Today's News: Our Take


Question: By now I'm sure ...

Question: By now I'm sure you're tired of answering bet questions, but my girlfriend and I have a night at the theater on this one. Winner picks, losers buys. Was Anthony Edwards, who plays Dr. Greene on ER, ever on Northern Exposure? She says he was and I say he was only a movie guy before this. Thanks.

Televisionary: Give my regards to Broadway, get your charge card ready and pray she chooses Cabaret over the overwrought Miss Saigon — she's right and you're wrong.

Edwards was indeed a cast member on Northern Exposure, which ran on CBS from July 1990 to August 1995. He joined the show for the 1992-'93 season as lawyer Mike Monroe, who moved to the "Alaskan Riviera" to live in a plastic enclosure that protected the multiple-allergy sufferer from society's toxic chemicals.

The only way Monroe could leave his safe haven and venture out into Cicely (actually two locations in Washington state, where the show was shot) was in read more

Question: I'm a fan of the ...

Question: I'm a fan of the old show My Three Sons and with the recent TV Land marathon, I'm wondering why the character of Mike was written out. Also, didn't he and his wife Sally make a visit to the family after they moved to California? Why was he never mentioned again after that? Please answer. I'm a real TV trivia buff and I must know these answers to uphold my reputation as pretty close to all-knowing. (You, of course, are all-knowing.)

Televisionary: Oh, come now — I've told you a million times not to exaggerate. In truth, I am not quite all-knowing, but am loathe to reveal the holes in my TV knowledge for fear my numerous foes will exploit those gaps to their evil advantage.

Fact is you've played directly into the hands of my hits-obsessed boss, who has been known to severely rebuke — chide, even — those of us who don't take advantage of opportunities to link to other areas of the site and garner additional page views.

That said, be read more

Question: What is the name of ...

Question: What is the name of the western TV series from about 10 years ago where the main character was after some kind of orb? The actress who played his girlfriend, Dixie, now plays the deceased wife of Dr. Kimble on the new Fugitive series.

Televisionary: That would be Fox's The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., which debuted in August 1993 and left the airwaves a year later. As you say, Kelly Rutherford (Get Real, Melrose Place), who portrays the late Helen Kimble on CBS's update of the classic Fugitive series, played Dixie Cousins, Brisco's partner in adventure and sporadic love.

The wonderful Bruce Campbell (rent Army of Darkness to check me on that) portrayed the titular hero, a Harvard lawyer who decided to head west and enter the bounty-hunting business. More often than not, Brisco took his marching orders from 'Frisco attorney Socrates Poole (Ch read more

Question: Was I dreaming? I ...

Question: Was I dreaming? I thought I saw a new show on TV a few months ago about high-school kids. The only thing I remember about it was that the most "popular" girl was having a "virgin party." She chose five boys and five girls who were virgins and then was going to have a party to "de-virginize" them. No one knew who the fifth girl was until the end, when the hostess revealed (to the audience) that it was her after everybody left her party because the cops showed up or something. She was disappointed because she was trying to set herself up with one particular guy that night. I know you've seen this show because you've seen everything! Is it still on TV? — Sophie

Televisionary: Alas, Sophie, it is not. And it's very doubtful it ever will be again.

The show of your dreams was Fox's Opposite Sex, which kicked off an eight-week run this past July and hasn't been heard from since. It focused on hormonally fueled teen (is there any read more

HARRIS PLAYS MIND GAME

Ed Harris has been cast opposite Russell Crowe in the Ron Howard-directed fact-based drama A Beautiful Mind, Variety reports. Crowe plays real-life figure John Nash, a paranoid-schizophrenic who wins a Nobel Prize for his work on game theory. Harris, meanwhile, will portray a high-ranking intelligence officer. read more

Boy Meets Queer World


Theater-trained actor Randy Harrison makes his television debut with Showtime's provocative new series Queer as Folk — and what an initiation it is. In the pilot episode, airing Dec. 3 on the cable network, the newcomer's 17-year-old alter ego, Justin, loses his virginity with a 29-year-old in a scene so sexually explicit that even the predominantly gay audience at last week's premiere screening in New York were squirming in their seats.

"It actually wasn't as much of an adjustment as I thought it would be," Harrison tells TV Guide Online of his transition from the stage to the small screen. "The cast is amazing and it's such a great environment up in Toronto (where Queer is shot). We all get along really well, which you sort of have to given the intimate nature of a lot of the stuff that we have to do. It's been really idyllic."

Although Queer as Folk delivers on its promise to be as racy as the British series on which it is based, Harrison read more

Great Expectations


The pressure is on for Bruce Willis and director M. Night Shyamalan. The duo's highly anticipated follow-up to last year's $293-million-grossing phenomenon, The Sixth Sense, arrives in theaters on Wednesday, and you don't have to possess special powers to know that expectations are high. But the inevitable hype surrounding Unbreakable didn't dampen Willis's enthusiasm about the project.

"There was huge excitement on my part," the actor admits. "[I] couldn't wait to get started on this film. There were a lot of times in pre-production [where] I kept calling and saying, 'Come on man, let's start this thing. Let's start shooting this movie.' I don't think there was any trepidation [because The Sixth Sense] had done well financially."

Shyamalan admits that the added stress placed on him as a result of The Sixth Sense actually benefited Unbreakable. "I viewed it personally as a great opportunity and an honor to have everybody very read more

Angel Earns Her Wings


Dark Angel's Jessica Alba says training for the role of genetically altered Max wasn't just about looking good in skin-tight, biker-chick-of-the-future gear. A combination of weight-lifting, gymnastics, martial arts and motorcycle lessons also helped the actress transform herself into a superheroine.

"It [is] less about the way I look physically and more about the way I carry myself," Alba tells the TV Guide Channel, adding that she did some of the stunts herself. "I didn't go through the window and I didn't plunge 27 stories with two strings attached to me, and I didn't do a wheelie on a motorcycle. But I did most of the martial arts work — rolls and kicks and running up the wall [with a harness].

"I do as many of the stunts as I can because it gives me a different confidence and stride," she continues. "I think it wouldn't be fair for me to play the role if I couldn't carry her confidence."

Wit read more

SALLY AND CHER LIFT NBC

NBC's all-star Thursday — featuring a guest appearance by Cher on Will & Grace and Sally Field's debut on ER — earned the Peacock its highest adult 18-49 rating during a November sweeps night for any network since 1998. Will & Grace netted its second largest audience to date (22 million viewers) and ER attracted a season-best 31 million viewers. read more

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE THE BOX OFFICE

Jim Carrey's live-action remake of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas debuted at the top of the box office over the weekend with an estimated gross of $55.1 million, the biggest non-sequel opening in history. The impressive haul marked a career best for Carrey as well as director Ron Howard. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie opened at No. 2 with an animated $23.0 million gross, followed by Charlie's Angels, which fell to No. 3 with $13.7 million after two weekends at No. 1. Rounding out the top five: Arnold Schwarzenegger's The 6th Day at No. 4 with $13.2 million (Oh, how the mighty have fallen) and Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow's romantic drama Bounce at No. 5 ($11.5 million). Speaking of flop sweat, Adam Sandler's satanic comedy, Little Nicky, plunged 52 percent in its second weekend, grossing $7.7 million (bad enough for seventh place), and Val Kilmer's sci-fi dud, Red Planet, slid 6 read more

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