Monday, June 30, 2014

TV Trivia For You #3

Here is the third installment of  TV Triva For You from TV Banter .  The first installment appeared on this blog  on June 14, 2012.  The second installment appeared on February 6, 2013. 

Marisa Tomei with Jason Alexander as George Costanza

that Academy Award-winning actress, Marisa Tomei, appeared as herself on Seinfeld? She guest-starred in a 1996 hour-long episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Cadillac" (Season 7, Episode 14, Air Date: February 8, 1996).  Tomei was well known at the time because of her role in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny for which she was awarded an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

"The Cadillac" was co-written by Jerry Seinfeld himself.  In the episode, Elaine's friend, Katy, informs George Costanza that she knows Marisa Tomei and that she could set him up with the actress.  George is astounded by that revelation and becomes obsessed with the idea of meeting Tomei.  The only drawback is his engagement to Susan.

Heyyyy! . . . The Fonz almost had another name

DID YOU KNOW that Henry Winkler's famous Fonzie character on Happy Days was originally going to be called Arthur Marsciarelli or "Mash" for short?  The show's creator, Garry Marshall, is of Italian descent and his family's original name was Marsciarelli.  However, Garry's late father, Anthony, anglicised the name to Marshall before Gary was born.

As it turned out, by the time Winkler (who is Jewish, not Italian) was cast in the part, CBS had a highly successful series called M*A*S*H.  The name of the Happy Days character was, therefore, changed to Arthur Fonzerelli or "Fonz" for short.  It's rather fortunate that the name change occurred.  "The Mash" just wouldn't have sounded as cool as "The Fonz"  and Henry Winkler may never have caught on as well with the fans. Remember that Fonzie was not originally intended to be a major character on the show.  Winkler's performance was so good that audiences wanted more of The Fonz.

David Gregory

DID YOU KNOW that the longest running American television series is Meet the Press?  Meet the Press has aired on NBC for 66 seasons, since November 6, 1947. The weekly news and public affairs program has long been a staple of the network's Sunday morning lineup.  Through the years, the show has had 11 moderators and has undergone various changes.  Meet the Press is currently hosted by David Gregory and there has been speculation that the venerable series could be in serious trouble.  It has recently struggled in the ratings and that does not bode well for its future.

DID YOU KNOW that the original title of Ellen DeGeneres' television comedy series was These Friends of Mine?  These Friends of Mine premiered on the ABC network in 1994.  By the show's second season, Ellen's popularity was on the rise and she was clearly the star of the series.  Accordingly, the title was changed to Ellen to better reflect the leader character and to take advantage of Ellen's growing star power.

- Joanne

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Y&R Report (June 21, 2014): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama.  Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT:  Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Until a recent turn of events, the outlook seemed extremely dire for Paul Williams, the beloved but clueless Genoa City police chief.  Paul was on death's doorstep.  His condition had deteriorated so rapidly that his brother, Father Todd, gave him the last rites.  Suddenly, however, Paul's chances for survival have improved a great deal. He has a liver donor - his own son, Dylan.  Dylan has decided to risk his own life in order to save Paul's, especially after learning that Williams is his biological father. Don't worry, fans.  Genoa City's top cop will pull through because, as far as I know, Doug Davidson, the actor who portrays Paul, is not leaving the show.  I've seen Doug in person and he has a great sense of humour.  He's probably been laughing and joking between all those tragic and tense scenes involving his character.

So Dylan is the Son of Clueless.  I'm surprised that Victor "Moneybags" Newman is taking it so well.  I expected him to be more upset at the revelation that his "beautiful Nikki" and Paul Williams share a son.  My guess is that Christine (alias Cricketmeister or The Bug) is not going to deal with the news of Dylan's paternity so well.  Cricket has already displayed some jealousy where Nikki is concerned. She is not going to be pleased that her husband has a son with Mrs. Newman, particularly since she is trying to conceive a child with Clueless.

