Today's News: Our Take

Wahlberg Tackles Apes Rumors

Now that Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes has hit theaters, star Mark Wahlberg can offer up a spoiler-free look at the rumors surrounding the film — and the final scene that has tongues wagging.

Did a skimpy loin cloth — like the one Charlton Heston sported in the 1968 original — ever find its way into Wahlberg's wardrobe, only to be rejected? "When I first met with Tim [about the film], I said, 'I'll do anything you want,'" the actor recalls. However, he neglected to say that he would be "really uncomfortable in a loin cloth." As a result, Wahlberg had to wait six long weeks before eyeing his Apes wardrobe. "Thank God there was just a space suit," read more

Question: I really hope you ...

Question: I really hope you can help me on this one. I have searched the entire Net and have exhausted all efforts to find out from friends and family but can't find an answer. There was a TV show that aired on the educational channels in the late '80s and early '90s that was a high school drama/comedy series. All I can recall of this show was that the storylines were continuous and there was a character named Snake. I remember the stories running from the older to the younger kids. This was an excellent program that tackled serious issues for young boys and girls. It had a pleasurable mix of comedy and romance as well. I'd really like to find these episodes, so that I may share them with my children one day. But first, I'll need the name of this show, of course! Thank you very much for your time and have a nice day. — Chuck

Televisionary: Ah, Chuck. Once again someone combs the entire Web before finally dropping so low as to ask your old pal Televisionary. Must I spend read more

Question: Was Sarah Michelle ...

Question: Was Sarah Michelle Gellar ever on a show called Swans Crossing? — Jasmyne B.

Televisionary: That she was, Jasmyne, though Gellar's snotty, rich-kid character was far closer to Cruel Intentions's dark-hearted and scheming Kathryn Merteuil than Buffy the Vampire Slayer's heroic (and, for now, martyred) Buffy Summers. (Also worth mentioning among the young cast was Mira Sorvino, who went on to win an Oscar as the statuesque hooker in Mighty Aphrodite.)

Broadcast in 1992 in its initial run, the syndicated soap opera was aimed at the pre-teen and teen market who, it was hoped, would also shell out their allowance and babysitting bucks for the line of read more

Question: I heard that the ...

Question: I heard that the PAX network was making a new Bonanza series. Do you know anything about the show and the actors? Thanks. — Brian

Televisionary: But of course, Brian. The Ponderosa, which kicks off with a two-hour movie Sept. 9 on PAX (9 pm/ET), is being billed as a prequel to the famous series. In it, Daniel Hugh Kelly portrays rancher Ben Cartwright as a young man, taking on the role originally played by Lorne Greene during the parent series' 1959-73 run on NBC.

Ponderosa takes place 10 years before Bonanza began and it tells the story of how Cartwright and his three sons — Adam (Matt Carmody), Hoss (Drew Powell) and Little Joe (Jared Daperis) — got their start in the ranching business after the death of Cartwright's wife. Trivia fans may also want to tune in: The producers promise to reveal how the ranch got its name, plus the reasons behind Hoss and Joe's nicknames.

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God OK's Angel Casting

Before Touched by an Angel executive producer Martha Williamson approached Valerie Bertinelli about joining the feel-good drama as a series regular, she wanted to be certain that the show would be back this fall. So, where did she go for answers? Straight to the top.

"We turned our computers off and prayed," she confessed to reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. "We said, 'Lord, what do you think about Valerie Bertinelli, because why drag this woman through this if we're not going to be back next season.' And I'll tell you, I had such tremendous peace. We picked up the phone and called right back and said, 'Let's go for it. Clearly, we're going to be back.'"

Well, apparently God didn't let Williamson down: CBS ended up renewing the show for an eighth season, and sure enough, Bertinelli agreed to sprout wings as the angelic Gloria. Still, the image of Williamson and co. read more

Question: When I was a child, ...

Question: When I was a child, I loved this show called Doctor Who. I remember that it was on PBS, but no one else has ever even heard of it. I know I'm not crazy. It was about a scientist who traveled in an English phone booth to other planets and fought aliens. I know this sounds far-fetched, but I remember it clear as day. I remember that he always wore a scarf around his neck and a long coat. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! — Lori


No one else has ever heard of it? Obviously, you need to hang with the comics convention and role-playing crowd a little more, dear lady. Then again, maybe it's easier to just read about it here.

I'll admit, though, that "easy" isn't a concept that applies to summing up the legendary Doctor Who, which was broadcast by the BBC from 1963-89 in its initial run, making it the world's longest-running TV series (and one that I'll add to my long list of series with top-notch theme songs) read more

Chris Tucker: Rising Star

Rush Hour 2 helmer Brett Ratner sums up the appeal of star Chris Tucker pretty simply. "He's funny as hell," the director grins. "He's funny if he just says, 'Hey, maaan.'"

Taking his comedy a bit more seriously, Tucker boasts that his work has "evolved tremendously" since his early days. "I always knew I wanted to keep going to another level," says August's GQ cover boy, who's cleaned up his dialogue plenty since his last collaboration with Ratner, Money Talks.

Rush — hitting theaters Friday — found Tucker a fish out of water, both on and off the set. While the citizens of Hong Kong were already familiar with prominent native read more

X-Files's Lesbian Shocker

During her eight years chasing flying saucers on The X-Files, Gillian Anderson's G-Woman Dana Scully has been paired with a believer (David Duchovny's Mulder), a skeptic (Robert Patrick's Doggett) and a lackey (Mitch Pileggi's Skinner). Well, if Internet buzz is any indication, the addition of Annabeth Gish's Agent Monica Reyes as a regular next season gives the former abductee an altogether different type with whom she can butt heads: a lesbian.

Here's the lowdown: Although it was heavily implied during Reyes's introduction last February that the sexy sleuth shared a romantic history with Doggett, the show's May cliffhanger — specifically a scene in which she gushed to an in-labor Scully that she looked "amazingly beautiful" — hinted that she may have switched teams in the interim.

In fact, according to executive producer John Shiban, she nearly read more

Waters's World

John Waters, the renegade director of such gross-out classics as Pink Flamingos and Mondo Trasho, has his say in an episode of the Sundance Channel's Conversations in World Cinema series airing tonight at 8:30 pm/ET and Saturday at 4:30 pm/ET. But before then, one of his favorite leading ladies — sorry, not the late Divine — wants to speak her peace about the outrageous auteur.

"[The atmosphere on John's sets] was like reform school," Cry-Baby and Serial Mom veteran Traci Elizabeth Lords tells TV Guide Online, laughing. "I adore John. He definitely sees the world off to the left... or off to the right... or just off."

All kidding aside, the former blue-movie starlet holds in the highest esteem the colorful character who gave her her big break in legitimate pictures. "I respect John so much," she says. "He grew up wanting to be a filmmaker so badly that he went out and got a little eig read more

Sopranos Creator Shoots Back

If you were among the legions of Sopranos fans let down by the show's relatively quiet and uneventful season finale (save for Jackie Jr.'s whacking), the show's creator, David Chase, has good news: "Next year we'll kill 200 guys," he deadpans. "Maybe they'll like it better."

Well, it certainly couldn't hurt. Despite 22 Emmy nominations and blockbuster ratings (at least by cable standards), HBO's mob hit continues to find itself haunted by last May's anti-climax — an episode that critics complained spent more time showcasing Dominic Chianese's second career as a singer than tying up loose ends (the Russian mobster, Dr. Melfi's rape, Tony's mistress, etc.).

The disappointing send-off was one of the hot topics at the about-to-be-concluded Television Critics Association press tour in Pasa read more

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