"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 16 April 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Since its birth in 1994, Bravo Network's Inside the Actors Studio has built a cult following among those few channel surfers who don't like soft-core porn, sports highlights, or a continuum of chattering heads discussing the latest rape allegations against the president. Hosted by the painfully obsequious and prissy James Lipton, dean of the Actors Studio Program, School of Dramatic Arts at the New School, the show has featured a veritable who's who of commercially- and critically-successful movie stars, ranging from Paul Newman to Lauren Bacall to Sidney Lumet to Laurence Fishburne to Mike Nichols.

But Hollywood has only so many stars of both talent and acclaim, and the show's recent interview subjects - Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Matt Dillon - have read more like a list of US magazine's Top 10 Celebrity Hardbodies than contenders for the New York Film Critics awards. Indeed, on 1 March, host Lipton slobbered all over Nicole Kidman, whose breasts are far more impressive than her rather short oeuvre. And he's inexplicably slated to interview Billy Joel on 26 April, a man whose only acting credit is as Dodger in 1988's animated Oliver & Company. In fact, thanks to our digital cable boxes, we were able to browse well into the months ahead and check the upcoming guest schedule. We wish we hadn't. When you see what we've discovered, you'll wish we hadn't, either.

Next ... He's Chevy Chase, and you're not (thank God).

[Next Page]