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


TV legend Steve Allen, best remembered as the original host of NBC's The Tonight Show, died of a possible heart attack at the Encino, Calif. home of his son Monday night. He was 78. Allen, who also headlined The Steve Allen Show from 1956 to 1961, starred as the King of Swing in the 1956 film The Benny Goodman Story. Additionally, he appeared on Broadway, released 40 albums and had his own newspaper column. read more


Today's annual Halloween Costume Contest was as riotous as ever this morning, with Matt Lauer and Al Roker dressed up as the tabloid's favorite celebrity couple: Jennifer Lopez and Sean "Puffy" Combs. As Lopez, Lauer was decked out in the diva's now-legendary barely-there green Versace number, complete with fake breasts and her trademark enhanced booty. "I was going to chicken out three separate times," Lauer admitted. Roker got off easy wearing Combs's trademark white suit and matching fedora. Katie Couric, meanwhile, appeared as Lucille Ball and Ann Curry was Joan of Arc. Regis Philbin and wife, Joy, were dressed up as a King and Queen on today's Live With Regis and Rosie O'Donnell was Captain Hook on her show. Presidential hopeful George W. Bush also got into the holiday spirit Monday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Dubya donned a Halloween mask of his Democratic rival, Al G 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

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


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


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

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