So Supergirl Summer thinks she's in love with Austin.  I think she's headed for the Heartbreak Hotel.  At least she'll be happy when her mother, Phyllis, finally comes out of that coma.  She will not look like Michelle Stafford anymore because, as most of you know, Michelle has joined the cast of General Hospital.  The new Phyllis will be Gina Tognoni

What did you think of Stephanie Lemelin in the role of Dr. Stitch's ex-wife, Jenna? So far, I'm impressed. She may make a really good addition to the cast.  How about Billy and Chelsea in their disguises - Chelsea with the large glasses and Billy Boy in that fedora!


Y&R viewer Helen from Scarborough, Ontario, thought that Austin would be one to donate a part of his liver to save Paul.  It didn't happen that way.  Helen's hunch was wrong.


Young actress McKenna Grace is leaving her role as Faith Newman because she has been cast in a movie, Russellmania, which will be filming in Vancouver.  Her last appearance on Y&R will be on McKenna, who will turn eight years old on June 25, will be replaced by former Faith, Aly Lind.  Aly, who left the show appear in the movie Blended, a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, will return as Faith starting June 26 on CBS (June 25 on Global TV).

McKenna Grace

BREAKING NEWS . . . I've just learned that Eileen Davidson is returning to her role as Ashley Abbott. She has signed a long-term contract with Y&R and will be returning to the show on a full-time basis. That's delightful news for Eileen's fans, including myself.  I've been hoping she would return.  The writers will certainly get her involved in the Dr.Stitch storyline.  That should be so much fun to watch.  Maybe she'll eat hot dogs in the park with the not-so-good Dr. Stitch 'em up.

Eileen will begin appearing on the show in early September.

Eileen Davidson


Are you pleased about the return of Eileen Davidson as Ashley? free polls 

If you are planning to watch the 41st Annual Daytime Emmys tomorrow, June 22, be advised that it will not air on TV because a deal to air the show could not be reached with any network.  My understanding is that the program will be livestreamed on the Internet at  As far as I'm concerned, this is a big disappointment to daytime television fans.

That's all for now.  It should be a very interesting summer in Genoa City.  We'll see Gina Tognoni as Phyllis and a new Adam (or possibly the return of Michael Muhney, which seems doubtful).  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear on Saturday, July 5, 2014.

- Joanne

Thursday, June 19, 2014

You Wanted to Know . . . what the "B" stand for in Lincoln B. Hayes of The Mod Squad

1971 photo of Clarence Williams III

Has anyone ever looked cooler in shades than Clarence Williams III as Lincoln B. Hayes in The Mod Squad?  The man was born to wear sun glasses.  Speaking of the Linc Hayes character, a reader wants to know what the "B" stands for in his full name.  I am most intrigued by the question and I have done some investigating.  So far, a definite answer has eluded me.  I do, however, have a theory.  "Lincoln B. Hayes" could be a combination of the names of two U.S. presidents - Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States) and Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President of the United States).  By the way, the "B" in Rutherford B. Hayes stands for "Birchard."

Update on Clarence Williams III

Clarence Williams III starred with Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole as a trio of hip undercover cops in in the popular TV series The Mod Squad (1968-1973). Williams was born in New York City on August 21, 1939 and is now 74 years old.  He recently played the part of Maynard in the acclaimed 2013 film The Butler. According to, his most recent television roles include appearances in the comedy crime-drama Memphis Beat and in the crime-drama Justified. He played a character named Leroy Hitch in an episode of Memphis Beat entitled "I Shall Not Be Moved" (Season 1, Episode 8, Air Date: August 10, 2010).  He also portrayed Mr. Jones in an episode of Justified called "Long in the Tooth" (Season 1, Episode 4, Air Date: April 6, 2010).

Clarence Williams was married to Gloria Foster, a distinguished stage and screen actress, probably best known for her role as Oracle in the 1999 film The Matrix. Gloria passed away on September 29, 2001 of complications from diabetes.  She was 67 years old at the time of her death and was in the midst of filming The Matrix Reloaded.

Williams and Foster wed in 1967 after appearing together in the 1964 movie The Cool World.  The couple did not have any children and divorced in 1984.  They remained on friendly terms and it was Clarence who announced his ex-wife's death.

