The Insider

Feb 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

As faithful readers know, The Insider has no life and has a jones for HGTV-conditions that beg the old chicken-or-egg question. But sometimes they pay off with classic couch-potato moments as on the evening of Feb. 8. That night, when The Insider clicked into the middle of “Designers’ Challenge”-three designers compete to solve one couple’s decor problem-she caught a familiar-looking man submitting to the extreme ritual of domestication: acting as if he gives a spit about what the kitchen looks like or what it took to get it that way.
It looked like-indeed, it was-Jimmy Kimmel! Yes, the Jimmy Kimmel best known for winning Ben Stein’s money and consorting with trampoline tarts on Comedy Central until he landed his own ABC late-night show, by which The Insider has found herself unexpectedly amused.
But we digress from “Designers’ Challenge” and Mr. Kimmel, sitting next to Gina Kimmel-from whom he split last year-in the remodeled 30-year-old kitchen in the 1930s English Tudor-style home they shared at the time this “Challenge” was shot in 2001. The episode ended with narration about how the Kimmels could looking forward to spending many happy years in their redone kitchen.
Are their faces raspberry red at HGTV? Yes. “We do try to keep track” of such real-life developments, said a spokeswoman, who noted that HGTV pulled a “Space Pads” special from the May-yes, May!!-lineup after the shuttle Columbia disaster. “We have since pulled the Kimmel episode,” the spokeswoman said. “We try to be sensitive with things like that. It was just a show that was in rotation.”
But back to Mr. Kimmel’s new ABC show. When The Insider needs a good laugh, she mentally replays the segment in which first-week co-host Snoop Dogg sold off his no longer needed drug paraphernalia. Bring back the Dogg and the cat named Frank Sinatra.
The cutest li’l `Music’ man
On a dreary, drenchy and frightful night, The Insider’s heart was stolen by one Cameron Monaghan. He’s a third-grader with curly red hair and freckles that could have been lifted from a Norman Rockwell painting. And his smile is wider than the movie-house screen on which some 1,000 hardy folks saw ABC’s preview of last Sunday’s “Meredith Willson’s The Music Man” before they tiptoed a few blocks across Broadway to a party at the new hot spot Compass.
How hot is the restaurant? Even a tableful of diners hosted by ABC’s half-sibling Lifetime were given the bum’s rush to make way for friends and fans and cast and crew assembled by “Music Man” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron-who only hours later would rake in beaucoup Oscar nominations for their hit adaptation of “Chicago.”
Despite the presence of ABC’s Hollywood contingent-Entertainment President Susan Lyne, movies and miniseries chief Quinn Taylor and scheduling chief Jeff Bader-the party packed a theatrical punch. There were the stars of “Music Man”: Matthew Broderick (in what had been Robert Preston’s role as Prof. Harold Hill) with wife Sarah Jessica Parker (in white charmeuse draped over not one hint of post-baby pudge); Kristin Chenoweth (as librarian Marian Paroo), so tiny she makes petite Ms. Parker seem built for basketball; Debra Monk (Mrs. Paroo); former “Saturday Night Live” fixture Molly Shannon (Eulalie MacKechnie Shinn, the wife of River City’s mayor, played by Victor Garber). Also present: Andrea McArdle (her bronzed midriff and shoulders bared and set off by winter white); Nathan Lane (adorably bearded and bundled against the cold weather) and Ernie Sabella (now playing Sancho to Brian Stokes Mitchell’s “Man of La Mancha” but better known for playing Pumbaa to Mr. Lane’s Timon); and Barbara Cook, who played Marian the librarian in the 1957 Broadway production.
As for young Mr. Monaghan, he had seen the 1962 film (Ron Howard played Winthrop) and the touring production of “Music Man” in 2001 but had done little more than some commercials and South Florida community theater when he auditioned for the role of Marian’s lispy little brother. No, he told The Insider, no one wiggled his teeth to see if they were getting loose before telling him he had gotten the part. But lose them he did, just in time to play the role of his young life. Keep your eye open for this kid. He’s a real luv.
Together again at NBC News
It’s looking a little like old times at NBC News these days. Back on the scene is former “Today” executive producer Jonathan Wald. Until recent weeks, he had been little seen at 30 Rock headquarters since he was succeeded by former “Good Morning America” producer Tom Touchet at the helm of the morning show. Mr. Wald has a wartime news assignment that includes scanning the globe for other perspectives on the U.S. image and the attack on Iraq.
Marc Rosenwasser was dispatched across the Hudson River late last year to oversee MSNBC’s 7 p.m.-to-11 p.m. lineup-an assignment described then as temporary. And temporary it was. In late January, Mr. Rosenwasser slipped quietly back into meetings at 30 Rock and into his old role as executive editor of “Dateline NBC.” The Insider hears a lot of folks are happy to have him back. But The Insider confesses she was then and remains mystified by the whole MSNBC temporary assignment thing. As always: So many questions, so little time.