Today's News: Our Take

Question: Did Richard Crenna ...

Question: Did Richard Crenna play one of the husbands in Bewitched, or was he Dexter Boynton in Our Miss Brooks? Where can I find biographical information about him? — Harriet

Televisionary: Actually, Harriet, Mr. Crenna played the endearingly simple Walter Denton, the student who gave English teacher Connie Brooks (Eve Arden) a ride to school every morning, in Our Miss Brooks. Philip Boynton (Robert Rockwell) was the name of Madison High's shy bio teacher, who was the object of Miss Brooks's unreturned affection on the series. Crenna a read more

Question: Can you please help ...

Question: Can you please help settle an argument (now a bet) between my wife and I concerning the actor that plays the character Normal on the show Dark Angel? My wife says that the actor is the same gentleman who plays Stuart on Spin City, and I disagree. This has been going on for as long as the show Dark Angel has been on the air. — Poe G., Lubbock, Tex.

Televisionary: No problem, Poe. But once I do this, you guys will have to come up with something new to bicker over since, like any good story, marriage is no fun without a conflict to keep it interesting.

The actors who play Normal and Stuart share little or nothing beyond a pair of specs. Dark Angel's J.C. MacKenzie is a native of Canada who started in theater there before moving to TV with a role in ABC's read more

Question: I know how much you ...

Question: I know how much you love to settle bets, but all that's at stake here are my recollections of childhood science-fiction television. Am I misremembering, or were there two cheesy and short-lived shows in the early to mid-'80s, one called Automan, which was a Tron rip-off of sorts, and one called Manimal, which starred Michael York as a guy who was cursed or something and who could transform into different kinds of animals? I'm sure you can just tell me yes or no, but I'm counting on your joy in sharing your vast store of television trivia to tell me all you can about these shows in an exceedingly entertaining manner: I'm sure these shows were pretty bad, even though I was thrilled to death to watch them as a kid. — Christopher

Televisionary: Pretty bad? Now, Christopher. If you're ever going to make it in Hollywood, you've got to learn one of the golden rules of survival: Never express a negative opinion about anything when the read more


Progress is reportedly being made in talks between major studios and the Writers Guild of America — whose contract expires tonight at midnight. According to the Los Angeles Times, negotiations are likely to be extended beyond the deadline and a deal is anticipated later this week. read more

Question: What was the name ...

Question: What was the name of the actor that played Dobie Gillis — was it Dwayne something? And can you get videos of that show?

Televisionary: You're thinking of Dwayne Hickman, who portrayed the titular teen hero of CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. But he wouldn't have appreciated your classification back when he was shooting the show.

"I am not an actor," the L.A. native, who started his... whatever career on The Bob Cummings Show by shooting a test film instead of taking the summer meter reader job he'd lined up, told TV Guide in 1961. "Basically, an actor is someone who feels the need to be someone else. I don't want to be anybody else and never have. In fact, I never wanted to be an actor." He may not have wanted it, but Hickman worked the read more


ABC has shelved its boy-group reality series Making the Band until late May due to low ratings... CBS is charging advertisers more than $800,000 for a 30-second spot on Thursday's two-hour finale of Survivor: The Australian Outback, the New York Post reports... Meanwhile, the Eye network has picked up the game show pilot Shafted, which Variety describes as a cross between Weakest Link, The Price Is Right and Greed... Jean-Claude Van Damme will star in the independent kung-fu pic The Monk... Friends star Matthew Perry has sold his former Hollywood Hills home for $839,000, the Los Angeles Times reports. The actor purchased a Beverly Hills pad in 1999 for about $3.2 million. — Michael Ausiello with Daniel R. Coleridge read more


Opera tenor Placido Domingo has been forced to undergo surgery due to acute pain from an undisclosed ailment. Though he's cancelled some concert dates, Domingo and his physician expect he'll be well enough to do Richard Wagner's The Valkyre in Vienna in mid-May. read more

Laura Bush's Evil Twin

First Lady Laura Bush nearly met her TV doppelganger at a White House press corps dinner on Sunday. Carrie Quinn Dolin — who spoofs Dubya's wife on Comedy Central's That's My Bush! — was slated to attend until a last-minute change in the series's production schedule kept her from flying to Washington, D.C.

Though disappointed, Dolin's a little relieved at having been spared the awkwardness of such an encounter. "I don't know what I would say to her if I was introduced," she admits. "I watched the interview with Mrs. Bush on Larry King Live, and she said she'd heard about our show but never watched it. I don't know how close they would ever let me get to her, but I think my chances of shaking hands with her are pretty slim."

Like the sitcom's irreverent creators — South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone — Dolin makes no apologies for the outrageous humor on That's My Bush! "I don't think we're making read more

Uma Thurman: The Next Scarlett O'Hara?

Who did Uma Thurman think she was to say no to Ismail Merchant and James Ivory — the filmmaking team behind such cinematic classics as A Room with a View and Howard's End? Well, fellow thesp Natasha Richardson was curious about that herself after learning that her good buddy turned down the lead in the Merchant Ivory adaptation of Henry James's novel The Golden Bowl.

As Thurman recalls, the duo were commiserating about the lack of compelling movie roles when Richardson reminded her, "'Wait a second, Uma, weren't you offered The Golden Bowl? Well, shut up!'"

Thanks in part to Richardson's ribbing, Thurman signed on despite reservations about her character — an American expatriate who has an affair with her son-in-law (Jeremy Northam). "I just didn't quite understand [her] initially," the Oscar-nominated actress tells TV Guide Online. "And as I thought about it more... I suddenly realized that h read more


Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen is battling cancer. The 44-year-old rocker — who previously denied that he had the disease — confirmed the news on the official Van Halen website; however, he did not identify the type of cancer he is suffering from. (According to The Associated Press, Van Halen underwent a preventive treatment for tongue cancer last May.) "I was told that I'm healthier than ever and beating cancer," his message read. "Although it's hard to say when, there's a good chance I will be cancer-free in the near future." read more

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