Meredith Vieira inducted into only Hall of Fame that really matters

Last night, while surfing past simulcasts of some guy talking in Washington, I wound up on one of my favorite frequently forgotten channels, GSN. On it was a documentary that announced the induction of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” to an alleged and long-overdue Game Show Hall of Fame.

As the daytime host of the show once helmed in prime time by Regis Philbin, Irvington’s Meredith Vieira also was honored and interviewed in the one-hour documentary that covered the show’s origins, best moments, memorable contestants and secrets.

Vieira recounted one of the stranger tales, involving a contestant who was so nervous that the player — um — relieved herself on the “hot seat.” Vieira’s advice to future contestants should they share the same fate? “Go with it.”

Notice she didn’t say “Go on it.”

After the break, find out a behind-the-scenes fact about what the “Today” show cohost does to complement the contestant experience.

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What’s Judge Judy doing in Putnam?

tjndc5-5bav46dlvtjc22q46bw_layout.jpgSupporting her son, Adam Levy, who announced today that he’s running for District Attorney in the county. Judy (whose last name is Scheindlin and who once lived in Putnam Valley) introduced her son to supporters at the Desmond Fish Library in Garrison. “He has a passion for justice and compassion for victims of crime,� the glowing mother said. She finished by adding he’d make a great D.A. because “I’m his mother.�

I attended the announcement and afterwards asked Sheindlin if her son had consulted with her before making the decision. “He had called me and said, ‘Mom, what do you think?’ which I knew meant he had made up his mind.�

And is she proud of him? “A mother is always proud of her children. But with him it’s so easy because professionally he’s always been a star.�

Sheindlin was dressed in a black dress suit and was much kinder than her acerbic persona on TV would lead you to believe.

Oscars 2007: Thanks for the compliment, E!

tjndc5-5cifaqtvezr1bjpc12ep_layout.jpgThose folks at E! sure know how to dole out the charm. Before the Oscar nods were announced, host Giuliana DePandi was discussing Meryl Streep’s role in The Devil Wears Prada with a guest. She said Streep was brilliant in the part, especially since:


She plays this fashionista and Meryl Streep so isn’t that in real
life. She doesn’t care about labels. She probably couldn’t even spell
Dolce and Gabbana.

So bascially, DePandi, you’re trying to say, Meryl is a fashion nightmare and spells at a remedial level…but she’s a great actress. Gotcha!

(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Oscars 2007: The Surprises


∑ Dreamgirls got the most nominations of any other films this year (8), but did not get one for Best Picture.

∑ Mark Wahlberg got a nod for his supporting role in The Departed, but his costar, Jack Nicholson, didn’t. Was it the accent?

∑ Borat is coming to the Oscars! Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy hit was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay…which means, apparently, there was a script.

∑ Jackie Earle Haley, who plays the creepy pedophile in Little Children, got a nod for Supporting Actor. Does he sound familiar? He should. He starred in the original Bad News Bears.

∑ Meryl Streep has become the most nominated actor ever with 14 nods, beating the former champ—Meryl Streep.

Oscars 2007: The nominations


The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen


Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Miren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Childrentjndc5-5d7ev3amhyr68z8s9vn_layout.jpg

Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O’Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

tjndc5-5d7fcq9s9xlrwwj89vn_layout.jpgSupporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshinetjndc5-5d7f8gwvxn61cg6ub9vn_layout.jpg
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Alejandro Gonzalez, Babel
tjndc5-5d7f28vqf5ushpw9vn_layout.jpg Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima
The Queen, Stephen Frears
United 93, Paul Greengrass

Original Screenplay
Guillermo Arriaga, Babel
Iris Yamashita, Letters From Iwo Jima
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth
Peter Morgan, The Qeen

Adapted Screenplay
Sacha Baron Cohen, et al, Borat
Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby, Children of Men
William Monahan, The Departed
Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, Little Children
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal

Foreign Language
After the Wedding
Days of Glory
Lives of Others
Pan’s Labyrinth

Happy Feet
Monster House

And the Nominees Should Be …

OK, I stole that line from the NY Times, which did their round-up of Oscar nominee prognostication a couple weeks ago. The main differences between their list and my list are that (1) you will see no limeys here and (2) I’m going to take a completely self-centered — or rather, LoHud-centered — view of the awards nomination process. Which means I’m focusing solely on those performances (or films) with connections to Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam, all of which, in my mind, merit some serious Academy lovin’.

Best Picture

• “The Departed” — shot partially in White Plains

• “The Good Shepherd” — scenes filmed in Tarrytown

• “Little Children” — a dead ringer for just about any Westchester town, even though it wasn’t shot there

Best Director

• Ron Howard, “The Da Vinci Code” (lives in Greenwich)

• Mel Gibson, “Apocalypto” (born in Peekskill, grew up in Verplanck)

• Stephen Baldwin, the “Livin’ It” series of evangelical, extreme sports DVDs (lives in Upper Grandview)

Best Actor

• Tim Robbins, “Catch a Fire” (lives in Bedford)

• Tim Robbins, “The Secret Life of Words” (hey, if Leo and Clint can get double-nominated, why not Tim?)

