(Sorry I got so behind in posting these. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of celebrity info!)
Q: I am thrilled that Fox’s “Glee” is doing so well in the ratings, as well as bringing great “older” music back into the public eye. I was wondering how Steve Perry felt about the show’s rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” from the season premiere. — Randi T., via e-mail
A: Steve Perry told AOL Music’s online blog, Popeater, that he definitely approved of the “Glee” kids’ version of his famous 1980s power ballad. Steve said: “I would give it an A. They did a really nice, heartfelt high-school interpretation of the song.”
Steve remains hands-on in choosing which projects can use his music. Before approving the song’s use in the show, he saw a rough cut of the “Glee” episode that featured his song and said, “I thought it was edgy writing, and I was impressed.”
Q: Like you, I am big fan of ABC’s “V” and was wondering if you could give me a little background information on the actress who plays Anna. — Larry E., Deltona, Fla.
A: Morena Baccarin, 30, plays the beautiful and seductive Anna, the leader of the alien race of reptilian-like “Visitors” who have come to Earth with not-so-nice plans for its inhabitants. Morena has co-starred in other sci-fi series, including “Firefly” and “Stargate SG1,” as well as guest starring in “Numb3rs,” “Dirt” and “Medium.” She was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was raised in New York City and attended the Juilliard School.
Q: I am a sucker for anything related to boy bands and was wondering what Jeff Timmons (formerly of 98 Degrees) has been up to lately. — Katrina R., via e-mail
A: Timmons, 36, is putting the finishing touches on his sophomore solo album, which is tentatively titled “Emotional High,” and is offering it to his fans for free. I asked Jeff why he is giving his album away, and he explained: “I love this new music, and I want people to be able to get their hands on it.
“We sold almost 11 million records with 98 Degrees,” he said, “and I don’t know if all the fans out there are aware that I do music myself. They don’t know what my music is going to sound like, and I can’t expect them to just go out and buy it, spend 10 or 15 bucks. I thought, I’ll give it away.” Go to jefftimmons.com for more details and to sign up to receive your free copy of “Emotional High.”
Q: I am really jonesing for some “American Idol.” When will the new season premiere? — Trista F., San Antonio
A: Fox recently announced that “American Idol” will return with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The show’s regular timeslots will be 8/7c on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. While I always look forward to the audition shows, I also can’t wait to see how well Ellen DeGeneres meshes with fellow judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi.
Q: Is it true that Lindsay Lohan is dating “How I Met Your Mother” star Jason Segel? — Barbara S., via e-mail
A: Lindsay, who split from girlfriend Samantha Ronson earlier this year, has taken to her Twitter account to dispel all rumors of romance. She brands the rumors as ridiculous, stating she was merely “meeting at a co-worker’s home.” As of this writing, the project they are working on together is unknown.
Q: I can remember when we had new episodes for TV shows from fall to spring. Now the networks have winter finales for their shows. Why is that? — Theo J., via e-mail
A: There are a few reasons for this new, “winter finale” trend. One, of course, is money. Many people are traveling and very busy during the holiday season, so the networks don’t want to “waste” new episodes when fewer people are watching. This is also a good time to air holiday-themed programs. Another reason is they want to give midseason shows a chance to strut their stuff.
For instance, Fox put “Glee” on hiatus Dec. 9 (to return April 13), “Fringe” takes a break on Feb. 4 (to return April 1), and “Lie to Me” returns in late spring as well. This makes room for shows like the Mark Valley action-drama “Human Target,” reality series “Our Little Genius,” thriller “Past Life” and comedy “Sons of Tucson.” Fox is reporting that “’Til Death” will be back in the new year as well.
Q: I absolutely love Michelle Forbes (pictured) in just about every role she is in. What can I watch her in next? — Marti F., Altoona, Pa.
A: Michelle — who turns 45 in January — has quite a full plate. The “Prison Break,” “True Blood” and “In Treatment” actress can be seen next on ION Television in the drama “Durham County.” Season Two begins on Jan. 3, and Michelle comes to the show as Dr. Penelope Verrity, an even more dangerous nemesis to Mike Sweeney than serial killer Ray Prager. Count me in!
Q: Around 1983, two movies aired at about the same time, both depicting realistic looks at what life might be like after a nuclear holocaust. One of them, which still airs from time to time in reruns, is called “The Day After.” What is the name of the other film? — William D., Henning, Tenn.
A: I vividly remember “The Day After” — it scared the bejesus out of 11-year-old me. However, I could not recall the other movie you ask about. My husband, however, knew the movie you were talking about right away. It’s called “Testament,” and it starred Jane Alexander, William Devane, Rebecca De Mornay, Kevin Costner and Lukas Haas. It centers on a mother, Jane Alexander, and her attempts to help her family survive after a nuclear attack. The movie is available on DVD.