Gloria Foster made two guest appearances on The Mod Squad.  She portrayed Jenny Wills, a blind friend of Linc Hayes, in two episodes of the series - "A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light" (Season 1, Episode 18, Air Date: February 11, 1969) and "Return to Darkness, Return to Light" (Season 2, Episode 23, Air Date: March 17, 1970).

Below is a photo of Gloria and Clarence Williams III in the 1970 episode of The Mod Squad.entitled "Return to Darkness, Return to Light."

TV Banter readers: If anyone can shed anymore insight into the mysterious "B" initial in Lincoln B. Hayes, please share your knowledge with the rest of us and leave a comment.  You are welcome to join in the banter.

- Joanne

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Goodbye to the Brady Bunch's Alice: We'll miss Ann B. Davis

She was already a big star when she joined The Brady Bunch, won a couple of Emmys with The Bob Cummings Show, and I knew that this was someone I wanted to pay attention to but she had a wicked sense of humour.

I remember watching from behind the camera when she was rehearsing one of the scenes for The Brady Bunch and I was laughing along with her timing and stuff. Well, apparently, I was messing up her timing so she turned around and said, ‘Barry, comedy is not funny.'  I was crushed.  I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. I’ve upset her. A little later I went over and said, ‘Excuse me. What did you mean when you said that comedy was not funny?’ and she said, ‘Oh, I was just kidding with you.'

- Barry Williams (Greg Brady on The Brady Bunch) reflecting on his former Brady Bunch co-star, Ann B. Davis.

Ann B. Davis, best known as Alice Nelson, the devoted housekeeper to television's Brady family, died recently at the age of 88.  She passed away on June 1, 2014 at a hospital in San Antonio, Texas after suffering a fall in the bathroom of her home. She hit her head and never regained consciousness.

Ann Bradford Davis was born in Schenectady, New York on May 5, 1926.  Her parents were Marguerite (née Stott) and Cassius Miles Davis.  She had an identical twin sister named Harriet and an older brother, Evans.  When Ann was a toddler, the family moved to Erie, Pennsylvania.  She grew up in Erie and graduated from Strong Vincent High School in 1944.

Ann originally intended to become a doctor and enrolled as a premed major at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  However, she became influenced by her brother, who was the lead dancer in the national company of the musical Oklahoma for a time.  She decided to study theatre instead and graduated with a degree in drama and speech in 1948.  The aspiring actress worked in theatre for several years before achieving success on television.

From 1953 to 1954, Davis appeared as a musical judge on ABC's Jukebox Jury, hosted by disc jockey Peter Potter.  The premise of the show was that a panel of celebrities discussed new records and voted on whether they would be a hits or misses.  After the first month, the title of the program was changed to The Peter Potter Show.

Ann's big breakthrough on TV was her role as Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz on The Bob Cummings Show. The series ran from 1955 to 1959 and Bob played a professional photographer Bob Collins.  Her character, Schultzy, was bachelor Bob's loyal assistant.  Schultzy had a crush on her boss but he was busy photographing beautiful models.

Ann B. Davis with Bob Cummings

In 1960, Ann had a guest role on the Western series Wagon Train.  She portrayed Mrs. Foster in a episode entitled "The Countess Baranof Story" (Season 3, Episode 31, Air Date: May 11, 1960).

In the 1965-1966 television season, Ann B. Davis appeared on The John Forsythe Show, a short-lived situation comedy.  She portrayed Miss Wilson, a physical education teacher at the Foster School, a private San Francisco academy for girls that was inherited by John Foster (Forsythe), a retired U.S. Air Force Major. British actress Elsa Lanchester played the role of Margaret Culver, the school principal.

The John Forsythe Show only lasted one season and 29 episodes of the series were produced.  Below is a photo of Davis and Forsythe (back), with Elsa Lanchester (front).

From 1969 to 1974, Ann B. Davis played her best known role, that of housekeeper Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch.  She was 42 when The Brady Bunch began its run and she soon became a hugely popular television star to a generation that did not remember her as Schultzy.  In her Archive of American Television interview, Ann stated, "I remember my first 'demographic report' on The Brady Bunch.' I was with a friend, who told her little girl, 'honey, you remember Schultzy?' The girl said, 'that's not Schultzy, that's Alice!'  I knew that we were coming along....  Today, people with three-piece suits and briefcases suddenly become twelve when they're walking by me. That just breaks me up and I love it!"

