Today's News: Our Take

Question: On the Batman TV ...

Question: On the Batman TV series, every Batman and Robin wanted to slide down the Batpole, they would flip up the head of a bust just outside the hidden door. Who was the bust of? — Kevin

Televisionary: Holy setup, Kevin! Why do I get the feeling you know the answer to this and are simply trying to stump me? I usually avoid such questions because I like to help out those who really need to know something, but this time I'll bite since I grew up with that show and have a soft spot for it.

To gain access to the Batcave, either Bruce Wayne (Adam West) or Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) would push a button in a bust of William Shakespeare.

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Question: I've read some ...

Question: I've read some columns where you helped people find out what songs are from TV commercials and I have two requests for you. The first one: On the Lee Dungarees commercial, is that Johnny Cash singing the song? I know the question sounds sort of stupid, but it's been bugging me for weeks. The second one is, what band sings the song for that Mercedes C coupe commercial? The only lyrics I know are about a guy singing about driving in his car and I really like the song. Thanks! — Salom

Televisionary: I exist to serve, Salom. Now, to answer your second question first because I'm a contrary kind of guy, the Mercedes song you seek is Geggy Tah's "Whoever You Are" and it's from their 1996 album Sacred Cow. (Before you ask, the name comes from how founding members' Greg Kurstin and Tommy Jordan's little sisters mispronounced their respective names.)

As far as the Lee Dungarees ads go, that's The Dave Matthews Band's Juni read more

NYPD Gets Red-Hot and Blue

NYPD Blue has long had one of the more racially diverse ensembles on television. But the ABC police drama isn't content to rest on its laurels — and, with the way that its revolving door of cast members keeps swinging, it couldn't do so for long, anyway. So, this season, the squad room will be growing by one when a badge is issued to an additional member of a minority group.

"We wanted to have another female," co-creator/executive producer Steven Bochco tells TV Guide Online. "She'll be a Puerto Rican detective." Word is, the character will be partnered with Charlotte Ross's Det. McDowell.

Lest the powers that be resort to staking out Charo's home to cast the plum part, we've compiled a list of unusual suspects that we think it would be criminal to overlook. — Charlie Mason with Michael Ausiello

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Sopranos Son Among the Outlaws

Relative newcomer Will McCormack — who appears in the new Western throwback American Outlaws (opening Friday) — had very little research to do for his recurring role as Dr. Melfi's (Lorraine Bracco) son on The Sopranos. In fact, he hardly had to act at all!

"My mom is a shrink, and lives in New Jersey, and is Italian, and looks alarmingly a lot like Lorraine Bracco," explains McCormack, the brother of actress Mary McCormack (Private Parts). "Plus, the first day I shot for the show was in Verona, N.J., where my father's from. So there's some serendipity around The Sopranos [for me]."

The up-and-comer admits that he's in the dark as to what role — if any — he'll play in the read more

Six Feet Under Starlet Breaks Out

With all the flawless young faces and midriff-baring vixens cluttering TV screens, it's refreshing to watch Lauren Ambrose play Claire Fisher, the shrewd, hearse-driving, acid-tongued teen of HBO's hit black comedy, Six Feet Under. As the youngest and most complex member of the Fisher clan — a dysfunctional family running a funeral home in Los Angeles — Ambrose nails the confusion and fragility of adolescent angst while struggling with a life surrounded by death.

"I love Claire," Ambrose tells TV Guide Online. "She's not involved in the family business, but she grew up in that very bizarre setting. As a result, she's had to raise herself in a lot of ways. She's got an interesting perspective on the world."

How does Ambrose's upbringing compare to Claire's? "I've lived through a lot of typical teen things, so it's just a matter of pulling them up," says the 24-year-old Connec read more

Jason Biggs's Just Desserts

It's been two years since American Pie was served up to moviegoers, and Jason Biggs continues to be haunted by the now-legendary scene in which his character makes love to an apple pastry. In fact, when filmmaker Kevin Smith asked the 23-year-old New Jersey native to appear in his new comedy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (due Aug. 22), he wanted him to parody his kinky past.

"It's sort of a caricature. I'm trying to deal with being the 'Pie Guy,' which is sort of what my life has been like," Biggs tells TV Guide Online of his cameo, in which he plays himself. "For the last two years I've been known as the 'Pie Guy.' So it's sort of fun to laugh at it."

Well, in the much-ant read more

ER Doc Goes Bad

ER may be losing original castmembers Anthony Edwards and Eriq La Salle at the end of next season, but Goran Visnjic — who has played Dr. Luka Kovac since 1999 — insists that the top-rated medical drama will not flatline in their absence.

"Lots of people are going to stay on the show and [producers are] going to probably bring lots of new people in," the 28-year-old actor tells TV Guide Online. "So, it's going to be just the same."

Well, not quite. For starters, the defections will likely mean more screen time for Visnjic — not to mention more opportunities for the Croatian-born hunk to stumble over the complex medical jargon. "I have been on the show for two years already and [I've completed] lots of projects in English now, so it's not a concern anymore," he says of the tricky dialogue. "It used to be a big concern, but not anymore."

Visnjic wouldn't reveal what's in s read more

Death Becomes Mrs. Landingham

Choose life? Poppycock! According to Kathryn Joosten, dying well is the best revenge. After The West Wing put down President Bartlet's no-nonsense secretary Mrs. Landingham in May, the actress's popularity jumped up — way up!

"Hasn't that been wonderful!" she exclaims to TV Guide Online. "I've received condolence cards and a lot of letters, mostly from people writing to say, 'Why?' and 'Now what happens?' and 'I don't like it.'

"As a matter of fact," she continues, "there was a group in Washington, D.C., that posted a condolence ad in a magazine there."

Since Joosten's West Wing counterpart was laid to rest, her raised profile has given her career a considerable boost to boot. She isn't getting more auditions, exactly, but those that she is getting are going increasingly well. "When I get in the door, it's like, 'Oh, yeah,'" she says, evincing a tone of recognition. read more

'N Sync Hunk Joins Brady Bunch

Whose Line Is It Anyway? standout Wayne Brady — who launches his own ABC variety series, The Wayne Brady Show, tonight at 8 pm/ET — had an ulterior motive when he asked his good pal, 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake, to drop in for the debut.

"I have to admit — and this is without any shame whatsoever — I'm a huge 'N Sync fan," the 29-year-old Emmy nominee confesses to TV Guide Online. "I just love the music. I love the pop stuff. I don't like a lot of the groups, but I love them."

Apparently, the feeling is mutual. As Brady recalls, Britney Spears's dreamy beau RSVP'd to his special invite on the spot. "I said, 'Look, you know I'm doing this show. I don't know if you're touring, doing another music video... But if you're free... ' [And he replied] 'Yes.' It was that fast. 'Yes, I am.'"

In the hour-long premiere, Brady, Timberlake read more

Babe Star Makes Peace with CBS

Last February, animal rights champion and noted vegan James Cromwell blasted CBS for its involvement in the grisly slaughter of a wild pig on an episode of Survivor: The Australian Outback. The Oscar-nominated Babe actor — who told TV Guide Online at the time that the incident left him "appalled, outraged and disgusted" — fired off a letter to Tiffany entertainment president Nancy Tellem expressing his objections.

Six months later, Cromwell seems to have settled his beef with the network. How else to explain his decision to go to work for CBS on the upcoming drama series Citizen Baines (airing Saturdays at 9 pm/ET beginning Sept. 22). "I want to be on CBS because I want people who watch the show to hear a different read more

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