THREE'S CONTROVERSY: In this blog exclusive, Retroality's editor reveals that the late John Ritter initially doubted Suzanne Somers' cancer.
FARRAH'S STORY?: The iconic TV angel's producing partner, Craig Nevius, tells why he's suing Ryan O'Neal and Alana Stewart.
COME ON DOWN! A new book celebrates legendary Price is Right announcer Johnny Olson, while a Barker's Beauty reveals Rod Roddy's secret off-camera sadness
>>FOREVER GOOGLING in an e-sea of Britney "news" and Hanna Montana hell for the latest scoops on—and from—the pre-TMZ, made-for-TV celebs and primetime hits that helped you escape actual reality in the pre-reality-TV-obsessed '60s, '70s, '80s & '90s?
>>INSATIABLY CURIOUS about the Flower Power, Me Generation and Greed Decade influences—and current views and healthy passions—of classic Hollywood survivors and their inextricably linked, retro-inspired reality TV counterparts?
>>DREAM ON, televisionaries. Retroality.TV is your definitive voice of retrorealism, your uber guide to retrocentric boob-tube buzz and your 99% Britney-free online oasis where yesterday's fantasies meet today's reality
Author of the hit, acclaimed TV tell-all Come and Knock on Our Door, Retroality.TV editor Chris Mann served as Consulting Producer on NBC's hit 2003 telefilm Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three's Company. He's also covered talent, legal issues and social trends as a freelance writer for TV Guide, emmy, Geek and other publications. Additionally, Chris pens and sometimes art directs celeb cover-story profiles and photo shoots for numerous healthy living magazines. click for more
JOHN RITTER RAVES: In this 1997 interview with RetroRewind.com's Dave Harris, the late, great John Ritter graciously shares supportive words for Chris Mann and Come and Knock on Our Door (see 4:40)
"I have to admit that Come and Knock on Our Door was the very best book I ever read about any TV show. I felt like I was on the set of Three's Company. The author (lemme just take this time to say that Chris Mann is a genius) captured every element of the show." -Bill Cassin (Scarsdale, NY)
"Chris Mann did a fantastic job on this book! I entered this reading experience expecting a superficial offering of one-sided stories about the trials and tribulations of this pop culture phenomenon known as Three's Company. I exited feeling satisfied at the invested hours I spent in reading this book." -Robert Nguyen (Orange Cty., CA)
"Chris has managed to tell the backstage story in a non-biased manner but has decided to let the stars tell their own sides, ensuring their integrity and the integrity of the book in the process. This book is anything but a tabloid. It tells the stories from those who experienced it. No commentaries are made. No opinions are offered. Just the facts.The show itself was dissected and Chris Mann speaks about the behind the scenes goings on as if he were there. -Roy J. Dlucca (Phoenix, AZ)
"Like so many others, I grew up watching Three's Company, so I couldn't wait to dive into this book. The behind the scenes stories are alternately funny and enlightening, and the author clearly went to great lengths to present all sides of the story. This is especially important, since opinions on the Somers situation vary widely." -J.T. Schweizer (Queens, NY)
"This book provides a great way to bring closure to an epic adventure from my childhood." -A reader
He entertained us on ice and now Brian Boitano is entertaining us on granite counter tops. No, the Olympic gold medalist is not taking figure skating to new heights—this Tano triple lutz did that, thank you very much. Instead, he's serving up a whole new routine as star of the Food Network's hit series What Would Brian Boitano Make, which premieres for a second season on March 7. (For more info, see my new Muscle & Body magazine interview with Brian.)
The cultural icon, who famously beat Canadian Brian Orser to take gold at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, is wisely capitalizing on his late-'90s identity as the ass-kicking, grizzly-wrestling subject of South Park's spoof-a-riffic song "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" The dynamic star is laughing (and no doubt triple lutzing) all the way to the bank with his high-energy series and his ongoing network skating specials. And last year—proving he's come full circle with his prime-time parody—Boitano wrote the foreword to the 2009 book The South Park Guide to Life. Now, if he'd just don some '80s hair and a decorative Myposian jacket and do that long-awaited Perfect Strangers reunion movie ...
How did you go from kicking butt in the rink to cooking up fun in the kitchen? I’ve done a lot of cooking and entertaining since the Olympics. And I had an idea for the Food Network that included food and skating. I went to one of the producers who had a show on the network. He said, “Why don’t you just drop the skating, because I think you have the personality and ability to do a food show all by yourself.” I said, “Hell, yeah!” We shot the pilot and the Food Network liked it.
I’m having so much fun with the show. It’s really a blast. Everyone that I meet now turns into a possible victim for my show. I have the quirkiest friends. They’re so much fun—I didn’t realize it!
You’ve grown to own the whole “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” thing. I thought it’d go away and people wouldn’t talk about it anymore. Then, after about 10 years, I thought, “I need to embrace this.” (Laughs.)
Since you’re still taking names on the ice—and staying in shape to do so— I’m guessing you skip some of the more delectable dishes you serve up? I come from a half Italian family, and they love entertaining … My friends always laugh at me: “You’re always shoving food in front of me but you don’t eat anything.” I’m always watching my weight, but I love to see other people eat.