In 1976, Ann left Hollywood behind and moved to Denver Colorado to join Trinity School for Ministry, the Episcopalian community of Bishop William C. "Bill" Frey.  In 1996, she moved with Bill and his wife, Barbara, to San Antonio, Texas.  She sang in the choir and regularly attended Bible studies and the church's Wednesday morning service.

After leaving Tinseltown, Ann continued making television appearances.  From 1976 to 1977, she reprised her role as Alice Nelson on all nine episodes of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour and in the 1981 television movie The Brady Girls Get Married.  She also appeared as Alice in the TV movie A Very Brady Christmas.

In 1989, Ann joined Brady cast members Robert Reed (Mike Brady), Florence Henderson (Carol Brady), Christopher Knight (Peter Brady), Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady) and Maureen McCormick (Maria Brady) on an episode of the sitcom Day by Day.  The episode is entitled "A Very Brady Episode" (Season 2, Episode 11, Air Date: February 5, 1989).

In 1990, CBS aired The Bradys, a one-hour drama series about the trials and tribulations of the extended Brady clan.  Ann B, Davis and all the members of the original cast, with the exception of Maureen McCormick, returned to their roles (McCormick was replaced by Leah Ayres).  The show received poor reviews and lacklustre ratings and it was quickly cancelled.

Ann B. Davis's last TV acting role was in a 1997 episode of the comedy Something So Right.  The episode was entitled "Something About Inter-Ex-Spousal Relations" (Season 1, Episode 23, Air Date: April 29, 1997),  She played a character named Maxine.  On September 26, 2004, Ann and her Brady Bunch castmates participated in TV Land's The Brady Bunch 35th Anniversary Reunion Special: Still Brady After All These Years.  It was hosted by Jenny McCarthy,

Ann B. Davis never married, nor was she publicly linked romantically with anyone. She immersed herself in her career and as she told the Chicago Sun-Times, "By the time I started getting interested (in finding someone), all the good ones were taken."

Nevertheless, fans will remember Alice's romance with Sam the Butcher, on The Brady Bunch.  Sam Franklin owned the local butcher shop and was portrayed by character actor Allan Melvin.  Melvin died of cancer at his Los Angeles home on January 17, 2008.  He was 84.


* Florence Henderson, who played Carol Brady, the mother of the Brady Bunch clan, and Ann B. Davis were great friends.  When Ann passed away, Florence wrote the following on Twitter: "I'm so shocked & saddened to learn my dear friend & colleague Ann B Davis died today. I spoke with her a few months ago & she was doing great."

* In 1994, Ann B. Davis published a cookbook titled Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook.  Interestingly enough, Bishop Frey, in an interview with The National Enquirer (June 9, 2014), is quoted as saying that Ann was "an astounding woman with a great sense of humour, and the character she played on The Brady Bunch was very much who she is, except that she didn't exactly get on with children and she couldn't cook . . . when it was her night to cook, we often had to go out to a restaurant."

- Joanne

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Y&R Report (June 7, 2014): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama.  Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT:  Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

The mystery and the intrigue continue as to who will play the role of Adam Newman, now presumed to be dead by his wife, Chelsea, his father, Victor, and various other residents of Genoa City.   According to Soap Opera Digest, Michael Muhney, who was unceremoniously fired from Y&R amid allegations of sexual impropriety, made an appearance on the set of the show, fuellling rumours that the has been rehired.  As of this writing, nothing has been confirmed.

So Austin Travers is up to no good.  In fact, this young cameraman is one bad dude. We now know that he has been sending those unsettling 4MJ email messages to Chef Avery.  He must be working for the Snake in the Grass, Ian Ward.  The slippery Ward seems to be slithering into every situation.  As for Avery's niece, Summer, it looks as if she will be a damsel in distress again.  That girl just goes from one crisis to another.

