Q: Someone told me that Megan Boone, of “The Blacklist,” once played Danny’s partner on “Blue Bloods.” Is that true? – Steve Lovett, Bend, Ore.
A: After Jennifer Esposito and the CBS drama parted ways, several actresses got on-air tryouts to be teamed with Donnie Wahlberg, and Boone was one of them. She played Detective Candice McElroy in two episodes in 2013, but it’s just as well that it didn’t work out for her … since very shortly afterward, she landed the role of FBI agent Elizabeth Keen on NBC’s then-starting “The Blacklist,” a part she’s still playing now.
Q: Will Cote de Pablo be a part of “NCIS” again or not? – Jim Hines, via e-mail
A: Tentatively, which probably isn’t the answer that fans of the actress and her character Ziva David want. After her surprise appearance at the end of last season’s finale of the internationally popular CBS drama, she’s set to return in the Season 17 opener on Tuesday, Sept. 24. After that, she’ll apparently be gone again for a while, but she’ll reportedly resurface in at least two more episodes in the months to come. De Pablo evidently had much to do with devising the story line that brings Ziva back.
Q: I’m a classic-movie lover, and I say Ernest Borgnine starred in “Marty.” My boyfriend says Rod Steiger did. Who’s right? – Diane Brace, Port Orange, Fla.
A: You both are, though the actors had the role of the lonely Bronx butcher in different mediums. Steiger had it first, when the Paddy Chayefsky-written story was staged in 1953 as part of NBC’s “Philco/Goodyear Television Playhouse,” which was broadcast live.
A production company co-owned by Burt Lancaster bought the movie rights to “Marty” and wanted Steiger to reprise the part, but he balked at signing a multiple-picture contract, sending the producers looking elsewhere. Though Borgnine mainly had played villains up to that point in his career (particularly notably in “From Here to Eternity”), he got the job – as well as an Academy Award for best actor for the 1955 film, which Turner Classic Movies shows fairly often (including this month, as part of the channel’s salute to the 100th anniversary of the United Artists studio).
Q: I see that a “Life With Lucy” DVD set with Lucille Ball is being released. I don’t even remember that show. When was it on? – Tina Howard, via e-mail
A: The ABC series had so brief a run in the fall of 1986, five of its 13 episodes weren’t even televised (though they’re included in the DVD release, due out on Oct. 8). TV mega-producer Aaron Spelling was the driving force behind the sitcom, which incorporated quite a bit of Ball’s home-screen past; it was developed by “I Love Lucy,” “The Lucy Show” and “Here’s Lucy” writers Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis, and one of the main co-stars was longtime Ball foil Gale Gordon.
Ball played a widow and grandmother who went into business with her late husband’s partner (Gordon), running a hardware store in South Pasadena, Calif. Those two characters’ children – played by Ann Dusenberry (“Jaws 2”) and Larry Anderson — happened to be married, supposedly ensuring endless family hijinks. Arguably the most notable episode of the show teamed Ball with guest star John Ritter, who professed to be one of her biggest fans.
Q: Is Lester Holt of NBC News also a musician? – Frank Miles, Elyria, Ohio
A: The weeknight “NBC Nightly News” anchor is a bass player of note (no pun intended there), though his full-time job leaves him able to pick up music gigs only as his schedule allows. He has said that he enjoys performing with singer Cleve Douglass whenever they can arrange it, and he notes that he’s amused when audience members recognize him and clearly wonder why he’s on stage with a bass.
Self-taught musically by reading books and watching DVDs, Holt has his own collection of a number of instruments, and one of them is the very first bass he had as a teenager, which he keeps in his NBC News office in New York.
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