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Kathy M. Newman 

  • Good Neighbor

      I was born in Seattle in 1966, the same year that Fred McFeely Rogers moved to Pittsburgh from Toronto and adapted his 15-minute Mister Rogers sketches into 30-minute segments for WQED. Rogers, who was born and raised in Latrobe, Penn.,
  • Ambience Ambush

      What's with this new cultural phenomenon of the surprise home makeover? Two of the most popular home design shows on TV are based on the premise that the best way to show someone that you love them is to lie to them, get them out of the
  • Tuning In, Not Out

      It is one of the most famous spots in advertising history. Known as the "daisy" ad, it aired only once in 1964 and was paid for by Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign. Dramatic in black in white, the daisy ad featured an angelic girl child cou
  • Media Bias

      Conspiracy theories have a certain appeal: the promise of order. If it was more than a lone gunman who shot JFK, or if the Kennedys killed Marilyn, or if Jeb Bush and Kathleen Harris conspired to throw the 2000 election -- then at least
  • Imitating Life

      Every August the television critics of North America travel to Los Angeles to see the sneak previews of the new fall season, listen to speeches delivered by network executives and attend panel discussions with the stars of the shows. An
  • Yanking Your Chain

      The newest offering from Comedy Central this summer, Crank Yankers, is a show about an underworld of raunchy puppets that looks like a cross between Sesame Street and inner-city Detroit. The puppets have foul tempers, sex addictions and
  • The End of Oprah-Lit

      In 1999, Robert Morgan had never written a bestseller. A writing professor at Cornell University and native of North Carolina from a Welsh background, Morgan had published The Hinterlands (1994), The Truest Pleasure (1995), Gap Creek (1
  • Of Bats and Bunnies

      It is the act for which he is best known. But in truth, Ozzy Osbourne never meant to bite the head off of a bat. In fact, the whole biting-heads-off-of-flying-creatures bit started as a publicity stunt gone wrong. Osbourne and his mana
  • Murder in The Heartland

      The NBC made-for-TV-movie The Matthew Shepard Story begins with a re-enactment of the crime that took place on October 6, 1998: two men beat the 21-year-old gay college freshman Matthew Shepard unconscious with the butt of a gun. They t
  • Beat the geek

      Paul Goebel, long known professionally as "The King of TV," is one of the three regular trivia "geeks" on Comedy Central's new game show, Beat the Geeks. The game show pits two ordinary contestants against the TV geek, the music geek, t
  • Every second counts

      On 24, the stylish, darkly lit CIA thriller from FOX, a digital clock appears in the opening scene, as well as before and after every commercial break. It is accompanied by an eerie, high-pitched, two-toned "tick-tock" sound, as the sec
  • An unlikely education

      When I was in graduate school working on my doctorate in American Studies, it never occurred to me that someday an aging, balding Richard Dreyfuss would play an American Studies professor on TV. In playing the title role of Professor Ma
  • Glued to the tube

      The only thing better than waiting for your favorite TV shows to come back is checking out all the new shows. The new season includes kickboxing CIA agents, drama from the villain's point of view and Richard Dreyfuss on the small screen
  • Gallows humor

      The year after my father died of leukemia, I was a freshman in college. Even though I was not Jewish, I started studying Hebrew and making plans to live in Israel. My sister started wearing black lace scarves, studying opera and going t
  • Jumping the shark

      This year marked the relatively quiet exodus of several long-running television shows, including 3rd Rock from the Sun (NBC), Nash Bridges, Walker, Texas Ranger (CBS), Two Guys and a Girl (ABC) and Star Trek Voyager (UPN). To figure out
  • Seeking Looks-and Laughs

      I met the man I live with on a blind date. I picked him because of his personal ad: "Fierce, bright, witty, savage, poor white trash, seeks the same for global destruction, bank robbery and coffee." Our first date was in a bar. He was
  • E! = Emme2

      I might as well tell you: I am on a diet. I did not really mean to go on one. I have never been on one before. As the personal ad might say, I am 5'4", HWP, and athletic, but when the scales tipped to 172, I had to face facts. Against e
  • Look homeward, Ed

      My grandmother was born and raised in Spokane, the seventh and youngest child of a philandering Christian Science minister who lost a considerable fortune in the Great Depression. Officially, of course, Seattle, and not Spokane,
  • Equal opportunity

      In 1935, a young woman named Mary Marlin moved from Cedar Springs, Iowa, to Washington, D.C., with her new baby, Davey, and her husband, Senator Joe Marlin. In 1938, Joe was sent on a diplomatic mission to China, but his plan
  • Ellen's legacy

      In a blow to camp everywhere, NBC has cancelled Titans -- that night-time Aaron Spelling soap about a corporate family gone bad, complete with over-the-top acting, illegitimate pregnancies and Yasmin Bleeth in a gold bikini. I
  • King of all media

      I have a Ph.D. from Yale University. I am a college professor. I am a feminist and a social activist. And yet, most mornings, from the hours of 7:30 to 10 am, I listen to the Howard Stern radio show.

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