The Guardian- News Archive

O'Neal denies cheating on Farrah

Ryan O'Neal has blasted explosive new allegations he began a love affair with Farrah Fawcett's best friend Alana Stewart as his longterm girlfriend fought for her life.

The veteran actor's estranged son Griffin is one of a number of sources to come forward with the sordid claims, accusing O'Neal of having an inappropriate relationship with Stewart.

O'Neal and Stewart have grown closer in the last three years after rallying together to support the Charlie's Angels star as she bravely battled anal cancer.

But Griffin O'Neal claims their friendship took a romantic turn in Fawcett's final months, before her death on 25 June.

He tells In Touch Weekly magazine, "They were sharing a room together."

The 44 year old goes on to claim Fawcett's ageing father, Jim, once walked in on the pair in the bedroom after flying in from Houston, Texas to visit his ailing daughter.

Griffin adds, "It made Jim uncomfortable, so he packed his bags and went home."

His allegations have been backed up by Javier Salazar, a friend of O'Neal and Fawcett's son Redmond, who admits, "Ryan and Alana's relationship was fishy."

A former business partner of Fawcett's goes on to add, "Ryan and Alana are a little too cozy with each other. It is raising eyebrows. They both stayed at Farrah's (home) in the end."

Representatives for both O'Neal and Stewart have denied the salacious claims to In Touch, but have declined to comment further.

Close pal to issue Farrah Fawcett book next month

A close friend of late "Charlie's Angels" star Farrah Fawcett will publish her personal diaries about the actress' three-year struggle with cancer next month.

"My Journey with Farrah: A Story of Life, Love and Friendship," by Alana Stewart, will come out on August 11 -- less than two months after Fawcett succumbed to anal cancer on June 25. The book is thought to be the first insider's look at Fawcett's illness.

Stewart, the ex-wife of rocker Rod Stewart and a friend of Fawcett's for 30 years, said she was encouraged to go into print by Fawcett herself and by Ryan O'Neal, the "Love Story" movie star who was Fawcett's long time companion.

"Farrah had originally encouraged me to write this book. It was her idea. However, while I was contemplating my decision, her health took a turn for the worse, and I could no longer seek her advice," Stewart said in a statement.

"So I turned to Ryan O'Neal. He was so positive and so supportive. 'You have to do it', he said emphatically. 'There will be lots of people writing books about her. Yours will be the truth, and it will be a wonderful tribute to her. You have to do it!'", she said.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Farrah Fawcett Foundation to support cancer research.

Fawcett told her own story in a heart-wrenching video diary of her last three years that was broadcast on U.S. television in May as the actress entered the final few weeks of her life in seclusion at her Los Angeles home.

Alana Stewart's book will be published by William Morrow, a unit of HarperCollins which is owned by News Corp.


The Mentalist's Simon Baker, delighting a young fan who had been waiting patiently outside R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica where the Aussie star was lunching with three male friends. After asking the boy's name, Baker happily signed an autograph for him.

Farrah Fawcett's life celebrated at LA funeral

The life of "Charlie's Angels" star Farrah Fawcett was celebrated Tuesday at a private funeral in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Her longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal, 68, was among pallbearers who accompanied the casket, covered in yellow and orange flowers, into the Roman Catholic cathedral.

Fawcett's friend Alana Stewart and "Charlie's Angels" co-star Kate Jackson were among early arrivals before the hearse pulled up, accompanied by 10 motorcycle officers.

Fans and news media watched from across a street. The service was closed to the public.

The funeral program said Fawcett's and O'Neal's 24-year-old son, Redmond, was to do the service's first reading. He has been jailed in a drug case but received a judge's permission to attend the funeral. He was not seen outside the cathedral, however.

The program, which featured a photograph of a smiling Fawcett, also said Ryan O'Neal was to read the 23rd Psalm. and eulogies were to be given by Stewart and Dr. Lawrence Piro, Fawcett's cancer specialist.

Fawcett died Thursday at age 62 after a public battle with cancer. O'Neal and Stewart were at her side.

"After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away," O'Neal said in a statement last week. "Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world."

Diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2006, Fawcett's battle with the disease was documented in "Farrah's Story," which aired last month on NBC.

Stewart, a producer of the documentary, said Fawcett was "much more than a friend; she was my sister."

"Although I will miss her terribly, I know in my heart that she will always be there as that angel on the shoulder of everyone who loved her," Stewart said in a statement.

Redmond O'Neal was jailed April 5 on drug charges.

Last week, a judge granted his request to attend Fawcett's funeral. The order by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jane Godfrey allows Redmond O'Neal to be released for three hours and wear street clothes to attend the funeral.

Farrah's Funeral: 'Goodbye Sweet Girl'

A tearful Ryan and Redmond O'Neal joined Farrah Fawcett's closest friends and family for the actress's private funeral Tuesday afternoon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

Marla Maples, Joan Collins and Tatum O'Neal were among the 200 guests attending the hour-long Catholic service, where longtime pal Alana Stewart and Fawcett's doctor Lawrence Piro delivered the eulogies.

"Goodbye sweet girl," said Stewart. "[Farrah] never felt sorry for herself during her illness ... she fought cancer furiously."

'Angel in Heaven'

"She's the most beautiful angel in heaven," Stewart added. "She always seemed so indestructible."

With city police and private security lining the streets, Ryan and Redmond arrived at the cathedral around 3:50 p.m. and served as pallbearers, carrying Fawcett's casket, adorned with yellow and orange flowers.

A man in a kilt played "Amazing Grace" on a bagpipe at the beginning of the service, which also included Bible readings and prayer.

After the service ended, vans shuttled guests to the reception at the Jonathan Club, where a band played Fawcett's favorite songs, including some from Van Morrison.

Farrah Fawcett being laid to rest at LA funeral

The life of "Charlie's Angels" star Farrah Fawcett is being celebrated Tuesday at a private funeral held, fittingly, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Her longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal, and her friend, Alana Stewart, both wore black as they entered the service, which was closed to media and the public.

Fawcett died Thursday at age 62 after a public battle with cancer. O'Neal and Stewart were at her side.

"After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away," O'Neal said in a statement last week. "Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world."

Diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2006, Fawcett's battle with the disease was documented in "Farrah's Story," which aired last month on NBC.

Stewart, a producer of the documentary, said Fawcett was "much more than a friend; she was my sister."

"Although I will miss her terribly, I know in my heart that she will always be there as that angel on the shoulder of everyone who loved her," Stewart said in a statement.

Fawcett and O'Neal, 68, have a son, 24-year-old Redmond, who has been jailed since April 5 on drug charges.

Last week, a judge granted his request to attend Fawcett's funeral. The order by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jane Godfrey allows Redmond O'Neal to be released for three hours and wear street clothes to attend the funeral.

O'Neal leads mourners at Farrah Fawcett funeral

Actor Ryan O'Neal led friends and family in a private funeral service on Tuesday for actress Farrah Fawcett, who died last week aged 62 after a long and public battle with cancer.

O'Neal, the long-time companion of the "Charlie's Angels" star, was one of the pall-bearers and gave a reading at the service at Los Angeles Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Redmond O'Neal, the "Love Story" actor's 24-year-old son with Fawcett, was allowed briefly out of jail where he is being held on drugs possession charges to attend the funeral service. Redmond also gave a bible reading, according to a program made available to the media.

Fellow "Charlie's Angels" star Kate Jackson, former model Cheryl Tiegs and rocker Rod Stewart's ex-wife Alana Stewart were also among the mourners. Fawcett's Los Angeles cancer doctor, Dr. Lawrence Piro, delivered the eulogy with Stewart.

Fawcett's coffin was taken into the church as a quartet of musicians played "Amazing Grace" and Irving Berlin love song "Always", according to the program.

Outside the downtown Los Angeles church, a few dozen fans watched as Fawcett's casket was taken inside, covered with sprays of bright yellow flowers that seemed to reflect the sunny smile and golden hair that made Fawcett a worldwide star 30 years ago.

Fawcett died in a Los Angeles hospital on Thursday with O'Neal and Stewart at her side after a long struggle to beat anal and then liver cancer. A personal video diary chronicling her cancer treatments was broadcast on U.S. television in May.

Watching from the street, Karla Dishon, 47, told Reuters outside the church she had come to pay tribute to Fawcett -- a star whose hairstyle she had copied as a teenager like millions of others around the world.

"All the girls did -- wavy, pretty, surfer, California girl hair," Dishon said. "She is an icon and she is a very beautiful woman, and I think it's too bad that we lost her so young."

Ryan O'Neal, Kate Jackson, Alana Stewart Gather for Farrah Fawcett Funeral

Farrah Fawcett was due for a heavenly sendoff at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Friends, colleagues and family members gathered Tuesday afternoon for a private funeral honoring the late actress. The cathedral has the capacity to seat 3,000, but the invite-only service was far more intimate.

First among the mourners to arrive were Ryan O'Neal and Alana Stewart, who were both with Fawcett at the hospital when she died. Farrah's ex-husband, Lee Majors; her Charlie's Angels costar, Kate Jackson; Ernie Hudson; romance novelist Jackie Collins and Dynasty villain Joan Collins also slipped past list-wielding security guards about an hour before the service was set to begin.

O'Neal was one of the pallbearers who escorted Fawcett's flower-draped casket into the church shortly before the funeral's 4 p.m. start time.

Redmond, her son with O'Neal, was not seen arriving but, having been allowed three hours to attend his mom's funeral, was believed to be already inside the building.

The 24-year-old is serving an 18-month sentence at a L.A. jail specializing in intensive drug treatment. He was briefly allowed to leave a county lockup to visit Fawcett in April and he is said to have spoken with her on the phone just minutes before she died last Thursday.

Inside Story: The Private Farrah Fawcett

To most of the world, she was the sex symbol with the flowing hair and dazzling smile – but Joan Dangerfield remembers Farrah Fawcett as the daredevil friend who took her out for a night of breaking and entering.

A few years ago, after the death of Joan's husband, comedian Rodney Dangerfield, Fawcett stopped by her house in the Los Angeles hills with a bottle of tequila.

"We stayed up all night long, talking and laughing and making plans," recalls Dangerfield. "Farrah decided that she wanted a house up here too." They set out to investigate a house for sale.

"We rang the doorbell, but it was clear that nobody was home. The next thing I know, Farrah climbed the gate –a big iron gate with spikes on top. I remember thinking she must have done her own stunts on Charlie's Angels. Within minutes she was waving at me from inside the house. Finally, she comes bouncing back down the driveway and she said, 'No, not for me, they have green toilets.' "

Fawcett, who died on June 25 at age 62 and will be honored with a private funeral in L.A. Tuesday, was "genuinely funny and genuinely caring," says Dangerfield – "the kind of friend who would show up with a German chocolate cake she baked from scratch and tell stories all night, acting out every part."

All in Stride

Another longtime friend, David Pinsky, recalls her competitive spirit. "When I first moved to L.A., she bet me that she could easily outrace me. So up Mulholland Drive we went, at speeds I should never disclose, and guess who got there first?"

Yes, Fawcett – who, Pinsky adds, never took herself or her fame too seriously. She would head out for Mexican food at her favorite dive restaurant in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and graciously sign autographs. "She would joke that she didn't think her fan base extended to the Valley," Pinsky says.

When she returned to the Late Show with David Letterman for the first time after her notoriously incoherent 1997 appearance, "her PR team ran around stressing," Pinsky says. "All Farrah seemed to care about was finding a great pair of shoes to wear on the show. She never had too great of a concern about what others thought of her, she simply wanted to have a good time, laugh and entertain."

Always with Grace

Even her 2½-year battle with cancer didn't dim her personality. "She remained kind and strong and funny even in the face of this vicious enemy," says Dangerfield. "When she would go in to get chemo or radiation and she'd see the other people suffering, she would talk to them. She'd want to know all their stories. And she was willing to share her story with others to lend them her strength."

About a week before Fawcett died, Dangerfield visited her in the hospital. Fawcett had been weak, but that day, she sat up in bed and demanded a steak dinner. Dangerfield rushed to a restaurant for takeout, which Fawcett devoured.

"We sat on the bed and talked about fashion, Obama, just letting the conversation flow without a care. She said, 'Shouldn't we have music?' The nurse pushed a button and on came a song with the line 'calling all angels.' She was laughing." Fawcett, says Dangerfield, "breathed a different air. She was such a joy to be around."

Redmond O'Neal to Attend Farrah's Funeral

Farrah Fawcett's son Redmond O'Neal, currently serving a jail sentence for violating his probation on drug charges, will attend his mother's memorial service on Tuesday, his attorney tells PEOPLE.

"That's an absolute yes," says William Slattery about plans for the 24-year-old son of Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal to go to the funeral.

O'Neal will be allowed to leave the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, Calif., where he is enrolled in an inmate treatment program, for the invitation-only ceremony, which will be held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels at 4 p.m. PST in downtown Los Angeles.

Fawcett, 62, died after a long battle with cancer on Thursday.

Photog Recalls Shooting Farrah's Iconic Poster

The frosted hair, the beaming smile and, yes, the skintight red swimsuit – all were essential ingredients to the bestselling 1976 poster of Farrah Fawcett that found its way into so many households across America.

Behind the lens, it was photographer Bruce McBroom. In front of it, the then-29-year-old Fawcett – who would go on to stardom and then, tragically, a lengthy battle with cancer that she sadly lost on Thursday this week.

"She had no idea of how beautiful and how attractive she was," McBroom recalled for Entertainment Weekly. "She was just like apple-pie, girl-next-door kind of girl, and in all the years I knew her she never changed."

Reflecting on getting the right shot during their session together (it took place at the golden girl's home in Los Angeles), McBroom said, "We'd been there all day … She comes to the door and she'’s standing in the doorway in that red suit. And she said, 'What do you think of this?'"

Describing the now-iconic suit as spray paint on her body, the photographer recalled, "When she did the series of sitting-up poses, I said, 'We've got it.' And I heaved a big sigh of relief."

He also got a lot of others breathing heavily. "I think she will be remembered as this wonderful, wholesome all-American girl that's on the poster," McBroom said, "and also now for her courageous battle against cancer, and the fact that she shared it with a lot of people who may be going through similar situations. I applaud her for that."

Farrah has poster and the hair

Dear Farrah Fawcett,

I'm sure you understand why Michael Jackson's death has taken over the airwaves and blogosphere, but the folks you've touched remember you, too. You might not be on the front page, but people are still talking.

People are talking about The Poster. People are talking about The Hair. People are saying you were a pretty face, but more than that, too. They're praising your battle with the disease that finally killed you. And they're talking about The Poster some more.

One swath of your adoring public is isn't talking about The Poster so much. Gen-X women are talking about Jill Munroe, the character you played on "Charlie's Angels," and how you taught us to kick butt.

For an entire generation of girls, that was your legacy. And even some of the girls born later who are fans of Sigourney Weaver in the "Aliens" franchise, Carrie-Anne Moss in "The Matrix" and even "Xena," know that Jill Munroe&Co. were the first soldiers on the female action hero front line.

The grown-up critics at the time derisively called the show "jiggle TV," and maybe it was, but that was lost on us. To us girls, "Charlie's Angels" was an exciting fantasyland where cool ladies in sweet outfits got to pack heat and run down the bad guys.

The feminist elders at the time dismissed the show as sexploitation, and it certainly may have been, but that went way over our heads. All we cared about was that now we had this fun game to play with each other after school. Some kids escaped into cops and robbers, but the girls of the '70s played "Charlie's Angels."

It went down like this: Everyone would pick which Angel they wanted to be. Farrah, I hope you know that everyone fought over who got to be Jill Munroe. And then, we'd run around together, our fingers twisted into pistols, acting out all sorts of scenarios where we'd outsmart the criminals while flipping our hair.

It felt like true liberation to find this funnel for our energy: to run, jump, roll on the ground and have purpose in our play. We fed off of each other the way we saw the Angels do it: friends before all with a little sass for everyone else. It wasn't lost on us how the Angels often used their feminine wiles to entrap clueless men. So who was being sexploited again?

Farrah, you only stayed on the show for one season, but your gift of Jill Munroe still lives on with the grown-up girls of the 1970s. They took to Twitter to offer homage.

"I was a Charlie's Angels gal. In the neighbourhood, I was Jill until Kris (Munroe) came along. I had the silk jacket," said one. And another: "RIP Farrah! My 5th grade hair do was the Farrah and Jill (Munroe) taught me girls could be beautiful AND kick butt! Best hair toss ever!" And this one, too: "So sad that Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer. Rest in peace Jill (Munroe) (I was totally her when we played Charlies Angels)."

Know that there are lots more just like it out there, Farrah. It's not wrong to be remembered for The Poster, The Hair or The Battle, as long as it's not forgotten that you've left a lasting legacy for something very different among a bunch of women who used to be little girls.

Yours forever,

Girls of the '70s

Michael, Farrah Paid Tribute on TV Salutes

The two pop icons who passed away this week will be remembered this weekend on the very medium that helped propel them into the famous figures they were.

In memory of Michael Jackson, TV Land will air the 1992 five hour mini-series, The Jacksons: An American Dream on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (both Eastern and Pacific Times), with an immediate encore presentation from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. The biographical series documents the progression of Michael's career from childhood to international stardom.

TV Land will also honor the memory of Farrah Fawcett with a tribute presentation of two Charlie's Angels episodes on Saturday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (both ET and PT), leading up to the airing of the first two episodes of the 2005 TV Land original series, Chasing Farrah from 9 to 10 p.m.

The Biography Channel, BIO, is offering Michael Jackson on Saturday at 10 p.m., tracing his ascent to stardom to his death on Thursday. Among those interviewed for the special are Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Liza Minnelli, and Michael's sister LaToya, brother Jermaine and mother Katherine.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, CNN will air Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror, a report on the troubled life of the singer, featuring interviews with Usher, who gained inspiration as an artist from Jackson, to family friend and album collaborator Rodney Jenkins.

Farrah Fawcett: Kate Jackson remembers her co-'Angel'

Breaking her silence for the first time since her Charlie's Angels co-star Farrah Fawcett passed away yesterday, Kate Jackson (left, with Fawcett in 2006 at the 58th Annual Emmy Awards) chatted with EW exclusively today. The former Angel talks about how hard it is for her to talk about her dear friend, the first time she saw the "gorgeous, magnificent, glorious" Fawcett, and the legacy that the Hollywood legend left behind. Here is what Jackson told EW:

"I didn’t plan to do any interviews today. I was just going to go to the place that Farrah and I were together the last time we were together during this three years and just sit. But I love her so much. There’s no way that I couldn’t be part of a tribute to her, and you know, just give people my impressions of who Farrah is.

"I just remembered a minute ago that right after I came to Hollywood from New York, I went to my first party where there were Hollywood people, and I walked in the door, and I knew that Lee Majors was married. I saw Lee Majors. He was the first star I had ever seen. Then I realized someone was with him, and I was almost blinded by the most gorgeous, magnificent, glorious girl about my age, who was talking and laughing with him. I just froze and stared, and I thought to myself, 'Oh God, the competition is really bad around here.' And it [turns out the girl talking with Majors] was Farrah. I told her that later when we finally met because we didn’t meet that night—we officially met doing Charlie’s Angels—that she was the person that almost made me go home. I told her that she was darn lucky that I was still here to do this show because I almost went home because of her, when I saw her I thought, 'Oh God, I better go home and, you know, be a teacher or something.'

"She was so funny, and we had the best time that year that she did Charlie’s Angels because we got into the habit of just sort of ad-libbing on camera and trying to make the other one laugh, or doing something unexpected. I remember once, where other actors and actresses fight for their close-ups, we fought to see how tightly together we could get our heads so we could do a tight three that would be as tight as a close-up. We just wanted to go home! We were so tired! There was one scene… Jackie [Jaclyn Smith] was sitting on one end of the couch, and I was sitting on the arm of the couch leaning over toward her, and Farrah was standing behind the couch, behind us, leaning forward so that all of our heads were real close together. It was 11 o’clock on a Friday night, and you know, we finally said to the director, 'Now that’s a close up, isn’t it? It’s as close as you can get! Look, we’re all in there, and our heads aren’t even cut off.' So she had some line and was supposed to walk out the door. She said the line and straightened up and started to walk out the door with that energy, you know, and as she walked out, she just sort of tapped me on the shoulder. She knew what was going to happen. I completely lost my balance and fell off the arm of the sofa. They kept rolling and I said, 'I can’t believe you did that!' She was walking out the door and looked back at me and laughed. It was actually in the show. I saw it in the show that week. They left it in! They left in a lot of the stuff we did.

"When the first year of Charlie’s Angels ended, our friendship didn’t. It just grew stronger and closer through the years. I don’t know what the connection that the three of us have is, but it is there, and it is something extremely special. I think that is the reason the show worked. I think it’s even better than the movies because we truly cared about each other and still do. It was a pleasure and a privilege.

"It was not easy at times to be able to be with her these last three years and to be able to continue laughing. There was always, if few words were spoken, a zinger, though. Then there’d be a little light laugh, even through everything. She was just extraordinary and bright and as sharp as they come and beautiful and her courage, I just… I don't even know what to say about that. She was never a follower; she was always a leader. Her choices were her choices."

Farrah Fawcett Funeral Set for Tuesday

While tribute arrangements have yet to be announced for pop legend Michael Jackson, PEOPLE has confirmed that Farrah Fawcett's funeral will take place at 4 p.m. PST Tuesday, June 30.

Fawcett, 62, who died just hours before Jackson on Thursday after a long battle with cancer, will be laid to rest in a private ceremony open to mourners by invitation only. Sources tell PEOPLE Fawcett's longtime partner Ryan O'Neal is handling arrangements.

Doctor Describes Farrah's Final Fight

Farrah Fawcett bravely fought her cancer to the very end, according to her physician. Dr. Lawrence Piro says the Charlie's Angels star, after contracting an infection, had been hospitalized for three weeks before her June 25 death from anal cancer. While she was in treatment, it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her lungs.

"We did what she wanted to do, which was to fight until it was over," Piro says. "It wasn't until the last days when the organ function was not retrievable that we knew, and she knew, that comfort measures were the main things to be done. The resolve in her remained until a few hours before she made her transition."

Piro says that Fawcett, 62, relied on her Catholic faith to help her throughout her ordeal. "She was very spiritual. Definitely for the last six months she slept with a large rosary in her bed all the time." Piro says a priest read her last rites on Wednesday, a day before her death.

Ryan Broken Up

Fawcett passed away in the company of many friends and confidants, including longtime love Ryan O'Neal, 68. "Ryan is very broken up about this. He has good moments and bad moments," says Piro. "The good moments come when he realizes that he was able to stand by her side and help her through this transition. The bad moments come when he realizes that he doesn't know how to face a life without her.

He added, "Ryan and Farrah are soul mates, and while there were times in their relationship when they were more off than on and times more on than off, they were always, throughout, soul mates."

Piro admires how the late star handled her illness in her latter days. "She marched through her illness fearlessly, taking control of her decisions," he says. "[She was] committed to fight all the way and as long as she could for all of the piece of life that she was entitled to."

A private memorial service for Fawcett is scheduled for Tuesday.

Stars Tweet Respects to Farrah Fawcett

The Twitterverse is full of Hollywood's instant reactions to Farrah Fawcett death:

• Christina Applegate, a cancer survivor herself, was appropriately moved and inspired. "Today please donated money to a great cancer organization for research. This damn disease has taken another. We must find a cure. Farrah RIP."

• Marlee Matlin, knew Fawcett after they spent an awards season in competition, and shared her thoughts in two separate tweets. "So sad to hear about the passing of beautiful Farrah. She & I were nominated for Golden Globes together. Gracious and lovely inside and out," she noted. "My thoughts and prayers to Farrah's dear Ryan her son and family. She was beautiful AND strong. She fought hard battle and showed dignity.

• Paula Abdul also had some choice words regarding the idol. "What a wonderful, beautiful woman inside & out. Kind as can be, an amazing fighter who always kept hope in her heart. We can all learn a lot from her tremendous will to keep on fighting. God Bless You Farrah & may she finally rest in peace."

• Rocker Shooter Jennings remembers the pinup sweetly. "Goodbye Farrah!!! Like a kazillion other guys I once loved you!!! Sleep well. The battle is over."

• Fellow musician Rob Thomas decided to forego his song of the day in Farrah's honor.

• "GOD bless Miss. Fawcett. What a beautiful woman. She will be admired forever," wrote Miley Cyrus.

• Khloe Kardashian was also moved. "Say a prayer for her family please. So sad when anyone passes!!! God bless all who have lost anyone special!"

• Alyssa Milano hopes the angel will pass along a message to the afterlife. "R.I.P. Farrah Fawcett. You will be missed. And if you see Mr. Spelling in your new journey, tell him I miss him."

• Perhaps director-producer Adam Shankman said it best. "Farewell Farrah. Forever you will be an angel here on earth, and now in heaven. We'll miss u."

Denise Richards, Brooke Burke, Soleil Moon Frye, Nicky and Paris Hilton, Trista Sutter, Nicole Richie, Joel Madden and Kelly Osbourne were among those to share similar sentiments.

Ryan O'Neal's Heartbreak: "Farrah's Gone"

Ryan O'Neal could barely contain himself. Confronted by cameramen outside a Santa Monica hospital this morning, the actor was pepppered with questions about Farrah Fawcett's condition.

"How's Farrah?" someone asks. (Clip)

"Farrah's gone," he says.

The heartwrenching scene played out just 90 minutes after Fawcett died. After composing himself a few hours later, O'Neal saluted his companion:

"After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away," he said. "Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world."

It was the first of many similar statements from family, friends and fellow Angels...

• Best friend and fellow actress Alana Stewart, who was with O'Neal and Fawcett in the latter's final moments: "There are no words to express the deep sense of loss that I feel. For 30 years Farrah was much more than a friend, she was my sister, and although I will miss her terribly I know in my heart that she will always be there as that angel on the shoulder of everyone who loved her."

• Six Million Dollar Man and Fall Guy star Lee Majors, married to Fawcett from 1973-82: "My wife Faith and I were saddened to hear of Farrah's passing. She fought a tremendous battle against a terrible disease. She was an angel on Earth and now an angel forever."

• Stepdaughter Tatum O'Neal: "I am truly heartbroken of Farrah's passing. She was an inspiration to all women; an icon in her own right. She brought so much joy to millions and there are no words how much she will be missed."

And then there were Fawcett's Charlie's Angels costars.

• Kate Jackson, herself a cancer survivor: "I will miss Farrah everyday. She was a selfless person who loved her family and friends with all her heart, and what a big heart it was. Farrah showed immense courage and grace throughout her illness and was an inspiration to those around her. When I think of Farrah I will remember her kindness, her cutting dry wit and of course her beautiful smile. Today when you think of Farrah remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered...smiling."

• Jaclyn Smith: "Farrah had courage, she had strength, and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels."

• Cheryl Ladd, who replaced Fawcett on the 1970s detective series: "I’m terribly sad about Farrah’s passing. She was incredibly brave, and God will be welcoming her with open arms."

• John Forsythe, who provided the voice of Charlie: "She left an indelible mark on me and the public...She put up a gallant fight."

• Tori Spelling, whose father, legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling, cast Fawcett in Angels: "Farrah was an inspiration to all and had the most amazing spirit. She was one of the kindest, sweetest, and funniest women I've had the privilege of knowing and I'm proud to have called her a friend. Her smile will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with her family."

PEOPLE Appreciation: Farrah the Heartbreaker

Farrah Fawcett's iconic moments were brief – the one season as Jill Munroe on Charlie's Angels and the poster, both from the mid-'70s – but they defined her life in the public eye for the next 40 years: The blonde hair and dazzling smile, both of which seemed to hold and reflect California sun, as well as the all-American desirability.

Those moments are fixed in amber. Those are what really matter.

Fawcett worked hard to establish herself as a serious actress in the '80s, and she succeeded in roles that were unexpectedly sorrowful and angry: She was an abused wife who finally murders her husband in 1984's Burning Bed (an Emmy-nominated performance), and a woman who traps and torments her rapist in the play and 1986 movie of Extremities.

She wasn't an actress who made revenge into something dramatically exhilarating: Oddly enough, what she projected with particular force were fear and fragility. Two of her best performances were small but perfectly realized: She was (again) the abused wife in Robert Duvall's 1997 Apostle, praying with him and terrified of him; and she was a wealthy Dallas housewife afflicted by a mysterious, Alzheimer's-like disease, drifting off into unreality in Robert Altman's 2000 Dr. T and the Women.

She had trouble sustaining a career, and her image was often upended by poorly managed or controlled stunts: a spaced-out appearance on David Letterman in 1997, painting her naked body for a Playboy video, a regrettable 2005 attempt at a reality series called Chasing Farrah.

She summed up her life and her imminent death from cancer in May in the uncomfortably intimate NBC documentary, Farrah's Story: The world-famous hair fell out, and MRI readouts charted the decline of her once-radiant body. In the end we saw her only as a tiny figure hidden under a blanket in a darkened bedroom.

Like her best acting, it was a heartbreaking gesture.

Hollywood Pays Tribute to Farrah Fawcett

The angels are in mourning.

"Farrah had courage, she had strength, and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels," said Jaclyn Smith after the death of her friend and Charlie's Angels costar Farrah Fawcett.

Cheryl Ladd, who replaced Fawcett on the wildly popular '70s show, says: "I'm terribly sad about Farrah's passing. She was incredibly brave, and God will be welcoming her with open arms."

"I will miss Farrah every day," says Kate Jackson. "She was a selfless person who loved her family and friends with all her heart, and what a big heart it was. Farrah showed immense courage and grace throughout her illness and was an inspiration to those around her. When I think of Farrah I will remember her kindness, her cutting dry wit and, of course, her beautiful smile."

Added Jackson, "Today when you think of Farrah remember her smiling, because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered."

Fond Remembrances

From pinup, to TV star, to entertainment icon, to hero: Fawcett is being fondly remembered by both Hollywood and the style community.

Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner called Fawcett, who died of cancer at age 62 Thursday morning, the "Marilyn Monroe of the 1970s" whose famous poster "defined what one thinks of as the All-American girl."

"Men fell in love with her and women wanted to look like her," says Hefner of his magazine's cover model. "She had a magic that never went away. She became a part of the pop culture.

Griffin O'Neal, son of Ryan, said, "I never looked at her as a 'star,' or a 'Charlie's Angel.' I looked at her always as this wonderful Southern Belle, a lady. I was fascinated by her. I loved her. She was the most gracious, wonderful person. I always wondered why she was around this family. 'Why are you here?' She was such a beautiful person. Especially in the latter days."

He went on to say, "It was incredible watching her battling to help [her son] Redmond. She had the patience of a giant. I'm so worried about my brother. What's he going to do without her? Farrah was part of my family. My heart is broken. I will miss her forever and ever. She was so kind and gracious."

Charlie's Angels costar John Forsythe said, "Though I did not know her well, Farrah left an indelible mark on me and the public during her one-year reign on Charlie's Angels. She put up a gallant fight against her unforgiving disease, and I send my deepest sympathy and prayers to her family and friends."

Former Husband Mourns

Fawcett's former husband, Lee Majors, says, "She fought a tremendous battle against a terrible disease. She was an angel on earth and now an angel forever."

Hairstylist Jose Eber, who created Fawcett's famous blonde mane, says, "She was blessed with the most amazing hair anybody could have."

"Her hair had its own personality," he says. "In my business, doing hair for so long now, very rarely do you see a person who has hair with such perfection. And it was all natural."

Although Fawcett was known for her beauty and glamour, Robert Duvall, who starred with her in The Apostle, notes that "Farrah had an outstanding talent, better than most feature-film actresses that I've seen. She was great to work with and will be missed."

David Pinksy, an entertainment marketing executive and a longtime friend, says, "It has been a true pleasure to call Farrah my friend for the past 15 years. While we may have met because of who she was, we became friends because of who she is – a good-hearted, funny and generous soul. I will miss her terribly but her spirit lives on inside her son Redmond."

TV made Fawcett the lovable star she was

There are stars TV creates but cannot contain.

On some level, Farrah Fawcett must have known she was one of them, as she exited the medium after just one Charlie's Angels season in what is still one of TV's most contentious contractual battles. She would return for some deal-ordered Angels guest spots, a few movies, a failed sitcom and a host of talk-show appearances.

But in truth, in that one Angelic year, she had given the best she had to offer to TV, and it had given her its star-making best in return.

Some have argued that it wasn't so much her role as the often-befuddled Jill Monroe that made her a star as it was her hair, which is all some remember of the part. And then there's that contemporaneous poster, with Fawcett in a one-piece bathing suit that revealed, pressed against the fabric, the promise of more than could be shown. (It was a simpler time.)

Yet Angels was able to do for Fawcett what no poster, no matter how famous, ever could: It established her appeal beyond her body and a now out-of-fashion hairstyle. It created a persona for her: the girl-next-door beauty who is not completely comfortable being a beauty.

When you saw the Angels in person, your eyes went to Jaclyn Smith; she was the stunner. But on screen, Fawcett was the more approachable one, and the one who drew you in.

Angels proved that Fawcett was a natural TV performer — but she was not, as she herself admitted, a natural actress. She worked hard at it, and she did improve. But in even her best work, the 1984 movie The Burning Bed, the effort shows, which is probably why the film works less well now than it did in 1984, when audiences were more inclined to be pleased and surprised by the effort itself.

Sadly, TV has been unkind to Fawcett over the last decade, as it tends to be to those we'd prefer to see frozen in their, and our, youth. Still, it's the medium through which most of us met her, and many of us (through her final interview special) said goodbye.

And now with countless clips and farewell reports, it will remind us of why we fell in love in the first place.

Because once you're a TV star, eventually the medium brings you home.

