Today's News: Our Take


DANCES WITH NOBODY?

Is a sequel to Kevin Costner's 1990 three-hour Oscar-winning vanity epic, Dances with Wolves, in the works without him? According to Inside.com, Pacifica Film Development has bought the film rights to Dances author Michael Blake's latest novel, The Holy Road (in bookstores Sept. 15), which picks up 10 years after the Sioux story's characters left off. And producer Barry Spikings (The Deer Hunter) has signed on to produce the movie. Strangely, though, Costner apparently is not attached to reprise his lead role as Lt. John Dunbar. A rep for the actor's production company, TIG, tells TV Guide Online: "Kevin and TIG Productions are not involved in this project at this time. Further than that, we don't have any other comment." read more

FREE NUPS

NBC's Today has launched another 12-week installment of its "Today Throws a Wedding" series, wherein viewers select a lucky couple whose nups get paid for from soup to nuts. Last year, over 1.2 million votes were cast to give Peter and Melanie Ginsberg their dream wedding. Hoping to follow in their footsteps down the aisle? Eager fiancées may submit entries on the show's website until May 4. And better mark your calendar just in case: The winners will marry on live-TV Sept. 5. read more

Question: Please defend one ...

Question: Please defend one of my childhood heroes. My husband says that Michael Landon was fired from Little House on the Prairie because he was a prima donna and control freak. Please tell him that Pa Ingalls was a good man and not some self-important star! Thanks, Televisionary. — Mary G., Canton, Ohio

Televisionary: I'll start with the easiest part of the question first, Mary, since it's, well... easy. Landon was co-creator, star, writer, director and producer on Little House on the Prairie, which enjoyed a long run on NBC from 1974 to 1982. Very few, if any, people had the power to fire him without the show leaving the air; the departure was his decision.

A prima donna? No, from what I can gather, the late read more

Question: What exactly is a ...

Question: What exactly is a pilot episode? Are the first episode of a show and a pilot the same thing? There's a small wager involved between my brother and me. He says that for some shows a pilot and first episode are separate entities, but I say they are the same thing. Who's right? Thanks — Daniel S.

Televisionary: Though the networks and studios would love for you to be right on this one (since it would be cheaper), Daniel, your brother wins the bet.

Here's how it works: Studios and producers pitch a slew of ideas to a network. If a network likes an idea enough, it goes to script and then to pilot, moving through the development process the whole time (notes, feedback, casting suggestions, etc.). The studio and network each pay for a share of the pilot, which serves as a sample episode of what the series will be.

The pilot is often tested in front of an audience and, based on that and other factors, the network decides how many episodes to order, if an read more

Question: I remember a scene ...

Question: I remember a scene from a movie, or maybe part of an anthology series, about a man who hires another man to put a burrowing worm in the ear of either his wife or girlfriend while she sleeps. The worm travels through the person's head and comes out the other ear. The victim must be tied to the bed to keep from harming himself during the worm's travel. A mistake is made. Instead of the woman, the worm is put into the head of the scheming man. After it burrows through, the man's doctor examines the worm and then reports to the man that it was female. The female worms lay eggs in their victim's heads, which then must burrow out. It was incredibly creepy. I would guess I saw it somewhere between 1972 and '75. Any ideas? — Bruce

Televisionary: You're thinking of the incredibly disturbing read more

Question: Who played Ellery ...

Question: Who played Ellery Queen on television?

Televisionary: The mystery here is which incarnation you're talking about. However, as your tireless servant, I'll provide all the details I've got in my usual tedious fashion.

TV's first Ellery Queen, the mystery writer who helped his police inspector dad solve crimes, was played by Richard Hart when The Adventures of Ellery Queen debuted on the DuMont network in 1950. After Hart suffered a fatal heart attack early the next year, Lee Bowman stepped in and the show jumped to ABC until its demise in late '52.

Hugh Marlowe, who played Queen on a radio show, brought the character back to the small screen two years later in a run of syndicated TV-movies before Lee Philips stepped in for the latter half of them.

Actor Jim Hutton (father of Timothy) played the sleuth in NBC's '70s version, which debuted in September 1975 and left the air a year later. (An additional trivia read more

SHORT CUTS

Music legend Phil Collins, 50, and his third wife, Orianne, 28, are celebrating the arrival of their first child, Nicholas Grev Austin, born Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland, Reuters reports. Collins has three other children from his first two marriages... Sketches on Mad TV's May 12 episode will include Cindy Margolis as the shapely manager of a Hooters restaurant and — are you having TV déjá vu? — Bob Newhart as a psychiatrist who instantly cures phobias... Game-show host Ralph Edwards (This Is Your Life, Truth or Consequences) will receive a lifetime achievement award at the Daytime Emmys on May 18... Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be released on video Nov. 20. — Daniel R. Coleridge with Michael Ausiello read more

NOT AGAIN...

Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr. was arrested at 12:10 am/PST in Culver City, Calif., for suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance. According to Access Hollywood, the Ally McBeal star — who was on foot at the time — was given a urine test and released. He reportedly has since checked himself into a rehab center. Downey is due back in court on Monday in Indio, Calif., on drug charges stemming from his Thanksgiving weekend arrest in Palm Springs. Meanwhile, TV Guide Online has learned that Ally McBeal producers have been holding high-level meetings all day to determine what impact, if any, Downey's latest legal scuffle will have on the show — which is in the midst of shooting its next to last episode of the season. read more

Love and War on Dundee Set


Survivor's Alicia and Kimmi and Colby and Keith weren't the first twosomes to do battle Down Under. Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles heroine Linda Kozlowski reveals that she and co-star-slash-husband Paul Hogan clashed when they initially met prior to filming 1986's Crocodile Dundee.

Kozlowski — who has played journalist Sue Charlton in all three Dundee movies — tells TV Guide Online that she found Hogan "very chilly and unfriendly" at the film's read-through in Australia. "Afterwards, he left and I went to the producer and I said 'Can I talk to you for a minute? The leading man, Paul Hogan... he's not really friendly.'"

Kozlowski would eventually see the error of her ways — "[Paul's] a little shy in real life" — but it was too late. "I think he was reprimanded," she recalls, adding that Hogan eventually reaped his revenge. "He said [to himself], 'I'll show you — I'll marry you!'" read more

Sly's Driven Personality


Sylvester Stallone makes other actors nervous. Kaopectate nervous. Forget-your-lines nervous. During their first days on the set of Stallone's Driven — which hits theaters Friday — up-and-comers Kip Pardue (Remember the Titans) and Til Schweiger fretted more about meeting the megastar than surviving their intense racing scenes.

"For the first three weeks, it was terrifying," Pardue admits of the Rocky star, who wrote Driven and plays Joe Tanto, a veteran driver who mentors Pardue. "And then it got to the point where he was Sly, and he was a buddy." Echoes Schweiger: "I was nervous like hell."

Stallone understands the weight his name carries, though he's uncomfortable with it. "It has not settled in and it's odd," he says. "You walk in the room and you think they're, like, contemporaries..." Still, he knows those "contemporaries" aren't looking at him the same way he looks at them. "It's the same thing [as] when I w read more

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