• Joseph Cross, “Running With Scissors” (grew up in Pelham)

Best Actress

• Bryce Dallas Howard, “Lady in the Water” (graduated from Byram Hills High School in Armonk)

• Ellen Burstyn, “The Wicker Man” (lives in Nyack)

• Felicity Huffman, “Filliam H. Muffman” (born in Bedford)

Supporting Actor

• Stanley Tucci, “The Devil Wears Prada” (raised in Katonah and lives in North Salem)

• Alec Baldwin, “The Departed” (ok, technically he lives in the city, but with brothers Billy and Stephen out in Bedford and Upper Grandview, respectively, so I say he still counts)

• Alec Baldwin, “Running with Scissors” (what can I say, the man has been a rock star this year)

• Chazz Palminteri, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” (lives in Bedford)

• Joseph Cross, “Flags of Our Fathers” (Pelham native)

Supporting Actress

• Angelina Jolie, “The Good Shepherd” (grew up in Sneden’s Landing)

• Hayden Panettiere, “The Architect” (raised in Palisades)

• Ellen Burstyn, “The Fountain” (lives in Nyack)

OK, I know a few of those are a stretch — especially Ellen Burstyn in “The Wicker Man,” and truthfully “Filliam H. Muffman” isn’t so much a performance as a Stephen Colbert catch-phrase — but it was a weak year for our Lower Hudson Valley filmmakers.

Last year we had Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” Matt Dillon in “Crash,” Futterman and Miller behind “Capote.” Let’s just hope that, for the sake of our own local filmmakers, the Brits decide to take next year off.

Keith Olbermann gets animated with ‘Family Guy’ creator Seth MacFarlane

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann invited “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane onto “Countdown” on Friday to recap the showdown between Fox News conservative Bill O’Reilly and Comedy Central faux-conservative Stephen Colbert.

O’Reilly and Colbert had appeared on each other’s shows, leaving MacFarlane and Olbermann — a frequent O’Reilly critic and target — quite content with Colbert’s quips.

MacFarlane’s connection to the O’Reilly-Colbert event was a stretch at best; he said O’Reilly once turned down an invitation to parody himself on “Family Guy.” Olbermann, a former Hastings resident, at first justified MacFarlane’s appearance by saying that the showdown was funny, giving “Countdown” an “excellent excuse” to have on the guy who voices Peter, Brian and Stewie. But later in the interview, we found out that Keith is a big fan of “Family Guy,” and that he would be appearing on an April 15 episode of the show as an oil tycoon.

Apparently, appearing on each other’s shows is the “in” thing to do this spring. Here’s hoping that, for just one day, Steve Carell leads an episode of “Extras” while Ricky Gervais takes over the American “Office.” Comedy platinum.

(Photo by Michael Yarish/FOX)

Save the Cheerleader, Save the Whales

nup_103648_0402.JPGYes, that’s right, “Heroes” is back tonight. Seeing as how the fall slate of episodes saw the cheerleader saved and, by extension, the world as well, the big question is who will require saving this spring?

You know, I’m gonna go with the cheerleader again. Palisades native Hayden Panettiere may be indestructible, but she’s still awfully short and appears vulnerable to even a tall stack of luggage. Hopefully the producers won’t repeat the whole world-saving mantra, though. Personally, I’d much prefer for the causitive link to be about the whales this time around. Clearly Hayden feels strongly about them, as evidenced by her “Save the Whales Again” PSA on YouTube. Let’s just see Syler try to shave the head off one of the largest mammals on the planet!

Keith Olbermann does not like ’24’

tjndc5-5d09mm7je8z1coxi1lta_layout.jpgSo the plot is hackneyed, the writing uneven, the characters one-dimensional, and the hype overrated. You know you’re still going to be watching 24 tonight. They just set off a frickin’ nuke in L.A.!!

But, according to Hastings-bred MSNBC talker, Keith Olbermann, the show is nothing short of right-wing propaganda. Last week, he suggested the producers exploit our fear of terrorism to get ratings and possibly advance an agenda.

It’s a familiar tactic for grabbing and holding the public’s attention, beloved by both the Bush administration and, just as another example, Fox News Channel. Step 1: Fear, and if step 1 does not work, Step 2: More fear…it is also evidently how the producers of the Fox series “24” plan to keep viewers during the show’s sixth year, as evidenced by the first 30 seconds of the season premiere [when terrorists blew up a bus in L.A.]…If that wasn’t enough to scare or outrage you, the rest of the four-hour, two-night show featured a mall attack, a would-be suicide bomber on the subway and a successful suicide bombing on a passenger bus — not in places where these things have already happened, but in a country called the United States of America… In case you missed the point, the show finished up with a nuclear weapon detonating in a major American city, literally conjuring up the administration’s imagery for the war in Iraq: the good old mushroom cloud.
He’s probably right. The producers have always –proudly, believe it or not—bragged about how they don’t know where the show is going each season, and are usually only a few episodes ahead of the rest of us. In place of plot development, they rely on the outrageous and shocking. It’s also a bit unnerving how the show has slowly anesthetized the audience to the idea of torture. Of course torture is worthwhile when it’s seemingly done against would-be terrorists and there is LITERALLY a ticking clock!