Farrah Fawcett: an angel in a red bathing-suit

She had the nicest giggle and the most chaste jiggle of any of our modern sex symbols. Nowadays, in an era of enhanced body parts and minimized personalities, Farrah Fawcett, who has died at age 62, seems vivid all over again. We can always remember her as the Texas-born charmer she was when millions of people discovered her via Charlie's Angels and her red-bathing-suit wall poster, the one with her tousled "Farrah cut" and the peek-a-boo nipple that inspired a nation.

Farrah rarely played the dumb-blonde cliche. Her Angel character, Jill, was naive, yes, and Farrah in her first blush of fame laughed a lot on talk shows, seeming perennially, happily suprised that people wanted to gawp at and get flustered over her. For a while, as Mrs. Farrah Fawcett-Majors, she was a pop-culture queen, wedded to the Six Million Dollar Man-king.

But she always had an independent streak, a willfulness -- she was a colt who'd bolt: from her hit TV show after only one season; from her marriage after nine years. If she proved her acting chops in a TV-movie about an abused woman (1984's The Burning Bed, for which she was nominated for an Emmy), she was just as effective as a luminous presence in the even-better TV-movie Murder In Texas (1981), playing Robert Duvall's wife in the excellent The Apostle (1998) and in a small but vibrant role in the underrated Robert Altman film Dr. T & the Women (2000). She was also damn funny and beguiling in the short-lived 1991 CBS sitcom everyone seems to forget, Good Sports, co-starring her long-time love, Ryan O'Neal: Clip

In later years, Farrah's aging sex-symbol status hit a few rough patches. There was the I'm-an-artiste phase, during which she stripped nude for a 1997 Playboy, slathered herself in bright-colored hues, and made "erotic" body paintings. There was the weird, slurry, worrying David Letterman appearance the same year. In our current culture, she was thereafter pegged as a train-wreck, a has-been, a joke. She does not deserve any kneejerk derisiveness. Our hearts went out to her during her recent Farrah's Story documentary about her own final days, told on her own terms.

But Farrah deserves to be remembered in her glowing prime, as the warm, smiling woman who combined girl-next-door sexiness with an implied can-do feminism, radiating positive energy and resourcefulness. Ultimately, Farrah Fawcett defied easy categorizing, which made her all the more interesting as a personality, and as a brave, vibrant person.

Farrah Fawcett, 1970s sex symbol, dies aged 62

Actress Farrah Fawcett, the "Charlie's Angels" television star whose big smile and feathered blond mane made her one of the reigning sex symbols of the 1970s, died on Thursday after a long battle with cancer. She was 62.

Fawcett, first vaulted to stardom by an alluring poster of her in a red swimsuit, was diagnosed with anal cancer in late 2006. It spread to her liver in 2007, proving resistant to numerous medical treatments in Germany and California.

"After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away," Fawcett's long time companion, actor Ryan O'Neal, said in a statement.

"Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world."

Fawcett's death in a Los Angeles hospital came just six weeks after the TV broadcast in May of a video diary she made chronicling her battle with cancer and her final months.

Called "Farrah's Story," the documentary was effectively a self-penned obituary by the actress, who was bedridden and had lost her famous hair by the time it was shown.

O'Neal said she had wanted to tell her story on her own terms.

Fawcett's close friend Alana Stewart, ex-wife of rocker Rod Stewart, told Entertainment Tonight after leaving the hospital on Thursday; "I just lost my best friend. Her death was very peaceful."

Fawcett, born February 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas, was an art student in college before she began modeling, appearing in shampoo ads.

She started guest-starring on TV in the late 1960s and appeared on the television hit "The Six Million Dollar Man" after marrying the show's star, Lee Majors, in 1974. The couple divorced in the early 1980s.


Fawcett's career took off thanks to a poster of her posing flirtatiously with a brilliant smile in a red one-piece bathing suit. It sold millions of copies and led to her being cast in 1976 in "Charlie's Angels," an action show about three beautiful, strong women private detectives.

As the tanned and glamorous Jill Munroe -- part of a trio that included Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson -- Fawcett was the hit show's most talked-about star. She left "Charlie's Angels" after only one season but lawsuit settlements brought her back to guest-star in subsequent years.

Fawcett's face appeared on T-shirts, posters and dolls. She came to epitomize the glamorous California lifestyle and inspired a worldwide craze for blown-out, feathered-back hair.

The New York Times once described that hair as "a work of art ... emblematic of women in the first stage of liberation -- strong, confident and joyous."

"Her hair needed its own phone line," "Charlie's Angels" co-star Smith recalled later.

In late 2008, Fawcett shaved her own hair when it began falling out because of her cancer treatments.


While Fawcett's early career was marked by lightweight roles, the actress sought to play down her sex symbol image in more challenging dramas in the '80s.

She earned critical acclaim for her performance as a battered wife in 1984's "The Burning Bed," for which she received the first of three Emmy nominations.

The off-Broadway play and subsequent film "Extremities," in which Fawcett played a woman who takes revenge on a would-be attacker, earned one of her six Golden Globe nominations.

Fawcett posed for Playboy magazine in 1995, the same year she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

She had one son, Redmond, with O'Neal. Redmond O'Neal, now 24, was arrested on several occasions in 2008 and 2009 for heroin and methamphetamine offenses leading to time in jail.

In the last few years, Fawcett appeared frequently on entertainment TV, where she shared details of her battle with cancer.

But she was outraged when news of her deteriorating condition was leaked to tabloid newspapers. A Los Angeles hospital employee was charged in 2008 with stealing and selling Fawcett's medical records, leading to a new California law imposing tighter controls on medical files and stiffer penalties for privacy breaches.

Farrah Fawcett dead at 62

Farrah Fawcett, the "Charlie's Angels" star whose feathered blond hair and dazzling smile made her one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1970s, died Thursday after battling cancer. She was 62.

The pop icon, who in the 1980s set aside the fantasy girl image to tackle serious roles, died shortly before 9:30 a.m. in a Santa Monica hospital, spokesman Paul Bloch said.

Ryan O'Neal, the longtime companion who had reunited with Fawcett as she fought anal cancer, was at her side, along with close friend Alana Stewart, Bloch said.

"After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away," O'Neal said. "Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world."

Other "Charlie's Angels" stars paid tribute to her.

"Farrah had courage, she had strength, and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels," Jaclyn Smith said.

Said Cheryl Ladd: "She was incredibly brave and God will be welcoming her with open arms."

Fawcett burst on the scene in 1976 as one-third of the crime-fighting trio in TV's "Charlie's Angels." A poster of her in a clingy swimsuit sold in the millions.

Her full, layered hairstyle became all the rage, with girls and women across America adopting the look.

She left the show after one season but had a flop on the big screen with "Somebody Killed Her Husband." She turned to more serious roles in the 1980s and 1990s, winning praise playing an abused wife in "The Burning Bed."

She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006. As she underwent treatment, she enlisted the help of O'Neal, who was the father of her now 24-year-old son, Redmond.

This month, O'Neal said he asked Fawcett to marry him and she agreed. They would wed "as soon as she can say yes," he said.

Her struggle with painful treatments and dispiriting setbacks was recorded in the television documentary "Farrah's Story." Fawcett sought cures in Germany as well as the United States, battling the disease with iron determination even as her body weakened.

"Her big message to people is don't give up, no matter what they say to you, keep fighting," her friend Stewart said. NBC estimated the May 15, 2009, broadcast drew nearly nine million viewers.

In the documentary, Fawcett was seen shaving off most of her trademark locks before chemotherapy could claim them. Toward the end, she's seen huddled in bed, barely responding to a visit from her son.

Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Smith made up the original "Angels," the sexy, police-trained trio of martial arts experts who took their assignments from a rich, mysterious boss named Charlie (John Forsythe, who was never seen on camera but whose distinctive voice was heard on speaker phone).

The program debuted in September 1976, the height of what some critics derisively referred to as television's "jiggle show" era, and it gave each of the actresses ample opportunity to show off their figures as they disguised themselves in bathing suits and as hookers and strippers to solve crimes.

Backed by a clever publicity campaign, Fawcett -- then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors because of her marriage to "The Six Million Dollar Man" star Lee Majors -- quickly became the most popular Angel of all.

Her face helped sell T-shirts, lunch boxes, shampoo, wigs and even a novelty plumbing device called Farrah's faucet. Her flowing blond hair, pearly white smile and trim, shapely body made her a favourite with male viewers in particular.

A poster of her in a dampened red swimsuit sold millions of copies and became a ubiquitous wall decoration in teenagers' rooms.

Thus the public and the show's producer, Spelling-Goldberg, were shocked when she announced after the series' first season that she was leaving television's No. 5-rated series to star in feature films. (Ladd became the new "Angel" on the series.)

But the movies turned out to be a platform where Fawcett was never able to duplicate her TV success. Her first star vehicle, the comedy-mystery "Somebody Killed Her Husband," flopped and Hollywood cynics cracked that it should have been titled "Somebody Killed Her Career."

The actress had also been in line to star in "Foul Play" for Columbia Pictures. But the studio opted for Goldie Hawn instead. "Spelling-Goldberg warned all the studios that they would be sued for damages if they employed me," Fawcett told The Associated Press in 1979. "The studios wouldn't touch me."

She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of "Charlie's Angels" a season, an experience she called "painful."

She returned to making movies, including the futuristic thriller "Logan's Run," the comedy-thriller "Sunburn" and the strange sci-fi tale "Saturn 3," but none clicked with the public.

Fawcett fared better with television movies such as "Murder in Texas," "Poor Little Rich Girl" and especially as an abused wife in 1984's "The Burning Bed." The last earned her an Emmy nomination and the long-denied admission from critics that she really could act.

As further proof of her acting credentials, Fawcett appeared off-Broadway in "Extremities" as a woman who is raped in her own home. She repeated the role in the 1986 film version.

Not content to continue playing victims, she switched type. She played a murderous mother in the 1989 true-crime story "Small Sacrifices" and a tough lawyer on the trail of a thief in 1992's "Criminal Behavior."

She also starred in biographies of Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld and photographer Margaret Bourke-White.

"I felt that I was doing a disservice to ourselves by portraying only women as victims," she commented in a 1992 interview.

In 1995, at age 50, Fawcett posed partly nude for Playboy magazine. The following year, she starred in a Playboy video, "All of Me," in which she was equally unclothed while she sculpted and painted.

She told an interviewer she considered the experience "a renaissance," adding, "I no longer feel . . . restrictions emotionally, artistically, creatively or in my everyday life. I don't feel those borders anymore."

Fawcett's most unfortunate career moment may have been a 1997 appearance on David Letterman's show, when her disjointed, rambling answers led many to speculate that she was on drugs. She denied that, blaming her strange behaviour on questionable advice from her mother to be playful and have a good time.

In September 2006, Fawcett, who at 59 still maintained a strict regimen of tennis and paddleball, began to feel strangely exhausted. She underwent two weeks of tests and was told the devastating news: She had anal cancer.

O'Neal, with whom she had a 17-year relationship, again became her constant companion, escorting her to the hospital for chemotherapy.

"She's so strong," the actor told a reporter. "I love her. I love her all over again."

She struggled to maintain her privacy, but a UCLA Medical Center employee pleaded guilty in late 2008 to violating federal medical privacy law for commercial purposes for selling records of Fawcett and other celebrities to the National Enquirer.

"It's much easier to go through something and deal with it without being under a microscope," she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in which she also revealed that she helped set up a sting that led to the hospital worker's arrest.

Her decision to tell her own story through the NBC documentary was meant as an inspiration to others, friends said. The segments showing her cancer treatment, including a trip to Germany for procedures there, were originally shot for a personal, family record, they said. And although weak, she continued to show flashes of grit and good humour in the documentary.

"I do not want to die of this disease. So I say to God, 'It is seriously time for a miracle,"' she said at one point.

Born Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas, she was named Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett by her mother, who said she added the Farrah because it sounded good with Fawcett. She was less than a month old when she underwent surgery to remove a digestive tract tumour with which she was born.

After attending Roman Catholic grade school and W.B. Ray High School, Fawcett enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin. Fellow students voted her one of the 10 most beautiful people on the campus and her photos were eventually spotted by movie publicist David Mirisch, who suggested she pursue a film career. After overcoming her parents' objections, she agreed.

Soon she was appearing in such TV shows as "That Girl," "The Flying Nun," "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Partridge Family."

Majors became both her boyfriend and her adviser on career matters, and they married in 1973. She dropped his last name from hers after they divorced in 1982.

By then she had already begun her long relationship with O'Neal. Both Redmond and Ryan O'Neal have grappled with drug and legal problems in recent years.

Farrah Fawcett, First Among Angels, Has Died

The 1970s did not lack for sex symbols. That, the ubiquitous Farrah Fawcett poster made sure of.

Fawcett, the feather-haired founding member of TV's Charlie's Angels and pin-up icon whose second act was marked by bids to showcase her acting chops and whose third act was marred by on- and off-screen problems, died today in a Los Angeles hospital Thursday morning, some two-and-a-half years after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. She was 62.

Family and close friends were said to have gathered at St. John's Heath Center in recent days as her condition deteriorated.

In an interview to air Friday on 20/20, Ryan O'Neal said he'd proposed to the ailing Fawcett, and that she'd accepted. The Love Story actor was certain the longtime unmarrieds would—finally—tie the knot.

"We will, as soon as she can say yes," O'Neal said. "Maybe we can just nod her head."

Fawcett, who in recent months had stopped receiving cancer treatment, talked frankly about her battle in Farrah's Story, a raw, camcorder-shot documentary that aired in May on NBC.

"I know that everyone will die eventually, but I do not want to die of this disease," Fawcett said in the film.

"I want to stay alive."

Farrah Fawcett Dies of Cancer at 62

Farrah Fawcett, who skyrocketed to fame as one of a trio of impossibly glamorous private eyes on TV's Charlie's Angels, has died after a long battle with cancer. She was 62.

Fawcett died at 9:28 a.m. PST on Thursday at St. John's Heath Center in Santa Monica, Calif. She was with longtime partner Ryan O'Neal, friend Alana Stewart, friend and hairdresser Mela Murphy and her doctor Lawrence Piro. She had recently returned to St. John's for treatment of complications from anal cancer, first diagnosed three years ago.

"She's gone. She now belongs to the ages," O'Neal tells PEOPLE, also confirming that she received the last rites of the Catholic Church. "She's now with her mother and sister and her God. I loved her with all my heart. I will miss her so very, very much. She was in and out of consciousness. I talked to her all through the night. I told her how very much I loved her. She's in a better place now."

Added O'Neal: "She was with her team when she passed ... Her eyes were open, but she didn't say anything. But you could see in her eyes that she recognized us."

Though O'Neal recently said that he and Fawcett had planned to wed, they did not tie the knot. "There just wasn't time, and Farrah wasn't in any condition to do it," says O'Neal.

Friends and family plan to honor Fawcett with a funeral service at a Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles in the next few days.

Like so much about Fawcett's life – including her bumpy relationship with O'Neal – her heroic struggle to beat the disease was closely followed by her legion of fans.

"I've watched her this past year fight with such courage and so valiantly, but with such humor," Fawcett's Charlie's Angels costar Kate Jackson told PEOPLE in November 2007.

O'Neal, in particular, remained a steadfast supporter of Fawcett, who, despite her frailty, spent the last months of her life filming a TV documentary chronicling her illness, including several trips to Germany to undergo experimental treatment. Fawcett is survived by her son with O'Neal, Redmond, 24, who is currently serving a jail term in California after repeated drug offenses.

Redmond was not there at Fawcett's side when she died, but spoke to his mother on the phone and told her "how much he loved her and asked her to please forgive him that he was so very, very sorry," O'Neal tells PEOPLE.

Texas Charmer

Blonde, blue-eyed and petite – and with a trademark mane as flowing and famous as the M.G.M. lion's – the Corpus Christi, Texas, native was born Feb. 2, 1947, the younger daughter of an oil-field contractor and his homemaker wife.

A magnet for male students at the University of Texas at Austin, Fawcett eventually set off for Hollywood. Quickly noticed by casting agents, she began landing small parts in forgettable movies, such as 1970's Myra Breckinridge, based on a gender-bending novel by Gore Vidal. Her role: an ingenuous blonde.

In 1973, Fawcett married actor Lee Majors, forever known as Col. Steve Austin on TV's The Six Million Dollar Man. Three years later, she appeared in the cult sci-fi film Logan's Run and began her stint with costars Jackson and Jaclyn Smith on Charlie's Angels. Well-coiffed and scantily clad, the threesome created an instant sensation, with a weekly following of 23 million fans.

Fawcett moved on after just one season. By then, she was already a phenomenon, having donned a one-piece red bathing suit and a perfect smile for her legendary pin-up poster, which sold a still-record 12 million copies.

"I became famous almost before I had a craft," Fawcett told The New York Times in 1986, four years after her divorce from Majors. (By then, she was already involved with Ryan O'Neal.) "I didn't study drama at school. I was an art major. Suddenly, when I was doing Charlie's Angels, I was getting all this fan mail, and I didn't really know why. I don't think anybody else did, either."

Bumpy Film Career

Though she left TV for what was assumed to be greener pastures – feature films – Fawcett's initial three big-screen vehicles all crash-landed. Her first, 1978's Somebody Killed Her Husband, was lampooned in MAD magazine under the title, Somebody Killed Her Career.

It took some serious dramatic TV roles, including that of a battered wife in 1984's The Burning Bed (which earned her an Emmy nomination), as well as starring in small-screen biopics about pioneering photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White and ill-fated Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, for Fawcett to bounce back.

"What would you do if someone said to you, 'You're so popular right now that you can be on the cover of every magazine, but if you do that, you might get overexposed and a backlash will develop'?" Fawcett told The Times after she had emerged from one of the valleys of her career.

Still, she said of fighting for survival in Hollywood, "That's life. Everything has positive and negative consequences."

Farrah Fawcett Dies of Cancer at 62

Farrah Fawcett, a three-time Emmy-nominated actress, sex symbol, and star of perhaps the most famous poster of all time, has died. She was 62.

Fawcett died Thursday morning at St. John's Heath Center in Santa Monica, Calif, her longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal, said in a statement. The Charlie's Angels star announced in 2006 that she had anal cancer, the start of an agonizing battle that included the cancer going into remission, only to return and spread to her liver.

In her final days, O'Neal said he and Fawcett had hoped to marry. In the statement, however, he is identified as her companion, not her husband.

In April, Fawcett's son, Redmond O'Neal, who is jailed on drug-related charges, was allowed to visit her. The emotional reunion was included in Farrah's Story, Fawcett's documentary about her fight with the disease, which aired on NBC on May 15.

The documentary would be her last public appearance. It concluded with Fawcett saying, in a voiceover, that the hardest question for her to answer as she battled the disease was simply, "How are you?"

"Today, I've got cancer," she answered, continuing the voiceover. "But on the other hand, I'm alive. So I guess I'm great. Yeah. Right now, I am great. My life goes on and so does my fight." She concluded with a question for viewers: "And oh, by the way: How are you? What are you fighting for?"

A 20/20 special about Fawcett, which had been planned for Friday, was moved to Thursday at 10 pm. The network rescheduled shortly before Fawcett died.

Fawcett spent the late 1960s and early 1970s modeling and appearing in small film and television roles. In 1973, she married Lee Majors, and went on to appear repeatedly on his show The Six Million Dollar Man. She was known throughout their marriage as Farrah Fawcett-Majors. They divorced in 1982, the same year she became romantically involved with O'Neal.

Her celebrity was cemented by two events in 1976: She appeared on Charlie's Angels, and posed in a red swimsuit for a poster that would eventually cover millions of walls and inspire women worldwide to emulate her "Farrah 'do."

The owners of the poster company reportedly sought out Fawcett because her ads for Wella Balsam shampoo were so popular with college men that they bought women's magazines just for her picture. The shot of her beaming, with one hand in her tousled hair — one urban legend holds that her curls spell out the word "sex" — is one of the iconic images of the 1970s.

Fawcett quit Charlie's Angels after a year, returning to the show six times to resolve a legal dispute over her departure. Though she left her hit series to appear in films — and had a significant role in the 1976 sci-fi classic Logan's Run — her movie career didn't take off until the 1980s, when she appeared in the hit Cannonball Run and won acclaim for dramatic performances in such films as Extremities. She also earned strong reviews for her turn in the 2000 film Dr. T and the Women. She received Emmy nominations for her performances in The Burning Bed, Small Sacrifices, and the series The Guardian.

Though she resisted appearing nude at the height of her popularity, she posed in 1995 for Playboy in an issue that became the best-seller of the decade. She posed again for the magazine two years later at the age of 50 — an appearance that expanded the standards of beauty she had helped set decades before.


Airing on a Special Edition of "20/20," Thursday, June 25 on ABC

Barbara Walters reports on the life, love and legacy of actress and iconic beauty Farrah Fawcett, who appears to be in her final days, losing her battle with cancer. Walters sat down just a few days ago with some of the people closest to Fawcett, including the man she has described as the love of her life, Ryan O'Neal. Walters also speaks to fellow "Charlie's Angel" Jaclyn Smith, close friend and confidante Alana Stewart, Dr. Lawrence Piro, who has been treating Fawcett for over two years, Jose Eber, the legendary hairstylist who has worked with her for over 30 years, and Leonard Goldberg, co-creator of "Charlie's Angels." The exclusive report, which also includes classic and revealing moments from Walters' past interviews with Fawcett -- who rarely spoke to the media in depth -- airs on "20/20," THURSDAY, JUNE 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Farrah Fawcett Dies at 62

There was always something major about Farrah Fawcett.

An enduring pop-culture icon for more than three decades, the Charlie’s Angels superstar and ’70s fashion goddess endured the sort of stinging reviews and embarrassing tabloid headlines that would sink many a career. But the Texas beauty, who died Thursday, June 25 at 62 after a very public three-year battle against cancer, never stopped fighting for respect.

She shot to the top in 1976 as Farrah Fawcett-Majors, the model-starlet wife of Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors. She quickly eclipsed his fame and fortune—thanks in part to a swimsuit poster pin-up phenomenon that triggered male pheremones across the country.

Her luxurious mane of feathered hair was the “Rachel” of its day, and her robust athleticism, capped by that blinding smile kept her from seeming like a Marilyn Monroe wannabe. “I didn’t come to Los Angeles wanting to be anything. I was led. Events happened, fell into place,” Fawcett told TV Guide Magazine in 1983. Landing an agent and a husband in short order, she appeared in commercials and bit parts (most notably in the 1970 movie “Myra Breckinridge”). Then she was cast on Angels as the world’s jiggliest undercover detective Jill Monroe, a supporting player to more-established headliner Kate Jackson.

The show was an instant hit—Fawcett once joked, “When we got to be No. 1, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra”—but the most popular Angel rocked the TV world by leaving the show after only one chart-topping season. (Lawsuits forced her to appear as an occasional guest star over the next few years.) She also left Majors behind.

After striking out in a few flop movies, Fawcett found her professional and personal bearings in the ’80s. She earned strong reviews as abused and vengeful women in the off-Broadway and film versions of “Extremities,” and most famously in the 1984 TV-movie The Burning Bed, which brought her the first of three Emmy nominations.

She also became romantically linked with bad-boy actor Ryan O’Neal, and their stormy relationship continued on and off for the rest of her life. They had a son (Redmond, who was recently arrested on charges of felony drug possession) and briefly co-starred in the short-lived 1991 sitcom Good Sports and a celeb-reality show, Chasing Farrah, in 2005.

Besides Angels and Burning Bed, Fawcett is remembered for her 1997 appearance on David Letterman’s late-night talk show, where she appeared dazed and confused—and possibly on something (though she denied it).

Even then, you couldn’t take your eyes off her. That’s the mark of a star, and Farrah Fawcett ranks now and forever as one of TV’s most incandescent “it” girls.

Fawcett reportedly close to death

Farrah Fawcett's family and friends are bracing for the worst as the actress clings to life after a three-year battle with anal cancer.

The former Charlie's Angels pin-up was re-admitted to hospital in California at the beginning of the week and reports suggest a priest was summoned to the actress' bedside in intensive care on Wednesday to read the devout Catholic her last rites.

And TV news show Extra has learned her 90-year-old father, James, is racing to his daughter's side, after being told she hasn't got long to live.

The 62-year-old actress' partner, Ryan O'Neal, has been trying to secure a temporary jail release for the couple's son Redmond - who is serving time in a rehab jail on drugs charges - so he can join family and friends at his mother's bedside.

In April, Fawcett was hospitalized for internal bleeding not directly related to her ongoing cancer battle. She recently learned the disease had spread to her liver and underwent chemotherapy.

Farrah Fawcett Is Back in the Hospital

In her continued battle with cancer, Farrah Fawcett has again returned to a Los Angeles hospital a source tells PEOPLE. The actress has been hospitalized for at least two weeks.

The source indicates that the actress, who was first diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006 and whose illness was chronicled in the recently aired NBC documentary Farrah's Story, is not doing well.

"There was a moment last week when she was supposed to be released and was going home but things changed," says the source.

Fawcett's publicist Arnold Robinson says, "She is still being treated for her condition."

Longtime partner Ryan O'Neal has been a constant presence at Fawcett's side during her latest hospitalization. In an interview with Barbara Walters to be aired this week on ABC, O'Neal says, "I've asked her to marry me again and she's agreed."

Farrah, 62, and Ryan, 68, first began dating in 1979. They have one son together, 24-year-old Redmond O'Neal.

Farrah Fawcett is 'still stable'

A representative for Farrah Fawcett has denied reports the actress is close to death - insisting the cancer-stricken Charlie's Angels star remains in a "stable condition" and is still receiving treatment.

The 62 year old has been battling anal cancer for the last three years and allowed cameras to chart her struggle since she was first diagnosed with the disease in 2006.

The Farrah's Story documentary pulled in millions of viewers when it aired on U.S. television last month. But ever since the emotional show, the star has been dogged by rumours her health is failing her, with many Internet gossips speculating she has since given up her chemotherapy treatment.

But a rep for Fawcett's longtime partner, Ryan O'Neal, has dismissed claims the actress is nearing the end, telling Fox News, "Ms Fawcett's condition has not changed. She is stable and remains under treatment by her doctor."

HBO lures three more to "Boardwalk"

"The Wire" alum Michael Kenneth Williams, Dabney Coleman and Paz de la Huerta have joined the cast of HBO's Martin Scorsese-directed drama pilot "Boardwalk Empire."

Written by Terence Winter, "Empire" chronicles the early 20th century origins of Atlantic City and revolves around Nucky Johnson (Steve Buscemi), who runs a liquor-distribution ring, and Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), his ruthless flunky.

De la Huerta, whose feature credits include "The Limits of Control" and "Enter the Void," will play Lucy, Nucky's girlfriend, a party girl. Williams will play Chalky White, the de facto mayor of Chickenbone Beach, Atlantic City's black section. He's an intelligent ex-boxer and confidant of Nucky's who rules his community with an iron fist.

Coleman will play Commodore Kaestner, Nucky's predecessor and mentor.

Production on "Boardwalk" started Tuesday on the East Coast.

"The Mentalist" voted sexiest, best new TV show

Television crime drama "The Mentalist" was not only the best new show of 2009, it also boasted the sexiest cast, according to a viewers poll released on Thursday at the close of the 2008-09 U.S. TV season.

But teen drama "The Hills" is clearly over the hill. After five seasons on MTV and the departure of star fashion intern Lauren Conrad, 25 percent of those questioned in the poll for AOL Television deemed it the most "SO over" program on TV.

Medical drama "House" won the season's best water-cooler moment with the unexpected suicide of Dr. Lawrence Kutner. The Kutner episode beat last week's "American Idol" finale which saw presumed front-runner Adam Lambert lose to Kris Allen.

"The Mentalist", CBS's program starring Australian actor Simon Baker as a police consultant with acute observational powers, took 58 percent of ballots cast for top new program.

The cast of "The Mentalist", which includes Robin Tunney, also was overwhelmingly deemed the sexiest cast, beating teen high society favorites "Gossip Girl" and "90210". A winning 56 per cent decided that Baker, 39, had the best comeback from his appearance in the short-lived drama "Smith" in 2006.

Actress Anna Torv of sci-fi series "Fringe" was voted best newcomer to TV, taking 32 percent of votes, and the best guest star spot went to George Clooney for his return as Dr. Doug Ross to the final season of long-running medical drama "ER".

The poll was conducted by AOL Television ( between May 22-27 and attracted a total of 353,953 votes.

'Mentalist' moves, 'Medium' finds home on CBS

More than any other network, CBS is playing from a position of strength going into next season, and its fairly stable schedule for 2009-10 reflects that. The changes the network did make, though, include a couple of pretty interesting ones.

CBS, which was the only net to increase its audience this season, will have four new series on its schedule in the fall -- but five that are new to the network. In addition to the four pilots it picked up, the Eye also snagged veteran drama "Medium" from NBC. It will air on Friday nights, sandwiched between "Ghost Whisperer" and "Numb3rs."

The other big move is that of "The Mentalist," this season's most-watched new show, to 10 p.m. Thursdays. The goal, CBS scheduling maven Kelly Kahl says, is to re-establish dominance of the night by creating a "super block" with "CSI."

The move of "The Mentalist" and the cancellation of "Without a Trace" creates room for two new shows on Tuesdays. The "NCIS" spinoff, unambiguously titled "NCIS: Los Angeles," will follow its parent at 9 p.m., and "The Good Wife," a legal drama starring Julianna Margulies, airs at 10.

CBS' other new drama is the medical show "Three Rivers," headed by "Moonlight" star Alex O'Loughlin. It will air at 9 p.m. Sundays, in between "The Amazing Race" and "Cold Case," which is sliding back to 10.

The lone new comedy for the fall is Jenna Elfman's "Accidentally on Purpose," about a movie critic whose one-night stand with a younger guy results in her getting pregnant. It joins a reshuffled Monday comedy block that will have "How I Met Your Mother" leading off the night at 8 and "The Big Bang Theory" moving behind "Two and a Half Men" at 9:30.

The comedy "Rules of Engagement" will once again come off the bench at midseason, along with two more dramas: the Jerry Bruckheimer medical show "Miami Trauma" and Canadian import "The Bridge." Two unscripted shows, "Undercover Boss" and "Arranged Marriage," are also set for midseason. "Flashpoint" is still in the mix too but doesn't have a destination yet.

Season finale frenzy: 'The Mentalist'

(Warning for our timeshifting friends: if you haven't watched the finale of CBS' The Mentalist yet, come back when you have.)

Some finales just aren't final enough.

There's no denying the important dramatic role serial killer Red John has played in the development of the season's only true, new, mass-appeal hit: CBS' The Mentalist.

His murder of Patrick Jane's wife and daughter is, after all, what turned Jane from fake psychic to actual crime solver. And the trauma that produced has been used to give Jane's character some underlying depth while providing him with an excuse for his worst (and most amusing) behavior.

And yet: Just because someone is important doesn't mean we want to spend time with him or have a finale devoted to him, particularly a finale that doesn't do anything to move the show's one continuing story forward. If you're determined to keep Red John around for another season (not the choice I would have made), then let him make his grand return in the next-to-last episode. A failed encounter with Jane's nemesis just isn't the best note on which to end an otherwise strong first season.

Why not go the Red route? For one thing, the story — one of those overly complicated capers where the villain goes to far more trouble than is necessary to lure his Jane prey to a remote cabin trap — put the focus on the puzzle rather than the characters. And to put it mildly, mystery puzzles are not The Mentalist's strong suit.

For another, it makes Simon Baker — the season's one true breakout star — play the serious side of Jane's character, as opposed to the playful side that has dominated most of the recent episodes. And while Baker does serious very well, and can even be moving while doing so, that's not what has made the show a hit, which is probably why the show has used such moments sparingly.

Still, taking Tuesday's hour just as an episode of The Mentalist and putting aside whatever failings it had as a finale, it was fine. The show continues to develop the smart cop/somewhat less smart cop byplay between Tim Kang's deadpan Cho and Owain Yeoman's more effusive Rigsby. And it has done a commendable job of creating an entertaining boss-with-potential-benefits relationship between Jane and Robin Tunney's Lisbon, even if the banter does sometimes smack a bit too much of House and Cuddy.

Oh, and we learned that while Jane may say all he cares about is capturing Red John, he cares enough about Lisbon to kill a man to save her, even though the guy was the only link back to ol' Red.

That's not really enough for a finale to provide, but at least it's something.

Farrah Fawcett cried, joked about her documentary

Farrah Fawcett became emotional while watching a television documentary about her losing cancer battle but still had the wit to make an old showbiz joke, according to her closest friends.

"She cried a few times. It was very emotional for her," her friend Alana Stewart, the former wife of rocker Rod Stewart, told NBC's "Today" program in an interview on Monday. "It's been a very, very long journey, you know, and going back through it was probably a bit painful."

Nearly 9 million viewers tuned in to watch the video diary, "Farrah's Story" that aired on Friday, NBC said.

The 90-minute film, much of it narrated by Fawcett, makes clear the actress is nearing the end of her life. It shows the actress' numerous medical treatments over the past two years and recent weeks when she has been bedridden, heavily medicated and barely able to recognize her son.

Ryan O'Neal, Fawcett's long term boyfriend, told "Today" that Fawcett had a "very low pulse" when she began watching the film that "kept going up and up" throughout the viewing.

She also had the clarity to make a showbiz joke about whether the ratings were any good.

"I said, 'We did very well last night,' And she said, "What were the numbers?' ... and it made me laugh that she would still have those terms in her head," O'Neal said.

Fawcett, 62, the former star of the TV show "Charlie's Angels," was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and it spread to her liver two years ago. The film includes footage of Fawcett shaving her own hair late last year when it began to fall out after chemotherapy.

The actress was too ill to attend a screening of the documentary in Beverly Hills for close friends last week.

The show drew mixed critical reactions. The New York Times described it as "awful" and "exploitative." Entertainment Weekly said it was "sometimes almost unbearable, sometimes fascinating."

O'Neal has spoken tearfully in recent days of a life without Fawcett.

