TomKat | TV's Real Guiding Light

TomKat Meow

My one thought on the Tom and Katie pregnancy: God help this woman if she gets postpartum depression.

Celebrating TV's Real Guiding Light

In other news, this week marks the end of an era in popular culture. "TV Guide" as we’ve known it for more than 50 years — in its compact digest size — is over. Final issues are out now.

There are nine different covers, and I suggest you buy them all. I used to be an editor at "TV Guide," but you can trust that I don’t stand to make a cent from that endorsement. They’re just fantastic covers, truly pieces of history.

The magazine’s editors asked current stars to mimic exact poses of classic "TV Guide" covers of years past.

For instance, Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer pose as Jack Klugman and Tony Randall of "The Odd Couple" did back in 1971. Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa don the identical attire of Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden of "I Dream of Jeannie" in a shot taken in 1966. To check out the accompanying photo essay click here.

Many stars view photo shoots as a necessary evil — all that fuss over hair, makeup and wardrobe, combined with the fear that the magazine editor will choose an unflattering shot.

But in this case, stars were thrilled — getting the chance to pose as TV icons was deemed a don’t-miss opportunity.

Some behind the scenes tidbits from the shoots:

Conan O’Brien, dressed as Buffalo Bob, compared himself to Howdy Doody by joking that he, too, has “many handlers and no soul.” He told photo editor Nancy Schwartz and photographer Andy Ryan that Buffalo Bob looked borderline psychotic, had a maniacal smile and that in order to recreate that look, he was going to channel a serial killer.

Wow — and we thought Bob was a mild-mannered kids’ TV host. Look at Conan’s cover. I think he achieved his goal.

The cast of "The Bernie Mac Show" was given three choices of retro covers to mimic: "Father Knows Best," "The Cosby Show" or "Good Times." The show chose a "Good Times" shot from 1974 … (and "TV Guide" editors can be heard humming, “Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em.”)

If you watch "Live with Regis and Kelly," you may have noticed that ever since posing for their "I Dream of Jeannie" cover, Ripa has taken to calling Reege “Master” on air. And we thought her use of “Big Daddy” was subordinate …

Jennifer Love Hewitt arrived at her photo shoot with her mom. Ryan didn’t think she had ever seen a full episode of "The Flying Nun," but she eagerly donned a habit similar to Sally Fields'. Mind you, the habit was custom-made to fit Jennifer’s head. No run-of-the-mill nun’s lid for her.

Actually, Hewitt admitted she would have rather posed in a bikini as Sally Fields' other TV character, Gidget. I’m sure there are more than a few male readers who wish Jennifer had gotten her choice on that one.

Charlie Sheen smoked a whole stogie to create enough smoke for his pose as Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison. Jon Cryer talked to Klugman for a piece that runs inside the magazine. He told editor Lois Draegin he was really nervous about meeting Klugman, as he’s a big fan. But the two got comfortable as things got rolling.

The biggest responsibility may have fallen on the peasant-bloused shoulders of Reba McEntire, who took on Lucille Ball’s classic grape-stomping pose.

No, there weren’t any grapes in Reba’s vat — that would have been a bit too messy. Ryan at first tried to get the shot in a static pose — when that didn’t work, he sent Reba a-runnin’ around. She loved every minute of it.

Now, for the cover that almost was … "TV Guide" editors wanted to get Pamela Anderson to pose as Lynda Carter once did — as Wonder Woman. But DC Comics, which owns Wonder Woman, wouldn’t grant the magazine permission (Word is that Anderson was a bit skittish about it herself. Funny, I never knew there was a pose this woman wouldn’t strike.) I’m truly sorry for the fellas about that one.

So what comes next for "TV Guide"? A full-size magazine, with more scoops, highlights and reviews. For a preview, click here.