‘Chuck’ wasn’t Zachary Levi’s first series stop

TV Pipeline

Q: I watched the movie “Shazam!” recently, and I remember Zachary Levi from “Chuck.” Was that his first TV series? – Becky Klein, Buffalo, N.Y.

A: Prior to “Chuck,” Levi had only one major series credit … the ABC sitcom “Less Than Perfect,” on which he played a member of a television newsroom’s staff. However, he fortified his resume in the period between that and “Chuck” with movie work, the most successful example of which was his voicing of the character Flynn Rider in the animated 2010 Disney blockbuster “Tangled.”

Q: It’s nice to see that Mary Wilson will be among the “Dancing With the Stars” contestants. Do you think she’ll dance to any songs by the Supremes? – Amy Fuller, via e-mail

A: You’re kidding, right? We’ll be surprised if a Supremes tune isn’t her very first selection when the Season 28 quest for the mirrorball trophy begins this Monday, Sept. 16, on ABC. Wilson certainly will have enough hits to choose from since she, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard frequently ruled the music charts in the 1960s.

They might not have become one of Motown’s breakout acts – and one of the industry’s most classic groups — if they had held firm in rejecting “Where Did Our Love Go,” which had been turned down by another of the label’s acts, the Marvelettes. However, the legendary writing-producing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland talked them into doing it, and the rest is history that yielded such other No. 1 hits as “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “I Hear a Symphony,” “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Depending on how long Wilson keeps “Dancing,” we wouldn’t be shocked to hear any or all of those.

Q: Please settle a bet. Did Raquel Welch ever do a TV series? – Ed Hathaway, Jupiter, Fla.

A: Several, in fact. The first was the acclaimed 2002-04 PBS drama “American Family,” created by filmmaker Gregory Nava and featuring Welch as one member of a clan struggling to adjust to their new normal after a relative’s death. In 2008, Welch co-starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom “Welcome to the Captain,” the Captain being a Hollywood apartment building in which Welch’s character was a tenant.

Most recently, Welch was featured in “Date My Dad,” a seriocomic UP series that cast her as the mother-in-law of a widower (played by “7th Heaven” alum Barry Watson) who was just easing himself back into the social whirl while raising three daughters.

Q: It’s interesting to see David Spade have his own Comedy Central show. Was “Rules of Engagement” the only other series he did between “Saturday Night Live” and now? – Julie Howard, via e-mail

A: Coming off his “SNL” tenure, Spade began what turned out to be a very long run on another NBC show, “Just Shoot Me!” – on which he played a smart-alecky (surprise!) secretary at a fashion magazine. That series ran seven seasons, then Spade found another weekly job quickly under tragic circumstances.

He and James Garner were hired to join ABC’s “8 Simple Rules” after the sudden death of star John Ritter. Following a subsequent and brief run in “Carpet Bros,” Spade began “Rules of Engagement,” which had a surprisingly long life (also seven seasons) on CBS … and only very recently has come off a run of repeats in syndication. More recently, Spade played the political nemesis of “The Mayor” in the ABC comedy by that name.

Q: I remember a series from many years ago that starred some big movie actors of the time, including David Niven and Charles Boyer. What was that show called? – Paul Lawrence, Albuquerque, N.M.

A: It was the spirited caper comedy-adventure “The Rogues,” which NBC aired during the 1964-1965 television season. Niven, Boyer and Gig Young played related and supposedly reformed con artists who still enjoyed staging the occasional sting if the circumstances and the pay warranted it.

Niven and Boyer also were producers of the show since it was made by the company Four Star, of which they were two of the stars who founded it (the other two were Dick Powell and Joel McCrea). “The Rogues” — which pops up on MeTV from time to time — was created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts, who developed “Charlie’s Angels” a decade later.

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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2448 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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