But Stewart, who helped film the documentary, said in a separate interview that she still hoped for a miracle.

"Ryan has loved her for 30 years. She's the love of his life. He does go to worst possible case scenario. He's very emotional about it. I'm different. I'm stubbornly insistent there can be a miracle. talked about once. We didn't allow any outcome into our minds except getting well," she told Entertainment Tonight in an interview to be broadcast on Monday evening.

Farrah Fawcett's Story Gets Second Chapter

Farrah Fawcett is getting a sequel.

In the wake of strong ratings for her self-filmed NBC documentary, Farrah's Story, the network has ordered a follow-up, Ryan O'Neal announced this morning on the Today show. Nearly 9 million people tuned in to watch the two-hour special Friday (a number the star herself apparently was happy to hear).

"We haven't stopped filming, and we're going to make a second installment on her life eventually," Fawcett's longtime beau said.

The ailing Charlie's Angels star watched the telecast with O'Neal and best friend Alana Stewart by her side.

"When we began watching it Friday night, she had a very low pulse,” O’Neal said. "But, by the end of the program…it kept going up and up and up. It was wonderful. We have to now show her one of her films every night."

"She cried a few times," Stewart told Meredith Viera. "It was very emotional for her, Meredith, and I think it's because it's been a very, very long journey and going back through it was probably a bit painful. When it was over, I said, 'OK, so did you like it?' And she said, 'I liked it very, very, very, very, very much.' Those were her exact words."

Previously, O'Neal shared that, when son Redmond O'Neal was given leave from prison to visit her, Fawcett was unaware of his latest brushes with the law. Still, in the film, she had to have seen his shackles and orange jumpsuit, but she said nothing about it to her loved ones.

"She never commented about his incarceration. Maybe it hurt too much," O'Neal said.

A weekend report that the 24-year-old was granted a second leave to visit his mother on Friday has proven false.

"Mr. O' Neal did not visit his mother or anybody," Los Angeles Sheriffs Department spokesman Steve Whitmore tells E! News. "He did not leave the facility, has not left the facility, since that one visit weeks ago that was approved by the court. He was in custody in the same jail Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and this morning."

Farrah Fawcett Gets Comfort From Fave Musician

Farrah Fawcett loves Van Morrison's music.

So much so that the legendary musician filmed his recent shows at L.A.'s Orpheum Theater so he could give copies to Fawcett to watch while she's at home in bed in Malibu.

Morrison's 1987 romantic ballad, "Queen of the Slipstream," is featured in Farrah's Story, Fawcett's documentary about her cancer battle premiering tomorrow night on NBC.

Ryan O'Neal, along with his grandchildren, visited with Morrison backstage after his concert this past Saturday. I'm told the actor and Fawcett have been fans of Morrison since the 1970s.

"Van is also a huge fan of Ryan and Farrah's work," says a rep for Morrison, whose new DVD, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl, is out May 19.

Among his favorites? "Farrah in The Apostle," the rep said, "and Ryan in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon and, of course, Love Story."

Ailing Farrah Fawcett shaved own hair in video diary

Actress Farrah Fawcett is shown shaving off her famous blond hair in a heart-wrenching personal video diary of her long battle with cancer that is reaching its end.

"Farrah's Story" -- effectively the self-written obituary of the "Charlie's Angels" star -- was given a semi-private premiere on Wednesday night ahead of a nationwide broadcast on NBC television on Friday.

The 90-minute film, much of it narrated by Fawcett herself, chronicles the highs and the lows of the actress's numerous medical treatments since her 2006 diagnosis with anal cancer and the recent weeks when she has been bedridden, heavily medicated and barely able to recognize her son.

Her long-time companion, actor Ryan O'Neal, called Fawcett a fighter and said the 62-year-old actress wanted to share her cancer journey with the public -- on her own terms.

Fawcett found international fame in the 1970s for her role as the tanned, blond private eye in the hit television show "Charlie's Angels". The film includes footage of a delighted young Prince Charles of Britain getting to meet her.

Unflinching in its detail, the film shows Fawcett sometimes vomiting from the side effects of her cancer treatments and on other occasions dancing with friends during times when her tumors had shrunk.

"I do not want to die of this disease. I want to stay alive," she said when the cancer spread to her liver in 2007.

"So I say to God ... it is seriously time for a miracle."

About six months ago her hair began to fall out.

Doctors had initially avoided treatment that would have led to hair loss for Fawcett, whose flowing blond locks were copied by millions of women around the world in the 1970s.

But when other treatments in the United States and Germany had run out, Fawcett films her hair falling out on a comb and then shaves off the remainder, saving only her bangs.

"In the last two years I loved her more than I've ever loved her, ever," an emotional O'Neal, 68, said in an NBC TV interview broadcast earlier on Wednesday. "She's the rock. She taught us all how to cope. She is extraordinary. I don't know what I will do without her."

In moving moments, Fawcett and O'Neal are filmed lying together on a hospital bed. Earlier, after encouraging news from her doctors, they joke about being in "another 'Love Story' movie" -- a nod to the tragic film romance that made O'Neal a star in 1970.

Film of Fawcett taken last month shows a tiny figure curled up in a vast bed at her Los Angeles-area home.

Fawcett appears barely to recognize her son Redmond O'Neal, 24, when he is released briefly from drugs-related jail time to visit his mother. Nor does she notice that he is wearing jail inmate garb and is shackled at the hands and feet.

Ryan O'Neal said Fawcett had not seen the finished film and was unaware of the publicity surrounding it. "On Friday, we will watch it together," he told reporters.

Film shows Fawcett as a fighter, friends say

Ryan O'Neal says he and Farrah Fawcett will watch a documentary about her battle against cancer together.

O'Neal says he expects Fawcett to take "great pride" in the video diary, "Farrah's Story," airing Friday on NBC. O'Neal and Fawcett, who had a long romantic relationship that ended in the late 1990s, have remained close and have a son, Redmond.

The documentary was made with the help of Fawcett's friend, Alana Stewart, who filmed Fawcett as she underwent treatment. Stewart says the former "Charlie's Angels" star is a fighter who hasn't given up trying to overcome her disease.

The 62-year-old Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. It has spread to her liver.

Farrah Fawcett: "It Is Seriously Time for a Miracle"

Be sure to have a fresh box of tissues handy if you tune in Friday night for for NBC's Farrah's Story.

Farrah Fawcett's two-hour documentary of her nearly three-year battle with cancer will leave anyone with a soul in a heap of tears. The Charlie's Angels star shot the intimate footage using her own camcorder and provides the wrenching narration.

"Of all the things I've ever hoped for in my life, finding a doctor to surgically remove my anal cancer did not even make the top one million on my list," she says in the special.

"But now it was number one, number one as in, primary cancer, meaning it was the first in and for that reason, it needed to be the first out. Because it was this peanut-sized tumor that had sent its army of mutant cells into my liver. And it would continue to send reinforcements into any organ into my body unless someone did something to stop it."

Throughout the film, the 62-year-old actress remains—and remains today, according to her longtime love, Ryan O'Neal—a strong, optimistic fighter.

"Cancer is a disease that is mysterious, headstrong and makes its own rules. And mine, to this date, is incurable. I know that everyone will die eventually, but I do not want to die of this disease. I want to stay alive. So I say to God, because it is, after all, in his hands. It is seriously time for a miracle."

Like we said, you'll need some Kleenex. Consider yourself warned.

Farrah's Story makes its bow at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

Simon Baker nabs "Killer" role

Simon Baker, star of the hit series "The Mentalist," is playing an attorney on the trail of a murderer in "The Killer Inside Me," Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of the Jim Thompson noir classic that stars Casey Affleck.

The story centers on a West Texas sheriff (Affleck) and his downward spiral from bored small-town cop to ruthless, sociopathic murderer. The cast includes Jessica Alba as a prostitute and Kate Hudson as the sheriff's schoolteacher girlfriend.

Baker plays a county attorney trying to expose the sheriff as the killer.

The adaptation was written by Robert Weinbach and John Curran, director of "We Don't Live Here Anymore" and "The Painted Veil."

Baker, a native of Australia, plays a private investigator with psychic abilities on CBS' "Mentalist," a breakout hit of the 2008-09 television season.

Farrah Breaks Silence on "All-Consuming" Cancer Battle

Farrah Fawcett never wanted to be the poster child for living with cancer. It just turned out that way.

In an interview conducted in August and published today in the Los Angeles Times, the erstwhile Charlie's Angels star has spoken out about her involuntarily public battle with anal cancer, which included more than one privacy-breaching experience after hospital employees leaked her medical records to the tabloids.

"It's much easier to go through something and deal with it without being under a microscope," said the 62-year-old star. "It was stressful. I was terrified of getting the chemo. It's not pleasant. And the radiation is not pleasant.

"People call, 'How are you?' 'How do you feel?' 'We're praying for you.' 'Do you still have your hair?' 'What do you feel like?' When every single call is that kind of call…It's all you talk about. It's all-consuming. Then, your quality of life is never the same."

And neither, Fawcett said, was her level of privacy.

Back in December 2006, shortly after Fawcett's diagnosis, the National Enquirer ran a story titled "Farrah Begs: 'Let Me Die.'" Not only was the quote false, but it was devastated her morale.

"God, I would never say something like that. To think that people who did look up to me and felt positive because I was through it too and yet I was strong…it just negated all that."

The actress set up her own sting operation at UCLA Medical Center to prove the private information was coming out of the hospital.

"I actually kept saying for months and months and months, 'This is coming from [UCLA].' I was never more sure of anything in my life."

To prove it, she withheld the information that her cancer had returned in May 2007 from everyone in her life. Only she and her doctor knew, and four days later, it turned up in the National Enquirer.

The hospital investigated the matter and discovered that an employee, someone who was not a part of Fawcett's medical team, had accessed the star's file more than her own doctors. The hospital cited privacy and their "responsibility to protect our employees" in refusing to name the law-breaking worker.

After several months, the hospital fingered Lawanda Jackson, who pleaded guilty in December to felony violation of federal medical privacy laws. She died in March before she was sentenced.

Fawcett is now seeking criminal charges against the National Enquirer, which allegedly paid Jackson $4,600 for the info.

"They obviously know it's like buying stolen goods," Fawcett said. "They've committed a crime. They've paid her money."

Fawcett also had strong words for the hospital, which she says attempted to pressure her into setting up a foundation in her name at the medical center— move not only inconceivably timed on behalf of UCLA, she said, but also "suspicious."

"They acted like nothing happened," Fawcett said, adding that the foundation strong-arming began around the same time her medical leaks came to light.

"It's like, 'This will make it all OK.' I felt that all of a sudden, they were trying awfully hard to push it. Too pushy. In other words, it made me suspicious."

Fawcett, who partner Ryan O'Neal revealed last week has lost her hair and essentially stopped all cancer treatment, reiterated that she's "a private person" and would have much preferred battling her disease out of the public eye.

"It would be good if I could go and heal and then when I decided to go out, it would be OK," she said. "It seems that there are areas that should be off-limits."

Still, she is hoping to find a positive reason why her life's journey took such a public turn. "I'm holding onto the hope that there is some reason that I got cancer and there is something—that may not be very clear to me right now—but that I will do."

Fawcett had given her interview to the Times with the understanding that the newspaper would hold off on publishing it until her documentary on her battle, Farrah's Story, was set to air. The special will be broadcast on NBC this Friday.

Farrah's Cancer Story Heads to Prime Time

No doubt tired of the misinformation about her condition circulated by everyone from the media to her own son, Farrah Fawcett is taking control of her life story, teaming up with NBC News for a two-hour prime-time special on her battle with cancer.

According to the network, Farrah's Story is an "extremely personal" look at the former Charlie's Angel as she receives treatment both in the U.S. and Germany.

The documentary special will be narrated by Fawcett and will feature footage shot by the actress herself.

"This film is very personal," the 62-year-old actress says. "At the time, I didn't know if anybody would ever see it. But at some point, the footage took on a life of its own and dictated that it be seen."

Those closest to Fawcett also appear in the footage, including longtime partner Ryan O'Neal, close friend and special producer Alana Stewart, her Charlie's Angels costars Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, father Jim Fawcett and her medical team.

And while the actress has previously been reticent about opening up about her cancer battle, she now says the time is right to share her struggle—as well as her successes.

"I've never understood why people are interested in anything that I do. Until now.

"As much as I would have liked to have kept my cancer private, I now realize that I have a certain responsibility to those who are fighting their own fights and may be able to benefit from learning about mine."

Farrah's Story airs on NBC May 15.

Spokesman says Farrah Fawcett's condition unchanged

A spokesman says Farrah Fawcett's condition is unchanged as the actress battles cancer.

Earlier this month, the 62-year-old "Charlie's Angels" star was treated at a hospital for internal bleeding that her physician said wasn't directly related to her cancer. Spokesman Arnold Robinson said Tuesday that Fawcett is at her Los Angeles-area home, where she had a weekend visit with Redmond O'Neal, her son with actor Ryan O'Neal.

The 24-year-old Redmond O'Neal was allowed out of jail briefly to visit his mother.

O'Neal, who allegedly was caught with heroin while visiting a jail facility north of Los Angeles, was due in court Wednesday.

Redmond O'Neal Briefly Sprung to Visit Ailing Farrah Fawcett

Has Farrah Fawcett's condition deteriorated to the point where she's "gravely ill?"

In a development that suggests the worst, the actress' arrest-prone son Redmond was permitted to leave his jail cell Saturday to visit his cancer-battling mother.

Los Angeles Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore confirms to E! News that 24-year-old Redmond received a police escort to and from the Malibu home of his father, Ryan O'Neal. The visit lasted roughly three hours.

"A judge signed a removal order," Whitmore said, adding that the O'Neal family paid for all transportation costs. "Saturday they drove him to visit with his mother.

"It happens sometimes for a funeral or, if someone is gravely ill, someone can be released on a temporary order," Whitmore said, while refusing to directly speak about Fawcett's health.

During a hearing on his latest probation violation earlier this month, Redmond said his mother's weight was down to 86 pounds, and said her illness was a driving force in his getting clean. However, a friend of Fawcett's disputed Redmond's remarks, saying the actress wasn't as bad off as he made it sound.

Farrah Fawcett Celebrates with Ryan O'Neal on His Birthday

Farrah Fawcett is in a life-or-death struggle with cancer – but the star is well enough to throw a birthday party for longtime partner, Ryan O'Neal, a friend of the actress tells PEOPLE.

"There will be cake and champagne," says Fawcett pal Alana Stewart, describing the small celebration for O'Neal's 68th to be held at Fawcett's home Monday evening. "Ryan has really been there for Farrah in such a wonderful way."

Stewart also clears up reports that the actress is down to only 86 lbs. Fawcett's son, Redmond O'Neal, 24, told a judge last week during a hearing stemming from drug charges that his mom "weighs about 86 pounds."

Says Stewart, "Farrah is not 86 pounds. Redmond is young and overreacted a little. Farrah has lost weight, but not that much. No, no, no."

Stewart describes Fawcett as being in good spirits since she was released from the hospital on April 9 for internal bleeding not directly related to her cancer. "I just saw her last night and she looked better," says Stewart. "She had color in her face and was talking and laughing."

Along with birthday wishes, one topic of conversation that is sure to come up between the Fawcett and O'Neal: Their son Redmond, who is being held in jail without bail but will likely return to rehab following an April 30 hearing.

"They are hoping for the best outcome for Redmond," says Stewart. "He's not a hardened criminal by any means. He's a kid with a drug problem, who is very much

Farrah Fawcett Released from Hospital

With her pain subsiding, Farrah Fawcett left the hospital Thursday with longtime companion Ryan O'Neal after being treated for internal bleeding not directly related to her cancer.

"She's walking and in great in spirits and looking forward to celebrating Easter at home," her treating physician, Dr. Lawrence Piro, tells PEOPLE. "Her home has been stocked with her favorite teas and food and she's looking forward to enjoying them."

Fawcett, 62, had been hospitalized in Los Angeles since April 2 in the latest setback while enduring a long battle with anal cancer, first diagnosed in 2006. She was being treated for a hematoma from bleeding in a stomach muscle stemming from a "small procedure" at a clinic in Germany, Piro has said.

"Farrah was discharged [Thursday] afternoon from the hospital and is at home. She was accompanied by Ryan," said Piro. "The pain from the hematoma has improved tremendously."

Fawcett's cancer spreads to liver

Farrah Fawcett is being treated for anal cancer that has spread to her liver, a producer who worked with the actress said Monday in detailing a more serious situation than has previously been described.

In separate phone interviews with The Associated Press, Fawcett's producer and her doctor said that Fawcett is in a Los Angeles hospital, recovering from complications from a medical procedure in Germany, and is "not on death's door," as the producer put it.

"She had a minor procedure. That procedure led to a small amount of bleeding into a muscle in her abdominal wall," which created a sac of blood that caused pressure and pain, said her Los Angeles cancer specialist, Dr. Lawrence Piro. It was "a simple procedure" and a standard one, although Fawcett also has pursued experimental treatments in Germany, he added.

"She's on the mend and will be going home very shortly," said her producer, Craig Nevius. "She's doing fantastic. Her fight goes on. . . . She's not going anywhere anytime soon."

However, confirmation that the cancer had spread to such a distant site was dire news. The 62-year-old "Charlie's Angels" star was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and originally was treated at UCLA with chemotherapy and radiation - not surgery as some have reported, Nevius said.

She was declared in remission on Feb 2, 2007 but, three months later, scans showed "not only had it recurred, it metastasized to her liver," Nevius said.

The latest treatment in Germany tried to address the cancer's spread to that organ, he said.

Nevius would not say where in Germany she was being treated, just that it was a clinic affiliated with some hospitals. He also would not give details on her treatments there, but said media reports that she was getting stem cell treatments were false.

"It's never had anything to do with stem cells," or alternative treatments like shark cartilage, coffee enemas or unproven "detoxification" diets, Nevius said.

"It's much more scientific than that. It's not a fringe treatment," he said, and the doctors have "multiple, multiple degrees."

An upcoming documentary Fawcett has worked on for several years, "A Wing and a Prayer," co-produced with Nevius and others, will air on NBC soon and give details, he said.

After the procedure in Germany, Piro said Fawcett flew back to Los Angeles because she was anxious to come home. "It turned out that the procedure caused a small amount of bleeding in one of the muscles of her abdomen, making a hematoma, which was quite painful."

Piro, who said he regularly consults with her doctors in Germany, said in a statement released on Monday that Fawcett was using a wheelchair because it was painful for her to walk. "That pain, which was coming from the hematoma, had nothing directly to do with the cancer."

Added Piro: "She remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humour. She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience."

Nevius said Fawcett is expected to leave the hospital in a few days. He said her support system includes former partner Ryan O'Neal, her father and "Charlie's Angels" co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.

"Let me tell you what she's not," Nevius said. "As previously reported by everybody, she's not unconscious. She is not on death's door. The family has not gathered to say goodbye."

Anal cancer is relatively uncommon, but occurs a little more often in women than men. An estimated 5,070 cases were diagnosed in the United States last year, leading to about 680 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

Meanwhile, Redmond O'Neal, Fawcett's son with Ryan O'Neal, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of bringing narcotics into a jail facility and was being held on $25,000 bail.

A deputy at a jail in Castaic, north of Los Angeles, was doing a security sweep of the jail's parking lot when he stopped the 24-year-old, who admitted he was carrying drugs and was apparently at the jail giving a ride to a friend, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

A phone message left for O'Neal's lawyer wasn't returned.

O'Neal was arrested along with his father last year at the actor's Malibu home on suspicion of having methamphetamine while on probation for a previous drug conviction. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Farrah Fawcett Suffering from Hematoma; Wants Fans to Hold on to Hope

Farrah Fawcett, hospitalized for abdominal bleeding after undergoing aggressive cancer treatments in Germany, wants fans to hold on to their hope, according to producer speaking for the actress.

Fawcett's physician, Lawrence Piro, said the star suffered a hematoma after flying back to the United States following a procedure in Germany. He said recent photos of her in a wheelchair were misleading.

"Actually, it was painful for her to walk, which is why she was in that wheelchair. And that pain, which was coming from the hematoma, had nothing directly to do with the cancer," Piro told People. "She's able to walk. And she remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humor. She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience."

Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. She was declared "cancer free" in February 2007, but the cancer returned months later, prompting her to seek alternative treatments in Germany.

Speaking on Fawcett's behalf, producer Craig Nevius told People that Fawcett wants to address the recent reports in "appreciation for her fans, who have offered their constant support throughout her fight."

"Tonight, Farrah has hope, and she hopes that others will continue to hold onto theirs," he said early Monday morning.

Fawcett, 62, is expected to be released in a few days, according to Nevius.

Rep: Fawcett 'doing fantastic'

Farrah Fawcett, who has struggled with cancer since 2006, has checked into a Los Angeles hospital but is "not on death's door," a producer who has worked with the actress told The Associate Press on Monday.

Craig Nevius confirmed early Monday that the 62-year-old "Charlie's Angels" star, who was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, was hospitalized because of a blood clot that was likely a side effect of treatment she recently had in Germany.

"She's doing fantastic," Nevius said in a phone interview. "Her fight goes on. ... She's not going anywhere anytime soon."

The hospitalization was first reported by Fawcett's doctor, Lawrence Piro, said that Fawcett had abdominal bleeding and a hematoma while undergoing aggressive alternative cancer treatments in Germany. Photographs showed her in a wheelchair.

"She's able to walk," Piro said in a statement made available to the AP on Monday. "And she remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humour. She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience."

Piro said Fawcett was using a wheelchair because it was painful for her to walk. "That pain, which was coming from the hematoma, had nothing directly to do with the cancer."

Nevius is the producer of Fawcett's upcoming documentary chronicling her battle against cancer. The actress was diagnosed with the disease in October 2006; after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Fawcett got a clean bill of health in early 2007.

But several months later, Fawcett's cancer returned and she eventually pursued alternative therapy abroad.

Nevius said Fawcett is expected to leave the hospital in a few days. He said her support system includes former partner Ryan O'Neal, her father and "Charlie's Angels" co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.

"Let me tell you what she's not," Nevius said. "As previously reported by everybody, she's not unconscious. She is not on death's door. The family has not gathered to say goodbye."

Meanwhile, Redmond O'Neal, Fawcett's son with Ryan O'Neal, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of bringing narcotics into a jail facility and was being held on $25,000 bail.

A deputy at a jail in Castaic, north of Los Angeles, was doing a security sweep of the jail's parking lot when he stopped the 24-year-old, who admitted he was carrying drugs and was apparently at the jail giving a ride to a friend, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

A phone message left for O'Neal's attorney wasn't immediately returned.

O'Neal was arrested along with his father last year at the actor's Malibu home on suspicion of having methamphetamine while on probation for a previous drug conviction. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

'CSI's' Marg Helgenberger to divorce SAG president

Marg Helgenberger, who stars in "CSI," has taken the next step to end her marriage.

The 50-year-old actress filed for divorce Tuesday, March 24 from her husband, Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg, citing irreconcilable differences, reports

In the papers, which were filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Helgenberger is seeking spousal support and has requested to split attorney fees.

Helgenberger met Rosenberg, 58, in 1984 on the set of her soap "Ryan's Hope" and struck up a friendship since Rosenberg was married at the time to actress Robin Bartlett. Four years later, after his divorce, he reconnected with Helgenberger again in a line for a West Hollywood bank.

They eloped in 1989 and have an 18-year-old son together, Hugh. In December 2008 they separated.

Rosenberg has appeared on "L.A. Law," "Cybill," "Chicago Hope" and on two episodes of his estranged wife's series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," in which she plays Catherine Willows. She won an Emmy in 1990 for her supporting role K.C. Kolowski on "China Beach."

After Rosenberg and other leaders of SAG rejected producers' "final offer" in February, they've been holding informal talks with studio execs in a bid to reopen contract negotiations.


GOOD JEANS: Neil Patrick Harris, Lance Bass, Simon Baker and Jane Lynch, hitting Nobu in West Hollywood for the Levi's cocktail soiree honoring Milk's director Gus Van Sant and writer Dustin Lance Black.

Simon Baker and The Mentalist Try to Maintain Perfection

All is right in the perfect world of The Mentalist.

On the show's set, on a crisp, sunny day in Los Angeles, everyone is smiling. The stars are smiling, the public relations people are smiling, and the reporters shuttled in from their hotel to eat donuts and talk to the cast are smiling. But no one smiles brighter than Simon Baker.

The star of the CBS hit is about as handsome as a person can be. His hair is wavy but unfussy, his eyes seem kind, his teeth form perfect lines. When he smiles, you want to root for him because his smile contains such a mix of mischief and humility.

An endless number of police procedurals have failed, and, in the greater scheme of things, the country is in a recession where lots of normal people are losing their homes and jobs. But still, you want to root for Baker because his demeanor matches that smile, as he offers generous praise to the cast and crew in his soft Australian accent, and expresses his gratitude for his show's success.

Asked how his life has changed since the show, he jokes that his accountant talks to him more.

Usually with this sort of person you can find some reassuring downside: They aren't that tall or have fake tans. But Baker has no apparent flaws. His skin looks healthy, and he's a legitimate 6 feet tall. The black-rimmed glasses he wears today only make him seem even more earnest. His co-star, Robin Tunney, very attractive in her own right, says she wishes she could videotape her answer to the first question she's always asked about him, so she could stop repeating it: Yes, he really is that handsome.

And so it is with The Mentalist. It is the top-rated new show on television. The stars seem to like each other. One of the reporters in attendance carries a copy of The New York Times, which includes an article saying The Mentalist represents the next wave of crime procedural, where the focus is on intuition instead of evidence.

No one at the news conference has a hostile question, and none of the actors say anything at all controversial. The Mentalist T-shirts handed out at the end of the session are of a cotton-poly-rayon blend that are the tactile equivalent of milk chocolate.

On Baker's last show, The Guardian, things weren't so good. It lasted three years, though Baker jokes that it felt like four. His character was more conflicted and didn't like himself as much as The Mentalist's Patrick Jane.

Jane abandoned a lucrative career as a celebrity psychic to become an investigator after a serial killer murdered his wife and child. But the tragedy doesn't prevent him from smiling or cracking jokes, because Jane is an inherently satisfied person, always a step ahead of everyone else. He discovers people's secrets using the same tricks he employed as a psychic.

"I'm really happy," Baker says. "Life is very good. Very good."

Which means nothing on The Mentalist is going to change anytime soon. Red John, the killer, won't be caught for a long time. The series will not depart from its format, in which almost every case is resolved within one episode. Baker's dynamic with Tunney, who plays straight woman to his wild card, will stay pretty much the same.

"I don't want to touch it," Baker says of the show.

Because when something is perfect, the only thing to do is hope it stays that way.

What do you think? Why is the The Mentalist so successful?

'Mentalist' star making CBS smile

People on CBS dramas don't usually smile.

Dramas inherently are more serious than comedies, obviously. But CBS, with all its dark procedurals, takes that seriousness very seriously.

David Caruso on CSI: Miami. Gary Sinise on CSI: New York. The recently departed William Petersen on the original CSI, and his replacement Laurence Fishburne. Not a smiley face among them.

The casts of Cold Case, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Numb3rs and Canadian recruit Flashpoint aren't exactly prone to yukking it up, either.

Which is why it's such a pleasant surprise to see Simon Baker smile.

Baker is the star of The Mentalist, a rookie CBS series that also airs on CTV in Canada. The Mentalist has the distinction of being one of the few new scripted TV series over the past three years that, by all measurements, can be categorized as a hit in the United States.

And part of the allure is Baker's grin. His character, Patrick Jane, has a habit of smiling at the oddest times.

"Often it can be to disarm a person, because most people who are under scrutiny, who are a suspect or whatever, tend to set themselves in a very locked way," Baker said recently on the set of The Mentalist. They don't expect the policeman or the detective to be candid and genial and relaxed with them, and it disarms a little bit.

"You know what it's like, when you're in a bad mood and someone smiles at you, a really warm smile ..."

At this point, one of the reporters surrounding Baker smiled, and he noticed it.

"Yeah, exactly," he continued. "It's infectious in a way that makes you let your guard down a minute, and you go, 'Oh, that had an effect on me.' So I play around with that."

Patrick Jane is an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation who has a celebrity past as a psychic medium. He uses his unconventional observation skills and mentalist abilities to help solve cases, but whether or not he really is psychic is one of the mysteries of the series.

The creator of The Mentalist, Bruno Heller, was asked if CBS has dictated some sort of smile quota, or limit, with regard to Baker's portrayal of Patrick Jane.

"Well, I was interested in seeing him smile," Heller said. "I think it's one of those simple values that is what people turn their TV on for. They want to see people smile. They want to see people be happy. Let's be happy."

Good lord, welcome back to 1967 and the Summer of Love.

But honestly, Bruno, what's different?

"It's the beauty of this character as Simon has created it," Heller said. "He's a dark character whose heroism is not in muscles or action, but in being positive in his life despite what he does and the tragedy he's faced with. He's positive."

Well, we're positive The Mentalist is a hit.

And surely that must have CBS executives smiling.

'The Mentalist' scores hot time slot

CBS is giving a juicy post-championship game time slot to its new hit series, "The Mentalist."

An episode about murder and the theft of a multimillion-dollar painting will air at 10 p.m. EST on Jan. 18, following the National Football League's American Football Conference championship game.

The drama series regularly airs Tuesday nights.

"The Mentalist," which stars Simon Baker as a fake psychic who turns his skills to helping California state crime fighters, has been a ratings winner for CBS since its fall debut.

A show that airs after a big sports event gets additional exposure and a shot at more viewers.

Obama Admirer

FORGET sports - Aussie heartthrob Simon Baker follows politics instead. "The Mentalist" star told Parade, "I don't follow sports here. But politics has sort of taken its place. I followed the [presidential] race closely. It's a tricky area, because I don't want to be offensive, and I had no party loyalty. But electing Barack Obama was this country being very grown-up. It was such a positive step for the US to become a part of the world again."

Aussie Star Simon Baker Considering U.S. Citizenship

The Mentalist star Simon Baker is part of the close-knit community of Australian actors who are popular in Hollywood – but he's considering American citizenship, he reveals in a new interview.

"The morning after your election in November, I said to my wife Rebecca, ‘You know, I'm thinking about becoming an American,' and then she said that she felt the same way," Baker tells Parade in the Sunday issue.

The actor, who has lived in the U.S. since 1995 and has three children, says his work on The Mentalist has kept him too busy to do anything about American citizenship just yet, but, he tells Parade: "It's going to happen!"

Still, Baker maintains such close ties with his fellow Aussie actors that many are like family. In fact, Nicole Kidman is godmother to Baker's son Harry, 7, while Naomi Watts is the godmother of 9-year-old Claude. (Baker and his wife Rebecca Rigg also have a daughter, Stella).

Baker, who will turn the big 4-0 in 2009, said his children keep him youthful. "I stay fit, mostly mucking about with the boys," he said. "And I love the wisdom that comes with age."

Marg Helgenberger & Husband Separate After 19 Years

CSI star Marg Helgenberger has separated from her husband of nearly 20 years, actor Alan Rosenberg.

"After 19 years of marriage, Marg and Alan have decided to take some time apart," the actress's rep said Monday. "They love and respect each other and remain committed to their family."

Helgenberger, 50, and Rosenberg, 57, have an 18-year-old son.

What celebrities are thankful for this year

"I'm thankful that America actually stood up and did something quite extraordinary (with the election). ... I've been over here for 12 years and I have a green card and I've been delaying becoming a citizen because I was really troubled by the politics in this country, and sort of befuddled by it." — Australian actor Simon Baker, "The Mentalist."

`Mentalist' performs real trick: it's a TV hit

In a ho-hum TV season in which most new shows have been greeted with a collective shrug and a click of the remote control, CBS' freshman "The Mentalist" has managed to deduce what viewers want.

It offers tousle-haired charmer Simon Baker ("The Guardian," "The Devil Wears Prada") as Patrick Jane, a faux psychic jolted by personal tragedy into newfound ethics and a job helping California state crime fighters.

There's the appeal of a mystery wrapped up within each episode, joined with Patrick's quest to catch the serial killer who took the lives of his wife and child.

And there's creator and executive producer Bruno Heller, fresh off the triumph of HBO's miniseries "Rome" and looking for a new challenge, who's deftly mixed a traditional whodunit with the journey of an emotionally wounded hero.

During shooting on the Warner Bros. lot recently, Baker looked very much the part of the carefree actor with a hit series: He blithely pedaled a bicycle, a gift from his family, between his studio trailer and a cabin standing in for a witch's house.

Asked to dissect the appeal of "The Mentalist," however, Baker was far more cautious than flip.

"I don't want to touch it. I'm really happy. Knock on wood. ... This day and age, it's a very competitive world, the television world. If people want to turn the television on and watch `The Mentalist,' then I'm very, very happy."

So are his wife, actress Rebecca Rigg, and teenage daughter, he added, who were the first to tell him "The Mentalist" had a shot. The Australian-born Baker, 39, also has two sons.

Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Owain Yeoman and Amanda Righetti co-star in the drama, airing 9 p.m. EST Tuesday.

For his part, Heller is glad to heap praise on Baker for the show's out-of-the-gate top 10 ratings performance, with weekly audiences of about 16 million.

"He's a genuine TV star and we were very lucky to get him. Especially in tough times, he has the kind of positive spirit and sense of life that appeals to people," Heller said, adding, "I think the camaraderie and family feel of the ensemble works very nicely. But beyond that, it's a mystery."

Other shows incorporate supernatural elements, whether framed as real or fraudulent — think "The Ghost Whisperer," "Medium" or "Psychic." But "The Mentalist" is cut from different cloth, say Baker and Heller.

"This show probably draws more parallels to `Columbo'" than to series with an otherworldly tinge, Baker said. "My character just has a different way of looking at things. He looks at things outside of the box."

