the new boss lady overseeing attorney Nick Fallin (Simon Baker) at his Legal Aid gig on the hit CBS show, is played by Wendy Moniz. If she looks familiar, you most likely caught her during her gig on The Guiding Light or during the latter days of the recently retired CBS series Nash Bridges.

And before anyone else asks, the arch-rival trying to poach the top talent at Nick's law firm in that episode was played by James B. Sikking, whom you probably remember best from his turns as Lt. Howard Hunter on the classic Hill Street Blues and as Dr. read more

Question: Last night the ...

Question: Last night the dinner discussion was Pee-wee's Playhouse and we were trying to recall who was who on the show. We remembered that Samuel L. Jackson was the cowboy, but was he also the King of Cartoons? Phil Hartman was the Genie, but who made up the rest of the cast? Also, wasn't the show cancelled after Paul Reubens's arrest in Florida? It was a great show (except the cartoons were rather dumb, in our opinion). Thanks. — Laura F., St. Louis, Mo.

Televisionary: One can only hope your food was better than your memory, Laura, for your facts are just slightly off (though I commend you on your taste — the show was indeed great and I'm betting you folks make for an entertaining dining experience).

Since there were way too many characters and cast members for my fingers (and your eyes) to cover in this column, I'll just hit the most recognizable players. First off, you've fallen victim to the same phenomenon that, according to re read more

Michelle Pfeiffer's Mommy Woes

In I Am Sam — in limited release Dec. 28 — Michelle Pfeiffer plays a gorgeous, no-nonsense lawyer who pulls out all the stops to help a mentally-challenged man (Sean Penn) retain custody of his seven-year-old daughter. Problem is, she can't seem to balance her own career and family. Naturally, this begs the question: How does Pfeiffer handle such a juggling act in real life?

"Oh, perfectly," she jests to TV Guide Online. Really? Is it that difficult to ensure that Claudia Rose, nine, and John Henry, seven — her kids with TV producer David E. Kelley — are properly clothed, fed and schooled? "You know, you have 'bad mommy' d read more

Meet the Barenaked News Lady

When it comes to uncovering the bare facts, the Naked News beats the pants off the competition — literally. The saucy Toronto-based program — which claims to have an audience of over six million viewers — features an all-nude team of male and female newscasters who report on entertainment, sports, weather and, of course, international affairs.

Launched in December 1999 as an Internet news delivery service, the show is now streaking its way to American television via In Demand's pay-per-view network. Says Kathy Pinckert, director of public relations for Naked News: "It's the news like you've never seen it before." She's not kidding.

Each edition of Naked News begins with lead anchor Devon Caldwell slowly undressing as she reads current events. Caldwell was a college student who had taken time off to "build a nest egg to cover tuition costs" when she joined the Naked News team. "I was working full-time in a read more

The Learning Channel's First Sex Symbol

If there is one thing that folks probably expect less from The Learning Channel than a series that creates buzz, it could only be a personality who generates heat. But both have been delivered in a big way by Trading Spaces, the undeniably addictive little reality program that showcases resident carpenter Ty Pennington's handsome mug and hacksaw-sharp wit.

Is the Atlanta, Ga., businessman ready to become the thinking couch potato's sex symbol? And how. "I'm going to be [TLC's] Schneider [the womanizing handyman of One Day at a Time]," he tells TV Guide Online with a laugh. "It's funny — I'm just being the same sarcastic idiot that I've always been, only now I get to share it with a lot more people.

"I've always been a ham and I've always made things with my hands," he adds, "so this is really a perfect gig for me."

TLC will say. Largely due to Pennington's popularity, Trading Spaces — in which neighbors team up with read more

Benjamin Bratt: Back to Basics

Undoubtedly, Law & Order alum Benjamin Bratt is best known for his very public romance and breakup with superstar Julia Roberts. Nowadays, the single 37-year-old actor is refocusing on the main reason he exited NBC's New York-based crime drama nearly two years ago: to be closer to his closeknit West Coast brood.

"For me, my priority is the family, [and] my relationships," says Bratt. "An event like September 11th, and certainly the tone of what's going on in the world today, echoes that feeling day after day."

And while the 6'2" looker is content with life in San Francisco — the city he calls his "spiritual home base" — he very much wants to settle down and have kids of his own. "I've always found security in the peace and the balance that comes from bein read more

John Woo Lands Next Brad Pitt

Los Angeles has gone crazy for Shawn Christian. The Michigan native has been out West less than five years, and already he has racked up a longer list of credits than many an actor will in a lifetime. Besides scoring a recurring role on Crossing Jordan, the former model has guest-starred on Ellen, CSI and more Aaron Spelling series than even the producer's daughter, Tori. This month alone, he adds appearances on Spin City and Friends to his resume. Plus, he's just won the male lead in Face/Off director read more

Will Smith's Knockout Performance

Will Smith didn't pull any punches in his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in Ali (opening Christmas Day). Beyond the challenge of capturing the man and the myth, Smith had to look convincing in the ring.

"I was sparring with former heavyweight champ Michael Bent and I told him not to be afraid to hit me," he recalls to TV Guide Online. "So he landed a punch right in the middle of my head and it sort of compressed down into my shoulders. I felt an electric shock from the base of my neck to the back of both elbows. But I didn't fall down. And that's when something almost animalistic took over, like a catharsis. You think, 'I can do this.'

"That's the day I felt like a fighter," he adds, "because I could take it and give it back. read more

Escape from Temptation Island

Imagine that! After dragging her significant other to a tropical paradise populated with nubile babes who believe that a woman is never fully dressed without a thong, Genevieve Deittrick began having second thoughts. So, in last week's episode of Temptation Island 2 — the guiltiest of the tube's guilty pleasures — she sent beau Tony Schmitt a videotaped message asking him to call the whole thing off and marry her ASAP. Now the reunited couple are happily back home in Michigan, and closer than ever. What was the prickly talent manager thinking, giving a sweetheart like Tony a chance to break free? In a recent telephone interview, TV Guide Online endeavored to find out.
read more

Sesame Street Fight?

Since Sesame Street has long been the most popular address in children's television, a turf war — or at least a catfight — easily could have broken out when the feline stars of the relatively new reading program Between the Lions marked part of Oscar the Grouch's PBS territory as their own. However, Lions creative producer Chris Serf tells TV Guide Online, neither Big Bird nor his friends have had their feathers ruffled by their catty colleagues.

"We tape right upstairs from Sesame Street," he says. "We're neighbors and good friends. We've had Elmo and Bert and the whole gang on."

A-ha! But eyebrows — or just the one unibrow, in Bert's case — are sure to go up on Sesame Street when, later this year, Live with Regis & Kelly co-host Kelly Ripa becomes the latest star to stop by the Lions den. Add to that the roster of talented, almost-famous pop artists who make Lions read more

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