My eating habits are a lot healthier now. People ask me what I used to eat when I was competing in the Olympics, and I hate even talking about it, because it was just so wrong. The problem is when you tell a 20-year-old kid they have to lose weight and they have a competition coming up in a month, they don’t have time to check out different diet plans. They have to do what they have to do to lose weight, whether it’s healthy or not. Before they lose weight, I think kids need to be educated on the proper way to eat.
I really love the food aspect of my career. I would love to get involved in teaching kids how to eat healthier, and partner in producing supplements or bars. I’ve always been searching for the perfect post-workout drink.
So what’s your nutrition like in 2010? I’m a really healthy eater now. I still have a sweet tooth, but I’m really a clean eater. Every night I have a leafy green and fish that’s simply cooked. I sometimes have a carb. I eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. And I’m a “piecer,” all day long. I’ll have a handful of peanuts. I prefer to sit down for one meal at the end of the day. I have to force myself to eat breakfast.
What first inspired you to lace up your ice skates? When I was eight, my mom took me to see the Ice Follies, and I saw the theatrical side of it too. I got my parents to take me to the local ice rink.
I remember thinking, “I want to do this for the rest of my life.” (But) the artistic side of it was really secondary to me.
I think people are finally starting to realize what a tough sport figure skating is. When the commentator says, “And he … doubled it!’ when a skater fails to hit a planned triple jump, I think, “I can’t even single it!” USA Today a few years ago had a poll about the most difficult thing to do in sports. The number-one-rated thing was to do a quad in figure skating. When you’re exhausted at the end of a program then have to fling yourself in the air three times and land on both legs—it doesn’t get harder than that.
When I did the quad I really felt like I wanted to push myself. It was really kind of risky to put a new jump in as a world champion. But I felt I needed to do the quad also to win the Olympics.
How do you stay fit and limber off the ice? I do a ton of stretching. I do core—a Pilates-based mat (workout). And a lot of biking. This year I want to do more weights.
You have amazing energy on and off the ice. What are the pros and cons of sticking with your sport’s grueling workout? I feel like I’m in excellent condition for a 45-year-old. I don’t feel that I’m in the best shape of my life, though, because my body just doesn’t react like it did when I was younger. Skaters have a lot of wear and tear on their joints and other physical issues. But I just keep plugging through that, because if you stop, you’re not gonna start again.
The media loves to build up rivalries. In a way, 1988’s “Battle of the Brians” paved the way for the infamous Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan “Battle of Wounded Knee” in 1994. Brian Orser was 26 and I was 24. It takes men’s figure skaters longer to get up the ranks, so you really sort out what you’re gonna spend your energy on and what you’re not. We were friendly but certainly weren’t friends. It was a mature interaction between two athletic people.
But (the Harding-Kerrigan scandal) was really bizarre. Nobody in the Olympic Village could understand. Nancy was doing better, it was over. But the media would not let it go. We athletes called it the Black Cloud Tabloid Olympics.
What moment or event in your skating career resonates most for you? Calgary opened up so many doors for me. I wouldn’t be talking to you today and doing a cooking show if I didn’t win at Calgary. And that was over 20 years ago. I can’t imagine any (moment) being more powerful than that.
You’ve introduced the sport to a whole new generation—through South Park and your own foundation. My foundation, Youth Skate, works with the school district. A different school comes once a month to take skating lessons. It’s all inner-city youth ages 5 to 18. It introduces kids to the sport as something that could keep them off the streets. We give each kid a free t-shirt and a pass to come back for free with their parents.
Do the kids recognize you as the animated guy who can kick Kublai Khan’s ass? A couple of kids said, “Oh, you’re that guy from South Park. I didn’t realize you ice skated.” I’m like, “But I’m ice skating in South Park.” And they’re like, “Oh. We didn’t even realize that.” Another 15-year-old kid asked me, “What’s it like to be on South Park?” I said, “You do realize that’s just a cartoon, don’t you?” (Laughs.)
When I was 15 and first saw you skate, I was all, “Is that Cousin Balki from Perfect Strangers?!” (Laughs.) We really did look alike. I was supposed to be a guest star on that show. I don’t know what happened. I’d met (Bronson Pinchot) somewhere, then we sort of hung out for a while. I ran into him about a year ago on the streets in New York City. We don’t look alike anymore. It was probably the hair.
sive! Meet the Bionic Woman,
Mini-Me, Jane Russell & more!
Coming: Gena Lee Nolin Q&A!
CHRISTOPHER ATKINS' "CONFESSIONS," PT 1
CHRISTOPHER ATKINS' "CONFESSIONS," PT 2
'HOLLYWOOD SHOW'-&-TELL: Retroality.TV has the scoop on
the Feb. 13-14 event featuring
a hot Knots Landing reunion,
Baywatch babes, Lindsay "The
Bionic Woman" Wagner, Hugh
"Wyatt Earp" O'Brian and more!
See Chris Mann's exclusive story
in the Los Angeles Times