To clarify Patrick's skill, Baker notes that "a mentalist doesn't have powers. A psychic does. A mentalist has power to suggest ideas to someone," akin to a professional magician like Criss Angel.

"The Mentalist" isn't about "whether you believe or don't believe that people have powers," Baker said.

Heller drew his inspiration for the drama from the streets of Los Angeles, where "every block has a storefront" with a psychic.

"There's an interesting moral ambivalence in people who do that job, who say they can get in touch with the spirit world or say they can read your mind," he said. "In one way, I think it's rubbish. ... But on the other, they're performing a genuine therapeutic function in people's lives."

In contrast to forensics-heavy shows like "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," Baker welcomes the fact that the mind, rather than the microscope, is his character's weapon of choice.

"It brings the crime-solving back into the fabric of human nature, so it's prescience in the sense those old shows were. It's more about reading someone. As an audience member you can sit there and meet all the potential suspects ... so the audience gets involved in the show."

When the series began production, Baker waved away suggestions that he conduct research into weapons training and other aspects of police work.

"I'm not a policeman. I'm not that guy. I'm not even officially a detective. I'm a consultant that uses my powers of observation and ability of suggestion to influence people's thoughts and ideas to solve crimes," he said.

"It's best I make as many police mistakes as possible, because it creates something interesting within the show. If I do the wrong thing, it gives them (his colleagues) something sort of to react to and play with."

Simon Baker concentrates on having fun on 'The Mentalist'

Simon Baker looks directly into the camera, using his hands to accentuate his words, the tips of his fingers drawing a square in the air. "Look at me. Look in my eyes," he says almost seductively to Robin Tunney, the actress with whom he's working through the scene.

"I'm looking," Tunney coolly responds.

He draws another breath, leans in toward her and delivers his next line: "Imagine a simple, geometric shape, any shape you like. Picture it in your mind as strongly as you can, so that I can see it, too."

The episode's director, tucked away in another room of the studio set, yells cut.

"Did I get it that time?" Baker says, laughing heartily while reverting to his native Australian accent. "I was trying to have a little bit of fun that time."

The cast joins in the laughing. Baker, it seems, is finally having fun.

The 39-year-old actor who signed on for the role of Patrick Jane on CBS' The Mentalist (Tuesdays, 9 ET/PT) says he has spent too many years taking himself too seriously — a nod, he says, to the sharp critical tongues of Sydney. "I used to want to move people and let people identify with me as an actor, you know? But with this show, I just want to entertain people," Baker says. "I just want to have a good time."

Until recently, Baker's television success has been mixed, with a 2002 Golden Globe nomination for his work in the dour legal drama The Guardian and a blink-and-you-miss-it stint on the quickly axed 2006 heist caper Smith. But now he has a certified hit in The Mentalist, this season's top-rated new series with an average 16.2 million viewers and a full-season order from CBS.

And Baker says he's finally able to let his guard down as Jane, a character who's quite a character. Jane is a charming, impulsive independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation, a former stage "mentalist," or mind reader, who has an uncanny track record for solving crimes with his razor-sharp skills of observation.

"You know what it is? Most of my friends were these snobby, highbrow things who would sit and go, 'Oh, I didn't really like that film. It's pretentious, there's no substance.' So I grew up in my early acting years around that kind of environment. I had a governor in my own head, 'Bah! Big studio movies — I'm not interested.' I got in the way of myself," Baker says, pausing to chase a piece of salmon with a sip of water while on break in his trailer.

"I just needed to lighten up a little bit and have fun with it, stop taking myself so seriously," he says. "By all means, take the work seriously, but have fun doing it. And laugh at yourself. It's been somewhat liberating."

The notion of taking the lead in a police-procedural drama didn't immediately pique his interest: "There are a lot on CBS."

But after he and his wife, Australian actress Rebecca Rigg, read the script, he recalls, "She said, 'Wow. This one is written really well, but …' She thought the female role was written better than the male role. I disagreed. I thought the male role — my role — had more room to play around. But we both agreed that it was really sharply written."

And they also agreed the show could be the right fit for his fun-first resolution.

'He has everything dialed in'

Baker is probably best-known for his film work. In 1995, he moved his family to Los Angeles, where he had a small role in the Academy Award-winning L.A. Confidential. That was followed by more notable roles in 2000's sci-fi flick Red Planet, then opposite Sanaa Lathan in Something New and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, both in 2006.

Slightly burned out, he took a year off to be with his family. (He and Rigg have three children: Stella, 15, Claude, 9, and Harry, 7, whose godmother is Nicole Kidman.) Baker says he ultimately realized he's happiest when he's working, and it doesn't matter if it's film or television.

The character he takes on in The Mentalist worked for him because he "reads people, (and) he doesn't use anything spooky or wooky. He's just straight-up a guy who's a bit of a con man himself, and he's able to gauge people. I love that," says Baker, who isn't abandoning film. He has a few projects in post-production, including The Lodger, a remake of an Alfred Hitchcock film, which also stars Alfred Molina and Hope Davis, but he is more focused on his television work.

His co-stars say Baker isn't afraid to approach the material in different, inventive ways.

"He has everything dialed in. I've never worked with someone like that before. The talent. He's always committed. He's also a great teacher," says co-star Tim Kang, who plays Kimball Cho, lead interrogator in Jane's unit. "He's very giving with his experience and the things that he's done. He'll drop a little morsel of knowledge your way."

Amanda Righetti, who plays Grace Van Pelt, a newcomer to the investigative team, agrees.

"He does take his work very seriously, but he brings a sense of wit to the character," Righetti says. "Once in a while you'll catch him doing a bit of improv. He does it in rehearsals to get everyone loosened up and into the moment. He really allows himself to have fun with it, and it's fun to watch.

"Plus, he's very charming in the role," she says. "He has this very graceful charm that really makes the character pop."

Baker attributes some of his character's strength to series creator Bruno Heller (HBO's Rome). Heller "gave me room," Baker says, sitting at a kitchen table in his trailer. "He understood and liked what I wanted to do with the character. I felt respected as a collaborator. Not just as an actor for hire."

Heller says the character's arrogance called for "a genuine star," someone who could bounce between pompous and caring.

"I'd seen a lot of Simon and thought that there was a charismatic, giving and empathetic side that hadn't really been seen — certainly not on the TV screen.

"It's a tough character, being the character who always knows better than other people. And he manipulates other people and gets in other people's faces. So it needs to be someone that you really want to spend time with. That's clearly what Simon brings."

Enjoying daylight

Co-star Tunney says Baker's innate charisma is one of his best assets. Between takes on that opening scene, due to air in December, the two laughed with the rest of the crew as the director was setting up new shots.

Baker "comes in with the intention of wanting it to be a relaxed atmosphere," Tunney says. "He doesn't have the approach to his work where it's silence. And he can make fun of himself. That makes everybody around him feel more relaxed. You can throw a crack at him and he can take it. He's not fragile."

That relaxed, laid-back sentiment transcends the cast and crew.

On a recent Friday, as a long week winds down, sheets are passed around announcing Monday's call time is 5 a.m. Surprisingly, there are very few groans. Everyone shakes it off, realizing that the shift from daylight saving time is what's throwing everything off. They need to meet at a nearby park to take advantage of daylight hours.

"Time goes a lot quicker when the work is a lot more enjoyable," Baker says.

"I feel on top of the world. I'm blessed. The show's succeeding. And to walk in there in the morning and say hello to my crew and pat them on the back, and they're all excited and they're floating on air? I love that feeling," Baker says. "And then I don't feel so bad about working all these ridiculous hours and being away from my family."

Nominees for the 2009 People's Choice Awards

This year's ceremony will air on CBS on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

"Easy Money"
"Eleventh Hour"
"Knight Rider"
"Life on Mars"
"The Mentalist"
"My Own Worst Enemy"

'The Mentalist' Divines a Full Season

It didn't take a psychic, real or fake, to predict that CBS would give a full-season order to its new hit, "The Mentalist."

The network announced Wednesday (Oct. 15) that it's picking up the most-watched new series of the fall in a no-brainer of a decision. The order comes closely on the heels of CBS asking for six extra scripts -- which will now become part of the show's back nine episodes.

Starring Simon Baker as a debunked TV psychic-turned-highly observant consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation, "The Mentalist" is averaging about 16.1 million viewers a week this season. That puts it in the top 10 of all shows and several million viewers ahead of any of its fellow freshmen.

CBS says the series is also the top newcomer in the adults 25-54 demographic, where it's drawing a 5.3 rating. It's also doing pretty well in the 18-49 demo; its 3.8 rating trails only FOX's "Fringe" (4.6) among new shows.

"The Mentalist" is the third new show to be picked up for a full season, following "Fringe" and The CW's "90210."

The series also stars Robin Tunney, Amanda Righetti, Tim Kang and Owain Yeoman. Bruno Heller ("Rome") is the creator and executive producer.

CBS Extends 'The Mentalist'

Even a fake physic could've seen this coming: CBS has inched closer to granting a full-season order to freshman smash The Mentalist, ordering six additional scripts for the Simon Baker-led drama.

The move comes as The Mentalist has emerged as this season's only surefire hit. In its first two outings, the show has won its time slot with an average 15.4 million viewers.

An official back-nine order could come as early as this week.

'The Mentalist' is familiar but smartly done

When you're certain you've seen something before, it can pay to take a closer look.

At first glance, much is familiar in The Mentalist, a seeming mash-up of Psych, House and CSI that represents a CBS retreat to its procedural safe place. You've even seen the star on CBS, which has tried twice to make Simon Baker a household name, first with The Guardian, then the blessedly short-lived Smith.

You just haven't seen him like this, at least not on TV. Finally allowed to showcase the cad-you-can't-resist appeal he brought to The Devil Wears Prada, Baker emerges as the full-blown TV star CBS thought he'd be.

He's Patrick Jane, a former fake psychic who uses his powers of observation to solve crimes. His team of investigators is led by Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney, doing an admirable job of playing Cuddy to Baker's House).

If Teresa comes across as long-suffering but ultimately charmed, Baker's Jane gives her reason for both. Like House, Jane is smart, caustic, wounded, rude and a bit unhinged. And like many talented people, Jane enjoys showing off his talents, even if it means using them to torture co-workers, a well-cast team that includes Tim Kang, Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman.

The murder plot that creator Bruno Heller (Rome) has concocted for tonight is something of a mess. But as a pilot, The Mentalist works. It establishes the characters, gives us an idea of where the series is headed and does it all with some wit and restraint — from Jane's petulant excuse for being rude ("He irks me. He's irksome") to Heller's decision not to show us the horror that keeps Jane awake.

That horror, which stems from Jane's connection to a serial murderer, helps give the story depth by linking him to the pain of the victims. It also separates The Mentalist from Psych, though that show's producers can be excused if they don't think it's separation enough.

For all its virtues, The Mentalist is, in some ways, a step back for CBS, which tried and failed last year to break its procedural bonds. Still, TV is a business, and incompetent innovation, even well-intentioned, does little good for a network or its viewers. The Mentalist may be a copy, but it's a well-done copy sparked by an actor who has come into his own as a TV star.

It doesn't take a psychic to know that's something TV can always use.

The Mentalist
* * * (out of four)
CBS, tonight, 9 ET/PT

TV Review: 'The Mentalist'

Can we get something out of the way up-front about CBS' The Mentalist? It isn't really all that much like USA's Psych.

Yes, The Mentalist, which premieres on Tuesday (Sept. 23) on CBS, focuses on a former fraudulent psychic (played by Simon Baker) who now uses his powers of observation to help fight crime. But in terms of characters, tone, structure and execution, The Mentalist has almost nothing at all in common with Psych, so when you hear that person making the "I liked this show more when it was called Psych" joke, kindly roll your eyes at them.

While Psych is a quirky character-driven comedy, in keeping with the USA brand, The Mentalist is an entirely humorless procedural, which means that it's very much in CBS' wheelhouse.

Baker's Patrick Jane consults for the California Bureau of Investigations, working with a team of agents (including Robin Tunney, Amanda Righetti, Tim Kang and Owain Yeoman) who appreciate his success with clearing big cases, but worry that he's a bit of a loose cannon. Jane doesn't play by the rules, but what good TV investigator does?

How does Jane solve his crimes? Well, mostly he seems to squint a lot. Written by Bruno Heller (Rome) and directed by David Nutter (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), the pilot for The Mentalist may set a TV record for most insert shots, quick cut-aways as Jane looks into the minutiae of the world around him, picking up clues that mere mortals wouldn't notice. Of course, the producers are hoping that once the clues have been presented in isolation, viewers will be able to pick up on the hints, because they've promised that if you follow closely, you'll be able to solve the crimes along with Jane. So really, The Mentalist is a lot like Clue: The Series, but not Clue: The Movie.

Does that sound fun to you? Because otherwise, The Mentalist is a very by-the-numbers affair, which probably means that it will be more successful than some of the more ambitious dramas CBS fooled around with last year. CBS learned a lesson from Moonlight, Jericho, Cane and Viva Laughlin, a lesson that appears to have been "Stick with what you know." So The Mentalist is somber, quick-paced and easy to keep up with. It looks as if each episode will be a stand-alone case, though the background presence of a serial killer named Red John and a tragedy from Jane's past may add an occasional serialized touch.

Baker is a known commodity for CBS, achieving moderate success with the conventional The Guardian and swift failure with the more complicated Smith. He's confident and capable and even this straight male critic has to acknowledge that he's got nice, expressive eyes, which helps with all of the squinting close-ups. As we saw on Smith and in The Devil Wears Prada, Baker's actually totally capable of delivering comedy in addition to intensity and The Mentalist would be well-served to make Jane less tortured and more snarky, even if that won't help with those Psych comparisons.

Although it's Baker's star vehicle, he's backed by several supporting players who could carry some of the weight, particularly Tunney and Yeoman. I've been a big fan of Righetti from The O.C. and even North Shore, but casting her as the uptight new member of the team is a bit of a waste.

In addition to the regular ensemble, The Mentalist has to be one of the best cast pilots in recent memory, or else the most wasteful. The pilot has one-off roles for Steven Culp, Gail O'Grady, Jeffrey Nordling, Tim Guinee and newly minted Emmy winner Zeljko Ivanek, all of whom will be instantly recognizable to regular TV viewers. If producers continue this profligate casting, they'll run out of character actors by the end of the first season.o

CBS is convinced that Simon Baker is a star, though viewers may not have caught on just yet. His appeal is obviously central to the potential success of The Mentalist. For viewers who remain unconvinced, here's hoping The Mentalist develops a bit more of an individual voice and perhaps tries to vary its tone. Otherwise, it may just blend into CBS' procedural pack, which probably wouldn't concern the network honchos at all.

"Mentalist" gets by on Simon Baker's charm

Finally, a cop show for skeptics.

Although USA's "Psych" merely hints at the possibility that some psychics could be frauds, CBS' "The Mentalist" argues forcefully that self-proclaimed seers (and you know who you are, Jonathan Edwards and Allison DuBois) are as supernaturally gifted as pet rocks.

"There's no such thing as real psychics," says Patrick Jane, who used to make a handsome living pretending to be one while fooling gullible people with his keen powers of observation. Those who profess to have psychic powers, he continues, are "deluded or dishonest."

The dialogue comes during one of Jane's rare moments of candor. Mostly, this reformed psychic-turned-police detective played by Simon Baker is glib, cocky, spirited and irrepressible. Although Jane is technically part of a five-person homicide unit and subordinate to Robin Tunney's Teresa Lisbon, the show rests squarely and firmly on his shoulders.

Baker, as we quickly see, is capable of carrying the load. Jane is a clever blend of characters he played on "The Guardian" and "Smith." This role is tailor-made for Baker, who has a flair for playing irreverent characters who are crucial to the success of the system even as they tweak its authority figures.

In addition to "Psych," the show invites comparison to NBC's "Life." Although Jane is not nearly as quirky as Damian Lewis' Charlie Crews, both detectives are driven to find out who killed people once close to them. In Jane's case, his wife and daughter were shot by a serial killer he had disparaged during his phony psychic days.

"The Mentalist" has an appealing low-tech approach to crime-solving. Jane's unit might get a few facts from an autopsy, but Jane invariably carries the day by spotting clues and applying logic. At the same time, the show benefits from the lively direction of executive producer David Nutter, who time and again makes even ordinary scenes jump off the printed page.

Competition will be keen. "The Mentalist" will butt heads with Fox's well-received "Fringe" and the results show of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." But if any show fits seamlessly between "NCIS" and "Without a Trace," this is it.

Healthy Payday

FARRAH Fawcett is making millions off her battle with anal cancer. She worked a financial deal with "Entertainment Tonight" earlier this year where the show followed her around to treatments and showed Fawcett's friends videotaping her ordeal. Now, the footage shot by Fawcett's pals is being sold to NBC for "over $2 million," said a source. Craig Nevius, the documentary's producer, said, "We are negotiating with one of the big three networks, but no deal has been signed yet." Presumably, footage would air on both "Today" and "Dateline." Last year, NBC paid close to $5 million to the Prince's Trust in England for interviews with Prince William and Harry.

CBS makes time for "Eleventh Hour"

CBS didn't quite wait until the eleventh hour to make its new series pickups, which include Jerry Bruckheimer's "Eleventh Hour," a sci-fi drama concerning deadly scientific experiments.

On Monday, the network also ordered the dramas "The Mentalist," starring Simon Baker; "The Ex List" (formerly "Mythological Ex"), starring Elizabeth Reaser as a woman who revisits her past relationships in hopes of finding the man who, according to a psychic, she's meant to marry; and the horror-drama "Harper's Island."

On the comedy side, the network went with the in-laws-themed "Worst Week" and the Jay Mohr-starring "Project Gary."

CBS wouldn't specify which series it picked up for fall and which for midseason, but "Harper's Island" -- a serialized story about a group of friends who are terrorized on an island off the Seattle coast -- is said to be for midseason.

CBS' renewals are going down to the wire, with the network yet to make final decision on "The Unit," "Shark," "Moonlight," "Rules of Engagement," "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and the ever-overachieving "How I Met Your Mother."

Q&A with Screen Actors Guild head Alan Rosenberg

Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg was elected as head of the nation's largest performers' union in 2005 on a pledge to take a tougher stance in labor talks than his immediate predecessor.

He played a crucial role in rallying actors to support writers who went on strike for 14 weeks until February, bringing much of television production to a standstill and derailing numerous films.

Now he is presiding over SAG's first film and prime-time television contract talks since taking over the powerful labor group that represents about 120,000 actors.

Rosenberg, who plays lawyers on television shows like "L.A. Law" and is married to "CSI" star Marg Helgenberger, spoke to Reuters on Tuesday night just after the studios broke off those negotiations and accused the union of unreasonable demands, stoking fears of further labor unrest.

Q: How would you characterize what happened at the bargaining table?

A: "It was ... our intention to carry these negotiations through to their conclusion, and I felt we were making progress, and I believe this interruption will make it more difficult to reach an agreement, although I'm still optimistic."

Q: You say there are one or two issues in the recent contract deals with writers and directors that are particular sticking points for your members. What are those?

A: "The unfettered use of clips from motion pictures and television shows is a real problem ... . They (studios) want to be able to take clips from raw product and use it whenever they want on the Internet without getting our consent and without compensating us very much. ... Writers and directors don't have those concerns.

"We have rules in our existing agreements that protect the images of our members. (The studios) have to get consent on everything, to use our images, to use clips, and we get compensated. ... So what they're asking us to do is erase 50 years of our custom and practice. ... They contend that new media is a whole new ballgame, and they have to make a whole new paradigm. I believe new media makes it all that much more important to protect our members."

Q: Explain the problem actors have with provisions in the writers' and directors' deals that exempt studios from paying residuals on original made-for-Internet shows that fall below certain production costs -- $15,000 per minute, $300,000 per program or $500,000 per series, whichever is lowest:

A: "We already have over 400 (independent) deals in new media, and almost all of those deals fall below those thresholds. Our members want to work in that arena. The way writers and directors have set it up, by virtue of their deals, is that we would have union actors potentially working on the same set with nonunion actors, which violates our most important rule, Rule One."

Q: The increasing use of product placement in traditional media also has surfaced as a stumbling block for actors in these talks, is that right?

A: "They say I can walk onto a TV set or a movie set without being informed, I could be handed a line of dialogue or an entire scene extolling the virtues of a product that may or may not be offensive to me, and I have no choice in the matter. That's another issue I have a big problem with."

Q: Does the break-off in negotiations make the potential for a strike a greater possibility than it was before?

A: "I really don't want to go there. I don't even want to entertain the thought of a strike at this moment. It's something I've always said was on the table. It's the one weapon a labor union has when they reach impasse. ... But I don't even want to think about, or talk about a strike until I'm convinced that we can't make progress in negotiations. I'm not at that point yet."

"Sex and Death 101" doomed to failure

The "Sex" in this comic conceit's title may entice the unwary, but what they will experience will come closer to "Death."

Writer-director Daniel Waters once wrote the sharp, even seminal high school satire "Heathers," but that was two decades ago and this is now. Here he becomes entranced with two gimmicky though negligible plots. One is better suited to a porno, or at least a porno back in the day when such films had actual plots. The other belongs to a female "Death Wish."

Handsome Aussie Simon Baker plays Roderick Blank, a fellow who on the eve of his wedding receives a mysterious e-mail that contains a list of all the women he has had -- or will have -- sex with in his entire life. In chronological order. The list does not stop with his fiancee, containing no less than 72 more sex partners. Thinking with an organ that is clearly not his brain, he cancels the nuptials in favor these 72 new flavors.

Meanwhile, a dark seductress dubbed "Death Nell" by the media puts a series of deserving males into deep comas following sexual encounters. And don't you just know that good old Nell -- real name Gillian De Raisx (an alluring Winona Ryder) -- is No. 101, the last playmate on Blank's list.

His quickie trysts with a series of beauties, most looking more like models than actresses, are meant to bring home several points: Does knowing you will score remove the tantalizing pleasure of the chase? What if someone you really love is not on the list? As you near the end, do you worry about your own mortality? The Death Nell story line serves no purpose other than to underscore that last point.

There is no wit and few laughs in any of these encounters. Someone with a much greater imagination, if not a dirtier mind, was needed behind the camera. The actors are game, especially Baker, Ryder and, in an all too brief cameo as an "older woman" that might have gone somewhere, Frances Fisher. Wrap-around sequences involving three white-clad men in an all-white room with an Oracle-like computer that explains this strange and mysterious list should have been jettisoned entirely. If you have the courage to press ahead with a bad story idea, just do it. No one wants an explanation.

Production values are bargain basement, thanks no doubt to a shoestring budget.

Roderick: Simon Baker
Gillian/Nell: Winona Ryder
Miranda: Leslie Bibb
Trixie: Mindy Cohn
Fiona: Julie Bowen
Hope: Frances Fisher

Writer-director: Daniel Waters; Producers: Cary Brokaw, Elizabeth Fox Friedman, Greg Little; Executive producer: Aaron Craig Geller; Director of photography: Daryn Okada; Production designer: John Larena; Music: Rolfe Kent; Co-producer: Jerry P. Jacobs; Costume designer: Julia Caston; Editor: Trudy Ship.

Fawcett's medical records peeked

UCLA Medical Center has disciplined an employee for accessing Farrah Fawcett's medical records, officials said Wednesday.

Fawcett expressed concern to a doctor in May that details of her condition were being leaked to tabloids, and he reported it to hospital executives, UCLA spokeswoman Roxanne Moster said.

Fawcett's attorney, Kim Swartz, said an employee at the hospital accessed Fawcett's medical records without authorization, and details about her cancer treatment later showed up in the National Enquirer. The tabloid published details about a recurrence in Fawcett's cancer before she had a chance to tell family and friends, Swartz said.

"She's a very private person and she's reluctant to go public about this, let alone take legal action," Swartz said. "She's fighting for her life."

The Los Angeles Times reported on its website Wednesday that hospital officials fired an employee who reviewed Fawcett's records without authorization.

The UCLA spokeswoman would not confirm a firing and would not specify the disciplinary action.

Moster said the hospital requires all staff to complete training on patient privacy issues and sign confidentiality agreements.

Doctors declared Fawcett, 61, cancer-free in February 2007, but her cancer returned a few months later.

"It's disturbing to her when there are false reports that she's given up and wants to die, when the opposite is true," said Swartz. "She's a strong person and a fighter."

The 1970s television icon is currently being treated for cancer in Germany.

Last month, UCLA Medical Center announced the firing of 13 workers and disciplined several others for snooping into the electronic medical records of Britney Spears.

CBS sees Aussie actor Simon Baker as "Mentalist"

Australian actor Simon Baker, the former star of the CBS drama "The Guardian," has reunited with the network for a drama pilot called "The Mentalist."

Baker will play the lead role, a psychic who uses his skills of observation to solve crimes as an independent detective working with the police.

In addition to "The Guardian," which ran from 2001 to 2004, Baker also starred in CBS' Ray Liotta drama "Smith," which was cancelled after three episodes in 2006. His feature credits include "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Land of the Dead."

Wave of success for Aussie hunk

RIDING a wave of success drew an audience at Bondi Beach yesterday for Aussie leading man Simon Baker, who jetted home with his family this week - and brought Tinseltown's fine weather with him.

Soaking up the sunshine with wife Rebecca Rigg and young son as well as his Wolverine pal Liev Schreiber, the fabulous Baker boy showed he's still in touch with his surf culture, hanging 10.

The body might show all the signs of being cooped up in a studio, but the Sydney actor was still in good shape for the coastal performance on a long board.

Baker is understood to have brought his clan home, for the making of a new Fred Schepisi flick, Last Man.

Pray For Farrah

IT'S not looking good for Farrah Fawcett. During a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Nikki Haskell's StarCaps, Ryan O'Neal told friends his former love had just gone to Germany to treat a huge tumor in her liver. Other friends say Fawcett, originally diagnosed with anal cancer last year, has made a deal with one of the tabloid TV shows to discuss her battle against the disease and videotape her chemotherapy. "She got $500,000 for it," a spy sniffed. A rep didn't pick up his phone.

Farrah Fawcett: Recovery Is 'Ongoing'

Farrah Fawcett, who has been battling cancer since September 2006, tells Extra she's "doing well."

"Never can say for sure. It's ongoing," the former Angel said as she left a Santa Monica hospital on Tuesday night.

Fawcett, whose cancer returned in May after going into remission, had recently sought "alternative treatments" in Germany. She confided that the chemotherapy plus alternative medicine she received there "went well," but were "tiring. I felt much better when I was sick!"

The 60-year-old actress added that she's "been doing Pilates and weights" to keep her stamina up. "You know, everybody says they are praying for me," she said. "I have to get well – so many people are praying."

Baker will border on indie thriller

Australian actor Simon Baker (CBS' "The Guardian") has been cast in the lead role of the indie psychological thriller "Not Forgotten."

Baker will play a bank manager in a U.S.-Mexico border town haunted by the death of his daughter. He and his wife approach a Latino soothsayer to find out what happened to the girl, but the old woman's visions threaten to dredge up secrets from their tortured pasts.

The feature is set to begin principal photography in January in New Mexico. Commercials veteran Dror Soref will direct from an original screenplay he wrote with Tomas Romero.

Baker's feature film credits include "Something New" and "The Devil Wears Prada."

Pair joins Cedric's family

Charles Malik Whitfield and Melissa Peterman round out the cast of Cedric the Entertainer's untitled family pilot for ABC.

Cedric plays a family man who has always been the proud breadwinner and has difficulty adjusting when his wife's (Regina Hall) hobby turns into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.

Whitfield (CBS' "The Guardian") will play Cedric's oldest friend, whose poor judgment always seems to lead to trouble for the duo. Peterman ("Reba") will play the wife of Cedric's new neighbor.

Farrah Fawcett Seeks 'Alternative' Cancer Treatment in Germany

Farrah Fawcett is receiving "alternative treatments" for cancer in Germany – and videotaping the experience for a possible documentary, a close friend of the actress's tells PEOPLE.

Craig Nevius, who produced Fawcett's reality show Chasing Farrah and who is now overseeing the video project overseas, says that although Fawcett's cancer has returned, her health has not declined.

"She was declared 100 percent cancer free and then it came back," he says. "She was discouraged by the treatments she got here. The fact that it recurred after all that she went through was heartbreaking."

He adds: "She has been in Germany. That's true. She's getting alternative treatments not allowed in the U.S."

Fawcett was originally diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she was declared cancer free by her doctors on Feb. 2, her 60th birthday.

However, in May, doctors discovered that the cancer had returned. A malignant polyp, smaller than a pea, was found during a routine three-month checkup.

The German magazine Bunte first reported that the actress is undergoing chemotherapy in the University Clinic in Frankfurt, combining the treatments with alternative healing methods in Bad Wiessee, in southern Germany.

Contacted by PEOPLE, Ricarda Wessinghagen, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said: "I can confirm that Farrah Fawcett was here and was treated here, but I have no more information."

Nevius declined to reveal the nature of the treatment in Germany, but did say, "She's been documenting everything in a video diary" for "what could be a very important documentary."

Fawcett, who starred as Jill Munroe in the '70s TV sensation Charlie's Angels, has served as a celebrity spokesperson for the American Cancer Society: Her older sister, Diane, died of lung cancer in 1998.

Screen Actors Guild chief wins second term

Alan Rosenberg narrowly won a second two-year term as president of the Screen Actors Guild Thursday, following a campaign that focused more on personality than policy.

Rosenberg, the husband of "CSI" star Marg Helgenberger, fetched 11,631 votes to fellow character actor Seymour Cassel's 10,921. Rosenberg garnered 47% support from among a total 24,834 ballots cast.

Both belong to the MembershipFirst faction, which has traditionally favored a hardline attitude towards the studios.

In August, Rosenberg said Cassel should not have claimed that he was a "New York actor" in campaign literature sent to prospective SAG voters in the Big Apple.

Then there was the blogosphere battle over which of the two had the more volatile personality, with backers and critics of each rehashing stories of various political brawls over the years.

"I'm really gratified that the members have chosen to allow me to continue the work I'm doing on behalf of the guild (and) I promise to continue to fight like hell for them," Rosenberg said after the results were announced.


Frank Grillo (Kill Point) and Wendy Moniz (Lulu, The Guardian) are expecting their second child together in January. The couple wed in 2000, and have a son, Liam, 3, and share custody of Remy, 10, from Grillo’s first marriage.

TNT's new medical drama arrives with weak pulse

Treat Williams lost his general medical practice last year when the nascent CW network dropped "Everwood" from the lineup it inherited from the merged WB and UPN outlets. He used the enforced sabbatical to learn a specialty. Now Williams is back as Nathaniel Grant, a cocky, occasionally insensitive workaholic doctor who performs organ transplants in a Pittsburgh hospital.

Oh, wait. Something else. He also sees dead people. More about that in a minute.

Hospitals are attractive settings for TV shows. In reality, most of what goes on inside them are mundane procedures. On TV, though, every admission is a life-or-death drama. But once you've decided on a medical setting, there are two options: an ensemble series (such as "ER" or "Grey's Anatomy") or a doctor-centered show. For the latter, you start with a Marcus Welby-style god and then humanize him or her with character defects, as in "House."

The doctor-as-god solution is simpler and cheaper, but it's harder to pull off because so much of the success depends on the creation of a compelling central character. CBS was the last to try it with "3 Lbs." in November, a series about an arrogant brain specialist (Stanley Tucci), and it lasted about an episode a pound.

"Heartland" follows the same general design and -- despite Williams' proven charisma and the presence of Kari Matchett (Kate Armstrong) as Grant's ex-wife and, conveniently, the organ donor coordinator -- the show remains mostly in stable condition. The characters connect mostly on a clinical level, rarely deeper.

To start with, Grant isn't particularly well developed. In the pilot, he collects baseball cards, but that doesn't come up in the second episode. He smokes, or at least he tries to. Most of the time, someone is around to shame him into stopping. If you're going to have a vice, then have one. Imagine someone trying to come between House and his Vicodin.

Then there are the dead people. From time to time, Grant looks at an organ recipient and sees the donor. Sometimes, the donor even speaks, usually some drippy sentiment. As a result, the dramatic device is mostly corn.

The pilot is all about Grant. The supporting cast, except for Armstrong, might as well be extras. At one point, Thea (Gage Golightly), Grant's daughter, is caught stealing condoms, suggesting a potentially engaging story. Instead, exec producer/director/writer/creator David Hollander drops the ball, and nothing much comes of it. Instead, the focus is on a teenage girl patient's urgent need for a donated heart and, well, you can guess how that ends.

The second episode is better, but it's still a fairly generic medical drama. The supporting cast has more to do. A new character, Thomas Jonas (Rockmond Dunbar), is introduced. He might clash with Grant in future episodes, but that might be wishful thinking.

What "Heartland" needs most is a referral to a script doctor.

Nathaniel Grant: Treat Williams
Kate Armstrong: Kari Matchett
Simon Griffith: Chris William Martin
Thea Grant: Gage Golightly
Jessica Kivala: Morena Baccarin
Mary Singletary: Danielle Nicolet
Bart Jacobs: Dabney Coleman
Thomas Jonas: Rockmond Dunbar

Executive producer/creator/director/writer: David Hollander; Producer: Bob Rolsky; Directors of photography: Nancy Schreiber, Johnny E. Jensen; Production designer: Jim Pohl; Editor: Lori Jane Coleman; Composer: W.G. Snuffy Walden; Set decorator: Roya Parivar; Casting: Jeanie Bacharach.

Farrah Fawcett's Cancer Has Returned

Farrah Fawcett, who was declared cancer-free in February, discovered this week the cancer has returned, PEOPLE has confirmed.

"She was completely devastated at first," says her close friend Craig Nevius, who produced the Chasing Farrah reality show. "And then, as is her way – as was the case the last time – she became much stronger and started dealing with it, and she's beginning to make a plan."

Fawcett got the news after a routine three-month checkup in which doctors discovered a malignant polyp, smaller than a pea, says Nevius.

