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Tidbits picked up during TV critics' press tour

Saturday, January 20, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

PASADENA, Calif. -- Hollywood people say the darndest things. Here are some of the more tantalizing comments heard during the Television Critics Association winter press tour:

"I begged the producers not to kill me off. ... I am primarily just a whore -- excuse me -- an actor. I would hope that in the future, should they need the rubber-headed alien again, they know my number." -- Ethan Phillips, who plays the alien Neelix on "Star Trek: Voyager"

"UPN is ready to announce 'Deep Space Neelix' at this time." -- UPN senior vice president of media relations Paul McGuire in response to Phillips

"I'm not a great believer in education through entertainment. If you want to watch education, please, by all means, turn on PBS. But if you want to be entertained and if you're 18 or 20 years old, we're happy to have you at UPN with WWF and XFL and hopefully also 'Star Trek' and some other shows that some people may consider more intelligent." -- UPN president Dean Valentine in response to criticism that his network dumbs down programming for young male viewers

"The girl that really is going to last, in my opinion, and it's the person I'm going to ask to do the 2002 Olympic song for Salt Lake, is Christina Aguilera. I think she has got an amazing voice. This girl can really, really sing, and I think she's going to be around for a long time." -- David Foster, winner of 14 Grammy Awards and producer for Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and The WB's "Popstars"

"These two girls from Portland got my home phone number and called me about a month ago. And we chatted. And they loved the show. And it was a little creepy. But always nice. That's generally how we describe the 'Freaks and Geeks' fans, 'a little creepy, but always nice.' " -- Seth Rogen, one of the stars of NBC's "Freaks and Geeks" and Fox's upcoming "Undeclared"

"When you're a historian and you love history, to bring all these old people back to life again, it's one of those moments when you think: Maybe I can get somebody interested in old Rutherford B. Hayes! And I still have this recurring nightmare that someday there's going to be a panel of all these presidents that I've written about, and in the afterworld they're going to tell me every single thing I got wrong about them." -- Doris Kearns Goodwin, author and commentator for NBC and PBS who was on TV quite a bit in the month following the election

"It was one of the best choices ever made, because Steve Martin has never failed. Steve Martin is a comedian, he's a writer. He looks like an emcee. He looks like a member of Price-Waterhouse. But what comes out of his mouth is always funny." -- Carl Reiner on this year's Oscar host

"It's a lot of pressure about the dress, you know. It all becomes about the dress, and what is the dress? And strategizing the dress, and what do you wear under the dress, if anything? So, yes, there is a certain amount of stress, but it's mainly about the dress." -- Joan Allen, Golden Globe nominee for her role in "The Contender" and star of TNT's summer miniseries "Mists of Avalon"

"Don Adams and I were recently invited to visit the CIA for an exhibit they had of gadgets from 'Get Smart,' 'I Spy,' 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.,' the Bond movies, so forth. And they were so thrilled to have a picture of Agent 99 with Don's shoe phone. And they said during those years, the CIA actually did watch those shows and made some of those devices actually work." -- Barbara Feldon, who played Agent 99 on "Get Smart," airing on TV Land starting April 2

"If that doesn't scare you about our government, whatever will?" -- Buck Henry, creator of "Get Smart" in response

"If scenery had calories, then Jennifer would weigh about 600 pounds." -- Director Marshall Brickman on actress Jennifer Tilly's tendency to chew scenery in Showtime's "Sister Mary Explains It All"

"We were never out of the bottom 10 for five years. I've never been in a TV success, as a matter of fact. Never. I've only done good shows." -- Tony Randall on "The Odd Couple," which will air in a 48-hour marathon on TV Land beginning at 6 a.m. Feb. 10

MOST SINCERE CELEBRITY MOMENT: This exchange between "Odd Couple" stars Tony Randall and Jack Klugman and a journalist illustrates the absurdity that sometimes creeps into press tour. Was Randall rude or justified? You be the judge:

Journalist: The wonderful thing about [this show] is the difference between the two guys. How are you two, in real life, different?

Klugman: Oh, no! Don't ask that question.

Randall: What a question. I've never been asked that one before! Wow! My congratulations to that brilliant journalist.

Klugman: I'd hope we'd get through without that question being asked.

Randall: Stupid!

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