Still, the show is like an addiction. And I’m not the rehab-type. So, I’ll be watching with the rest of you tonight. Because, they just set off a frickin’ nuke in L.A.!!

(AP Photo/2006 Fox Broadcasting Co., Kelsey McNeal)

Studio 60 on the Time-Shifting Strip

nup_100341_0974.jpgOn your marks. Get set. DVR! Tonight marks the return of Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which was spared cancellation by the NBC grim reaper last fall, despite ratings that dropped from about 13 million (when it premiered) to around 8 million (for that shmaltzy Christmas episode). But wait, maybe those numbers aren’t so accurate after all.

Turns out that “Studio 60” is the most time-shifted series on television. According to Zap2It, in the week following the initial airdate, the show’s total viewership gets an 11 percent bump. Alright, so that only raises the number of viewers to something like 9 million (still pitiful, compared to lead-in “Heroes,” which gets 14.5 million), but it does prove that (1) “Studio 60” does have some die hard fans and (2) as NBC had claimed, it’s drawing a very upscale audience (at least I assume people with TiVos and DVRs are pretty upscale).

Go go enjoy a nice dinner and a movie. Remember, Sorkin and Co. will always be there for you on your digital video recorder come Tuesday.

“‘Studio 60’ Gets Bump from DVRs – NBC series is most ‘time-shifted’ of season” [Zap2it]

(NBC Photo: Art Streiber)

Where can you spot Bill and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua?

And she’s off. The former First Lady and current Senator from New York has decided to toss her hat into the ring. What finally convinced her? Could it have been the favorable results she’s been getting in our Suburbarazzi poll over to the right where she’s beating everybody (even her husband)?

Well, okay, probably not.

Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: Chappaqua’s about to get a whole new level of national attention. Below is your guide to everything Bill and Hill related in the Northern Westchester ‘burb. Thanks to Mary Lynn Mitcham, who stalked—er, I mean reported on—the Clintons for InTown Magazine last year:

tjndc5-5b1zr2uee0ldoqxhk3i_layout.jpgLange’s Little Store (382 King St.; 238-3553): Bill is a regular at this popular deli. His favorite dish: Fresh turkey on rye.

Starbucks (2 South Greeley Ave.; 238-2268): They’ve got to get their coffee fix somewhere, and locals say this coffee shop is a popular haunt for the former (and future?) first couple. In fact, when he’s in town, Bill stops here almost every morning.

Chiara Scura (26 King St.; 238-1470): a woman’s shoe store where Hillary’s shopped a few times.

Desires by Mikolay (55 King St.; 238-2223): Bill’s shopped at this jewelry store for Hillary in the past (hint, hint, anyone who wants to buy her a gift).

Chappaqua Restaurant and Café (10 South Greeley Ave.; 238-3869): Bill gets breakfast here every once in a while.

tjndc5-5b3drz5qvs45ndaq6jt_layout.jpgMaple and Orchard streets: That dog poo along the street—it very possibly could belong to Seamus, the Clinton’s loyal lab. These are prime walking routes for the pup. Also, check out Rockefeller State Park Preserve in nearby Sleepy Hollow. The Clintons were spotted there last Sunday afternoon, according to Stamford Advocate gossip columnist, Susie Costaregni.

Just remember—those men in dark suits that are always around—they’re Secret Service, and yes, they carry guns.

(Photos: Susan Farley and Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

How did Judge Judy make Forbes’s list of the 20 Richest Women in Entertainment?

tjndc5-5b1x0rxeyd21cdkyugqo_layout.jpgOr more to the point, how is it possible that a daytime TV judge could somehow have more money than Nicole Kidman and Cameron Diaz?

The Forbes list, which came out yesterday, includes the usual list of suspects: Oprah, J.K. Rowling, Martha Stewart, Madonna. But by far the most surprising name on the list is Greenwich resident Judy Sheindlin, who came in at #13, just behind Britney Spears. Judy’s net worth: $95 million. Apparently, that number was derived from a $100 million four-year contract she signed for her show.

Who knew that Judy was commanding a David Beckham-caliber salary? Furthermore, did her husband, Jerry — who practices law in Putnam — get a similar salary when he was on “The People’s Court” back in the late ’90s?

Suddenly Jeanine Pirro’s career change is starting to make a whole lot more sense.

“The 20 Richest Women in Entertainment” [Forbes]

(Judge Judy: Gannett Photo Network)