She was still weighing her treatment options when the National Enquirer reported the cancer's return.

"She didn't have a chance to tell some of her family yet," says Nevius. "It is now clear that the tabloids are as invasive and malignant as cancer."

Nevius says Fawcett has been in good health and is "not feeling the effects" of the recurrence. She has not settled on a treatment option, he says, but is considering having a small metalic "seed" placed in the area that will emit radiation.

Diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006, the actress, who starred as Jill Munroe in the '70s hit Charlie's Angels, had been declared cancer free by her doctors on Feb. 2, her 60th birthday, after having undergone chemotherapy and radiation.

When she first revealed her condition in October 2006, Fawcett said in a statement, "I am resolutely strong and I am determined to bite the bullet and fight the fight while going through the next six weeks of cutting-edge, state-of-the-art treatment. I should be able to return to my life as it was before at the end of my treatment."

Fawcett, who's served as a celebrity spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, had an older sister, Diane, who died of lung cancer in 1998. Her longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal, also successfully battled leukemia after being diagnosed with the disease in 2001.

Fawcett and O'Neal have a 22-year-old son, Redmond. Though the former couple ended their tumultuous 17-year relationship in 1997, O'Neal has been a steadfast presence at Fawcett's side since her diagnosis.

Fawcett enlists O'Neal in cancer fight

Farrah Fawcett has enlisted the help of her ex, Ryan O'Neal, as she prepares to undergo treatment for anal cancer, O'Neal told People magazine. He accompanied Fawcett, 59, to a chemotherapy treatment on Monday, the magazine reported in its Oct. 23 issue.

"She's so strong," he says. "I love her. I love her all over again."

In a statement released through her publicist last week, Fawcett said she will receive six weeks of "cutting edge, state-of-the-art treatment."

This isn't the first time Fawcett and O'Neal, who ended their 17-year relationship in 1997, have reunited to fight a medical battle. Fawcett helped care for the 65-year-old actor in 2001 when he was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia.

The couple has a 21-year-old son, Redmond.

Fawcett stays positive despite cancer

Farrah Fawcett, recently found to have cancer, said Friday she is maintaining a positive attitude and expects to recover completely.

"I am determined to bite the bullet and fight the fight while going through the next six weeks of cutting edge, state-of-the-art treatment," the 59-year-old actress said in a statement. "I should be able to return to my life as it was before."

Her publicist, Mike Pingel, didn't reveal what kind of cancer Fawcett has but said it was recently diagnosed and involves a fast-growing tumor.

The actress, who appeared with her former "Charlie's Angels" co-stars at an Emmy tribute in August to the late TV producer Aaron Spelling, said she has been overwhelmed by the "outpouring of concern, love, prayers and compassion" she has received from people around the world.

"I deeply believe in one's own positive will to overcome even the most daunting challenges," she said.

Streep deliciously evil in "Devil Wears Prada"

"The Devil Wears Prada," as that spot-on title would indicate, takes place in the world of haute couture. And that pretty much sums up the movie. Otherwise, it would be just another Queen of Mean, boss from hell movie.

But, oh, what delicious fun Meryl Streep and her conspirators -- co-star Anne Hathaway, director David Frankel and writer Aline Brosh McKenna -- have with that world and with a woman who would be considered its god except for the fact that Miranda Priestly would probably consider that a demotion.

This comic chick flick should enjoy box office success with female audiences in urban markets in North America and Europe.

The film is based on the best-seller by Lauren Weisberger, who did a stint as an assistant to Anna Wintour, the all-powerful editor of Vogue.

That novel and now this movie are her revenge: Here is an insider's view of the insane, pressure-cooker atmosphere an outrageously demanding boss can establish in her architecturally pristine executive suite.

You might want to sit back from the screen, though, so that Miranda's morning barrage of wraps and overcoats flung at her assistant doesn't hit you.

Hathaway plays Andy Sachs, a fashion-challenged Northwestern graduate who takes a job as an assistant to Miranda, editor of Runway magazine.

Her idea is that a year at Runway on her resume will help her achieve her goal of working at the New Yorker. But Andy so doesn't fit the mode.

Nigel (Stanley Tucci in perfect casting), Miranda's fey but tough right-hand man, takes one look at Andy and wonders, in one of the movie's better lines, if there is "a before-and-after piece I don't know about."

Yet it is this awkward fashion sense and naivete that actually land Andy the job. All of Miranda's previous assistants, fashion horses in clacking stilettos, have disappointed her. So why not try the nerd?

Installed as Assistant No. 2 under Assistant No. 1, Andy is swiftly cut down to size by Miranda. That would be a size 6, which causes one Clacker to call Andy "fat." (The problem with this line, which is funny, is that Hathaway is the thinnest person onscreen -- a size 4 at worst. Then again, maybe that's why it is funny.)

One day, while whining to Nigel and getting no sympathy, something clicks in Andy's head. She inveigles Nigel into an instant makeover in the magazine's wardrobe room: Gliding out in a Chanel outfit with stiletto Jimmy Choos and a new hairstyle, Andy has now entered the world of fashion.

Frankel and McKenna do a smart thing in not completely demonizing Miranda. Fashion is a serious business in America, and Runway means to remain the bible of that industry. Only a killer editor who takes no prisoners can maintain those standards.

So Miranda, and for a while Andy, put their jobs first. Everything else -- husbands, twins and any social life outside of fashion for Miranda, and a boyfriend (Adrian Grenier), coterie of friends (Tracie Thoms, Rich Sommer) and a dreamy novelist (Simon Baker) with romantic ideas for Andy -- come a distant, distant second.

It eventually becomes clear that there is method to Miranda's madness: Her incessant demands are tests to purge staff members who are not up to her own ruthless quest for perfection.

Indeed the virtuous moral at the movie's end -- that this is no way to live a good life -- feels hallow because the film displays an unmistakable ambivalence toward Runway.

With its grudging admiration for fashion-fabulous costumes and for this glamorous lifestyle, the film idolizes that which it would skewer.

Streep makes Miranda a bit sad and lonely without allowing for even an ounce of sympathy for her character: She has made her choice in life and clearly loves it.

Hathaway's Andy has gotten momentarily swept up in the excitement of anticipating and exceeding her boss' demands but realizes she has lost her career focus.

However, Tucci's Nigel has passed the point of no return: He can meet Miranda's demands but has lost control of his life. And Emily Blunt, as Miranda's Assistant No. 1, delivers a comic gem as a woman so enthralled with fashion and service to its diva that her life is in free fall. Only she fails to recognize it.

Designer Jeff Gonchor, costumer Patricia Field and cinematographer Florian Ballhaus outdo themselves in realizing a rarefied world not unlike the one which Cole Porter once satirized in song as "Down in the Depths on the 90th Floor."

Miranda Priestly: Meryl Streep
Andy Sachs: Anne Hathaway
Emily: Emily Blunt
Nigel: Stanley Tucci
Nate: Adrian Grenier
Christian: Simon Baker

Director: David Frankel
Screenwriter: Aline Brosh McKenna
Based on the novel by: Lauren Weisberger
Producer: Wendy Finerman
Executive producers: Karen Rosenfelt, Joe Caracciolo Jr.
Director of photography: Florian Ballhaus
Production designer: Jeff Gonchor
Music: Theodore Shapiro
Costume designer: Patricia Field
Editor: Mark Livolsi

Simon Baker Returns To CBS

Smith (Drama, Tuesdays 10pm)
Premise: A team of career criminals plans and executes elaborate, high-stakes heists, while its leader tries to keep up appearances of a normal life.

Stars: Ray Liotta ("Narc," "Goodfellas"), Virginia Madsen ("Sideways"), Amy Smart ("Starsky & Hutch," "Felicity"), Simon Baker ("The Guardian"), Jonny Lee Miller ("Aeon Flux"), Franky G ("Jonny Zero," "The Italian Job")

Studio: Warner Bros. TV

Producers: John Wells ("The West Wing")

Simon Baker sees future in dark "Sex" comedy

Simon Baker will star in "Sex and Death 101," a dark comedy about a man whose life is upended by a mysterious e-mail containing the names of every woman he has had sex with and, eerily, every woman he will have sex with in the future.

Dan Waters, who wrote "Heathers" and "Batman Returns," penned the script and is directing the indie film. A mid-May shoot in Vancouver is being targeted.

Baker, whose recent feature credits include the romantic comedy "Something New" and the horror "Land of the Dead," next appears in "The Devil Wears Prada," set for a June 30 release via Fox. The Australian received a Golden Globe nomination in 2002 for his starring role in the CBS drama "The Guardian."

Baker smitten by CBS drama pilot 'Smith'

Simon Baker, who earned a Golden Globe Nomination for his role in CBS' short-lived 2001 drama "The Guardian," is returning to the network in "Smith," a drama pilot told from the criminals' point of view.

Also cast in the pilot is Jonny Lee Miller. He and Baker join the previously cast Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen.

Baker, who most recently starred in Focus Features' romantic comedy "Something New," next will be seen in Fox 2000's "The Devil Wears Prada."

Actors union elects more militant president

TV actor Alan Rosenberg was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild on Friday as the more militant wing of the nation's largest performers union regained control of the Hollywood-based labor group.

Rosenberg, best known for playing attorneys on such shows as "L.A. Law" and "Civil Wars," succeeds two-term SAG president Melissa Gilbert, the former child star who led a comparatively moderate rival faction that swept to power in 2001, after a bitter six-month strike against the advertising industry.

Gilbert, who charted a less confrontational course than her immediate predecessor, Bill Daniels, announced in July that she would not seek a third term as head of the union representing 120,000 TV and movie actors. The one-time star of "Little House on the Prairie" cited her frustration with political rifts that she said "may very well be irreparable."

In the three-way race to fill her post, Rosenberg gained nearly 40 percent of the vote to defeat Morgan Fairchild, a soap opera veteran and Gilbert ally, and longtime TV actor Robert Conrad, best known for his roles on "Wild, Wild West" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep," who ran as an independent.

Rosenberg ally Connie Stevens won the post of secretary-treasurer, the union's second-highest office, and their faction, dubbed Membership First, gained control of SAG's national governing board for the first time since 2001.

The outcome signaled the likelihood of a more aggressive stance by SAG toward Hollywood studios, advertisers and talent agents as the union looks to negotiate new agreements with the basic cable TV industry and a new commercials contract.

"I ran a campaign that offered a simple and straightforward promise: I will fight like hell to get actors their fare share," said Rosenberg, 54, who was active in the 1960s anti-war movement and the Black Panther Party. He is married to actress Marg Helgenberger, who stars on the hit CBS police drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

One of his principal aims, Rosenberg said, was to secure a higher share of the revenues actors earn in the form of residual payments for work that appears on DVDs, a gain that so far has eluded SAG and its sister unions.

Although out of power for the past four years, SAG's Membership First managed to thwart Gilbert's efforts to win rank-and-file support for several key initiatives, including a proposed dues hike, a merger with the smaller American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and a new agreement governing actors' relationship with talent agents.

The two-year terms of Rosenberg and Stevens formally begin on September 25. He becomes the 24th president of SAG.


SCREEN Actors Guild has an election coming up. Vying for power are names like Connie Stevens and Morgan Fairchild, with former SAG president Ed Asner pushing TV actor Alan Rosenberg because, "Having played poker with Rosenberg, I assure you there is no one more invincible at negotiations." . . .

Thrills, spills awaken 'Dead'

OK, maybe it doesn't quite conjure up that feeling that audiences once got from seeing a new Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movie. But George A. Romero's Land of the Dead does have an "old friends" dimension that warms the heart as its familiar-looking zombies eat hearts - plus other delicacies ripped from the bodies of screaming victims.

This new graduating class of Dead are neither red- nor blue-state zombies, but you do feel they're at least marginally politicized. Certainly, they're disenfranchised: In the supremely up- scale and mostly water-surrounded "Fiddler's Green," community string-puller Dennis Hopper sits in a penthouse office and smarmily looks down on practically everyone, but especially these approaching marauders.

What the water doesn't accomplish as a barricading device, electric fences do. But with much of the continent already taken over by zombies, you sense that Hopper isn't prone to hum the Rolling Stones' Time Is on My Side.

Much of the movie, which is punctuated by a couple of good jolts and occasionally thrilling overhead shots, deals with whether Hopper's Dead-combating mercenaries will or will not heed his increasingly hysterical orders.

The mouthiest of these subordinates is played by John Leguizamo, an actor who has just endured those blood-soaked grosses from The Honeymooners. And now, like all the rest of Dead's un-dead, he always has to look over his shoulder because this is a movie where someone can't even rob a deserted liquor store without getting bitten by a zombie.

For all Leguizamo's efforts, snob Hopper slurs his ethnicity. So you can imagine how potentate Hopper regards the zombies.

Along for the ride are Australian actor Simon Baker, Asia Argento (daughter of famed horror/thriller director Dario) and Robert Joy, whose disfigured face here makes Al Pacino's Scarface look like someone who just needs a dab of Clearasil.

On the zombie front, we have a couple of marauders who carry musical instruments, one in pom-pom cheerleader garb - nice touch, George - and one played by my USA TODAY colleague Susan Wloszczyna, who wrote a story about being an extra.

Limiting Land's potency is its appearance just a year after being fabulously spoofed in Shaun of the Dead, which battled it out with Team America: World Police for the title of being 2004's funniest. It's fairly solid fun, though, without breaking any new ground, just as January's remake of Assault on Precinct 13 was.

As ever, though, it's not much of a "concessions" movie - and this at a time when exhibitors need all the help they can get.

Teen Choice Nominees

The Teen Choice Awards air Aug. 16 on FOX


Choice Thriller
"The Amityville Horror"
"The Grudge"
"Hide and Seek"
"House of Wax"
"The Ring Two" (with Simon Baker)
"The Village"

Romero's Zombies Hit Vegas

"George Romero's Land of the Dead," the latest zombie epic from genre godfather George Romero will close the CineVegas Film Festival in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 18.

The screening of the film will mark its world premiere and will be attended by the director and some of his stars. The Universal Pictures release is scheduled to hit theaters around the country on Friday, June 24.

"George Romero's groundbreaking films fused un-dead terror with social commentary to create an entirely new genre --- 'The Zombie Movie," says Trevor Groth, the festival's director. "They have inspired some of the greatest horror directors of all time and have garnered him a rabidly devout fan base. CineVegas is truly honored to be able to present the world premiere of his newest film that is destined to become another classic."

In addition to screening Romero's new opus, CineVegas will present the director with the Vanguard Director Award, which "celebrates a director whose compelling visions and groundbreaking style challenge convention and whose distinctive films are at the forefront of cinematic innovation." David Lynch and Julian Schnabel are among the previous winners.

A follow-up to Romero's classics "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead," "Land of the Dead" stars Asia Argento, Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. The film is currently in post-production.

  1. Coleman, Rosenberg Get New Gigs
    Dabney Coleman has signed on to play Jenna Elfman's dad in the CBS comedy Everything I Know About Men.

    END QUOTE: "We joke that it would be funny if the first guy Catherine really kisses on the show is her husband." — That's CSI exec producer Carol Mendelsohn on casting Marg Helgenberger's real-life spouse, Alan Rosenberg, as a new love interest for her character.

  2. 'Guardian' creator looking to future
    (From Sarah)

    With last week's news that ABC will not go forward with Pittsburgh native David Hollander's proposed Pittsburgh-set follow-up to "The Guardian," the writer/executive producer said he's exploring what he wants to do next.

    "I want to take a little bit of time to try to figure out what I want to do, whether that's more TV or film or take a break," Hollander said.

    Hollander said he was offered chances to act as show runner on series created by others, but he turned them down, preferring to create series of his own.

    Another TV show -- this one set in Los Angeles -- remains in development at Fox, but Hollander said he's not holding his breath that it will see the light of day.

    As for his proposed ABC show, titled "Three Rivers," the network will pay a "mid six-figure" penalty for not going forward with the project. Hollander said he remains fond of the show's concept -- a crime drama about a media mogul, his public defender son and newspaper reporter daughter and her ex-husband, a homicide detective - and may re-develop it next season.

    Hollander said he and ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson were perhaps overly exuberant about the prospect of working together. In addition, ABC's priorities changed.

    "The thing they wanted in July [when development on 'Three Rivers' began] is what they didn't want come January," Hollander said.

    Despite frustration last May over CBS's decision to cancel "The Guardian," Hollander said he may end up back at CBS, having mended fences with network executives there.

    "Chalk it up to the lessons-learned category," he said. "I think with a cooler head and less frustration about 'The Guardian,' I would have been best served to stay at the network that knows my work the best ... I was upset and having a hard time understanding why the show was canceled. It made it hard for me to rush back there at the time."

    Hollander continues to develop a movie to direct, "Personal Effects," and he's met with WQED executives about a kids show he wants to make in Pittsburgh.

    "PBS development, in general, is glacial, so it's not something I'll have ready to go tomorrow," Hollander said, expressing hope that the project might move forward within 18 months. He's working on collecting songwriters who will agree to participate in the series, which traces the creative process of writing songs through the lens of childhood experiences.

  3. Simon Says

    Missing CBS's now-defunct The Guardian? Well, the show's star, Simon Baker, has been cast opposite Sanaa Lathan in Focus Features' interracial love story 42.4 Percent. Baker will next be seen in The Ring 2.

  4. Baker Plays 'Dead' for Romero

    Simon Baker, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper are off to "The Land of the Dead," George A. Romero's return to the zombie genre that he made famous.

    Asia Argento and Robert Joy also are joining the cast.

    Written and directed by Romero, the story takes place in a world overrun by zombies where the human survivors live in a walled city. While the zombies are evolving, certain factions seek to overthrow the city.

    The film is meant to complement Romero's earlier zombie movies, "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead," and to start a new line of zombie films.

    Universal Pictures is distributing domestically and internationally. The European-based Wild Bunch, which is co-producing, is handling the film in France, Benelux and French-speaking Switzerland. The production is scheduled to begin shoot ingOct.11inToronto.

    Mark Canton, who is producing through his Atmosphere MM shingle, said the film also will feature cameos.

    "A lot of people revere George, and fellow directors and actors are calling to see if they can be zombies. I think it's a testament to George and the genre that he created," Canton said.

    Baker will next be seen in "The Ring 2."

    Leguizamo, shooting "The Honeymooners," next can be seen in "Assault on Precinct 13."

  5. The Guardian eBay Auction
    (From Michael Ann on Sept 9, 2004)
    We will be launching The Guardian EBAY auction this evening at 8:00. Be sure to log onto EBAY and check out all the exciting prop items such as:

    -Nick Fallin's Briefcase
    -Bunny Buddy - The Happiest Rabbit in the World
    -Episode #322 - Antarctica - Simon Baker's Script with highlights and notes
    -Burton Fallin's Briefcase

    We have 31 items up for auction, with three items ending on the night of The Guardian Tribute, Saturday, September 18th.

    Auction items will become available starting tonight at 8:00 and all 31 items will be on EBAY by Friday evening at 9:00.

    Thank you and Happy Bidding!

  6. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004

    The 9 p.m. NBA action drew a 10.2/17 for ABC. NBC got a solid 6.2/10 out of "Last Comic Standing" to push CBS' "The Guardian" into third. FOX had a 3.0/5 for the second week of "The Jury," stable from last week. On The WB, "Summerland" dipped slightly to a 2.5/4, still better than a first season encore of "America's Next Top Model" on UPN.

  7. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Jun 8, 2004

    ABC stayed in front at 9 p.m. with the 8.4/14 for the basketball game. NBC's "Last Comic Standing" improved to a 6.6/11 in its second hour, beating "The Guardian" on CBS. "The Jury" nudged up to a 3.0/5 in its second hour, holding off the 2.9/5 for The WB's "Summerland." UPN trailed with "One on One" and "Rock Me Baby."

  8. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Jun 1, 2004

    At 9 p.m., NBC moved into the lead with a 6.1/10 for the first hour of the Miss Universe Pageant. CBS dipped to second as "The Guardian" did a 4.7/8, edging ABC's "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." In its second hour, The WB's "Summerland" improved to a 3.2/5, with FOX's music special in fifth with a 2.3/4. UPN trailed with "One on One" and "Rock Me Baby."

  9. Last call on 'The Guardian'
    (From Nikki)

    Folks, I've been happy to be your emissary for "The Guardian," but CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has officially tired of my questions. In a post-sweeps conference call Tuesday, Moonves was dismissive when I tried to ask about the decision to cancel the show. I'm afraid he's lost all patience with me and, by extension, with your concerns.

    "It's over. I loved it. It wasn't catching fire," he said quickly and testily. "We had three great years in a great time period. Tell your Pittsburgh readers we're very sorry, we loved it and we're not against doing [another show] again [in Pittsburgh]."

    When I tried to ask at what point he gave up on "The Guardian," Moonves said, "I don't know. It's always a process; we just decided in that time period we needed something new."

  10. The Guardian Gone

    CBS is canceling the dramas "Hack," "The District" and "The Guardian."

    NEW YORK - CBS is offering Rob Lowe (news) as a doctor, Jason Alexander (news) as a sportswriter and John Goodman (news) as a family patriarch in new series that will debut this fall.

    The network will also set up a battle of the franchises, pitting its spinoff series "CSI: NY" against NBC's "Law & Order" Wednesday nights at 10 p.m.

    CBS, the nation's most popular network this season, will introduce three new dramas and two comedies next season, it announced Wednesday.

    Alexander will be the latest "Seinfeld" alum to try and succeed in a new comedy. In "Listen Up," he'll play a character based on Washington Post sportswriter Tony Kornheiser. The show was placed on CBS' successful Monday night comedy lineup.

    Lowe, who failed last year as a lawyer in NBC's short-lived "The Lyon's Den," will play a doctor at a Las Vegas casino in "Dr. Vegas."

    "It's a traditional medical show during the day and during the night, he sleeps with chorus girls and gambles," said CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves. "What could go wrong with that?"

    In "Center of the Universe," Goodman plays a security company owner with Ed Asner (news) portraying his father, Olympia Dukakis (news) his mother and Jean Smart (news) his wife.

    CBS is canceling the dramas "Hack," "The District" and "The Guardian." The comedy, "Yes, Dear" is off the schedule, but CBS has ordered 13 episodes for a midseason replacement.

    After trying, with limited success, to build an audience with dramas on Saturday nights, CBS will save money on that night by programming the newsmagazine "48 Hours Mysteries," the reality show "The Amazing Race" and reruns of one of the "CSI" shows.

    With "60 Minutes" founder Don Hewitt stepping down, CBS is stripping the "II" from the Wednesday spinoff, "60 Minutes II."

    Besides "CSI: NY," the other new series will be "Clubhouse," a feel-good drama about a 16-year-old boy who becomes a batboy for the mythical New York Empires.

  11. CBS May Say 'No, Sir' to 'Yes, Dear,' 'The Guardian'

    Many networks would be satisfied with a comedy that averages 10.8 million viewers per week and a drama that has frequently won a competitive time slot, but CBS is different. Following a strong development season, television's most watched network is reportedly on the verge of canceling "Yes, Dear" and "The Guardian."

    In its fourth season, the critically reviled "Yes, Dear" is drawing just under 11 million viewers, but those numbers are down from the 13.3 million viewers who watched the show last season when it had a "King of Queens" lead-in. Even if CBS chooses not to put the comedy in its fall schedule, it could still return. Last summer, the network left "Becker" off its schedule, only to bring the Ted Danson comedy back when "The Stones" wasn't ready for the fall.

    The future of "The Guardian" is also in serious doubt, even though the third year drama is a frequent winner of the Tuesday 9 p.m. ET hour. While the series averages 10.4 million viewers a week (off from 11.8 million last season), its performance among young adults is weak enough to spell its doom.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saturday drama "Hack" is on the verge of cancellation, while "The District" is in limbo.

    CBS is looking to fill its potential holes with a roster of possibilities that include the dramas "Clubhouse" with Dean Cain, "Dr. Vegas" with Rob Lowe and the Stanley Tucci-starrer "The Webster Report." The John Goodman comedy "Center of the Universe" and the untitled Tony Kornheiser project starring Jason Alexander are also believed to be frontrunners. The witching drama "Sudbury" could join "The Amazing Westermans" and the untitled Staley/Long comedy as midseason options.

  12. GH Casting Call

    General Hospital has cast teen actress Amanda Michalka in the recurring role of Ashley, a girl who will figure prominently in the Dillon-Georgie storyline. The daytime newcomer is best known for playing Shannon on The Guardian. Michalka is on the scene beginning April 28.

  13. Baker Enters Horror 'Ring'

    Simon Baker, lately of CBS' "The Guardian," will enter into the horror franchise with the sequel to the chilling 2002 film "The Ring."

    Baker, 34, will co-star with fellow Aussie Naomi Watts in "The Ring 2," which continues the tale of a videotape that mysteriously kills its viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Baker and Watts are longtime friends, although reports say that Baker won his role through auditioning, not favoritism. It is the first time the two friends have worked together.

    Hideo Nakata will direct the DreamWorks project, which begins shooting in mid-May.

    Baker last appeared in "Book of Love," which debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival. He's also appeared in "The Affair of the Necklace," "Red Planet," "Ride with the Devil" and "L.A. Confidential."

  14. CBS Evacuates 'Century City'

    CBS has pulled the plug on midseason drama "Century City" after four airings.

    The series, revolving around a high-end Los Angeles law firm in the year 2030, had little ratings traction in the Tuesday 9 p.m. slot, where it went up against Fox's "American Idol." In its final, March 30 screening, it wan fourth for the hour with an average of 7.7 million viewers.

    The ensemble cast included Viola Davis, Nestor Carbonell, Hector Elizondo and Eric Schaeffer. It was created by veteran "Law & Order" scribe Ed Zuckerman, who executive produced with Oscar-nominated "Quiz Show" writer Paul Attanasio and Attanasio's wife, Katie Jacobs.

    CBS will fill the void from next week with "The Guardian," which had held down the Tuesday 9 p.m. slot until it was benched to make room for "Century City."

  15. CBS Suspends 'The Guardian'

    CBS is shelving "The Guardian" to make room for its new legal drama "Century City," the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

    It is unclear whether the 3-year-old series will be back next season.

    "I'm cautiously optimistic," Executive Producer David Hollander told the newspaper. "I believe that our show creatively has plenty of juice left in it and I believe there's an audience for it."

    CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves, however, recently described the show as "on the bubble" for renewal.

    The series is built around Australian actor Simon Baker, who plays a lawyer forced into community service after a drug bust.

    Baker has been a strong draw and the series has gotten generally favorable reviews, however, the show has not been a ratings bonanza for CBS, The News noted.

  16. Leerhsen Takes on Autism

    Fresh from being terrorized in the 2003 remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," Erica Leerhsen is taking up more challenging fare.

    The 27-year-old actress has been tapped to join Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell in the independent drama "Crazy in Love," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Previously known as "Mozart and the Whale," the Millennium Films project follows a young couple (Hartnett and Mitchell) afflicted with Asperger's syndrome, a specific kind of autism that has left them both hyper-intelligent, lacking the knowledge of social conventions and struggling to bond emotionally to other people. Leerhsen portrays the couple's friend who also has the syndrome.

    Rounding out the cast are Gary Cole, Sheila Kelly and John Carrol Lynch.

    The project is based on the script by Ron Bass, who won the best screenplay Oscar for 1988's "Rain Man." Petter Naess will direct.

    Leershen has also starred in "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" and two Woody Allen films, "Hollywood Ending" and "Anything Else."

  17. Wendy Moniz Pregnant

    We can officially confirm that Wendy Moniz is pregnant in real life. The gorgeous actress who plays Lulu Archer on The Guardian is expecting a baby with actor husband Frank Grillo (ex-Hart, Guiding Light).

  18. The Guardian set visit

    The producers of The Guardian have donated a set-visit to a celebrity auction. The auction runs from Feb 20th to March 1st on ebay.

    Here's the link to the auction:

    The user name is: dcfoundation2004 (The DreamCatchers Foundation)

  19. Guardian Off For 6 Weeks

    Starting March 16, Century City replaces the Guardian for 6 weeks. Please contact CBS with any comments or questions not this website.

    CBS Television Network
    51 West 52nd Street
    New York, NY 10019

    Main Number:
    (212) 975-4321

  20. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, May 4, 2004

    NBC moved into first at 9 p.m. with "Frasier" (9.0/14) and the season finale of "Scrubs" (7.3/11). FOX was second with the 7.3/11 for "24," edging the 7.0/11 for "The Guardian" on CBS. ABC was fourth with "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." The WB was a solid fifth with "One Tree Hill," which UPN was sixth with the 1.6/2 average for "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends."

  21. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Apr 27, 2004

    NBC grabbed first at 9 p.m. with "Frasier" (8.3/13) and "Scrubs" (6.3/10). CBS' "The Guardian" was second, narrowly beating FOX's "24," which had a 7.0/11 (the FOX drama still easily won the hour in total viewers). ABC was fourth with "According to Jim" and "Less Than Perfect." The WB stayed fifth with the 2.9/4 for the recently renewed "One Tree Hill," as UPN was sixth with the 1.4/2 for "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends."

  22. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004

    FOX stayed on top at 9 p.m. with the solid 6.9/11 for "24," bouncing back after a disappointing Sunday showing. NBC moved up to a close second with "Frasier" (7.4/12) and "Scrubs" (5.9/9), which edged CBS' "The Guardian." ABC was in fourth with two episodes of "According to Jim." On The WB, "One Tree Hill" actually improved on its lead-in and took a 3.3/5 for the hour, better than the 1.6/2 averaged by UPN's "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends."

  23. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Apr 6, 2004

    At 9 p.m., "24" eked out a win for FOX with a 6.7/11. "The Guardian" returned to CBS with a 6.6/10. NBC moved up to third with "Frasier," 7.0/11, and "Scrubs," 5.6/9. "According to Jim" and "It's All Relative" were fourth for ABC. "One Tree Hill," 2.4/4, gave The WB sole possession of fifth, beating UPN's "Rock Me Baby" and "Half and Half."

  24. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Mar 9, 2004

    FOX stayed in the lead at 9 p.m. behind the conclusion of "Idol" (15.1/23) and the premiere of "Cracking Up" (a big drop to 7.1/11). CBS stayed in second place with the 6.8/11 for "The Guardian," which bettered the 5.6/9 average between "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." On UPN, "America's Next Top Model" had a 4.0/6 (improving dramatically after the end of "Idol"), doubling up the numbers for The WB's "Gilmore Girls."

  25. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Mar 2, 2004

    CBS rose to the top at 9 p.m. with the 7.5/11 for "The Guardian" (though the show finished fifth among adults 18-49). On FOX, "Forever Eden" averaged a 7.2/11. Compared to the time slot's regular entry, "24," "Forever Eden" retained the "Idol" audience better in its first half-hour, but fell even lower than "24" in its second half. NBC's comedy block of "Fraiser" and "Scrubs" averaged a 6.4/10, beating ABC's "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." On UPN, "America's Next Top Model" took fifth with a 4.4/7, beating The WB's "One Tree Hill."

  26. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Feb 25, 2004

    CBS moved into first at 9 p.m. with the 7.4/11 for "The Guardian." FOX slipped, but held second with "24," which beat the 6.2/9 average for NBC's "Frasier" and "Scrubs." ABC was a close fourth with the 6.1/9 for "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." On UPN, "America's Next Top Model" earned a 4.8/7, pulling in well more than 7 million viewers, and easily topping The WB's "One Tree Hill," which had a 3.0/5.

  27. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Feb 10, 2004

    NBC snagged the lead at 9 p.m. with "Will & Grace" (8.0/12) and "Scrubs" (7.5/11) featuring Michael J. Fox. CBS was second with the 7.3/11 for "The Guardian," as "24" plummeted to third on FOX. "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect" averaged a 5.7/9 for fourth. UPN got a solid 4.5/7 out of "America's Next Top Model" (down in ratings, but up slightly in viewers) and "One Tree Hill" had a 2.9/4 for The WB.

  28. Estevez Gets Behind 'The Guardian's' Camera

    Actor-director Emilio Estevez is re-teaming with "The Guardian's" David Hollander for an upcoming episode of the series.

    Estevez has signed on to direct an episode of the CBS drama that will likely air during November sweeps, CBS says. It will mark the first time Estevez has directed for episodic television, although he has helmed several feature films.

    The episode, titled "Hazel Park," finds troubled lawyer Nick Fallin (Simon Baker) doing community service in Pittsburgh's Hazel Park. While there, he has an uncomfortable encounter with a former client.

    Meanwhile, Nick's father, Burton (Dabney Coleman), hosts an "adoption day" at the law firm of Fallin & Fallin. The event makes him think about adopting Shannon (Amanda Michalka), the teenage girl he's been caring for as a foster parent. Also, a birth mother changes her mind about giving her child up for adoption after collecting on a personal-injury claim.

    Hollander, the creator of "The Guardian," and Estevez have worked together once before. Hollander co-wrote the screenplay to the Showtime movie "Rated X," which Estevez starred in (with brother Charlie Sheen) and directed.

  29. Guns 'n Gripes on The Guardian

    Talk about folks needing a chill pill. Last season's rage-filled finale of The Guardian left us hanging on the edge of our couches, with a double shooting and a double beating. But let's get real. The main cliffhanger — the point-blank shooting of James Mooney (Charles Malik Whitfield) and the new geeky lawyer (Will Farrell) — wasn't really a cliffhanger.

    Think about it. We know who dies (Farrell's character), we know who did the shooting (Taliek, played by Vicellous Shannon), and we know why: Mooney wrongly suspected Taliek of killing his cousin, so he had him savagely beaten with a tire iron, then admitted his mistake to Taliek, who retaliated by gunning him down. Got all that?

