Today's News: Our Take


You can bet teen girls across the country totally didn't request this: MTV hottie Carson Daly got engaged over the weekend to his girlfriend, actress Tara Reid. According to USA Today, the couple have not set a wedding date but plan to marry in Manhattan, where they share an apartment. read more


Clutching the hand of her estranged half sister Lorna Luft, Liza Minnelli was released from a Fort Lauderdale hospital Monday after a bout with viral encephalitis. "I didn't mind nearly dying now that it's brought me back with my sister," the 54-year-old entertainer told the New York Post. Minnelli and Luft, who hadn't spoken in six years, reconciled earlier this month when Minnelli fell ill. read more

Question: I made a bet with a ...

Question: I made a bet with a friend but I can't seem to get any proof that I'm right. My friend says that Mushmouth from Fat Albert wore a giant pink stocking cap that he pulled down over his face, and had punched two holes in it so he could see out. I know for a fact that he is talking about Dumb Donald. He probably thinks I'm wrong because of a Saturday Night Live skit in which Chris Rock played Mushmouth but dressed as Dumb Donald. Could you please confirm to my friend that I am right? — Charlie Brown

Televisionary: Sure, uh... Charlie. (C'mon, really?) You are indeed correct. Print out this page and show it to him.

Donald was the one with the bright pink hat pulled down over his face (though as a kid I thought it was a big seashell or something), while Mushmouth wore a red knit cap and a scarf.

As an aside, may I add that Fat Albert helped me get through college? Thanks to the episode where the gang staged a t read more


CBS will announce today that it has given full season orders to five of its seven new fall shows. According to Variety, the sitcoms Bette and Yes, Dear, as well as dramas The Fugitive, C.S.I. and The District are expected to be picked up for the remainder of the season. The jury is still out on the Eye Network's other new entries, Welcome to New York and read more

Question: Hello, I need help. ...

Question: Hello, I need help. I am desperate to know the name of the closing song from the Oct. 19 episode of ER and who performed it. I would love to purchase it if possible. I have searched all over the Web trying find this information. Could you please help me? Thank you. — Georgia

Televisionary: The song you're seeking is Beth Nielsen Chapman's "Sand and Water," which served as the title track from her 1997 album and the title of the ER episode in question. You can find that and her Greatest Hits collection, which also includes the song, at

You're not alone in wanting the details on the song, which played on the show as a baby was baptized and doctors took heroic measures to prolong the life of a dying woman; many a reader asked for the name of it.

And many a producer has picked up on its appeal. "Sand and Water" has been featured read more

Question: There's a ...

Question: There's a commercial advertising Lexus cars that's currently running on TV. The camera follows the car driving through a foreign country and the people it passes lip-synch to the lyrics of the featured song. What is the song and who is singing? My best guess is Dinah Shore. And for those of us who never travel, what country is it filmed in? Thanks. — Marsha

Televisionary: Good ear, Marsha. The disturbingly catchy "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy," featured in the ad for Lexus's new LS 430 sedan, is indeed a Dinah Shore recording. You can find it on her album 16 Most Requested Songs, available at various online music stores, as well as on a variety of compilation CDs. (I'm betting everyone reading this now has that tune stuck in their heads.)

According to a Lexus spokesperson, that particular ad was shot in the Italian countryside. The picturesque Italy also provided the backdrop for the companion LS 430 commercial featuring Lyle Lovett read more

Question: I wanted to ask a ...

Question: I wanted to ask a wise man, but I'll ask you instead. Which show came on TV first, The Addams Family or The Munsters? Second, is it true that the girl who played Wednesday grew up to do drugs and porn? Sorry to insult you. I just wanted to get your attention. Thanks. — Warren

Televisionary: Ah, to bask in the love and respect of my public. I'll answer your questions, Warren, and not just because you flatter me so.

It's a tie. In keeping with the Hollywood tradition of throwing shows with similar concepts at the audience in the same season, The Addams Family and The Munsters both debuted in the fall of 1964, the former on ABC, the latter on CBS. (Technically speaking, The Addams Family launched first, six days before The Munsters, but let's not get too caught up in the details, huh?).

The two had quite a bit in common. Both were about monstrous families with pretty, spooky moms (Carolyn Jones's Morticia Fr read more


Mike Myers has received a $20 million offer from MGM to reprise the Peter Sellers role of Inspector Clouseau in a remake of The Pink Panther, Variety reports. The Austin Powers star already is in negotiations to star with Helen Hunt and Anne Heche in the comedy Timepiece, and may decide to squeeze in both projects before the seemingly inevitable actor/writer strikes next summer. read more

Unrest in the Nest

Park Overall, who played feisty, opinionated and down-home nurse Laverne Todd on the NBC sitcom Empty Nest, says she squawked and ruffled quite a few feathers during the show's seven-year run (1988-95).

"I was extraordinarily difficult," Overall admits in a Lifetime Intimate Portrait, airing tonight (7 pm/ET). "But [executive producer] Paul Witt was able to handle me."

Overall let it be known from the get-go that Laverne would not be portrayed as yet another stereotypical Southern country bumpkin. "I had a hard time with what I call "not reality-based stuff" — things that [the writers] would make me do that were just hillbilly stuff, which drives me completely over the edge. I would fight to keep some integrity to the kind of character I was playing and keep it from being Hee Haw, which I did. But it wasn't easy."

Her tenacity paid off, and Laverne emerged as one of the show's most beloved characters — Tennessee acce read more

Marlon's Scary Makeover

Funny guy Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie) was so eager to get cast as a heroin addict in the acclaimed drama Requiem For A Dream (currently in limited release) that he took the Stanislavski route during the audition process.

"I didn't wash for two days," he tells TV Guide Online. "One of my best friends came up to my house and I had Jimi Hendrix music playing. He said, 'Yo, Dog! You all right?' I opened the door and my eyes were all red and I was smoking, and I don't smoke. He said, 'I don't know what's wrong with you and you stink!'

"I was deep in this character," Wayans adds. "I really wanted the role, so I stayed in the mind set of a heroin addict."

So intent was Wayans on making his portrayal realistic that when filming began, "I started shooting heroin. It was natural," he deadpans, before adding seriously, "I hung out with some kids in my neighborhood. I did everything but try heroin. I watched through other people's experiences. My Mom and read more

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