Today's News: Our Take

Helen Hunt Pays It Back

Despite winning four Emmys, four Golden Globes and an Oscar, Helen Hunt has had a rocky relationship with the nation's TV-film critics. First, there was the media backlash surrounding Mad About You's final, turgid seasons (for which Hunt and leading man Paul Reiser netted $1 million per episode). And more recently, reviewers crucified the 38-year-old former child star for her participation in last year's poorly received drama Pay It Forward.

Well, just as Hunt has no regrets about extending her honeymoon with Reiser on NBC in the late '90s, she also makes nary an apology for signing on to play a single mom who falls for a disfigured Kevin Spacey in Forward. "This is just my feeling," she sheepishly tells TV Guide Online, "but there are parts of that movie th read more

Question: What does the ...

Question: What does the R.F.D. in Mayberry R.F.D. stand for? My sister in law thinks it means "Return from (something)." I think it means Rural Free Delivery. Thanks. — George R.

Televisionary: By George, you're correct. It does stand for the postal designation Rural Free Delivery. That, according to the post office's own glossary, is the network of roadside mailboxes owned by people who live in communities too tiny to have their own postal facility.

And it's no longer called that, by the way. The current term is Rural Delivery Service.

read more

Question: Who played Grady on ...

Question: Who played Grady on Sanford and Son?

Televisionary: That was the late Whitman Mayo, who passed away in late May at the age of 70, playing the Sanfords' neighbor Grady Wilson in the popular series, which ran on NBC from January 1972 to August 1976. And quite a job he did, considering how long he played the character when he was initially scheduled for just a one-shot performance.

Grady appeared in an October 1973 episode, accusing junk man Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) of pilfering a TV set from him. Surprise — he went over so well that he stayed on, landed Grady (his own short-lived spinoff series) in 1975 and continued with the Sanford concept all the way through to the unsuccessful Sanford Arms, a sequel of sorts that featured th read more

Question: My mom and I have a ...

Question: My mom and I have a little bet going. She says that Adrian Paul is the son of Sean Connery because he looks so much like him. I say no. Which of us is right? Please e-mail me at [address hidden by privacy-minded Televisionary] and let me know. Thanks. — Trixie S.

Televisionary: Sorry, Trixie, but as the disclaimer above states, I don't do the e-mail thing. You've gotta read it here to read it at all.

But perhaps it'll make you feel better to discover (again, if you're reading this) that you're right. Paul may have made his name in the syndicated Highlander, which was produced from 1992-98 and was based on the feature film and sequel that co-starred Connery, but that's really about as close as they get. Paul, who starred as sword-swinging immortal Duncan MacLeod in the series and in the big-screen Highlander: the Gathering and read more

Question: A group of us have ...

Question: A group of us have been on a trivia hunt trying to remember the name of a Sid and Marty Krofft program from the '70s. We remember H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and The Bugaloos. But there was one show that featured Charles Nelson Reilly and the characters were different types of hats. I thought the name was Lidsville, but my friend Grover, who started this, stated he would "never watch a show by that name." Can you help us? Thanks. — Louise D.

Televisionary: So Grover's too good for the show that enchanted and terrified an entire generation, eh? That's okay, Louise — you tell Mr. High-and-Mighty Lidsville and its fans are too good for him, too.

As those of us with better taste recall, ABC ran 17 episodes of Lidsville over two seasons beginning in September 1971. NBC then reran it for another season before it jumped to the syndication market. On it, boy her read more

Joan Allen: The Evil Within

Joan Allen — best known for playing heroines in The Contender, The Crucible and Face/Off — jumped at the chance to go bad in the TNT miniseries The Mists of Avalon (which concludes tonight at 8 pm/ET).

"It really appealed to me when I found out they offered me the role [of Morgause]," the 44-year-old three-time Oscar nominee tells TV Guide Online. "My agent said, 'It's a villain,' and I said, 'Send me the script! Send me the script!'"

In the two-part epic, which is based on Marion Zimmer Bradley's retelling of the Arthurian legend, Morgause lies and schemes her way to power. Co-star Anjelica Huston — Morgause's rival and sister, Viviane — was t read more

Emmy Nominees React!

It seems fitting that Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe should be the only members of The West Wing ensemble vying for a lead acting Emmy: They were the only series regulars who showed up Monday for the first day of work on the show's third season. Co-stars Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and John Spencer — supporting actor-actress Emmy nominees themselves — went AWOL reportedly because they want a raise.

For his part, Lowe isn't letting the so-called stalemate take away from his Emmy celebration. As it is, he predicts that by next week the situation will be resolved. "The word is that we're going to try and restart on Monday," he told TV Guide Online. "I'm sure it'll all work out." The show's creator, Aaron Sorkin, was singing a similar tune to The Associated Press. "We don't begin filming until Monday and I'm sure it will all be taken care of," he said. read more

Emmy Plays It Safe

Members of the Academy of Television Arts &#038 Sciences failed to heed TV Guide Online's "Be kind, please don't rewind" plea when it came to the 2001 Emmy nominations — announced early yesterday in Los Angeles. Instead of rewarding new or previously overlooked faves such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ed, Gilmore Girls and Once and Again, voters gave their seal of approval to perennial — and creatively shaky — Emmy darlings like ER, The Practice, Will & Grace and (yikes!) the now-dead 3rd Rock from the Sun!

"It's just really depressing to see the same people and programs nominated jus read more

Norton Scores Ringside Seat

Calling Edward Norton a method actor is a bigger understatement than saying CBS's Big Brother is boring. For his role as a white supremacist in American History X, the two-time Oscar nominee shaved his head and gained 30 pounds of muscle. To prepare for 1998's Rounders, the Yale grad competed in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. And for his latest film, the heist drama The Score (opening Friday), he got friendly with the LAPD to learn about cracking safes.

"I found some guys with the Burglary and Autotheft Unit and shadowed them for a month and a half," explains Norton, who plays Robert De Niro's partner in crime. "I had a little beeper, a read more

Reese Witherspoon's Heel Appeal

Who says blondes have more fun? Reese Witherspoon suffers for her art in Legally Blonde (opening tomorrow), in which a California sorority girl goes Harvard Law — but doesn't forego her flashy designer dresses and oh-so-high heels as she struts across the school's staid campus. Too bad the actress's fetching footwear cramped her style big-time.

"Seriously, I had a huge podiatrist's bill after making this movie," Witherspoon laughs. "I'm only 25 and I'm at the podiatrist having things shaved off my feet and [getting them] cracked. It was challenging!"

While her film aims to debunk the myth that all fair-haired females are brainless bimbos, Witherspoon admits she's contended with other types of prejudice as well. "I've had to deal with stereotypes just being Southern," the Nashville nativ read more

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