    As for father and son attorneys Nick (Simon Baker) and Burton Fallin (Dabney Coleman), they had both pummeled a guy for swiping their parking space. Apparently, those anger management classes Nick had been ordered to take after smashing his cell phone in court aren't working. Our only questions: How badly was Mooney wounded? And will Nick go even more postal if his love Lulu (Wendy Moniz) leaves town for a better job? As the finale episode ended, dad and son left the scene of the parking space crime just in time to drive past Taliek, fresh from his shooting spree.

    "We're going to pick the show up the minute [last] season ended," says executive producer David Hollander. "We'll continue directly into that night." We'll find out about Mooney, and Nick's relationship with Lulu and, he says, "Nick and Burton's relationship is going to have a bit of a shuffle as well."

    Also, look for at least one new character: A young African American woman who joins the Fallin and Fallin law firm. Chuckles Hollander: "She'll be the most normal, well adjusted character we have on the show."

  30. Torres On The Guardian

    Gina Torres (Firefly/Alias) will a lawyer & Fallin & Fallin this season

  31. Cupid Replaces The Guardian Starting Aug. 5 Till Fall
    "Cupid's" move will take repeats of "The Guardian" off CBS' scheduled for the rest of the summer. The legal drama will return to its regular Tuesday-night home in the fall. Editions of "48 Hours Investigates" will fill the 10 p.m. Wednesday spot for the summer.

  32. One Emmy Nomination

    Nominees for the 55th annual Primetime Emmy Awards have been announced. The awards will be handed out Sept. 21 on the Fox broadcast network.

    Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Sally Field, "ER," NBC; Farrah Fawcett, "The Guardian," CBS; Tovah Feldshuh, "Law & Order," NBC; Barbara Barrie, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," NBC; Alfre Woodard, "The Practice," ABC; Kathy Bates, "Six Feet Under," HBO.

  33. National Ratings for Tuesday, July 8, 2003

    NBC took the lead at 9 p.m. with "Last Comic Standing," 5.3/9. ABC moved up to second with "According to Jim," 4.8/8, and "Less than Perfect," 4.1/7. A rerun of "The Guardian" was third for CBS. The finale of "America's Next Top Model" gave UPN fourth place with a solid 4.2/7. FOX's "Keen Eddie" was fifth, followed by "Smallville," 2.5/4, on The WB.

  34. The Guardian Staying Put

    Wednesday, May 14 CBS announced The Guardian's time slot for season 3 will remain the same, Tuesdays at 9pm/8c. The only change will be the 8pm lead-in, instead of the hit show JAG, it will be the new JAG spin-off "Navy CIS" starring Mark Harmon ("St. Elsewhere") and Michael Weatherly ("Dark Angel"). Judging Amy continues in the 10pm post Guardian timeslot.

  35. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Feb 17, 2004

    CBS moved into the lead at 9 p.m. with the 7.7/12 for "The Guardian." ABC was up to second with "According to Jim" (7.2/11) and "Less than Perfect" (6.4/10). On FOX, "24" took its usual massive drop, but barely held onto third, beating NBC, which averaged a 6.0/9 between "Fear Factor" and "Scrubs." For the first time in several weeks, UPN's "America's Next Top Model" saw a minor drop, still holding onto a 4.2/6, beating the 3.0/4 for The WB's "One Tree Hill."

  36. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Jan 27, 2004

    CBS moved into first at 9 p.m. as "The Guardian" led a bunched pack with a 7.6/11. On FOX, "24" held onto the "Idol" lead-in with an 8.1/12 in its first half-hour, but slumped to a 6.4/9 in its second half hour. ABC took a close third with the duo of "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." NBC was fourth with the 4.7/7 average for coverage of the New Hampshire primary, actually losing in viewers to UPN's "America's Next Top Model," which pulled in an impressive 4.6/7 in its third week. The WB trailed with "One Tree Hill."

  37. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Jan 13, 2004

    With a 7.6/12, "The Guardian" gave CBS the 9 p.m. lead as well. NBC was second with "Frasier" (7.3/11) and "Happy Family" (6.4/10), which pushed ABC to third with "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." On FOX, "24" had a 5.5/9. The premiere of the second season of "America's Next Top Model" got off to a solid 3.8/6 on UPN, better than the second hour of the movie on The WB.

  38. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Jan 6, 2004

    At 9 p.m., CBS held onto first with the 7.8/12 for "The Guardian." NBC stayed in second with "Frasier" (7.0/11) and "Happy Family" (6.6/10), which held off ABC's comedies "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." FOX was fourth as "24" earned a 5.9/9. On The WB, "One Tree Hill" had a 2.0/3 and beat UPN's "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends."

  39. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Dec 30, 2003

    FOX moved into the lead at 9 p.m. as the second two "Simple Life" encores averaged a 6.4/10. NBC's "Frasier" (5.5/9) and "Happy Family" (5.1/8) helped the network move up to second, passing the 5.3/8 for CBS' "The Guardian." ABC's comedy block of "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect" stayed in fourth. With a 1.5/2 average, UPN's "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends" nipped The WB's "One Tree Hill" for the hour.

  40. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Dec 23, 2003

    With a 5.5/10, ABC kept the lead at 9 p.m. with "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." "Frasier" and "Happy Family" averaged a 5.0/9 for second on NBC, while a repeat of "An American Idol Christmas" scored a 4.6/8 for FOX and third, leaving CBS' "The Guardian" in fourth. "One Tree Hill" helped The WB take fifth, beating the 1.6/3 average for "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends" on UPN.

  41. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Dec 16, 2003

    At 9 p.m., CBS got a 7.1/11 out of "The Guardian" to take the hour. ABC was second with the 6.3/10 average for "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect," which just edged NBC's "Frasier" and "Happy Family." On FOX, "24" took fourth with a 5.7/9. UPN repurposed the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" to a solid 2.3/4, better than The WB's "One Tree Hill."

  42. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Dec 9, 2003

    NBC moved into first at 9 p.m. with the 7.7/12 average between "Frasier" and "Happy Family." ABC took second with "According to Jim" (7.3/11) and "Less than Perfect" (6.5/10), beating the 5.8/9 for FOX's "24." CBS trailed with "The Guardian." UPN held onto fifth with "Rock Me Baby" and "Half & Half," as The WB's "One Tree Hill" averaged a 1.6/2.

  43. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003

    CBS held its lead at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," 7.7/12. ABC was a close second with "According to Jim," 7.7/12, and "Less than Perfect," 7.0/11. FOX stayed in third with "24," 6.3/10. A Shania Twain special on NBC averaged 5.6/9. The WB stayed in fifth with its movie, while UPN trailed with "Rock Me Baby" and a repeat of "Half and Half."

  44. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2003

    CBS held onto the lead at 9 p.m., carried by an 8.7/13 for "The Guardian." "According to Jim" and the first part of the Lynch interview put ABC in second, beating "Frasier" (8.1/12) and "Good Morning, Miami" (6.2/9) on NBC. FOX was fourth with the 5.8/9 for "24." Collecting its usual 2.5/4 was "One Tree Hill" on The WB, beating "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends" on UPN.

  45. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2003

    ABC clung to the lead at 9 p.m. as "According to Jim" (9.5/14) and "Less than Perfect" (7.4/11) managed to hold onto some of the "8 Simple Rules" momentum. CBS was second with "The Guardian." On NBC, "Fear Factor" (6.9/10) and "Frasier" (6.8/10) remained in third. FOX was fourth as "24" dropped dramatically from last week's premiere, taking only a 5.6/8. "One Tree Hill" on The WB earned its standard 2.5/4, beating the averages for UPN's "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends."

  46. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003

    CBS' lead tightened a bit at 9 p.m., but "The Guardian" still carried the hour with a 7.8/12. The season premiere of FOX's "24" took second with a 7.3/11, beating NBC's "Frasier" (7.5/11) and "Good Morning, Miami" (6.1/9) for the hour. ABC took fourth with "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." With a 2.6/4, "One Tree Hill" on The WB topped the 1.7/3 average between "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends" on UPN.

  47. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2003

    As the Marlins and Yankees stayed tight in the middle innings, FOX earned a 13.7/21 for the 9 p.m. hour of baseball. Second place CBS had a 7.6/12 for "The Guardian." While "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect" on ABC were in a dead heat with NBC's "Frasier" and "Good Morning, Miami" for third, the ABC comedies had a slim advantage among total viewers. "One Tree Hill" earned a 2.5/4 on The WB, beating "Rock Me Baby" and "Girlfriends" on UPN.

  48. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003

    FOX stayed in front at 9 p.m. as the Cubs-Marlins game improved to a 12.3/19. "The Guardian," 8.1/12, kept CBS in the No. 2 spot. "Frasier," 7.5/11, and "Good Morning, Miami," 5.7/9, put NBC in third, slightly ahead of ABC's "According to Jim" and "Less Than Perfect." "One Tree Hill" averaged 2.6/4 on The WB. "Rock Me Baby" and "The Mullets" barely made a dent for UPN.

  49. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2003

    FOX's baseball coverage moved into first at 9 p.m., with a 9.8/15 for the hour. CBS took second with the 7.9/12 for "The Guardian," just edging "Frasier" (7.9/12) and "Good Morning, Miami" (6.6/10) for the hour. ABC's "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect" were a competitive fourth (actually finishing second for the hour in total viewers). "One Tree Hill" scored a 2.5/4 for The WB, easily pounding "Rock Me Baby" and "The Mullets" on UPN.

  50. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2003

    CBS took the lead at 9 p.m. behind the 8.6/13 for "The Guardian." FOX moved to second with the game between the Braves and the Cubs, pulling down a 7.4/11 for the hour. Third went to NBC with "Frasier" (8.3/13 to win its half-hour) and the season premiere of "Good Morning, Miami" (6.3/10). ABC's "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect" were a close fourth. "One Tree Hill" on The WB had a 2.4/4 and beat the 1.9/3 average for "Rock Me Baby" and "The Mullets" on UPN.

  51. Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003

    NBC moved into first place at 9 p.m., carried by the 9.4/14 premiere for what promises to be the final season of "Frasier." CBS opened "The Guardian" to an 8.3/13 in second. The premieres of "According to Jim" (7.7/12) and "Less than Perfect" (6.1/9) dropped somewhat from ABC's boffo first hour, but still came in third, beating "Paradise Hotel" on FOX. The new WB teen soap "One Tree Hill" had a 2.1/3 for its first episode, still better than the 1.5/3 average between "Rock Me Baby" and "The Mullets" on UPN.

  52. Ferrell in Disguise for 'Guardian' Role

    Former "Saturday Night Live" regular Will Ferrell will appear on next Tuesday's (May 13) season finale of "The Guardian." Trust us. The character may not look like him and "Will Ferrell" may no appear anywhere in the show's credits, but that's him.

    For reasons known only to the eccentric comedian, his walk-on part in the episode will be credited to "Phil Reston." Also, for reasons known only to the comedian, he'll show up in glasses and a thick mustache, despite a character not played for humor.

    In fact, Ferrell's part, as attorney Larry Flood, has very little to do with any of the plot lines in the episode. Flood appears at the show's central non-profit, legal-assistance center, introduces himself to the show's main character Nick (Simon Baker), meets a couple other people and leaves. He returns briefly towards the end of the episode.

    Ferrell was a regular on "SNL" from 1995 to 2002, best known in recent years for his impression of a somewhat-addled President Bush. He starred in the comedy sleeper hit "Old School" and was one of several actors to fill in for David Letterman while the talk show host was out with shingles.

    Publicists for the show wouldn't comment on the origin of Ferrell's stage name or how the cameo came about, but said that his part would not be recurring.

  53. Direct-to-TV - in the Nick of time

    Simon Baker, who stars as Nick Fallin in CBS' "The Guardian," will make his directorial debut on the show, directing the March 11 episode entitled "My Aim is True." That episode begins shooting tomorrow.

    "Simon's bringing two years of intimate knowledge of the Nick Fallin character, not to mention the entire world of 'The Guardian,' to the director's chair," says "Guardian" executive producer David Hollander. "His instincts for storytelling and performance are terrific, and will certainly set the tone for a very compelling episode.

    "Plus, he finally gets to work with his favorite director."

    Thus far this season, "The Guardian" is winning its Tuesday timeslot (9-10 p.m./Ch. 2), averaging 12.3 million viewers.

  54. The Guardian of a TV Show
    (From Muggs at

    (October Issue of Pittsburgh Magazine)
    Can a franchise drama be thought-provoking, literary, set in Pittsburgh and a ratings winner? David Hollander proves it can.

    What happens when you combine the scope of a Dickens novel, the sensibility of a Pinter play, the harsh reality of the child-welfare world and the cutthroat competition of a top law firm, wrap it up in the new look of Pittsburgh and put it on television?

    In the hands and mind of David Hollander, you have a hit.

    "The Guardian" enjoyed not only the highest ratings of any new drama on television last season, but is also getting that rarest of prizes every new show seeks but few win: a second season. The show succeeds largely on its strong characters, who have challenged actors as much as they've entertained audiences, as well as its unromanticized and highly realistic view of a territory trodden by so many TV shows before it: the law.

    "People tell me that they don't watch TV, but they watch this show," says downtown attorney Tom Hollander. OK, that's not the most unbiased view, coming from a very proud papa, but it's not an uncommon judgment. "‘The Guardian' is slow-paced, low-profile and a hit," reported The New York Times earlier this year. For local audiences, it certainly helps that "The Guardian" reflects the real life of Pittsburgh today, not the "Smoky City" stereotypes of the Kinescope era.

    There are many elements, and 150 people, who contribute to the success of "The Guardian." But the man credited with creating it, running it and keeping it on the edge is a TV newcomer who grew up in Mount Lebanon and keeps a little bit of Pittsburgh in his work.


    David Hollander refers to a TV monitor in his corner office a few flights above the soundstage where shooting for "The Guardian" is under way. That's what's on the monitor. Whether he's discussing an upcoming show with another writer, polishing the script for the next show or having a meeting about the show, he's on the set, always, at least virtually.

    "I'm writing one or two scripts concurrently all the time. And I'm looking over my shoulder on the set. I have to worry about the budget, about hirings and firings," he says. "We shoot for 91/2 months without interruption. We started shooting July 8, and go until the middle of April. I'll go till May because I'm posting [working on postproduction]. We're shooting the third script now. There are always four scripts in my head.

    "I live and breathe the show. I'm a madman at this period."

    He's bragging, not complaining. "It's what I love the most. This has been a surprisingly perfect marriage of what I like to do. My job is insanely administrative and creative."

    Hollander, 34, is part of that breed of TV auteurs who shape a show's concept and stamp it with their own individuality. "Created by David Hollander" is what it says as the opening credits finish. It's actually his first venture in television, though he's not exactly new to Hollywood. "I made my living being a script doctor," he explains. He polished other people's screenplays, wrote his own and taught in the graduate screenwriting program at the University of Southern California.

    His journey to this corner of a studio lot began in the theater, and his career in the theater began as a youngster growing up in an arts-filled household in Mount Lebanon. Dad Tom Hollander notes that David "was a fairly accomplished musician" on piano, mandolin and other instruments. But while his older brother and sister attended Mount Lebanon High School, David went on to Sewickley Academy, where its highly regarded theater program introduced him to the plays of Harold Pinter.

    "'The Homecoming,' 'The Birthday Party' -- those were the things in Pittsburgh I was reading as a kid. My scripts read like Pinter. I use pauses and beats, but they're not meant to be 'Pinter pauses,'" Hollander says. "Dialogue is overrated. I'm far more verbose than my characters. I want people on this show to speak with clarity and simplicity, actors who aren't afraid to use pauses and subtext. It's not jam-packed with language."

    Although "The Guardian" reflects much of the sensibility of the theater, it's not theater nor is it meant to be theater, and one key difference is that attitude toward language.

    "The form is different," he explains. "The theater is so much about language and cadence of language. I take an audience, visually, so much closer to my actors than I ever have in the theater. I can emulate life more in television than in theater.

    "The theater experience is so much different. The audience comes to hear language, to explore thoughts that are complicated and take intellectual risks. TV wants to tell a story." The serialization approach of television drama he likens to a novel by Charles Dickens, with its many plotlines interweaving many stories into a larger one. "I don't go to the theater to hear a great story."

    But Hollander will concede some similarities. After graduating from Northwestern University in 1990 with a degree in theater, he moved to Seattle, founded a theater company, and wrote and directed plays. His plays, including "The Sun Dialogues" and "The Things You Don't Know," have been produced off-Broadway as well as in Southern California.

    "I did run a theater, and [this job] is not that different," he says. "It's like having your own basic repertory theater and doing a different show every eight days. What you see at home we shoot in eight days, I write in eight days.

    "If I write a play and 10,000 people want to see that play, it's a hit," he says. "My job is to entertain 15 million people for an hour a week."

    Real People

    "The main character does not want to be in my show," Hollander says. "He wants to be in ‘Nick Fallin: Corporate Attorney.' He does not want to be in ‘Nick Fallin: Child Advocate.' He's going to try to get out of everything that I throw in his way."

    Nick, played by Simon Baker, is a hotshot young attorney at his father's law firm, Fallin & Associates, who is sentenced to perform community service at Children's Legal Services. It's either pro bono work at a scrappy low-budget nonprofit or disbarment and prison. Nick is not a do-gooder or even a particularly pleasant person. He clashes with his father/boss (played by Dabney Coleman), his CLS boss/father-figure (Alan Rosenberg) and his colleagues at both places. The tensions between the characters, and the chemistry of the players, are among the things that have set "The Guardian" apart.

    "Everything we do, it needs to shed light on characters, not on the guest star of the week," Hollander explains. That's one difference between "The Guardian" and so much else of what's on the air, where "the stories aren't built on the layers of characters."

    It's as much fun for the actors as it is for the audience. "It's thrilling to have characters who are complicated, not one-dimensional stick figures," says Raphael Sbarge, who plays fellow corporate-attorney Jake Straka. "Actors always look to be challenged by dangerous material. HBO has raised the bar for all of us on what can be allowed on network television."

    Take his character. "Jake is a guy who's very ambitious, who comes from a blue-collar family and has worked extremely hard to get where he is. He's lived by his wits and his tenacity, and has gotten himself into one of the top law firms in town. He's a lawyer who knows how to work the system." Jake smiles. Nick (famously) never does. But both cheerfully stab each other in the back, then join forces again when it works to their advantage. "Jake is not a lawyer who's out there to save the world, a goody-two-shoes kind of guy," Sbarge says. "He's more like real lawyers. The intent is to create people who seem more like real people."

    And complex people. "He's not a one-color, one-dimensional character. He has flaws, too, and Nick knows that," says screen veteran Coleman of Burton Fallin. "I always wanted to play a part that shows an American businessman in a positive way instead of a cliched, right-wing, self-serving way." Burton Fallin is a respected community leader who worked his way through Pitt Law School and, by the end of the first season, had won a seat on the bench. But success seems limited to Judge Fallin's professional, not personal, life.

    "The first year is an exploration of how a young man needed his dad, instead of hating his dad," Hollander explains. "Part of what the story was saying was how Nick didn't really have a sense of how crucial his father was to him. He wasn't aware of what his father had done for him as a good father. He just perceived him as a bad father." Consider the show's pilot, he continues. In his first CLS case, Nick is representing the interests of a child whose father has been arrested for killing his wife, the child's mother. "Nick is this kid," Hollander notes. "He's a child who thinks his father has killed his mother. Nick is a motherless child.

    "Imagine missing your mother so much that you hate your dad."

    "I'm in the same position: How do I connect with my son?" Coleman says. "He's constantly in trouble. He's an overachiever. He has all the makings of a champion and yet, like many champions, he's a little bit difficult to deal with, in society in general and in particular with me, because I'm his father."

    The father-son theme has parallels not only with Nick's relationship with his CLS boss, but also with one CLS colleague's getting guardianship of his nephew, another of her grandmother.

    "If anything is thematic, this is really a story about a lot of childless people," notes Hollander.

    "The irony of a show like ‘The Guardian' -- there is no one in this story, save for Burton, who has the responsibilities, the real responsibilities of raising a child. Part of the interesting thing for me right now is giving these characters a sense of a true familial obligation. They're all involved in some way of caring for the city's young, and yet none of them has a child. They're all isolated people."

    Real Situations

    TV shows set in the legal world aren't new. Dramas about victimized children aren't new. "There's an idea that I had to write a franchise show: a legal franchise story. It's how television is sold," Hollander says, referring to the niches that shows are usually defined by. "I wanted to take a franchise and turn it inside out."

    For material, he could plumb not only the legal atmosphere he grew up with but also the world of his brother, Scott, a real-life children's legal advocate and now executive director of KidsVoice in Pittsburgh (see Reality Check, below). But this is not to say that "The Guardian" is based on KidsVoice. For one thing, Scott was working at a child-advocacy agency in Denver when the idea started to percolate. It was there in 1994 that David, then running his Seattle company, came to visit.

    "Every Wednesday, I'd spend a couple of hours at a shelter for runaways," Scott recalls. "It was one-on-one. David sat with me, and these teen-agers would talk about what had happened to them. They were trying to get me to help them and would tell me anything if they thought that would convince me. These were kids who had lived on the street. Tough kids. My job was to sort through the contradictions. David was interested by these stories. Their stories. A lot of them had been abused and neglected, and now they were perpetuating that. They were both helpless and hurting other people. That's how they coped with their helplessness.

    "David said they'd make great stories. I didn't think so. Even my best friends didn't want to hear these stories, especially those with kids. David took what was probably bad advice and, wisely, ignored it."

    A Parallel Pittsburgh

    At heart, "The Guardian" is a show about Pittsburgh. "It is almost another character," agrees Hollander. "It's a particular place. When you leave it, you begin to see it from another perspective.

    "I have memories of it: my childhood, my mom, my family, my friends there. It's a powerful place to grow up."

    Why is the show set here and not in Generic Town, U.S.A.? The easy explanation is that it's easier for Hollander to write about. "Pittsburgh is a really great way to fuel my imagination. If I say this happened in Crafton, I know Crafton," he says. "I can create a world that's more believable to me and thus more real to the audience. Using Pittsburgh, a real Pittsburgh, lets me jump into the stories more easily."

    Helping to create that meticulously real Pittsburgh is a lot of researching and digging by Matthew Cavaliero. "Please tell my friends at Nicholas Coffee, Mineo's Pizza, Iron City -- there's a bunch of them," laughs the show's property master. "We use their stuff all the time. You may not see it on the network, but it's here on the set."

    Starting with the Pittsburgh Film Office, Cavaliero called a lot of local agencies, stores and offices. "I've talked to the Allegheny Court House, Pittsburgh police department, the Allegheny County Jail -- the people in Pittsburgh, every call I've made, everyone has been unbelievably friendly and helpful and open. People in L.A. are jaded about those things."

    He has a collection of pizza boxes, coffee bags, newspapers (and, coming soon to a TV near you, a Pittsburgh magazine cover). The show's hangout bar, The Incline, sports an Iron City tap and bottles of Penn Brewery beer. This verisimilitude helps the actors to get the same insider's feeling for Pittsburgh that Hollander has. Though the show's exterior shots feature the real three rivers, the interiors are of a Southern California soundstage.

    "Everybody tries to be as authentic as possible," Cavaliero says. "When you're here, you want to feel like you're in Pittsburgh, not Los Angeles."

    The character of Pittsburgh itself is "another part of it," Hollander says. "It's such a geographically compressed place. The stories that I'm telling, you can get so much happening in one character. You can be working downtown in the Frick Building, and pop across the bridge, or walk three blocks away and be in a totally different economic structure. It's believable in a smaller world. Here, you'd get stuck in traffic."

    And the characters themselves are very much of Pittsburgh, rising from working-class, immigrant roots, much like the Hollanders themselves. David's grandparents and great-grandparents came from Hungary and Czechoslovakia to Monessen and Rostraver, and worked in the mills and mines. His father and uncle went to Penn State and wore white collars. Tom talks about his late brother as his best friend, and notes that David was close to his Uncle Bud -- short for Burton.

    "I imagine a [character] that grew from work in the mills, went to Pitt Law School, did the things that a lot of Pittsburghers tend to do: Had a kid like Nick [and] created the opportunities that his father and grandfather did not have," Hollander says. "He could easily have ended up working in the mills. He made very strong, hard choices.

    "Nick's character is someone unique to his father, and his father's is somebody unique to Pittsburgh."

    The Rules

    "I have a lot of rules for the show," Hollander says. "Some are philosophical. Some are quite literal. Part of the creation of any script for the show is that this guy can't sit down." Nick rarely smiles and is always on the move, never relaxed. "I rarely take him home or give him time to have a social life," Hollander says.

    Philosophical rules? "Don't spoon-feed the audience," he continues. "Assume that your audience is smarter than you are. Don't believe that just because you're a writer, that I'm a writer, that I know more than the people I'm writing about.

    "And if it can happen, let it happen now. You don't need to tie it up in a neat little bow every week." He likes the show to be ambiguous, to leave a lot of room for interpretation by the cast, the crew and the audience.

    "You can't squeeze these things," he continues. "You have to allow people to do their jobs on the set. The things that make a show really good are the things you can't predict. You just put the things into motion."

    It's worked so far. "The actors in the show universally feel that we have all -- I don't know, hit the lottery, basically landed in clover, whatever cliche you want to put in there," Sbarge says. "It's like being on an all-star team. All the elements have come together. You can't force it, you can't punt it, you can't buy it. It's that ineffable kind of magic that happens when something comes together.

    "And the fact that the show is as big a hit as it is -- you can have good acting and good writing, but maybe nobody wants to watch it. The thing about TV is that it's the expression of collective consciousness. No amount of hype can make people watch a show. People watch or they don't."

    So what comes next?

    "I wanted the year to end with all of the answers that the audience didn't know and Nick didn't know," says Hollander. "To me, it was a purging: Here it all is. This is life. This is how it comes to bear at this moment: the mess you created for yourself. I have the good fortune and the bad fortune to have written myself into a corner last year. The franchise was busted, and Nick was going to jail.

    "I just finished the first draft of the third script yesterday," says Hollander in mid-July. "The first three episodes are basically a trilogy. The franchise comes back into play, yet redefined."

    So we get to another rule: Never decide what the end is before you get to the end. "I had a vision for -- I didn't know exactly how it was going to play out. The remarkable thing about trying to make a show half-decent," he looks for words. "[Where] I got to was close to that vague idea."

    Does he have a vague idea of how this year is going to go? He smiles. "Vaguely."

    Executive editor Michelle Pilecki also covers theater for this magazine and reviews local theater for "The Bayer Sunday Arts Magazine" on WQED-FM.

  55. Wallflowers Record New 'Guardian' Theme

    "The Guardian" will open its second season with a host of problems for its main character -- and a new theme song.

    Grammy-winning group The Wallflowers recorded the song, "The Empire in My Mind," specifically for the show. The group's frontman, Jakob Dylan, wrote the tune.

    "Jakob Dylan and The Wallflowers have done a tremendous job creating a powerful, urban-driven song for our new main title," says "Guardian" creator David Hollander, a fan of the band. "I was completely blown away by it the first time I played it."

    "The Guardian" begins its second season on CBS at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, Sept. 24. In the premiere, Nick (Simon Baker) is arrested and his father, Burton (Dabney Coleman) has to take a big risk to help free him.

  56. Wallflowers Set Beat for New 'Guardian' Season

    "The Guardian" will be rockin' to a new beat this fall -- literally.

    Creator/executive producer David Hollander has snagged Grammy-winners the Wallflowers, led by Jakob Dylan, to record a new theme song for his CBS sophomore drama.

    Dubbed "The Empire in My Mind," the song is a wistful midtempo tune that will be shortened to about 45 seconds as part of a new main title sequence (designed by Frances Schifrin).

    Hollander said landing Dylan was a remarkably simple process: he just asked.

    "I wrote a fan letter to Jakob (and the Wallflowers) basically asking if they had any interest in writing a new theme song, and remarkably, they did," Hollander told Daily Variety.

    Hollander said he listened to a lot of Wallflowers tunes when he was writing the pilot for "The Guardian" a couple years back. "Their music was part of the fabric of what was emotionally influencing me as I wrote the pilot," he said.

    After Dylan agreed to pen the tune, he watched a number of episodes to help him craft the song, which describes a man with "trouble in my mind" who sees "dark and light." The tune was inspired by the show's conflicted title character, played by Simon Baker.

    "It's very much Jakob's interpretation of our main character's emotional state," Hollander said. "I was pretty blown away when I heard it."

    While the Wallflowers will release their third Interscope Records CD -- "Red Letter Days" -- in November, "Empire of My Mind" will not be on the disc. Dylan could choose to release the song at a later date.

    The Wallflowers' CBS presence this fall won't be limited to "The Guardian," however.

    The band has already filmed a cameo appearance on CBS' megahit "CSI," which is set to air early next month. It will be seen performing a track from "Red Letter Days."

    Click here! to check out The Wallflowers' CD's.

  57. National Ratings for Tuesday, July 1, 2003

    NBC moved into the lead at 9 p.m., with the 5.0/9 for "Last Comic Standing," which was also the night's most watched program. ABC's comedies "According to Jim" (4.9/9) and "Less than Perfect" (4.3/7) were second, tied with "The Guardian" on CBS. "America's Next Top Model" preened its way to a 4.1/7, besting the 3.1/5 for FOX's "Keen Eddie." On The WB, "Smallville" soared to a 2.4/4.

  58. National Ratings for Tuesday, June 24, 2003

    NBC moved ahead at 9 p.m. with "Last Comic Standing," which earned a 5.4/9. ABC was a distant second with "According to Jim" (5.2/9) and "Less than Perfect" (4.7/8). CBS took third with "The Guardian." UPN took fourth for the hour as "America's Next Top Model" had a 3.5/6 to top the 3.3/6 for FOX's "Keen Eddie." On The WB, "Smallville" had a 2.9/5.

  59. National Ratings for Tuesday, June 17, 2003

    ABC won at 9 p.m. with "According to Jim" (6.0/10) and "Less than Perfect" (5.3/9). NBC took second with the 5.4/9 for "Last Comic Standing." CBS' "The Guardian" took third, beating the 3.5/6 for FOX's "Keen Eddie." UPN took fifth with the 3.5/6 for "America's Next Top Model," ahead of the 2.7/4 for "Smallville" on The WB.

  60. National Ratings for Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    NBC earned decent numbers for the premiere of "Last Comic Standing," as the Joy Mohr-hosted reality program had a 6.2/10 in its first hour. ABC was second with "According to Jim" (6.2/10) and "Less than Perfect" (5.3/9). CBS took third with "The Guardian," comfortably topping the 3.7/6 earned by UPN's "Next Top Model" in fourth. In its second week, FOX's critically admired "Keen Eddie" sunk to fifth with a 3.3/5. On The WB, "Smallville" had a 2.9/5.

  61. National Ratings for Tuesday, May 27, 2003

    CBS stayed strong at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian" winning the hour at 5.9/10. The second hour of "Dog Eat Dog" moved NBC up to second with a 5.7/9, beating ABC's "According to Jim" and "Less Than Perfect." The finale of "Deuce Bigalow" averaged a 4.7/8 for FOX. On UPN, "America's Next Top Model" earned a 3.4/5 and came out ahead of the 2.8/4 for The WB's "Smallville" repeat.

  62. Dabney On The View

    Dabney Coleman (Burton) is set to appear on ABC's "The View" on Monday February 3, 2003.

  63. Simon To Present At The Golden Globes

    Aussie actor Simon Baker (Nick) has been added to the list of presenters at this years Golden Globe awards airing Sunday January 19, 2003 on NBC.

  64. National Ratings for Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    At 9 p.m., CBS took the lead with "The Guardian," 8.4/13. FOX dropped one spot with "24," 8.0/13, but averaged more total viewers. "Frasier," 7.2/11, and "Watching Ellie," 5.5/8, put NBC in third, while "Smallville" was fourth for The WB. A second "According to Jim," 5.7/9, and "Less Than Perfect," 5.0/8, came in fifth for ABC. UPN trailed with the season finale of "Platinum."

  65. National Ratings for Tuesday, May 6, 2003

    At 9 p.m., "The Guardian" scored an 8.2/13 to win the hour for CBS. Helped by its "Idol" lead-in, "24" earned an 8.1/12 for give FOX second. NBC moved up to third with "Frasier" (7.3/11) and "Watching Ellie" (5.8/9). In metered markets, "Smallville" scored a 6.0/9 to edge ABC's comedy pairing of "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect." On UPN, "Platinum" had a 2.0/3.

  66. Guardian On The Move?

    We will know for sure on Wednesday, May 14, but here is what the latest rumors are saying: "The District" is understood to be the only CBS Saturday show that will stay on the night, moving from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. "Hack" is expected to move from Friday to the Saturday 8 p.m. slot, with "The Guardian" joining the lineup at 9 p.m.

  67. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003

    CBS took the lead at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," 8.6/13, beating "24," 7.7/12, on FOX. Dr. Phil's appearance on "Frasier," 7.7/12, and "Watching Ellie," 6.0/9, moved NBC up to third. The WB held on to fourth with "Smallville," 6.2/9, beating a second "According to Jim" and the returning "Less than Perfect" on ABC. UPN trailed with "Platinum."

  68. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003

    CBS took over at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian." The legal drama had an 8.6/13, good enough to top the 7.2/11 for FOX's "24." "Smallville" averaged a 5.9/9 on The WB, good enough for third, ahead of NBC's comedy duo of "Frasier" (6.3/10) and "Watching Ellie" (5.2/8). ABC trailed with "According to Jim" and "Lost at Home." On UPN, "Platinum" had a 1.8/3.

  69. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 16, 2003

    At 9 p.m., NBC and FOX were in a dead heat. "24" gave FOX a 7.3/12. On NBC, the final part of "Great Women" earned a 8.0/12, but while that special was meant to help lead into the return of "Watching Ellie," the sitcom dropped to 6.6/10, giving NBC a 7.3/11 for the hour. A repeat of "The Guardian" had CBS in third with a 6.4/10. The WB was fourth with "Smallville" soaring to a 5.2/8, staying ahead of ABC's duo of "According to Jim" and "Lost at Home." On UPN, "Platinum" dropped to 2.0/5 in its first airing in its regular time slot.

