Today's News: Our Take


'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

Question: Who is starring in ...

Question: Who is starring in Bob Patterson this fall? — Rita M.

Televisionary: That would be Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander heading up the comedy, which ABC has plunked into the 9 pm/ET slot on Tuesdays. In this particular laffer, Alexander plays a neurotic but famous motivational speaker who depends on his bad-for-him ex-wife to maintain the edge he's terrified of losing. Attempting to bolster his fragile ego in this endeavor are his partner (Robert Klein) and his new assistant (Chandra Wilson), who's confined to a wheelchair and has a terminal case of the dropsies (I'll pause here for laughter).

If you pay attention to showbiz news, you may have read that Alexander, the sh read more

Question: I have been ...

Question: I have been wondering ever since Mariska Hargitay first appeared on Law &#038 Order: SVU if she is the daughter of Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield? I can't seem to find an answer. Can you tell me if she is? Thank you. — Patricia S.

Televisionary: She is indeed, Patricia. Born in 1964 to the title-winning weightlifter (Mr. Universe, Mr. World, Mr. America) and the legendary blonde bombshell, the actress was in the car with her mom and her two siblings when a tragic accident near New Orleans took Mansfield's life in 1967. In fact, early in Hargitay's career, her mom's image helped influence her acting choices — in the other direction. "I played lots of tomboys, wearing flannel shirts, jeans and boots," she told The Los Angeles Times last year. "On some unconscious level, I was shying away from those sexual roles because of my mother. But as I got older, I changed my mind. I now lo read more

Question: I am stumped. John ...

Question: I am stumped. John Pinnette, one of my favorite comedians, was in a syndicated TV show in the late '80s and I can't think of the name. He was a referee and I think contestants settled squabbles in an arena. Please help. — Tony, Columbus, Ohio

Televisionary: You're close on the timing, but the show in question, The Grudge Match, was actually produced in 1991-92. Hosted by Steve Albert and Jesse "The Body" Ventura (that's Governor "The Body" to you now, mister), the show pretty much lived up to its title.

Rather than submit to the wisdom of a Judge Judy or Mills Lane, two contestants with a beef would, as you say, settle it in the ring by battling it out with giant boxing gloves or by throwing vegetables or various kinds of muck at each other, etc. Pinnette, while unable to keep it clean, made sure nobody fought dirty and the studio audience's vote determined the winner when all the punching and heaving was read more

Question: Linda Evans and ...

Question: Linda Evans and John Forsythe were in a nighttime soap with the name Carrington. What was the name of that show? — Donald N.

Televisionary: I'm happy to answer that, but I demand an explanation — unless you spent the better part of the '80s living in a vacuum or, at least, manning a missile silo, I simply don't see how you could forget the over-the-top Dynasty. A fixture of a time when alluring TV women were rightly defined as those over 20, the series was a classic and the definition of the overused term "guilty pleasure."

A ratings powerhouse in the mid-'80s, Dynasty ran on ABC from January 1981 to May 1989, making Forsythe, Evans (The Big Valley) and co-star Joan Collins household names while doling out paychecks to what seemed like half of Hollywood and upping the profiles of actors like Pamela Sue Martin (The Nancy Drew Mysteries), Heathe read more

Pig Boy Squeals!


In his 26-year career, Curtis Armstrong has played all kinds of characters. But, as he was raised to pop-culture prominence by his portrayals of oddballs and outcasts — most notably, Booger in 1984's B-movie classic, Revenge of the Nerds — he wasn't the least bit insulted when the Sci Fi Channel offered him the role of Pig Boy, a half-human/half-Porky tabloid staffer on the wacky new series The Chronicle.

"Absolutely, this is the logical career progression for me," the classically trained graduate of Michigan's Academy of Dramatic Arts tells TV Guide Online. "What can I say? I'd certainly auditioned for more disgusting parts.

"The great thing about Pig Boy," he continues, "is that I don't have to play [his porcine side] at all. It doesn't manifest itself — I'm not snorting or whirling around in mud. And I think he only squeals in read more

Jessica Alba: Bride-to-Be


Jessica Alba may play a genetically enhanced supervixen on Dark Angel, but she feels a little more vulnerable than that in real life. As the rising starlet has learned, giving up her privacy is a lot tougher than taking on TV baddies — especially when it comes to her romance with fiancé and Dark Angel co-star Michael Weatherly.

"I just won't talk about us," Alba says firmly. "I know the media will dive into your personal life as much as you allow them to." Feeling she's damned if she does or doesn't dish, the actress simply throws up her hands. "If celebrities don't want to talk about something," she points out, "then the made-up stories are everywhere. In the end, you just have to say to yourself, 'It's not brain surgery, it's just entertainment. Nobody's dying here.'"

By all accounts, Weatherly (who has a five-year-old son with ex-wife and former Loving co-star Amelia Hei read more

Melrose Babe Shares the Love


Celebrating a landmark birthday helped self-proclaimed hermit and former Profiler Jamie Luner come to a few conclusions about life. "When you're 22 or 23, you think the world revolves around you, and I felt that way for a long time," she confesses to TV Guide Online. "But I just turned 30, and I love it! You realize, 'Whoa, baby, you ain't all that.' And you're not! You're just a woman out there doing something she loves."

After heating things up on such sudsy ensemble fare as Melrose Place and Savannah, the actress found that taking the lead wasn't all it was cracked up to be. "Don't get me wrong, Profiler was a great experience, but it was more work than anyone could imagine," she sighs. "Once I finished that show, I said, 'I can do anything!'"

Instead, Luner opted to do nothing. "I really needed to separate myself from the business, and now I'm ready to get back in."

But rather than make a big TV commitment, she opted read more

Apes Director's Secret Fear


An opening weekend gross of $69 million can buy a lot of bananas. Yet anyone familiar with Planet of the Apes director Tim Burton knows that the preferred fruit of his labor is the satisfaction in presenting an unmistakably unique vision to moviegoers.

"That whole thing about 'successful movies,' 'personal versus studio movies'... It's all the same to me," he attests. "I feel close to every film I make, though there may be a few that feel slightly more personal."

In terms of critical and audience acceptance, "every movie that ever came out from me could have gone either way, as far as my mind was concerned," the auteur behind Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice and two Batman films adds. "But read more

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