Today's News: Our Take

Question: On Fantasy Island, ...

Question: On Fantasy Island, what were the names of the main characters and who played them? Also, when did the series appear on television? Thank you.

Televisionary: So this is where my detractors expect me to go off on a lame "De plane, boss! De plane!" riff, eh? Please, my standards are a little higher than that (not much, admittedly.)

I'm assuming you mean the original version, which starred Ricardo Montalban as the mysterious Mr. Roarke and Herve Villechaize as his assistant, Tattoo. (I'll get into the other characters in a second but, frankly, those guys are the only ones anyone remembers anyway.)

Pulled from the pop-crap genius factory of TV overlord Aaron Spelling, Fantasy Island was built upon the same general formula as The Love Boat, another hit Spelling series on ABC at the time. Generally speaking, both were vehicles for guest stars to appear and have their problems solved by an amiable host. Of course, in read more


Christopher Reeve will produce and direct a TV-movie for ABC based on the just-released novel Rescuing Jeffrey, a true story about a parents' struggle over whether to remove their quadriplegic son from life support, Variety reports. Reeve — himself left paralyzed from a 1995 equestrian accident — directed the acclaimed HBO minimovie In the Gloaming. read more


Tom Cruise is in preliminary talks to reteam with Cameron Crowe, writer/director of his 1996 smash hit Jerry Maguire, in an untitled love story, Variety reports. Should he sign on, the project — which would be produced by Cruise's production company — is slated to start filming in late fall. After that, the Mission: Impossible II star will begin work on the Steven Spielberg-directed Minority Report. read more

Question: OK, Televisionary. ...

Question: OK, Televisionary. I am not going to give you weeks or months to answer my question. Tell me this week or I'll find someone who might better do your job. Howard Cunningham on the popular TV show Happy Days belonged to a club. Please tell me and the rest of your devoted readers what club he belonged to. I'll tell my co-workers what a genius you are if you print it in your next installment. Thanks from Indiana. — Paul

Televisionary: Oh, come now, Paul. The guy who sells overpriced gum in this building's lobby could better do my job. What I'm saying is, it's not that tough to be a fraud. (Just ask Lui... sniff.)

						 Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley) belonged to the Leopard Lodge.

Now, please — let the co-worker enlightenment begin.

read more


Gabriel Byrne, star of the upcoming ABC comedy Madigan Men, confirms that he is in talks to appear in the next Star Wars prequel, due in summer 2002. "[We're] discussing it," reveals the actor, adding that he has no details about who he would play. "I think they're still writing the script." read more

Question: Hi. You have a ...

Question: Hi. You have a great Q&A column. I've been following it for a while and I'm ready with a question myself. Is the actress who plays Kitty on Fox's That '70s Show the same voice-over artist who does Lydia Pearson, the mother on Disney's Saturday morning cartoon Pepper Ann? I find the voices to be somewhat similar and was just curious. Thanks for your time and keep up the great work. — Bryan R.

Televisionary: Why, thanks for the praise, Bryan. Just because I'm desperately insecure and crave reassurance doesn't mean it's not perfectly dandy to say something nice once in a while. (Now, if only the TVGO powers-that-be could learn to spread some love — or even some like.)

Truth is, Debra Jo Rupp plays Kitty Forman on Fox's That '70s Show while April Winchell is the voice of momma Lydia. Rupp has many a credit to her name, including spots on Friends, Seinfeld and ER, but Pepper Ann read more

Question: You are a fraud. ...

Question: You are a fraud. You make everyone think you know or can find out anything about the entertainment industry. But when you can't, instead of posting the truth that you are stumped and ask your loyal readers for help, you simply ignore the question, and go on to the next. Why don't you go work for the government? I'm sure they will pay you lots more money to be this evasive. — Lui

Televisionary: OK, now you've got me all dizzy. You call me a fraud, but to my mind I've always admitted I don't know what I'm talking about, so that makes me quite truthful, really, which means I can't really be a fraud if I'm already admitting I'm one, right?

Great. Now my head hurts.

And I'm not ignoring your question, either. I won't work for the government because I can't get the two ends of a necktie to match up right so I don't wear one. And the uniforms required for the other jobs look mighty itchy to me. Also, I can't count beyond fingers and toes, so cens read more

Selleck Talks Politics

Let's get one thing straight: If you see Tom Selleck's name on a ticket, it'll be for a movie and not a campaign.

The actor may play a presidential hopeful in TNT's upcoming Running Mates and he may not hide the kind of views that got him ambushed by Rosie O'Donnell, but that's where his political involvement ends.

"I'm interested in politics. I find it fascinating and this subject comes up every so often, which is flattering," the actor said at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, CA, when asked if he'd ever want to run for office. "But my answer [is] always, I'm already a public figure. I know what that's like. Why would I want to turn it up a couple of notches? That's what we do to our candidates."

What's surprising is that Selleck, who co-stars with Faye Dunaway, Nancy Travis, Laura Linney and Teri Hatcher and plays a Democratic candidate in the cable movie, takes issue with those who portray him read more

American Pie Guy's Gay Gig

Chris Weitz, producer of American Pie and brother of Pie director Paul Weitz, thought the most difficult part of making his acting debut in the new indie Chuck & Buck was going to be puckering up to another man. But that was before he realized he'd also have to sleep with a woman.

"I had never kissed a guy in real life, and I was nervous about what my friends and parents would think," Chris tells TV Guide Online. "Ironically, the most difficult scene for me ended up being my love scene with Beth Colt, who played my fiancée. She's married and has a small child and because that actually involved issues of morality, kissing a married woman was more difficult for me than kissing a guy."

Chuck & Buck, which opened in select cities on Friday, also stars Chris's frequent film partner Paul (the duo wrote the upcoming Nutty Professor sequel, The Klumps, and also recently directed Chris Rock read more

Gil Bellows Shapes Up

For former Ally McBeal star Gil Bellows, landing the role of a former Notre Dame quarterback drafted to play for the Buffalo Bills in TNT's upcoming Second String was easy. Of course, looking the part was another matter.

"I recently became a father, so the level of my athleticism was quite minimal," the actor admitted at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, CA. "In fact, I was heartily enjoying eating ? and just laying around the house and playing with my daughter... enjoying the spoils of fatherhood and celebrating with my wife the fact that we had a child. I was lazy and quite out of shape. So it was kind of a transformation for me."

As if that wasn't tough enough, Bellows also had to worry about the professional players sharing the field with him forgetting to pull their punches. Fortunately, the cast made sure the big boys didn't feel the need. "I think that they knew they could have put a lot of punishment on us if they wanted read more

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