By the way, readers, what do you think 4MJ stands for?  Any ideas?  It's possible that the 4M stands for "For Mother" because Austin told Summer that he lost his mother.  That may be the young man's issue with Avery.  Perhaps he blames the defence attorney for the loss of his mother.  He may hold her responsible for his mother going to prison and dying there.  I haven't figured out how Ian Ward fits in to all of this but I'm sure he has some part in it.

Mariah is going to be woking at Nick's place, The Underground.  That should be very interesting.  She is sure to shake things up there.

SPOILER ALERT:  Don't read the following paragraph if you do not want to know what's going to happen on the show.  The rest of the month of June promises to be wild and crazy on the Y&R.  I have learned, through some online investigation, that Genoa City's police chief, Clueless Paul Williams, is going to be shot while rescuing Avery from the clutches of Austin.  I  also know that Paul's brother, Father Todd Williams (Corbin Bernsen, son of the late Jeanne Cooper) will pay a visit to Genoa City to provide some support for his stricken brother.  Paul will require a blood donor but Fr. Todd will not be a match.  The match will be Dylan - and you know what that means!  Also, watch for Mariah and Tyler to hook up again.  Note: I can't guarantee that these online spoilers will turn out to be 100% accurate but I am confident that for the most part, they are true.


CC from Etobicoke, Ontario wrote:

As far as Y&R is concerned I am reserving my judgments for the most part until I see how the new actors (replacing Michelle Stafford as Phyllis Newman and David Tom as Billy Abbott)   
work out.

It is pretty clear that the producers plan to put the tried and true characters/actors on the back burner and bring in her own people is in place.  

Why hasn't anyone met Valerie/Leslie's  Dr. husband yet?

The Summer/Austin storyline isn't helping Hunter King in the role. I find her acting very tentative; almost as if she is very self conscious about how things went down with the Michael Muhney fiasco. A recast is desperately needed.

I saved the best for the last....How many sizes too small was Sharon's blue dress? 
Then she goes to the opposite extreme and switches to downright dowdy jeans for her flight to see Mariah. Go figure.

Well CC, I too am curious about the new actors on the show  Burgess Jenkins, who is taking over the role of Billy Abbott, may have an easier time than David Tom, since Tom was constantly compared to his predecessor, the excellent Billy Miller.

I'm also looking forward to the appearance of Dr. Stitch's ex-wife, Jenna.  The part of Jenna will be played by Stephanie Lemelin beginning on June 13th on CBS (June 12th on Global TV in Canada).  I hope we will soon know what dastardly deed the not-so-good Dr. Rayburn committed.

Fans won't have to wait much longer, CC, until lawyer Leslie's new husband finally makes an appearance. Soap favourite Terrell Tilford has been cast in the role as Dr.Barton.  His first appearance will be on June 13, 2014 on CBS (June 12 on Global TV in Canada).  Tilford played the role of David Grant on The Guiding Light from 1998 to 2001 and Dr. Greg Evans on One Life to Live from 2009 to 2010.

As for Sharon's fashion style, you said it all.

Speaking of Sharon, another viewer, SP from British Columbia, wonders why she is so intent on making a connection with Mariah.  Well SP, here's what I think.  Other than the obvious reason that Mariah looks exactly like the dearly departed Cassie (Gee, what a coincidence that she even has the same voice), Sharon has maternal feelings toward Mariah and Mariah will turn out to be Cassies's (evil or misguided) twin sister. I may be wrong but I believe that Sharon is Mariah's biological mother.

I received another email from CC after she learned that Michael Muhney had appeared on the Y&R set. Here is her reaction.


This does not surprise me.
If he is returning it is the next play in the turf war between Y & R and General Hospital.

It is payback to General Hospital for signing Michelle Stafford away from the Phyllis role.

Summer definitely has to go now.
Not for the Michael Muhney situation but really because she is not a good actress and does not suit the role.

Am I the only one saying this?

Yes, CC, there does seem to be an intense rivalry between Y&R and General Hospital. I must say, you are definitely not a fan of Summer or Hunter King.  No, you are certainly not the only critic of Summer/Hunter, but you are one of the most vocal and vehement.  As for the Michael Muhney situation, nothing is definite.  It would be wonderful to have in back in the role of Adam but there is some bad blood between him and other members of the cast.  I hope everything can be mended but I don't know if Michael and Hunter King and Eric Braeden can co-exist on the sane show after everything that has happened.