Q: I am going through some serious “One Tree Hill” withdrawals! When does the show return? — Chelsea F., via e-mail
A: “One Tree Hill” comes back to the CW on Monday, Jan. 18. The show returns without Chad Michael Murray (Lucas) and Hilarie Burton (Peyton). As you’ll recall from the Season Six finale, Lucas and his new wife, Peyton, and new daughter, Sawyer, drove off into the sunset together. Two new characters will be introduced, and Austin Nichols, who plays Brooke’s man, Julian, has been signed on as a series regular.
Q: Scott Foley was fabulous on a recent episode of “Cougar Town” as Jules’ love interest. Please tell me we’ll get to see more of him on the show! — Heather M., Akron, Ohio
A: Scott Foley, who most recently portrayed Bob Brown on “The Unit,” will be back for two more episodes, beginning on Jan. 6, when “Cougar Town” returns from its winter hiatus. The 37-year-old actor recently guest-starred on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and had a semi-regular role on “Scrubs” from 2002-09.
Scott and his wife, actress Marika Dominczyk (“I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”), are expecting their first child. He and the Polish beauty have been married since 2007. Scott was previously married to Jennifer Garner, from 2000-03. On an interesting side note: Marika’s sister, Dagmara (“Running With Scissors”), is also an actress and is married to actor Patrick Wilson (“Hard Candy,” “Lakeview Terrace” and “Watchmen”).
Q: I was so happy to see one of my favorite actresses, Julia Ormond (pictured), as one of the stars in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” What else can I see this talented actress in? — Devon J., Springfield, Ill.
A: Julia Ormond, 45, has been working steadily since her breakout in America with 1994’s “Legends of the Fall.” She followed that up with “First Knight,” “Sabrina” and “Smilla’s Sense of Snow,” and has worked with Hollywood heavyweights like Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro, among others. She had a recurring part in last season’s “CSI: NY” as Deputy Inspector Gillian Whitford and is presently filming the movie “Albatross.” You can catch Julia next in the Lifetime Movie Network film called “The Wronged Man” on Sunday night, Jan. 17. The movie is based on the real-life story about paralegal Janet Gregory (played by Julia) who crusaded to exonerate Calvin Willis, a felon wrongly convicted of raping a young girl.
Q: “Mercy,” “Three Rivers” and “Trauma” are all tied for first place in my book as the best new shows of the season. I noticed they haven’t been on lately. Please tell me they haven’t been canceled! — Becky H., via e-mail
A: Well, two outta three ain’t bad: While CBS has decided to cancel “Three Rivers,” the medical dramas “Mercy” and “Trauma” have had full-season orders. They will return following NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Q: I am excited for the “Sex and the City” movie sequel. Can you give me any hints as to what this movie has in store for Carrie and company? — Ginny G., via e-mail
A: SPOILER ALERT! Rumors are swirling that Carrie will have an “indiscretion” with John Corbett’s character, Aidan, as John was spotted in Morocco at the same time that “Sex and the City 2” was filming there. While there is, of course, no official comment from anyone involved with the movie, as they don’t want to give away major plot points, I’m thinking Aidan is going to give Big a run for his money!
Q: I recently rented “Apocalypto” on DVD and really loved the movie, as well as Mel Gibson’s direction. I was wondering, however, when we’ll get to see Mel in front of the camera again. — Fanny E., West Palm Beach, Fla.
A: You don’t have long to wait. The 54-year-old new father can be seen next on the big screen on Jan. 29 when his thriller “Edge of Darkness” is released. Mel plays homicide detective Thomas Craven, who is investigating the death of his activist daughter. In the process, he not only uncovers her secret life, but also a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.
It also was announced recently that Mel plans star in a crime comedy that he wrote called “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” as well as direct Leonardo DiCaprio in an as-yet-untitled Viking flick.
Q: I saw a picture of Eliza Dushku wearing a cast on her arm. Is she OK, or was that just a costume for her show, “Dollhouse”? — Layla F., via e-mail
A: That cast is the real deal. Eliza “earned” it during a fight sequence on the set of “Dollhouse” when she fractured her radial head. She will have to wear the cast for a few weeks while it heals. The show will shoot around her injury, hiding the cast with long-sleeved wardrobe and such. Eliza told fans not to worry, saying, “I can still hold a shotgun and save the world!”
Q: I haven’t seen Kimberly Williams-Paisley since “According to Jim” ended. I absolutely loved her in the “Father of the Bride” movies and wonder what she has next on her plate. — Georgie H., Trenton, N.J.
A: Kimberly, who is married to country superstar Brad Paisley, is set to star in the Lifetime Movie Network original movie “Amish Grace.” Kimberly stars as Ida Graber, and the movie is based on a true story about the aftermath that followed the schoolhouse shooting in the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa. The film will examine Ida’s personal journey as she copes with the tragic loss of her daughter during the shooting. Matt Letscher (“Brothers & Sisters” and “Entourage”) portrays her husband, Gideon Graber. The film is scheduled to air in the spring.