  70. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 8, 2003

    NBC took over for the rest of the night at 9 p.m. with the special "Cher's Farewell Concert." Overall, the special averaged a 10.8/17, winning both of its hours easily. Cher's closest 9 p.m. competition was FOX's "24," which averaged a 7.3/11. A repeat of "The Guardian" on CBS was third, with a 5.7/8, just ahead of ABC's "According to Jim" and "Lost At Home."

  71. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 1, 2003

    CBS took over a 9 p.m. with "The Guardian" pulling off a slim victory with a 7.9/12. On FOX, "24" carried over enough of the "Idol" audience to win the first part of the hour, but had to settle for a 7.5/11 overall. ABC was third with "According to Jim" (6.0/9) and the premiere of "Lost at Home" (5.7/9), beating NBC's "Frasier" and "A.U.S.A.." "Smallville" earned a 3.1/5 on The WB, ahead of repeats of UPN's "Girlfriends" and "Half and Half."

  72. National Ratings for Tuesday, Mar 18, 2003

    At 9 p.m., "Idol" improved to 13.1/19, as no one chose to sing "I Will Always Love You" after all. CBS stayed in second with "The Guardian," 8.4/12, and NBC moved up to third with "Frasier," 6.5/10, and "A.U.S.A." 4.7/7. ABC's "Life with Bonnie" and "Less than Perfect" combined to place fourth for the hour. A rerun of "Smallville," 3.1/4, kept The WB in fifth. UPN trailed with a repeat of "The Twilight Zone."

  73. National Ratings for Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003

    The building "American Idol" reached a 14.7/23 for its second hour, helping FOX double up the competition at 9 p.m.. On CBS, "The Guardian" earned a 6.6/10, good enough for second. NBC was third with "Frasier" (6.0/9) and "A.U.S.A." (4.6/7), ahead of ABC comedies "Life With Bonnie" and "Less Than Perfect." The WB's rerun of "Smallville" averaged a 3.4/5, topping "The Twilight Zone" (1.8/3) on UPN.

  74. National Ratings for Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003

    As fits the Tuesday pattern, CBS took over at 9 p.m., with "The Guardian" winning the hour with a 10.1/15. For the full hour, NBC's comedy pair of "Frasier" and "A.U.S.A." finished second, but that was largely on the strength of "Frasier"'s 8.7/13, rather than "A.U.S.A." 's 6.6/10. "24" gave FOX third for the hour at 7.4/11. "Smallville," featuring a guest appearance by Christopher Reeve, was fourth for the hour overall at 7.2/10, but actually finished second from 8:30-9 for UPN. ABC's "I'm a Celebrity!" finished fifth, with a 5.8/9, ahead of The WB's comedy pair of "Abby" and "Half and Half."

  75. National Ratings for Tuesday, Feb 18, 2003

    CBS took control at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," taking the hour with a 9.7/14. On FOX, "24" finished second at 7.9/12. NBC finished third with their comedy duo of "Frasier," 8.2/12, and "A.U.S.A." 5.2/8. "Smallville" pushed The WB into fourth with a 5.9/8. ABC's "Life With Bonnie" and "Less Than Perfect" averaged 5.2/8. UPN finished last for the hour with "Abby" and a "Half and Half" special.

  76. National Ratings for Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003

    CBS took the lead at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," 8.6/13. FOX's "24" came in second with a 7.6/11. "Frasier," 8.4/12, and "A.U.S.A." 6.1/9, gave NBC third place, while "Smallville," 6.2/9, moved The WB up to fourth. ABC's "Life with Bonnie" and "Less than Perfect" averaged 5.0/7 for fifth place. UPN trailed with "Abby" and a "Girlfriends" repeat.

  77. National Ratings for Tuesday, Feb 4, 2003

    NBC took the lead at 9 p.m. with "Frasier," 9.7/14, and the premiere of "A.U.S.A." 7.5/11. Their average of 8.6/13 was one-tenth of a point ahead of "The Guardian" on CBS. FOX's "24," 7.6/11, scored well above its season average, although it dropped in its second half-hour. "Smallville," 5.9/9, moved The WB up to fourth, while ABC was fifth, airing "Life with Bonnie" and "Less than Perfect." UPN trailed with "Abby" and "One on One."

  78. National Ratings for Tuesday, Jan 21, 2003

    At 9 p.m., the last half-hour of "Idol," 16.2/24 and a where-are-they-now special about contestants from last summer's show, 13.1/19, kept FOX in front. "The Guardian" held second place for CBS. The second half of "According to Jim" and "Less than Perfect" averaged 5.9/9 for ABC, while "Smallville" posted a 5.4/8 for The WB. NBC was fifth with a "Frasier" rerun and "Hidden Hills." "Abby" and a "Girlfriends" repeat averaged only 1.7/2 for UPN.

  79. National Ratings for Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003

    At 9 p.m., NBC saw a reversal of its fortunes and moved up to first place with "Frasier," 8.1/12, and "Hidden Hills," 6.3/10, averaging a 7.2/11 for the hour. CBS slipped to second with a repeat of "The Guardian," 6.8/10. FOX moved up to third place with a riveting episode of "24," 6.5/10, pushing The WB's "Smallville," 5.9/9, down to fourth. ABC sank to fifth with "Life with Bonnie" and "Less Than Perfect" averaging a 5.2/8. UPN remained at the bottom with "Abby" and "Girlfriends."

  80. National Ratings for Tuesday, Jan 7, 2003

    At 9 p.m., "The Guardian" kept CBS in front with an 8.9/14. NBC moved up to second with "Frasier," 8.0/12, and "Hidden Hills," 5.8/9. FOX's "24" averaged 6.5/10 for third. ABC fell to fourth with "Life with Bonnie" and "Less than Perfect." A second "Smallville" on The WB averaged 3.4/5, beating UPN's "Girlfriends" and "Abby."

  81. Simon On The View

    Simon Baker (Nick) is set to appear on ABC's "The View" on Tuesday January 14, 2003.

  82. Simon On Letterman

    Simon Baker (Nick) is set to appear on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" on Monday January 13, 2003. Other guests include talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

  83. National Ratings for Tuesday, Dec 31, 2002

    CBS stayed on top at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," 4.2/9, while ABC's comedies "Life with Bonnie," 3.8/8, and "Less Than Perfect," 3.8/8, tied for second place with NBC's "Frasier," 4.2/9, and "Hidden Hills," 3.4/7. FOX was fourth with a special Tuesday airing of "John Doe," 2.4/5.

  84. National Ratings for Tuesday, Dec 24, 2002

    CBS stayed on top at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," 4.0/10. FOX moved up to second with "Funniest Holiday Moments," 3.6/9, while NBC stayed in third with its movie. ABC dropped to fourth with "Life with Bonnie," 2.7/7, and "Less Than Perfect," 2.7/6.

  85. Get The New Theme Song

    The new Guardian theme song: "Empire Of My Mind" by The Wallflowers is a bonus track on the bands new album out November 5, 2002. Click here to pre-order your copy today.

  86. Simon Best Dressed
    (From Shirell Divan)

    People Magazine has named Simon Baker the best dressed male presenter at this years Emmy Awards. Dressed in a pinstrip suit, People said "Simon just dressed immaculate".

  87. Spoiler For Upcoming Season

    The following contains information about the upcoming season of The Guardian, if you don't want to know ahead of time stop reading now.

    Lulu's friend is in a custody suit & has an affair with Nick. Her ex and son walk in on them.

  88. Missing The Hungry Years

    The Guardian's Simon Baker loves living in Malibu with his wife and children, but says some of their best times were had when they were broke.

    The nicest thing about starring in a major US prime-time TV series is that one can become financially independent for a few years after shooting 22 episodes during one back-breaking season. And one can retire in considerable comfort if the show goes on for another five years.

    Simon Baker – the hottest Tasmanian actor since Errol Flynn – knows he is on the fast track to monetary security as the star of the legal drama The Guardian, already an international hit after only one year on the air and with no signs of slowing down. Chances are that Simon, who celebrated his 33rd birthday recently, will have to make some tough choices about his personal life in the near future. Currently residing in the beachside suburb of Malibu near Los Angeles, he engages in frequent discussions on the matter with his wife, Australian actor Rebecca Rigg. After all, they have three children to consider.

    "My life has changed in an external way and I see myself as incredibly fortunate to be able to do just about anything I want to do," muses the blond actor as he relaxes in his huge trailer at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City.

    "And though I don't think that I've changed, I do know that my personal life has changed in many ways – it's a complicated issue that's difficult to grapple with," he says. "Although I'm only in my early 30s, I've lived a varied existence and experienced a lot. I've enjoyed it all, but there is more."

    Now able to take the family – Rebecca and children, Stella, 9, Claude, 3, and Harry, 11 months – wherever he wants, Simon intends to explore the universe.

    "I'm an Australian citizen who was raised in a certain way," he says. "I'm very patriotic. I love my country. I don't think you'll ever meet an Australian who isn't proud to be an Australian, but I'm not ignorant about the rest of the world.

    "Do I think Australia is the best country in the world? It is when I'm there at a deserted beach surfing with my mates, then having cold beer at a spot offering an exquisite view of the shore without a single skyscraper or McDonald's. Then I think it's the best country in the world!"

    The reality of Simon's daily grind, however, includes a morning surf in front of a rich and famous person's Malibu mansion before a driver picks him up for a 45-,minute ride to the studio where he makes a handsome living.

    "I think it's all relative to where you're at," he continues cautiously. "When I was working in movies, we would pack up the kids and lead a gipsy existence in foreign counties. We loved it because we were able to live in a country for a few months and learn about its culture. I don't know whether we'll wind up in Sydney, Paris or a farmhouse in Tuscany.

    "At this point we don't want to send the kids to a boarding school in Australia. On the other hand, I don't understand what American values are about. It's a country reflecting many cultures, making things very complex. All I know is that we live in a very capitalist society."

    It seems Simon is doing his best to cut a slice of the capitalist pie, but he protests his innocence. He doesn't believe that greed is a universal phenomenon.

    "There are degrees to where money matter," he says. "It's very healthy to understand when enough is enough and find the level where you function best."

    Despite the current capitalist trappings of his life, Simon appears unimpressed.

    "I'm, not so motivated by money because some of the best times I've had in my life were when I was completely broke with my wife and kids," he explains. "Everything was an adventure then; the world was left for us to explore.

    "That's the way it was when we visited LA in 1995 with a couple of thousand dollars in our pockets," he continues. "I thought it was a good omen when I found a baseball on the first day we were here. It was a lark. We didn't have agents. We didn't have jobs. Our attitude was, `We can always go back home.'"

    Simon was born in Launceston where his parents worked for a time as a schoolteacher and mechanic. Two years later, in search of adventure, the family moved to New Guinea. His parents soon divorced and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, a butcher, in Ballina on the NSW North Coast. At 17, he studied nursing in Sydney; three years later he was "accidentally" cast in a TV commercial and made his legitimate acting debut in E Street in 1991. Following short runs in Home and Away (1994) and Heartbreak High (1995) he pursued a Hollywood career, appearing in a dozen feature films, including LA Confidential (1998) and Red Planet (2000) before The guardian gave him a serious measure of fame worldwide.

    "It's difficult to play the same character day in and day out for months at a time," he says. "Executive producer David Hollander and the writers are doing everything they can to provide complex stories and to reveal more sides of my character.

    "Nick Fallin is a self-centred individual with an addictive personality, but I don't think he has lost his moral compass. He wants to do the right thing, The trick is to keep him and stories believable.

  89. Simon Baker on The Guardian's Big Mess

    Last May, when CBS's The Guardian wrapped its first season, Nick Fallin — as played by Simon Baker — was in sorry shape. Let's recall the attorney's docket of woes, shall we?

    His father (Dabney Coleman) had sold the family firm to a crooked politician to save Nick from jail. Plus, Nick's crush Lulu (Wendy Moniz) was engaged to a sleaze who cheated on her in a bathroom stall at his own bachelor party. (And this spicy show won two Family Television Awards?!) Worse yet, the cops were about to find the corpse of junkie-urchin Mandy in Nick's home. Sheesh!

    "The finale was very interesting, wasn't it," Baker tells TV Guide Online. "Every other show is about setting something up, letting it go out and pulling it back in at the end of the episode, to a degree. [Our] finale was about setting up 15 loose ends and letting them all hang!"

    Can Baker hint at what's to come in season two (debuting Sept. 24)? He claims not to know. Ha! "I don't," he insists. "I'm telling you, I don't. I'm still in the show, obviously..." Well, he admits we can expect to see even more of his hard-edged yuppie's softer side. Remember that heartfelt apology Nick phoned in to his papa?

    "In the [finale's] last scene, I got to reveal a side of the character to the audience that had sort of been building up the whole year," he enthuses. "I was excited about having to play that moment to call my father... and to apologize. And it was a very indirect, safe way to do it, on an answering machine. It was a great thing for me because I'm more interested in the character journey than anything else."

    That includes Guardian's ratings success in its timeslot on Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET. This fall, it's up against quality competitors like Frasier, 24 and Smallville. "You've got to kind of separate yourself personally from that s---," the 33-year-old Aussie asserts. "To me, I'm stoked that people watch the show. I'm in it for the work. I don't really give a s--- that much about the numbers and all that, because that's fiscal. I can't do anything about those numbers, you know. I can only do what I can [as an actor] with what's on the page."

  90. 'Guardian' benefit screening

    Pittsburgh-based child advocacy organization KidsVoice will present an advance screening of the second season premiere of CBS's "The Guardian" at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Byham Theater.

    Admission is free, but to attend you must obtain a voucher in advance at or by calling 412-391-3100. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and remaining seats will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis at 5:45 p.m.

    A patrons reception to benefit KidsVoice will follow at 7 p.m. in the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel Ballroom. Tickets cost $125 per person.

    They can be purchased by calling 412-391-3100.

    "The Guardian" has its second season premiere Sept. 24. The Pittsburgh-set legal drama was created by Mt. Lebanon native David Hollander. His brother, KidsVoice executive director Scott Hollander, is the show's technical consultant.

  91. Family Television Awards

    The PBS drama "American Family" and CBS'"The Guardian" were among television programs honored Wednesday at the Family Television Awards.

    "American Family," about a Hispanic family in Los Angeles, was named best special series. "The Guardian," about the workings of a legal-aid office protecting children, was honored as best new series.

    Simon Baker who stars in "The Guardian" was honored as best actor, while the best actress award went to Alexis Bledel of WB's "Gilmore Girls."

    Also honored were the CBS TV movie "The Rosa Parks Story"; the animated special "Dinotopia" and the comedy "My Wife and Kids," both on ABC; and the WB drama "7th Heaven."

    The awards, in their fourth year, were initiated by the Family Friendly Programming Forum. The group was formed by more than 40 advertisers to encourage the production of programs aimed at parents and children. The ceremony is scheduled to air Aug. 9 on ABC.

  92. National Ratings for Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002

    CBS stayed on top at 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," 8.1/13. NBC moved up to second with the end of the "SNL" special and a repeat "Frasier," averaging 7.3/11 for the hour. ABC fell to third with "Life with Bonnie," 6.8/11, and "Less than Perfect," 6.0/9. FOX's "24" clocked in at 5.6/9. A rerun of "Smallville" averaged 3.4/5 on The WB, while "The Twilight Zone" finished sixth for UPN.

  93. National Ratings for Tuesday, Dec 10, 2002

    CBS took the lead at 9 p.m. thanks to "The Guardian," 8.5/13. NBC stayed in second with "Frasier," 9.2/14, and "Hidden Hills," 6.4/10. "Life with Bonnie" and "Less Than Perfect" averaged 6.6/10 for ABC, with FOX's "24" at 6.0/9. A "Smallville" rerun kept The WB in fifth. UPN trailed with reruns of "One on One" and "The Parkers."

  94. National Ratings for Tuesday, Dec 3, 2002

    NBC rose to the top at 9 p.m. with a repeat of "Frasier" and another episode of "In-Laws" averaging 7/11, followed by FOX with "24" (6.5/10) and CBS on third place with a repeat of "The Guardian" averaging an 6.3/10 for the hour, enough to beat ABC's repeat of "Life with Bonnie," (5.5/9) and "Less than Perfect" 5.4/8. The WB was fifth with a repeat of "Smallville," 4.2/6, while UPN languished in sixth with the comedies "Girlfriends" and "Half and Half" averaging 1.9/3 for the hour.

  95. National Ratings for Tuesday, Nov 26, 2002

    CBS pulled ahead through 9 p.m. with "The Guardian," 8.9/14, followed by NBC with "Frasier" and "Hidden Hills" averaging an 8.0/13 for the hour, enough to beat ABCs "Life with Bonnie," 6.4/10 and "Less than Perfect" 6.6/10. The WB held its place in fourth with "Smallville," 6.3/9, while FOX claimed fifth place for its very own with "24," 5.8/9. UPN languished in sixth with the comedies "Girlfriends" and "Half and Half" averaging 1.9/3 for the hour.

  96. The Early Show

    Tuesday November 19, 2002 actor Simon Baker (Nick Fallin) will be on the CBS's "The Early Show". Check your local listing for the time & station near you.

  97. National Ratings for Tuesday, Nov 19, 2002

    At 9pm NBC won the night with "Fraiser," 11.7/17, and "Hidden Hills," 11.3/11, averaging a 11.5/14 for the hour, enough to beat CBS' "The Guardian," 9.1/14. The WB held strong in third with "Smallville," 6.5/9, while FOX claimed fourth place for its very own with "24," 6.1/9. ABC dropped to fifth place with "Life with Bonnie" and "Less Than Perfect," while UPN languished in sixth with the comedies "Girlfriends" and "Half and Half."

  98. National Ratings for Tuesday, Nov 12, 2002

    NBC pulled ahead at 9 p.m. with "Fraiser," 11.5/17, "Hidden Hills," 7.9/12, averaging a 9.7/15 for the hour, enough to beat CBS' "The Guardian," 9.4/14. The WB held strong in third with "Smallville," 6.3/9, while FOX claimed fourth place for its very own with "24," 6.2/9. ABC dropped to fifth place with "Life with Bonnie" and "Less Than Perfect," while UPN languished in sixth with a special "WWE Super Tuesday" edition.

  99. Conan

    Friday November 8, 2002 actor Simon Baker (Nick Fallin) will be on the NBC talk show "Late Night with Conan O'Brien". Check your local listing for the time & station near you.

  100. The Early Show

    Tuesday November 12, 2002 actor Simon Baker (Nick Fallin) will be on the CBS's "The Early Show". Check your local listing for the time & station near you.

  101. Caroline Rhea

    Monday November 11, 2002 actor Simon Baker (Nick Fallin) will be on the syndicated talk show "The Caroline Rhea Show". Check your local listing for the time & station near you.

  102. Regis & Kelly

    Friday November 8, 2002 actor Simon Baker (Nick Fallin) will be on the syndicated talk show "Live with Regis and Kelly". Check your local listing for the time & station near you.

  103. National Ratings for Tuesday, Oct 29, 2002

    "The Guardian" (9.4/15) kept CBS in the lead at 9 p.m. as FOX viewers welcomed Jack Bauer back for a new season of "24" (8.1/12). NBC was third with "Frasier," 8.4/12, and "Hidden Hills," 6.1/9. ABC slipped to fourth with "Life With Bonnie" (6.4/10) and "Less Than Perfect" (6.1/9). The WB's "Smallville" earned a 6.0/8 for the hour, beating UPN's "Haunted" with 1.9/3.

  104. National Ratings for Tuesday, Oct 22, 2002

    Baseball kept FOX in first place at 9 p.m., as "The Guardian" pulled in a 9.3/14 for second on CBS. NBC was third with "Frasier," 8.0/12, and "Hidden Hills," 6.5/10. ABC was fourth with "Life With Bonnie" (6.4/10) and "Less Than Perfect" (5.8/9). The WB's "Smallville" earned a 6.2/9 for the hour, beating UPN's "Haunted" with 2.4/3.

  105. Review From Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker

    Take it from a guy in the profession: It's hard to get TV critics to change their minds. We tend to judge a new series on its pilot and whatever extra couple of episodes a network or production company may send out. Once a show is viewed and tagged, it's bagged. (Long-standing tags include ''It's innovative!'' -- meaning the lighting is murky and you probably won't watch it; ''It'll be a crowd-pleasing hit!'' -- code for ''I was bored silly, but you watch 'Fear Factor,' don't you?''; and the ever-reliable ''It's a big, smelly stink bomb!'') Sorry. I could say we're overworked, but who isn't? That's no excuse. To be honest, this is often the only way to share with readers immediate reactions that can offer useful information and viewing guidance. But consider this piece my tiny effort to break this habit.

    Subject: The Guardian, a freshman series that did pretty well in its initial run, and CBS is now rerunning it regularly, hoping to snare new viewers (like me) who were too busy watching other new shows the rest of the year. You may know the premise: Young corporate lawyer Nick Fallin (Simon Baker, whose steel-door-slicing stare and pouty deadpan immediately lit up the Internet with admiring fans) was caught indulging in illegal drugs. Being white and law-degreed, Nick was sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service. So now he splits his time between the Pittsburgh white-shoe firm run by his dad, Burton Fallin (Dabney Coleman, looking dashing and reining in his crankiness in a subtle performance), and a down-at-the-heels legal service for the poor overseen by Alvin Masterson (''L.A. Law'''s Alan Rosenberg, with trademark shlubby wryness).

    The idea, as devised by series creator David Hollander, is to place Nick in two extremely different worlds, and have him encounter one moral quandary after another. And so far, Hollander and his fellow writers have put Nick in some fine pickles. There was the time Nick bedded a girl who came on to him in a bar, who claimed to be a minor and then became the legal service's client in a case where she was being separated from her sister -- who actually turned out to be her daughter. That one sent me reaching for a cold lemonade and some aspirin.

    Then there was the time Nick was asked by the fiance of a female coworker he'd recently smooched himself (!) to help him out of a jam -- he'd been caught by the law with a hooker (!). Should Nick rat out the fiance to nice, sleek Louisa (Wendy Moniz)? ''Guardian'' is a weekly ethics seminar, with Nick -- whom even one of the people who like him describes as ''all buttoned up and tense'' -- presiding over the debate. The thing is, Baker's look of perpetual woundedness is actually very effective. Watched week after week, his inner suffering becomes compelling -- you root for this complex screwup, who's obviously locked in a fierce psychological battle with his father-who's-also-his-boss. Nick even said to Burton, after Dad chased off some guys who were pummeling Nick in a bar (don't ask): ''I'm a screwup.''

    Yet in the midst of all this, Nick must live up to the show's title -- he's a guardian of the state, there to protect the vulnerable, many of whom are children. It's to Hollander's credit that he never uses a kid as a mere sympathy pawn; instead, he builds interesting cases around parental rights and the laws that sometimes inhibit those rights. Not for nothing is this guardian named Fallin -- he's ''fallen'' from grace, but the show holds out the constant hope that he can regain a state of goodness, of purposeful purity.

    The best thing about Nick is his sheer pigheadedness. In the season-ending cliff-hanger, he decided to leave the firm his father founded (Burton was just appointed to federal judge) and form his own law office, which, given both his criminal record and his luck, seems destined for trouble. I'm a convert: I can't wait to see how the writers will blindside the perpetually wary Nick next season. In the meantime, tune in and catch up. EW Grade: B

  106. Emmy Nominations

    Unfortunately "The Guardian" recieved 0 Emmy Award nominations.

  107. Fawcett Guests on 'The Guardian'

    Emmy-nominated actress Farrah Fawcett will be appearing in two episodes of "The Guardian" next season.

    She will play, Mary Gressler, the mother of Mandy, the stripper who threatened to blackmail Nick in the season finale. A fall in Nick's apartment left Mandy in a coma, and Nick learns that Mary Gressler has information that could either exonerate or ruin him.

    Fawcett has made previous guest appearances on shows such as "Spin City" and "Ally McBeal." She shot to fame after starring in the hit show "Charlie's Angels" in the 1970s.

    "The Guardian" will be returning for its second season on CBS next fall. The series stars Simon Baker as Nick Fallin, a hotshot lawyer busted for using drugs. As a condition of his parole, Fallin must work for a child advocacy office in addition to working at his father's high profile law firm.

    Fawcett will be appearing in the first and third episodes of season two this fall.

  108. I've Raved
    (From Page Six)

    I've raved about CBS's "The Guardian" but have seldom encountered any of my high-brow friends who have even seen or heard of it. Now the network is taking out big "For Your Emmy Consideration" ads, showing their appealing star, Simon Baker. Hear! Hear! He'd have my vote if I could vote.

    In "The Guardian," Simon plays a tightly coiled, controlled, unhappy young attorney in his father's law firm (Dad is played by Dabney Coleman). Arrested for drug possession, he is working through community service and doesn't like it one bit. But the demanding pro bono cases dumped on him invariably involve him emotionally. Simon is a terrific actor. I say this because the night I met him in person, he was standing with his arm affectionately around Oscar-winner Hilary Swank, joking with her husband, Chad Lowe. Simon was so super-friendly, relaxed and full of charm I could hardly believe he was the same guy who plays the hard-nosed, deep-feeling character of "The Guardian." There are actors who are dreamboats. There are actors who are presented to us as dreamboats and there are actors who fake it. Simon Baker is the real McCoy. I can't wait to see him in some big romantic comedy where he can play himself-or at least show off his more charismatic qualities. He'll be a big star.

  109. Final Yearly Ratings

    The Guardian finished the season 30th overall with an average of 12.2 million viewers per epiode. Shows finishing just ahead of The Guardian include NYPD Blue, The Simpsons & The Practice while Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Providence & Third Watch finished just behind The Guardian.

  110. Lulu in People Magazine
    (From Sarah)

    Just to let any Lulu or Nick/Lulu fans know, there's a wonderful interview with her in the latest People Magazine (with JFK on the cover.) It starts on page 95. There's two personal pics of her, and then one from the show with Nick. Wendy's quite candid and I think it sounds as if she and the co-stars get along wonderfully.

  111. Simon In People

    Simon Baker (Nick) make's this years edition of People magazine's The 50 Most Beautiful People. The issue with Nicole Kidman on the cover hits newsstands Friday (May 3).

  112. Talk Shows

    The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mo 5/6: Simon Baker
    The View: Mo 5/6: Kelsey Grammer, Simon Baker

  113. Dabney on Kilbourn

    Monday, September 30: Dabney Coleman (Burton) is scheduled to appear on CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Kilbourn (Check your local listings for the time near you)

  114. Alan on Pyramid

    Friday, October 4: Alan Rosenberg (Alvin) will be on Donny Osmond's Pyramid game show. (Check your local listings for the time & channel near you)

  115. National Ratings for Tuesday, Oct 15, 2002

    CBS remained in the lead at 9 p.m., as "The Guardian" pulled in a 9.2/15 for the hour. NBC was second with "Frasier," 9.2/14, and "Hidden Hills," 6.6/10. The WB moved up to third with "Smallville" averaging a 6.6/10 as ABC placed fourth with "Life With Bonnie" (6.0/9) and "Less Than Perfect" (6.1/9). A special "John Doe" (3.6/6) was fifth on FOX, topping UPN's "Haunted" at 2.7/4.

  116. National Ratings for Tuesday, Oct 8, 2002

    CBS stayed on top at 9 p.m., as "The Guardian" pulled in a 9.4/15 for the hour. NBC was second with "Frasier," 9.4/14, and "Hidden Hills," 6.9/11. FOX continued baseball in third as ABC placed fourth with "Life With Bonnie" (6.5/10) and "Less Than Perfect" (6.4/10). The WB's "Smallville" earned a 6.5/9 for the hour, topping UPN's "Haunted" with 2.5/4.

  117. Dabney In People
    (From Janet on

    The May 6th People Magazine has an article on Dabney Coleman's battle with macular degeneration (a progressive eye disease). It describes how Dabney began to notice problems with his sight in 2000. The condition causes "rogue" blood vessels to grow in the the back of the eye. These vessels leak, resulting in the destruction of the central part of the retina (called the macular), eventually resulting in a blind spot in the middle of the vision field. Until recently the only treatment for this has been laser surgery to destroy the vessels, but that only slowed the progression of the disease. But a doctor at UCLA has been running clinical trials using a new experimental drug. Dabney has been participating in that program. Apparently this drug has been very effective for him. The article said his vision went from 20/400 to 20/40 in a week.

  118. The Laws Of Redemption

    CULVER CITY -- Order in the court! On "The Guardian" courtroom set at Sony Pictures Studios, two usually serious lawyers are laughing over each other's biographies.

    Filming is going to start in a few minutes, and they're still laughing. Where's my gavel? " 'Chal-lenges seem to appeal to (Simon) Baker,' " said Wendy Moniz, grinning as she quoted from the well-written release.

    Baker doesn't cry, "Objection!" He grins and teases her back.

    Baker and Moniz star as child advocacy attorneys Nick Fallin and Louisa "Lulu" Archer in a law show created by a producer who's not a big fan of the courtroom genre. I'll explain about that later.

    "It's fun. We get along well," Moniz told me earlier in her trailer. "He (Baker) is serious about the work, but we laugh a lot during the 12-hour days."

    Good spirits prevail on the set of the show that's more popular than its creator, Executive Producer David Hollander, said he had expected.

    In fact, "The Guardian," this season's 29th-highest rated show according to the Nielsens list, is beating another show in its time slot, an Emmy-winning one called "NYPD Blue." (NBC's "Frasier" usually beats both law-related shows to win the first half-hour of the slot.)

    "The Guardian" has been the most popular new show during most weeks of this season. (That honor now belongs to the NBC comedy "Leap of Faith," which is currently the season's 11th-highest rated show.)

    "The Guardian" airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on CBS. Hollander credits much of its ratings success to its time slot between two other popular courtroom dramas on CBS -- the military justice series "JAG" at 8 and "Judging Amy," another show about family court, at 10.

    But "The Guardian" is successful in its own right. The stories tackle social issues such as prostitution, drug abuse, problems facing gay teen-agers, parental rights, incest, molestation and corporate abuse honestly while keeping the focus on its characters. Fallin is a corporate attorney, convicted of using drugs, and he's sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service as a child advocate with Children's Legal Services in Pittsburgh.

    Fake-brick walls, classy wood interiors, realistic tiled floors and convincing photographic backdrops seen through windows turn this Culver City sound stage into a piece of the Northeast. I watched as a group of a dozen or so extras created the illusion of packed courthouse halls by the way they entered and walked through the set.

    Longtime actor Alan Rosenberg, who stars as Alvin Masterson, Nick's boss at Children's Legal Services, said Nick has evolved during "The Guardian," which premiered last fall. "There's no question Nick is a better person, but he moves two steps forward, then one step back," Rosenberg said.

    Hollander wanted to create a series about a flawed character.

    "My approach wasn't about making it different (from other law shows)," Hollander said. "I don't like legal shows. I'm not interested in the law.

    "What interested me was a character stuck between two worlds," Hollander said. "If I were doing a medical show, it would be a plastic surgeon having to work in a county general hospital."

    Nick tries to do the right thing, but, like it or not, he's haunted by his past.

    "My initial goal was not to change the character," Hollander said. "He's a better lawyer, but he has backslid and will continue to do so." In fact, in an episode last fall, Nick abused drugs again, but he wasn't caught. He has been sober in other episodes, but temptation came in one story when a dealer slipped a joint into his coat pocket.

    Hollander said he cast Baker, an Australian star whose movies have included "L.A. Confidential" and "Red Planet," for the role because his personality fit Nick's. "Simon, as a person, is direct; he's a person who's unafraid of confrontation. He doesn't suffer fools, but he's not quick to judge. I wanted that kind of personality."

    Hollander said he wanted to put a character with little patience for nonsense in a world full of chaos.

    Baker portrays Nick with subtle and simple but very effective facial expressions. He has a nack for understated body language that says a lot without saying too much. Baker achieves a lot simply by standing or mildly raising an eyebrow.

    Baker said he brings his natural sense of competition to his role. "Nick wants to win."

    Hollander said upcoming episodes will show major steps in the evolution of Simon's strained relationship with his father, Burton Fallin, who also happens to be his boss at the corporate law firm. Longtime movie star Dabney Coleman plays Burton in a wonderfully understated way that allows emotions to rise at the right moment. Hollander said the father-son relationship is crucial to the show.

    "Dabney is very emotional, but he isn't going to give it away for no reason," Hollander said.

    Nick also has an intriguing relationship with Alvin, the by-the-book head of Children's Legal Services.

    Nick's more willing than Alvin to bend or break the rules to help a client. At Children's Legal Services, those clients include children, low-income families, teen-age parents and those suffering from drug abuse. Those are the clients Nick wouldn't be representing if he hadn't been sentenced to community service, but it turns out he cares about them a lot.

    "He's always going back to the corporate world; he likes to make money," Rosenberg said. "But when he does care about something, he cares about it passionately.

    "You may be flawed, but you can make a difference," Rosenberg said.

    Rosenberg said Nick is having an effect on his character, the Children's Legal Services boss who has been in this job for a long time. Nick is making Alvin less complacent about his work.

    "Nick Fallin comes and kicks him in the butt," Rosenberg said with a grin.

    Characters affect each other a lot on "The Guardian," and that's a good law for any drama to follow.

  119. Perennial TV Lawyer And His Ideals

    CULVER CITY -- Alan Rosenberg has been a TV lawyer since "Civil Wars," "L.A. Law" and "Chicago Hope." On the sitcom "Cybill," he played Ira Woodbine, a former lawyer-turned-author.