It looks as if the Mariah character willl be hanging around for quite awhile  Camryn Grimes, the 24-year-old actress who portrayed Cassie Newman and now her wayward look-alike, has signed a contract with The Young and the Restless.

Camryn  has been nominated in the Outstanding Younge Actress category at the Daytime Emmys on four different occasions. She won the award in 2000, when she was only ten years old, the youngest person to ever win in that category.  She still holds that record.

The role of Moses Winters, son of Neil Winters and his ex-wife, Sophia Dupre, will be played by four-year-old beginning on June 12th (June 11th on Global TV).  Moses was born onscreen on October 11, 2011, less than three years ago.

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday June 22, 2014.

- Joanne

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Halle Berry's new TV show Extant and her TV history

                                         Photo Attribution: Gage Skidmore

Oscar winner Halle Berry's new CBS television show is set to air this summer.  In 2002, Berry became the first African American woman to win an Academy Award in a leading role for her performance in Monster's Ball.  Now she is starring in a new TV series, a science fiction thriller called Extant.  Extant was created by film writer and producer Mickey Fixher (The King of Iron Town (2004), Summer Nuts (2006). It is Fisher's first venture into the world of television.

Acclaimed film director, screen writer and producer Steven Spielberg is the executive producer of Extant, along with Halle Berry herself.  Berry plays the lead role of astronaut Molly Woods.  When Molly returns home after a 13-month solo space mission, she is shocked to discover that she is pregnant.  She has no recollection of what happened to her and no explanation.

Molly must readjust to life o Earth after over a year of isolation in a space station. She must resume a normal family life with her scientist husband, John Woods (played by Croation actor Goran Visnjic), and their son, Ethan (played by Pierce Gagnon). However, their family life was never normal, even before Molly's space flight and her mysterious pregnancy.  Ethan, is not Molly and John's biological son since Molly is supposedly infertile.  The boy is actually a human robot, designed by his father. He is the first of a future line of "humamichs."

Herein lies the great unanswered question.  Is Molly's unborn child some kind of "Rosemary's Baby" or part of new phase in human evolution?  Stay tuned.  Extant is scheduled to premiere on CBS on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.  13 episodes of the series have been ordered.

By the way, the show's tagline ("extinct/extant) plays on the meaning of the word extant (which means "living" or "existing" as opposed to extinct).


Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 14, 1966.  Her first television role was in the series Living Dolls, a spin-off of Who's the Boss?.  Only 12 episodes of the short-lived 1989 comedy were produced.  The show starred Michael Learned of The Waltons and featured Halle as Emily Franklin, one of four beautiful teen models being mentored by Learned's character, Trish Collins. Trish's sister, Marion was portrayed by Marion Ross of Happy Days fame in two episodes of the series.

The other three aspiring models were Leah Remini as Charlene "Charlie" Briscoe, Alison Elliott as Martha Lambert and Deborah Tucker as Caroline Weldon.  Charlie was a friend of Samantha Micelli, Tony Micelli's (Tony Danza) daughter on Who's the Boss?. Trish Collins, a sort of den mother to the quartet of models, was an associate of Samantha's grandmother, Mona Robinson (Kathleen Helmond).

Described as a "lightweight" comedy by The Compete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946 - Present, Living Dolls was savaged by critics.  Unlike the long-running, Emmy-winning Who's the Boss?, it was cancelled after just two months.

Below is a photo of the cast of Living Dolls with Halle Berry in the upper right corner above Michael Learned.  Leah Remini, who went on to star as Carrie Heffernan in the hit sitcom The King of Queens (1998-2007), is at the front and Deborah Tucker is at the left of Michael Learned.  Alison Elliott is at the top left.

