August 7, 2008

‘Wizard’ Series Debuts Nov. 1 With New Name in Syndication

By Rich Heldenfels, The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio

Aug. 7--If it's Thursday, this must be the mailbag . . .

Q: I know "Wizard's First Rule" by Terry Goodkind is being made into a television show and it will be released sometime this year. Any idea when and which channel will air it? The books were fantastic.

A: ABC's production company is making the series, which has been renamed Legend of the Seeker, and it will premiere the weekend of Nov. 1. But it is being sold in syndication, where individual stations buy shows regardless of their network.

For example, Jeopardy! airs on ABC affiliate WEWS (Channel 5) in Cleveland but on CBS affiliate WBNS (Channel 10) in Columbus. So where you watch Legend of the Seeker depends on where you live. You can keep tabs on the show through its Web site,

Q: I am writing about a TV show that was on the BBC called "Traffic." It was about the poppy fields in Pakistan and an English lord trying to stop the flow of cocaine. It was 10 or more years ago. Best ever shown! Is there a tape or DVD?

A: Yes. In 1989 there was a British miniseries called Traffik, with a k, which is the show you remember. It has been released on both VHS and DVD. In 2000 that miniseries inspired Traffic, an Americanized, big-screen tale of drugs and society, with Michael Douglas and Benicio Del Toro. Four years later came Traffic: The Miniseries, a USA Network production, inspired by the British series and the American movie. It has been released on DVD as well.

Q: Could you please tell me who won last summer's "Clash of the Choirs?" I think it was on NBC.

A: It was, but in December 2007. The Cincinnati choir put together by Nick Lachey won the competition, earning $250,000 for Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Patti LaBelle's Philadelphia choir finished second, and Blake Shelton's Oklahoma City ensemble was third.

Q: In 1979, Kurt Russell played Elvis Presley in a made-for-TV movie that was three hours long. When it finally was released on video, it was only about 21/2 hours long. Is there somewhere that I can buy the original three-hour movie?

A: Only if you want to put the commercials back in it. When commercial TV shows go to DVD, they are almost always commercial-free, so they run shorter than when they were first televised. These days, for instance, most hour-long TV shows are about 42 minutes long without commercials.

Q: I recently watched a delightful movie on TCM called "I Know Where I'm Going." I

would appreciate information on Wendy Hiller's co-star in the movie, Roger Livesey.

A: According to Ephraim Katz's The Film Encyclopedia, Livesey -- "a distinguished character lead of British stage and films" -- was born in South Wales in 1906. He was in movies and TV for more than 50 years, starting in his teens; notable credits include The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and Stairway to Heaven. (For more credits, go to He died in 1976. His father, Sam Livesey, and his brothers Jack and Barry were also actors. He was married to actress Ursula Jeans for 36 years but they had no children.

Q: Recently I saw part of a movie on the Movie Channel. A rich Jewish family pays the Nazis to let them escape to Switzerland, along with their whole family. A young couple, whom they thought were Aryans, also escapes. Great movie. The only actor I knew in it was Martin Landau. Could you find the title for me, please?

A: The movie was called The Aryan Couple; it is available on DVD with the title of The Couple.

Do you have a question or comment about movies, TV and other popular culture? Write to [email protected] or the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309. Please mark the note for Mailbag and do not phone in questions.

Letters may be edited. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in a blog at You can find more columns, questions and answers at


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