    Rosenberg is a 51-year-old Passaic, N.J., native who began his Hollywood career playing villains. He was a 1960s political activist who had planned to attend law school. But he decided on an acting career instead after acting in college and professional plays in New York that included "Buck" with future movie star Morgan Freeman.

    Rosenberg, who lives today in Santa Monica, said he likes how his latest series, "The Guardian," tackles social issues. His character, Alvin Masterson, is the head of Children's Legal Services in Pittsburgh.

    "The other lawyers I played included a divorce lawyer and a criminal lawyer; this is the first guy I've played who's an idealist similar to me. He's involved with the helpless and underprivileged," Rosenberg said.

    "I do care a lot about the world," he said between sips from a Diet Coke during an interview in his dressing-room trailer.

    Before the interview, Rosenberg had had a short day shooting a courtroom scene on Stage 19 at Sony Pictures Studios. A few sound stages away, Paul McCartney was rehearsing for his new tour. (McCartney will perform in sold-out concerts May 4 at the Staple Center in Los Angeles and May 5 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim.)

    Like McCartney, Rosenberg was a young man in the 1960s, someone who wanted to change the world. Rosenberg was a member of the Black Panther Party and other organizations, and he learned about union politics. He has continued to speak out on issues and talked to students during the Persian Gulf War.

    Rosenberg talks passionately and candidly about his political beliefs and career. He said America's reliance on oil has put it at conflict with the world, and that partially led to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. "We have to be at war in the world to maintain oil supplies."

    Rosenberg said he has enjoyed working on all his TV shows except for CBS' "Cybill," and the reason, he said, was what he and others saw as the difficult attitude of the star and executive producer, Cybill Shepherd. "She fired the creator -- the right-hand man, the other executive producer."

    Previously, when "Civil Wars," a series about divorce lawyers, was cancelled, Rosenberg and his character, Eli Levinson, moved to "L.A. Law."

    Rosenberg has an uncredited small role as he reprises that character in "L.A. Law: Return to Justice," the reunion movie airing in May on NBC. He said he didn't feel his name should be in the credits because he's a regular on a CBS series.

    "It's very well-written," he said about the "L.A. Law" movie. "Everybody is back but Jimmy Smits." (Fans can catch Smits in "Star Wars: Episode II -- The Attack of the Clones," coming to theaters May 16.)

    Rosenberg said he would like to play someone other than a lawyer in the future. "I'd rather play some kind of a bad guy. I also want to direct a movie." He's working on developing a film about singer Jeff Buckley, he said.

    I told Rosenberg his "Guardian" character, Alvin Masterson, seems very hard on Nick, the lawyer on the show who is sentenced for drug use to 1,500 hours of community service working for Alvin at Children's Legal Services.

    "In a couple of recent episodes, I gave him a break when I became his AA sponsor," Rosenberg said. "But he's been screwing up."

    Rosenberg said Nick's addiction doesn't make him a bad person. "A lot of the show is about forgiveness."

    Still, Rosenberg doesn't want Alvin to go easy on Nick. "I've said that, instead of lightening up, I would like him to be a little more of an a------."

    Like Nick, Alvin is flawed.

    "So am I," Rosenberg said, as he stepped outside on his trailer's steps for a quick smoke.

    He said his wife, Marg Helgenberger, who was nominated for an Emmy last year for starring as a forensics investigator on CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigations," is a good detective as well as a great actress.

    "She can tell when I've been smoking a cigarette," he said.

  120. Casting News

    Kathleen Chalfant ("The Guardian") will play Andie McDowell's mother in the CBS drama pilot "Jo." McDowell plays a veterinarian who moves from New York to North Carolina to join her mother's practice.

  121. Fire Claims Three Children Despite Rescue Efforts

    Members of the crew for “The Guardian,” armed with buckets of water and garden hoses, tried to stop a house fire near their filming location that ultimately claimed the lives of three children, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    The film crew, as well as fire inspectors required to be at all filming locations, rushed two blocks to the house and attempted to rescue the trapped children, but were forced back by the heat, according to Fire Department Capt. Greg King. The bodies of a 4-year old girl and boys ages 3 and 5 were found in a first floor bedroom. The kids apparently started the fire by playing with two cigarette lighters. "Flames were coming out of the front window," said Vahan Moosekian, co-executive producer of CBS' "TheGuardian." "I heard someone say there are three people inside. I ran inside the house but the house is cut up into apartments, so where there would have been a door, there was only a wall. I started shouting for people to get out."

  122. Thanks To Charlie Sheen

    Who is "The Guardian" in real life?

    On television, he's troubled lawyer "Nick Fallin" as played every Tuesday night on CBS by Australian actor Simon Baker.

    In real life, he's the invention of first- time TV producer David Hollander, who created Fallin as a hot-shot corporate lawyer, busted for drugs and forced into community service as a child advocate.

    Hollander's tale of this flawed, not-so-likable do-gooder not only survived a murderous time slot, but has flourished to become this season's most watched new drama.

    While no single person inspired "The Guardian," the veteran screen writer Hollander said at least two real people touched his imagination for Nick Fallin: his brother, a Pittsburgh child advocate, and actor Charlie Sheen, the Hollywood bad boy whose immense popularity has been dogged by drugs and scandal.

    "I'm hugely impressed with Charlie," Hollander told The Post last week. "He's a very talented actor and a very good soul who has had a pretty rough ride."

    Hollander co-wrote the 2000 movie "Rated X" - with Sheen and brother Emilio Estevez playing the roles of Artie and Jim Mitchell, the San Francisco brothers who built a fortune on strip clubs and porn, only to lose it all in a drug-induced spiral.

    "I wrote a character for him that he took on during a hard time in his life. I thought a lot of about a guy like Charlie who find a new path and being brave enough to do it," Hollander said. "And that helped in the creation of Nick."

    The capable cast of Baker, veteran Dabney Coleman as Fallin's hard-driving dad and Alan Rosenberg as the show's true-believer child advocate has captivated audiences with compelling stories that have been as heartbreaking and uplifting as they've been dark and morally ambiguous.

    "I get repelled by attempted nice-ness," a smiling Hollander said. "We're not asking [viewers] to swallow that kind of fiction whole."

    The gritty CBS drama is No. 22 in overall ratings, beating perennial powerhouse "NYPD Blue (news - Y! TV)" on ABC and holding its own against ratings-monster "Frasier" (No. 16) on NBC.

    In an era where feel-good stories would seem to be the order of the day, CBS has developed a ratings winner with this moody look at human frailty.

    "What got us here was a commitment to making something fresh and original," said co-executive producer Michael Pressman, a veteran of "Picket Fences" and "Chicago Hope." "It's been a marriage between the kind of somberness and honesty and toughness that television viewers seem to want in this climate."

    For Baker, he's relished the chance to play the deeply troubled Nick Fallin, who borders between kid-saving hero and drug addict depending on the scene or episode.

    "It's like working out a Rubik's cube of how it goes together," he said.

    "I'm drawn to a character who has a hard time, as opposed to a character who is able to waltz through everything."

    "There was this whole generation of films in the '80s where everyone was good people or bad people, and it was very clean cut.

    "I feel like we live in a more complicated world than that," Baker said. "Why not create something someone can identify with that isn't superficial."

  123. The Guardian Star Turns Hustler!

    For sexy Simon Baker of CBS's The Guardian, playing male escort Retaux in The Affair of the Necklace wasn't much of a stretch. As he winks to TV Guide Online: "You don't really have to get into character to play a gigolo. Every guy sort of dreams of that at some stage of their life, don't they?"

    Unfortunately, Baker's dream dimmed when he learned his castmates weren't all as cute as Hilary Swank. "As soon as they started lining up women as extras," he laughs, "[I realized] the reality is the young, attractive women that most men desire aren't wanting to pay for sex. The crustier version — who have lots of money and are not necessarily able to pick up guys — are the ones that pay for sex. So I think the nature of being a gigolo was pure business with my character."

    Waxing winsome and prancing about in silky period costumes, Retaux certainly appears to be making the best of his shady lot. "He is a charming character," Baker sheepishly shrugs. "If he wasn't, he wouldn't exactly be the kind of company that these women would like to spend time with and pay for it!"

    Surprisingly, Baker finds a parallel between the flamboyant boy-toy and his grumpy Guardian attorney, Nick Fallin. "Retaux is outwardly showy, but it's all a façade," the Aussie actor muses. "He strips the veneer away as he feels more comfortable around Hilary's character, Jeanne. A similar thing happens to [Nick] on The Guardian. He shows more of himself to the kids [he helps], but not necessarily to everyone."

  124. 'The Guardian' a Smash Hit for CBS

    In CBS' new drama ``The Guardian'' there's on-screen chemistry between Simon Baker, who stars as troubled attorney Nick Fallin, and Dabney Coleman as his crusty father.

    There's chemistry as well between Baker and Alan Rosenberg, who plays the tough director of the child-advocacy office where Fallin must perform community service after a drug arrest.

    The potent cast has helped make ``The Guardian'' the highest-rated new drama this season - in a competitive 9 p.m. EST Tuesday time slot. It has averaged 14.3 million viewers weekly against NBC's ``Frasier'' and ABC's ``NYPD Blue (news - Y! TV).'' It has even managed to outdraw Fox's much-hyped new drama ``24.''

    Off-screen, there's equally important combustion involving Baker, series creator David Hollander and executive producer Michael Pressman, the diverse trio shaping the drama.

    Baker, 32, is an Australian with international film credits (including ``L.A. Confidential'' and the new ``The Affair of the Necklace'' with Hilary Swank).

    Hollander, 33, is a TV novice, a playwright and screenwriter who shifted his focus because he had an idea that was better suited to the small screen's extended storytelling.

    Pressman, 51, is a series veteran, a director and producer whose work includes the prestige David E. Kelley dramas ``Chicago Hope'' and ``Picket Fences'' as well as TV and feature films.

    ``The way I write the show, the way Simon acts, the way Michael Pressman oversees the direction of it,'' said Hollander, ``we're really a small band of three guys that are sitting down every day and responding to each other.''

    The pilot for ``The Guardian'' was the first work Hollander had done for TV.

    ``I wanted to write about a flawed character that wasn't going to redeem himself instantly, that would change by degrees, and that those degrees would be measured over time and not by one event,'' said Hollander, who also serves as executive producer.

    ``The Guardian'' turned out to be first pilot script Baker read when he decided to give TV a try. A husband and father of three, he was looking for more stability than movie work offered.

    ``It was good, sharp, intelligent writing,'' Baker said.

    And he liked Fallin, a hotshot aiming for a partnership in his dad's corporate law firm when he's nearly derailed by the drug bust.

    Sentenced to 1,500 hours community service, Fallin becomes a reluctant advocate for youngsters who have suffered abuse or other hardship that thrusts them into the legal system.

    He battles his own demons while finding his way in an emotionally charged world of troubled kids, far different than the business terrain he slickly navigates.

    ``I've always been attracted to characters that allow the audience to see their ugly side,'' the actor said. ``I think what saves it is there's a lot of hope for this character.''

    CBS wanted Baker for the role and so did Hollander - after his one doubt was put to rest.

    ``Literally the only thing that didn't make me feel he was the guy for the role was the accent,'' Hollander said. ``Everything else was what I was looking for: The way he looks, the sort of pugilist's nose and the intensity behind his eyes.''

    ``I love watching Simon slip into the character and see him connect the dots of the character.''

    The network agreed that Hollander could act as ``show runner,'' the person in charge of the production, as well as primary writer. But they made it clear they wanted an experienced guide next to him.

    Pressman, Hollander said, ``was a very good match for my personality. Michael is a very collaborative, direct person. ... He's also an enormously talented director, so it was a really easy match.''

    An average day for Hollander is spent on editing, casting, administration and some writing, with the bulk of work on scripts done at night or on weekends.

    Pressman shares the duties, with an emphasis on supervising direction and post-production such as editing. ``This is a 10-person job done by two people,'' said Hollander.

    When he first read ``The Guardian'' script, Pressman said, he reacted as he had to pilots for ``Picket Fences'' and ``Chicago Hope.''

    ``I have no idea if it will work but I have not seen it before,'' he recalled thinking.

    CBS was firmly behind the series, but there was ``a kind of nervousness before the show aired,'' he said.

    ``The very thing that people were all worried about is the very thing that makes the show a success: Its uncompromising honesty, no happy endings, a flawed character, a father-and-son struggle,'' Pressman said.

  125. Meet TV's New Aussie Hottie!

    Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman: the pioneers of entertainment's Aussie invasion. Yet Simon Baker, one peer from their homeland and the star of the new CBS drama The Guardian (premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET), insists that American actors need not feel threatened by the influx of Down Underlings.

    "It's just a coincidence," says Baker. "There have always been many Australians attempting to succeed on the world stage. It's just that, at the moment, a few more than usual are succeeding.

    "But the ones from Down Under who speak a bit weirder," he adds with a smile, "haven't always been so prominent."

    American TV audiences may have reason not to immediately cozy up like a koala to Baker. After all, in The Guardian, he plays a somewhat unsympathetic reprobate sentenced to community service at a child-advocacy organization. And boy, is the actor glad about that. "One of the first things I asked of [executive producer] David [Hollander]," says Baker, "was, 'Please don't make my character a one-dimensional, likable guy. What drew me to this show is the fact that this guy is flawed and conflicted."

    Perhaps helping to soften Baker's on-screen edges will be the children with whom his character occasionally must interact as part of his penance. The actor, though, is not concerned with the lil' ones upstaging him. "I'm more worried about that with Dabney Coleman," he chuckles, referring to the TV/film vet who plays his father. "I'm a huge fan. Tootsie is one of my favorite movies!"

  126. National Ratings for Tuesday, Oct 1, 2002

    CBS remained in first place at 9 p.m., as "The Guardian" pulled in a 9.5/15 for the hour. NBC was second with "Frasier," 9.6/15 and "Hidden Hills," 7.6/12. ABC was in third with "Life With Bonnie" (7.2/11) and the debut of "Less Than Perfect" (7.1/11). The WB's "Smallville" earned a 6.6/10 for the hour, topping baseball on FOX. UPN's "Haunted" continues to flounder, earning only 2.4/4.

  127. National Ratings for Tuesday, Sept 24, 2002

    NBC welcomed back "Frasier," the night's highest-rated program at 13.9/21, followed by the premiere of "Hidden Hills," 10.5/16, to take the lead at 9 p.m. The return of "The Guardian" put CBS in second, 9.5/15, followed by the season premiere of "Smallville," drawing an impressive 6.3/9 in third. On ABC, a special "NYPD Blue: A Decade on the Job" was fourth with 5.5/9, followed by FOX's special "Celebrity Daredevils" in fifth, 3.8/6. The premiere of "Haunted" finished sixth on UPN, 3.2/5.

  128. National Ratings for Tuesday, Sept 17, 2002

    ABC's heavily promoted "Push, Nevada" (7.9/13) won the 9 p.m. hour despite losing a quarter of its lead-in audience. The last half of NBC's special finished second as a repeat of CBS' "The Guardian" took third, 6.0/10. On FOX, the special "America's Funniest Movie Outtakes" placed fourth as The WB's "Smallville" took fifth, 3.8/6. "Enterprise" was sixth on UPN, 2.2/3.

  129. National Ratings for Tuesday, Sept 10, 2002

    NBC topped 9 p.m. with a second repeat of "Frasier" (6.9/11) and the start of a special 90-minute "Dateline NBC" (5.7/9). ABC followed with the first half of their news special, "Report From Ground Zero," 6.0/10. CBS' "The Guardian," took third, 5.6/9, as FOX ran "America's Funniest Game Show Moments," 5.2/9 in fourth. "Smallville," 3.2/5, was fifth on The WB as UPN finished sixth with a special repeat of last season's " Buffy the Vampire Slayer" finale averaging 2.6/4 for the hour.

  130. National Ratings for Tuesday, Sept 3, 2002

    FOX is going to miss "American Idol," which easily won the 9 p.m. hour. "Monk" (5.5/8) boosted ABC to second as NBC's hour of "Frasier" (5.5/9) and "Just Shoot Me" (4.8/7) topped CBS' "The Guardian," 5.1/8. "Smallville," 2.9/4 stayed at fifth on The WB as UPN finished last with two episodes of "The Parkers," averaging 1.8/3 for the hour.

  131. National Ratings for Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002

    As "American Idol" winds down, ratings continue to improve. The show easily won the 9 p.m. hour, taking a 8.6/14. "Monk" (5.8/9) in cleaning up ABC's ratings to take second as CBS' "The Guardian" tied NBC's hour of "Frasier" (5.7/9) and "Just Shoot Me" (5.1/8) for third, 5.4/9. "Smallville," 3.1/5 is a consistent fifth on The WB as UPN finished last with "Girlfriends," 1.7/3, and "The Parkers," 1.6/2.

  132. National Ratings for Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002

    As the competition winds down, the ratings go up on "American Idol," 8.6/14. ABC is enjoying a visiting "Monk" at 5.8/9 in second, topping "The Guardian," 5.2/9, on CBS. NBC stayed in fourth with a repeat of "Frasier" (4.1/7) and "Just Shoot Me" (4.0/7), while The WB’s "Smallville" 3.0/5 held on to fifth. UPN remained in last place with "The Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life" bringing in a 1.4/2.

  133. National Ratings for Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002

    "American Idol" owned the 9 p.m. hour with an impressive 7.2/12. "The Guardian," took a distant second on CBS at 5.5/9 as NBC aired an hour-long "Frasier" (5.0/9) in third. A visiting "Monk" (4.6/8) was only worth fourth for ABC as "Smallville," 3.1/5, remained in fifth. On UPN, established American Idols were no competition for the wannabes, as "NSync Live: The Atlantis Concert " (1.6/3) finished in last place for the hour.

  134. National Ratings for Tuesday, Aug 6, 2002

    At 9 p.m., "American Idol" beat back the competition, handing FOX first place with 6.9/12. CBS was a distant second with "The Guardian," 5.1/9 and NBC took third with a repeat of "Frasier" (4.6/8) and "Scrubs" (4.0/7) combining for a 4.3/8. The finale of "The Mole II: The Next Betrayal" (4.2/7) was only enough to give ABC fourth place. On The WB, "Smallville" 3.1/5 held on to fifth as UPN finished in last place with "The Hughleys" and "The Parkers" each earning 1.8/3.

  135. National Ratings for Tuesday, Aug 4, 2002

    At 8 p.m., "Dateline NBC," pulled ahead, 6.4/11 as CBS re-aired the pilot episode of "The Guardian," 5.1/9 at second. FOX took third with "The Simpsons," 5.0/9 and "King of the Hill," 4.4/7 combining for a 4.7/8. ABC continued its movie as the WB remained in fifth place with a repeat of "Charmed" bringing in a 1.7/3.

  136. National Ratings for Tuesday, July 23, 2002

    At 9 p.m., the most viewers tuned into "American Idol" (6.5/11) on FOX. CBS was second with "The Guardian," 5.4/9, as ABC moved into third with "The Mole II: The Next Betrayal" at 4.8/8. NBC took fourth place with a repeat of "Frasier" (4.8/8) and "Scrubs" (3.7/6) averaging a 4.3/7, while WB’s "Smallville," 3.2/5 held on to fifth. UPN remained in last place with "The Hughleys" (1.2/2) and "One on One" (1.4/2) earning a 1.3/2.

  137. National Ratings for Tuesday, July 2, 2002

    At 9 p.m., on FOX hit "American Idol," the last 10 finalists sung their hearts out, earning a 5.7/10. CBS was close behind with "The Guardian," 5.4/10 and NBC took third with a repeat of "Frasier" (5.4/10) and "Scrubs" (4.7/8) averaging a 5.0/9. Contestant Heather accepted a wedding proposal on "The Mole II: The Next Betrayal" giving ABC fourth place, at 3.7/6, while WB’s "Smallville," 3.0/5 held on to fifth. UPN finished in last place with the timeslot premiere of "Under One Roof" taking a 1.1/2.

  138. National Ratings for Tuesday, June 25, 2002

    At 9 p.m., FOX’s summer series "American Idol" led the hour with the second 10 finalists performing and the phone lines for voting opening up, 5.7/10. CBS was a close second with "The Guardian," 5.4/9 and NBC took third with two episodes of "Scrubs" averaging a 4.5/8. ABC stayed in fourth place with "The Mole II: The Next Betrayal," 3.8/7, while WB’s "Smallville," 3.0/5 held on to fifth. UPN finished in last place with an episode of "The Parkers," and "The Hughleys," both showing a 1.5/2.

  139. National Ratings for Tuesday, June 18, 2002

    At 9 p.m., FOX’s summer sensation “American Idol” led the hour with the first 10 finalists performing and the phone lines for voting opening up, 6.1/11. CBS slipped to second place with “The Guardian,” 5.8/10 and NBC went to third with “Frasier,” 5.6/10, and “Scrubs,” 4.8/8. ABC maintained fourth place with “The Mole II: The Next Betrayal,” 3.6/6, while WB’s “Smallville,” 3.1/5 held on the fifth. UPN finished off their night with an episode of “The Parkers,” 1.5/2 and “The Hughleys,” 1.9/3.

  140. National Ratings for Tuesday, June 14, 2002

    NBC aired another episode of "Dateline" at 9 p.m., 6.4/12, while CBS held on to second place with a repeat of "The Guardian," 4.1/8. ABC aired the special "John Stossel: Tampering with Nature," 3.2/6. A rerun of "The X-Files" pulled a 1.8/3 over on FOX.

  141. National Ratings for Tuesday, June 4, 2002

    In the 9 o'clock block, CBS' "The Guardian" won with a 6.2/10 average. NBC's "Frasier" also received a 6.2/10, but then trailed off to a 5.1/8 for its presentation of "Scrubs" in the second half of the hour. A second episode of ABC's "Mole II: The Next Betrayal" received a 4.8/8, followed by FOX's "The Bernie Mac Show" (3.4/6), "Smallville" (3.4/6) on The WB, a second episode of FOX's "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" (2.6/4), UPN's "The Hughleys" (2.1/3) and "Girlfriends" (1.5/2).

  142. National Ratings for Tuesday, May 28, 2002

    In the 9 o'clock block, NBC started things off with its "NBA Tipoff" pre-game show, which received a 6.6/11. After that program had wrapped, the NBA Lakers vs. Kings game kicked off and received a 7.6/13 average for the night. CBS' "The Guardian" (6.8/11) was next in the rankings, followed by a second episode of ABC's "Mole II: The Next Betrayal" (4.8/8), FOX's "The Bernie Mac Show" (4.2/7) and a second episode of "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" (3.2/5), "Smallville" (3.8/6) on The WB and "Girlfriends" (1.6 rating) and "The Parkers" (1.7 rating) on UPN.

  143. National Ratings for Tuesday, May 21, 2002

    The season finale of NBC's "Frasier" led the 9 o'clock block with a 10.7/17, followed by the season finale of the peacock's "Scrubs" (7.6/12). The season finale of "The Guardian" scored an 8.6/14 for CBS, while the 2-hour season finale of ABC's "NYPD Blue" received an 8.5/14, the season finale of FOX's "24" pulled in a 5.8/9 and the season finale of "Smallville" on The WB (5.6/8).

  144. National Ratings for Tuesday, May 14, 2002

    NBC took the 9 p.m. hour with the night's top show, "Frasier," 11.2/17, and "Scrubs," 8.2/12. "The Guardian," 8.3/13, finished second for CBS, followed by the conclusion of "Dinotopia," 7.7/12. The penultimate episode of "24" on FOX averaged a 5.3/8. The WB's "Smallville," 5.0/7, easily beat the series finale of "Roswell," 2.3/3, on UPN.

  145. National Ratings for Tuesday, May 7, 2002

    In the 9 o'clock block, CBS again led the timeslot with "The Guardian" (8.0/12), followed by NBC's "Fraiser" (8.6/13" and " Srubs" (6.5/10), " Favorite Stars: Then & Now" (7.5/12) on ABC, " Smallville" (5.1/7) on The WB, " 24" (4.9/7) on FOX and " Roswell" (2.5/4) on UPN.

  146. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 23, 2002

    In the 9 o'clock block, NBC's second episode of "Fraiser" for the evening received a 7.9/13 and "Scrubs" pulled in a 6.3/10. CBS' "The Guardian" received a 6.4/11, followed by ABC's "Philly" (5.5/9), FOX's "24" (5.3/9), The WB's "Smallville" (4.8/7) and UPN's "Roswell" (2.1/3).

  147. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 16, 2002

    ABC won the 9 o'clock block with "NYPD Blue," which received a 7.7/13 average for the hour. NBC pulled in a 7.7/12 for "Frasier" at the top of the hour but then dropped to a 6.2/10 for "Scrubs." ABC's "The Guardian" finished strong with a 6.6/11 for the hour, followed by The WB's "Smallville" (5.4/8), FOX's "24" (5.3/8) and UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (2.0/3).

  148. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 9, 2002

    At 9 p.m., NBC's "Frasier" won the slot with a 9.3/15 and its follow-up with "Scrubs" received a 7.3/11. CBS' "The Guardian" came in next with an 8.8/14 average. "24" on FOX received a 5.5/9 and ABC's "NYPD Blue" received a 5.4/9. "Smallville" on The WB received a 4.2 rating, followed by UPN's "Girlfriends" (2.0/3).

  149. National Ratings for Tuesday, Apr 2, 2002

    The strongest show during the 9 p.m. timeslot was NBC's "Frasier," which finished with a 9.3/14. NBC followed that up with another episode of "Watching Ellie," but it lost a bit of its lead-in and finished with a 7.2/11, just behind the hour-long CBS drama "The Guardian," which finished with a 7.3/12. On ABC, "NYPD Blue" finished the hour with a 6.2/10, while FOX's "24" pulled in a 5.4/8. On The WB, a repeat of "Smallville" received a 4.0/6, while on UPN, a repeat of "The Parkers" followed by a repeat of "Girlfriends" each received a 1.9/3.

  150. Live On The Set

    April 8 (6:30 EST) E! will be showing an interview "Live from the set of the Guardian". Be sure to check it out.

  151. National Ratings for Tuesday, Mar 26, 2002

    "The Guardian" on CBS led the 9 p.m. hour with a 9.0/14 average, followed by ABC's "NYPD Blue," which posted a 7.4/12. On NBC, another "Frasier" repeat scored an 8.1/13, while a "Scrubs" repeat landed a 6.1/9. FOX's "24" rounded up a 5.7/9 average, while a repeat of The WB's "Smallville" sailed to a 3.8/5. A special showing of UPN's new reality show "Under One Roof" scored a 2.0/3 average for the hour.

  152. National Ratings for Tuesday, Mar 19, 2002

    At 9 p.m. ABC's "NYPD Blue" won the slot with a 8.4/13 average. Another repeat episdoe of "Frasier" kicked off the hour for NBC with a 8.3/13, followed by a repeat of "Scrubs" (6.6/10). A repeat of "The Guardian" pulled in a 6.3/10 average for CBS, while FOX's "24" received a 5.9/9 average and The WB's "Smallville" leaped to a 5.5/8 average. On UPN, "The Random Years" grabbed a 1.6/3 average.

  153. National Ratings for Tuesday, Mar 12, 2002

    NBC's "Frasier" led the 9 p.m. hour with a 9.8/15, but dipped to second place at 9:30 with "Scrubs" pulling a 7.6/12 to CBS' "The Guardian," which averaged a 8.5/13 for the hour. ABC's "NYPD Blue" was close behind in third, pulling a 7.9/12, while FOX' "24" scored a 5.5/8. The WB's "Smallville" was fifth with a 5.2/8, while UPN's new comedies, "As If" and "Random Years" pulled a disappointing 1.5/2 and 1.4/2, respectively.

  154. National Ratings for Tuesday, Mar 5, 2002

    NBC won the 9 p.m. hour on the strength of "Frasier," 10.0/15, and "Scrubs," 7.7/12. "The Guardian," 8.5/13, on CBS, edged out ABC's "NYPD Blue," 8.0/13, while "24" scored a 5.3/8 for FOX. A rerun of "Smallville" on The WB was fifth, while the debuts of "As If," 1.9/3, and "The Random Years," 1.5/2, did no better at holding on to the "Buffy" audience than "Roswell" had earlier in the season.

  155. National Ratings for Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2002

    A new episode of "Frasier," featuring guest-star Michael Keaton, led its time period at 9 p.m. with an 11.5/17, but NBC fell to second at 9:30 with "Scrubs" pulling a 8.5/13. CBS' "The Guardian" took in a 9.2/14 for the hour, winning the timeslot in the second half, while ABC was third with "NYPD Blue," 8.0/12. FOX's "24" grabbed a 5.6/8. The WB's "Smallville" was close behind with a 5.5/8, while UPN's "Roswell" drew a 2.4/3.

  156. National Ratings for Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002

    NBC pulled the night's best numbers at 9 p.m. with a 25.6/37, followed by CBS' 5.4/8 for a repeat of "The Guardian." FOX was third with a new episode of "24," 5.0/7, followed by ABC's reruns of "The Drew Carey Show" and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?," 4.3/6 and 4.0/6, respectively. "Witchblade" pulled a 2.8/4, while a repeat of "Buffy's" Halloween episode drew a 2.3/3.

  157. National Ratings for Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2002

    NBC pulled its strongest ratings at 9 p.m., averaging a 20.0/30 for the hour, followed by CBS' "The Guardian," 6.6/10. The WB's "Smallville" grabbed a 5.7/8, while FOX's "24" pulled a 4.9/7. ABC 's "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" followed, with UPN's "Roswell" rounding out the group with a 2.4/3.

  158. CBS' 'Guardian' Takes on Hate Crime

    CBS' freshman series "The Guardian" becomes the latest drama to address the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist bombings in New York and Washington, D.C., in an episode slated for next month.

    In the episode "Loyalties," the show's lead character, Nick Fallin (Simon Baker), takes on the case of an Arab-American restaurateur whose business was vandalized as part of an apparent hate crime.

    James B. Sikking ("Brooklyn South" ) and Wendy Moniz ("Nash Bridges") guest star in the episode.

    The episode is set to air on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 9 p.m.

  159. More Guardian

    CBS has given a full-season order to its hit new drama The Guardian. The show has averaged nearly 15 million viewers since debuting last month

  160. Mediocre ``Guardian'' showcases Aussie star

    CBS' ``The Guardian'' isn't nearly as watchable as its star.

    The network already has a chamber full of noble justice hounds thanks to ``Family Law'' and ``Judging Amy (news - Y! TV),'' so this legal drama, though powered by a terrific performance from fresh face Simon Baker, feels a bit late to the ex parte. There's even a small subplot in the pilot about young tech titans involved in a dot-com takeover. How yesterday can you get?

    Already a name Down Under, Baker, here playing a Pittsburgh attorney, has popped up in several films, including ``Red Planet'' and ``L.A. Confidential.'' But this is certainly his coming-out project, a showcase for his overt brashness, his sexy brooding and an attitude that brings to mind fellow Oz mate Russell Crowe. A more complex show would have made an even stronger vehicle -- as it is, ``The Guardian,'' scheduled against comedies (ABC, NBC), reality (Fox's ``Love Cruise''), WB's ``Smallville'' and UPN's ``Roswell,'' is standard fare.

    Baker plays Nick Fallin, a hotshot lawyer sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service at a children's shelter after he's arrested on a drug possession charge. While continuing to work at the prestigious firm established by his father, Burton (Dabney Coleman), Nick balances his Armani-suited career with new responsibilities as an advocate.

    He's forced to serve under Alvin Masterson (Alan Rosenberg), a principled civic leader who resents Nick's fast success and treats him kindly only because of his father. Willing to give him a shot, Alvin keeps Nick on a short leash, forbidding his over-the-line behavior and unethical methods of investigation.

    First episode finds Nick right in the middle of the most disturbing case to hit the city in years (although the narrative treats it like a one-day-and-out misdemeanor). A boy witnesses his mother's murder, and his father, a respected physician, is charged with the crime.

    After disobeying Alvin and conducting a shady exploration of evidence, Nick eventually discovers that wrong prescriptions might have indirectly led to the homicide. By the end of the hour, a man who bludgeoned his spouse has a chance at suing the pharmaceutical company, avoiding prison time and getting his son back. That sure was easy.

    ``The Guardian'' is fueled by its thesps. Aside from Baker, who nicely hides his Aussie accent, Rosenberg and Coleman are solid in supporting roles, while Erica Leershen is intriguing as a dutiful assistant/flirt. In its better moments, show feels like ``The Practice (news - Y! TV)'' with its rapid-fire courtspeak, intense anger and outrage.

    But those moments are infrequent. More noticeable is the debut's sketchy approach to such complex subject matter. Michael Pressman's direction and David Hollander's screenplay are polished, but they treat a high-profile killing as if few people are deeply affected and judiciary politics play no part. It all feels so tidy. As for ``The Guardian's'' long-term run, viewers may find it extremely depressing to follow a series in which the storylines circle around abused kids.

    Tech credits are tops, with Oleg Savytski's production design and Jacek Laskus' smooth lensing the standout elements. Pilot was filmed in Toronto and L.A.

    Nick Fallin ......... Simon Baker

    Burton Fallin ....... Dabney Coleman

    Alvin Masterson ..... Alan Rosenberg

    Jake Straka ......... Raphael Sbarge

    Amanda Bowles ....... Erica Leershen

    James Mooney ........ Charles Malik Whitfield

    Laurie Solt ......... Kathleen Chalfant

    Barbara Ludzinski ... Rusty Schwimmer

    Filmed in Toronto and Los Angeles by Columbia TriStar Television in association with CBS Prods. Executive producers, David Hollander, Mark Johnson, Michael Pressman; co-executive producer, Vahan Moosekian; supervising producers, Sara Cooper, Michael Perry; producer, Jimmy Miller; co-producer, Adam J. Shully; director, Pressman; writer, Hollander; camera, Jacek Laskus; production designer, Oleg Savytski; editor, Lori Coleman; casting, Jeanie Bacharach, Jon Comeford.