In 1991, Halle appeared in an episode of the comedy Amen, starring the late Sherman Hemsley of The Jeffersons as Deacon Ernest Frye of the First Community Church of Philadelphia.  She played the role of Claire in an episode entitled "Unforgettable" (Season 5, Episode 10, Air Date: January 1991). That same year, Halle appeared on another comedy, A Different World, as Jaclyn in an episode called "Love, Hillman Style" (Season 4, Episode 15, Air Date: February 14, 1991). She also played Rene in an episode of the science-fiction comedy about two teen aliens, They Came From Outer Space ("Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow", Season 1, Episode 16. Air Date: February 19, 1991).  In addition to those 1991 TV appearances, Halle Berry had a recurring role in six episodes of the prime time soap Knot's Landing as Debbie Porter.

Berry played the lead role in Alex Haley's Queen, a three-part 1993 mini -series on CBS.  Queen tells the story of the son of a Southern plantation owner who falls in love with a slave named Easter.   They have a daughter, Queen, who faces the challenges of fitting  into post-Civil War society in America.  The series is a television adaptation of the novel Queen: The Story of an American Family, about the life of Queen Jackson, Alex Haley's paternal grandmother.  It aired on CBS for three nights on February 14, 16, and 18, 1993.

Halle Berry starred in a 1995 television movie called Solomon and Sheba.  She portrayed Nikhaule/Queen Sheba in this biblical drama surrounding the love affair between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Jimmy Smits, of L.A. Law fame, played Solomon.  Solomon and Sheba originally aired on February 26, 1995.

In 1998, the actress starred in another television movie, a drama/ romance entitled The Wedding.  The Wedding, based on a 1995 novel by Dorothy West, aired in two parts on ABC on February 22 and 23, 1998.  Halle Berry portrayed Shelby Coles, the protagonist in this story of relationships and racial prejudice set in the 1950s in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Halle had a voice role in a 1998 episode of the hit sitcom Frazier, starring Kelsey Grammer.  She provided the voice for a character named Betsy in an episode entitled "Room Service" (Season 5, Episode 15, Air Date: March 3, 1998).  The next year, she attracted a great deal of attention for her performance as singer/actress Dorothy Dandridge in the award-winning HBO television biography that aired on August 21, 1999.  For her role in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,  Berry won a Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.  She also won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for TV.

It's interesting to note that Dorothy Dandridge was the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.  Dandridge received an Oscar nomination for her role the 1954 film Carmen Jones but lost out to Grace Kelly in The Country Girl.  How fitting that Halle Berry, the actress who portrayed Dorothy, should finally win it in 2002 when she received her Oscar for Monster's Ball.

Halle Berry's last television role prior to Extant was in the 2005 TV movie called Their Eyes Were Watching God.  She starred as Janie Crawford in this drama/romance set in a small Florida town in the 1920s and based on a 1937 novel by African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston.  Two of the movie's co-producers were Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones.  It originally aired on the ABC network on March 6, 2005.

Halle Berry in a scene from Their Eyes . . .


British viewers will be interested to know that Amazon has acquired the exclusive UK rights to Extant. Amazon will stream the sci-fi thriller on its Prime Instant Video Service in the United Kingdom one day after broadcast in the United States.

EDITOR'S UPDATE (March 18, 2015): On October 9, 2014, CBS announced that Extant will return for a second season, which is scheduled to premiere on July 1, 2015.  There will be some cast changes, though.  Goran Visnjic, who plays Molly Woods' robotics engineer husband, John Woods, will only be returning for a couple of episodes at the start of the new season. Camryn Manheim, who portrays Molly's friend and co-worker, Sam Barton, will also appear in just a couple of episodes.  Hiroyuki Sanada (Hideki Yasumoto) and Michael O'Neill (Alan Sparks) will not be coming back at all.  Meanwhile, Jeffrey Dean Morgan will join the cast in the role of J.B. Richter, a mysterious stranger.

EDITOR'S UPDATE (September 11, 2016): On October 9, 2015, CBS cancelled Extant after two seasons.  However, the network is developing a new legal drama for which Halle Berry is executive producer.  The new series, titled Legalese, stars Berry as a biracial lawyer from Chicago who follows a case to New Orleans.and teams up with a "good ol' boy" white attorney.

- Joanne