Today's News: Our Take


A federal judge has ruled that Steven Spielberg deserves compensation for enduring a flight from hell five years ago. According to Reuters, the judge upheld all but one emotional distress verdict — totaling a record $2.1 million — awarded to 13 American Airlines passengers, including Spielberg, his sister, Nancy, and her two children. — Michael Ausiello and Michael Peck read more


In other radio news, New York station WOR has done what was thought to be the impossible: It has silenced loudmouth comic Joan Rivers. The station suspended Rivers for a week after she used an obscenity during her nightly talk show. "I was talking about a lousy restaurant and said, 'I'll eat s--t on a bun, so it really has to be bad for me not to like it,' " Rivers confessed to the New York Post. "They didn't catch it because they had a trainee engineer who I don't think they'll use anymore." read more


The self-proclaimed King of All Media may be on the verge of losing his crown. Ratings for Howard Stern's radio show in his home market of New York have hit a five-year low, reports Although he remains the top draw in the Big Apple, Stern's ratings have tumbled from an 8.7 in the winter to a 7.2 in the spring — his lowest level since the summer of 1995. Some believe the shock jock has lost his edge ever since breaking up with wife, Alison, last year. read more

Question: My husband and I ...

Question: My husband and I watched Seinfeld religiously until it went off the air. My question concerns the song that was played during the final montage show. I think it was written specifically for the show and he says no. We don't have a bet but I would like to show him I'm right! (I won't show him the column if I'm wrong). — Tina Bilodeau

Televisionary: OK, Tina. You're absolutely right. The song was written specifically for the Seinfeld montage, so you can show this to your husband.

You might want to hold your hand over this part of the monitor when you do, though, because the preceding statement is a lie. Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," which is from the band's Nimrod album, is perhaps one of the most overplayed ditties to hit the small screen in recent memory, outdone only by Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait" (used as the theme song for Dawson's Creek).

"Time of Your Life" not only read more

Question: Occasionally I ...

Question: Occasionally I catch reruns of The Partridge Family. I was always under the impression that they only had one theme song, but the other day I heard a different one. Is it true that the show had more than one theme song? Also, I know that the youngest boy was changed sometime during the show's history. Did they ever change Keith or was it always David Cassidy? Thanks! — Lindsey

Televisionary: Televisionary: Ah, the hard questions that dog us, eh, Lindsey? (Not that I'm mocking you — hey, this is how I put TV dinners and canned soup on the Televisionary table.)

Yes, there were two Partridge Family theme songs, though really it was just a different set of lyrics set to the same tune. "When We're Singin,' " with music by Wes Farrell and lyrics by Diane Hilderbrand, graced the show when it debuted in the fall of 1970. From the first line — "Come on now and meet everybody, and hear us singin'  read more


As the old saying goes, "If you can't beat 'em, make fun of 'em." Parodies of CBS's reality smash Survivor are heading to a small screen near you, beginning with the UPN comedy The Hughleys in September, Variety reports. When circumstances force the Hughley clan to share a tent with their next-door neighbors, the living quarters become too cramped, leading one family member to be voted out. As the sitcom's 24 viewers will recall, last season The Hughleys spoofed The Blair Witch Project. Meanwhile, the Pamela Lee syndicated satire V.I.P. also will feature a Survivor parody in its season premiere. read more


Dawson's Creek creator (the writer of Scream and Scream 2) Kevin Williamson may be returning to the WB. The successful auteur (OK, except for Teaching Mrs. Tingle), who left the Creek to focus on making movies, may develop a new project for the network, WB entertainment president Susanne Daniels told reporters at the TCA press tour. According to Daniels, Williamson called to discuss a new project. She didn't have any further details to reveal. In other press tour news, WB CEO Jamie Kellner explained why the characters on Young Americans spend so much time drinking Coke. "I may be out of whack with the rest of the industry, but I think younger people see Coke as a hip and cool brand," he said. "There are certain brands that have a style and buzz." read more

Question: My mom and I have ...

Question: My mom and I have an ongoing argument about Sesame Street: According to her, Bert or Ernie (she can't remember which) was hit by a bus to help educate kids about street safety, with the hidden agenda of quelling the rumor that they were gay. This sounds ridiculous to me, but I have been watching Sesame Street with my daughter for quite a few months and have yet to see either Bert or Ernie. Did they really get killed off, or have they just been forced into retirement?

Televisionary: Mourn not. It sounds like you guys are combining two all too common Bert and Ernie urban legends.

						 						The first, which started after Ernie voice Jim Henson died in 1990, was that Ernie would be executed rather than go silent (the idea that the producers might just find someone else to do the voice was, of course, out of the question). Poor Ernie was to be done away with by read more

Question: Dear Televisionary, ...

Question: Dear Televisionary, I am disgusted with the nominations for the Emmys. Year in and year out I have watched as the media push their favorites and network executives buy the advertisements that place their "hot" properties at the top. The West Wing is a great show, but The Sopranos is filled with violence, profanity and drugs. It is primarily an adult show, yet as a middle-school teacher, I hear my students talking about the different episodes. Totally ignored is a fine and very well-written military drama, JAG, and the Texas-based Walker, which has a certain amount of violence but also draws from every walk of life: Native American, disabled, all races. With this it incorporates the highest standards of fair play and humanity. Why would these fine programs be overlooked and others chosen? I would appreciate an answer. — Anne

Televisionary: You're in good company as far as your dissatisfaction with the Emmys goes, Anne, but I ca read more


Producer Darren Star has reluctantly made changes to a character from his upcoming WB teen satire Grosse Pointe after former boss Aaron Spelling complained that it mocked his daughter Tori Spelling. The show — which pokes fun at the industry via a look behind the scenes of a Beverly Hills, 90210-like series — had featured a character who lands a role on the show because her uncle is the network president. The nepotism thread has been removed and the character's hair color has been changed. "[But] I'm not easily letting it go," Star told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, CA. "I think that when you're doing a show about Hollywood, you would have a character in which [nepotism] is going to be a component. But it wasn't worth fighting to the point of, perhaps, not seeing the show on the air." Star, whose HBO comedy, Sex and the City, is up for nine Emmys, worked with Spelling on 90210 and Me read more

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