March 15, 2001

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The Naked Truth

I always find it commendable when a moviegoer spots some sort of “mistake” in a film, like a soda can that is there one moment, and gone the next as the camera pans out. But it’s far less common to learn of TV slips — probably because programs on the tube are so frequent and thus don’t demand as close an analysis as do their big screen counterparts.

But some things on TV certainly do go unnoticed by editors and censors. For example, last week a carefully attuned viewer was watching a rerun of Three’s Company on Nick at Nite, and noticed a rather revealing display from co-star John Ritter. “Jack was dressed in blue boxers and plopped down on the bed [and] exposed some things that probably shouldn’t be seen on television,” the unidentified viewer told MSNBC.

The upset viewer called Nickelodeon to report the scene, which a network spokesperson confirmed, saying, “His scrotum falls out of his shorts.”

Until now, no one has ever caught sight of Ritter’s privates, even though the hit 70s comedy has been airing in reruns for years. This particular episode will be re-edited by Nickelodeon to spare future viewers the potential trauma of seeing the fourth roommate.

Stop, Deliberate, and Listen

At last. Arguments ended and deliberations began yesterday in the gun possession and bribery trial of rap mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs. The charges are in connection to a December 1999 Times Square nightclub shooting which left three bystanders injured.

In their closing remarks to the jury, Puffy’s lawyers claimed that individuals are filing lawsuits against their famous client solely to get rich. Prosecutors, however, are singing a different tune. They argue that Puffy illegally brandished a gun and then bribed his limo driver to take the rap for him. The prosecution also urged jurors to avoid thinking about Puffy as a celebrity and to instead focus on the evidence of the case.

All that matters now is what the seven-man, five-woman jury will eventually decide, as only they can determine Puffy’s fate now. Most court observers believe that jury talks will last for several days, according to E! Online. If convicted, Combs could face between five and 15 years in prison.

Diverse Friends

NBC’s hit sitcom Friends has taken a lot of heat for its homogenous portrayal of New York City life, since its cast has never before featured a minority actor.

But that is now set to change, even if just for one show. The New York Post reports that Gabrielle Union (Bring It On) will appear in an upcoming episode, playing the love interest of both Ross (David Schwimmer) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc).

Friends‘ previous lack of diversity is certainly evident by its ratings among African American households. Even though the program is the highest-rated comedy on TV, Friends ranks 65th in popularity among black viewers.

E-News Briefs

TV talk show host Morton Downey, Jr. died Monday at age 67 … Jerry Springer is planning a Broadway musical about his daily talk show … Eminem has signed to appear in a film about his life.

Quote of the Day

“I’ve requested that [Nickelodeon] air both versions, edited and unedited, because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.”

— An unfazed John Ritter, in the New York Observer, concerning his member’s newfound television fame.

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