'They claim not to know. They're actually telling their close friends they don't
know. Either they don't know, or they're so good at disinformation they should be running a
country.' That's Alan Alda, talking about John Wells and the other 'The West Wing'
producers on the matter of whether Alda's Arnold Vinick character or Jimmy Smits' Matthew
Santos will win the series' election -- which will be the question at the center of their
special, live debate episode Sunday (11/06).
Of course, the bigger issue is whether
audiences will elect to return to the Emmy-winning show, which lost millions of viewers with
its move to Sunday nights -- a source of great frustration to the team, which has been
alight with fresh creative fire as the Vinick-Santos showdown draws nearer.
really tackling stories that are fascinating, raising questions you don't even see
documentaries about,' stresses Alda, whose Republican senator character is, among other
things, coping with a crisis of religious skepticism in the wake of his wife's death.
for the debates -- one for the Eastern/Central time audience, a second for the West Coast --
Alda says, 'It's scripted but it's live -- so are the Presidential debates scripted. You
just don't know when the other guy is going to say what you know he's going to say. There's
an element of danger because it's live. It will be improvised in minor ways -- I think.
But I don't know.'
With his 'West Wing' Emmy nomination, his 'The Aviator' Oscar
nomination, his 'Glengarry Glen Ross' Tony nomination and his 'Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
-- and Other Things I've Learned.' memoir in its fourth week on the New York Times Best
Seller List, this is already a landmark year in Alda's landmark career. Wouldn't it be
something if his recording of the book got a Grammy nomination Dec. 8? And then, there's
this running for President on TV thing. 'To have a fourth nomination I could lose in one
year would be a lot of fun,' he says.
THE INSIDE TRACK: Tyler Hilton's debut album,
'The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton,' went through the roof after getting exposure on the popular
series 'One Tree Hill' last season. Now the very hot singer/songwriter-cum-actor reports
his costars on the WB show have provided inspiration for his upcoming sophomore album.
rented a piano and put it in my little apartment here,' says Hilton, who ended his tour with
Hilary Duff and went right back to Wilmington, N.C., to shoot his recurring role as aspiring
musician Chris Keller on 'OTH.' 'On the road you have the band, but not necessarily a group
that you hang out with. Back here in Wilmington, I've got the cast and we're really close.
You have a crowd you go out to the movies or to bars with. And when you're in a small town
there's not much to do except get caught up in each other's lives. So I've been writing that
a lot...about my relationships with them, their relationships with each other... ' He adds,
'I'm really drawn to folk music, country music and bluegrass and a lot of that stems from
the small town south.'
Hilton -- who also plays Elvis Presley in the upcoming big-screen
Johnny Cash biopic 'Walk the Line' starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon -- says he
expects to go into the studio the end of the month to start work on the new
MUSIC TWO: Twin actresses Tia and Tamera Mowry have 'been a little slow' in
launching the musical careers into which they've each put a lot of preparation and planning,
admits Tia. She notes that part of the holdup has been due to the fact, 'We don't want to
change our vision and change who we are. So often you see a wholesome act go into the music
business and they're changed. It's hard to find positive women who manage to succeed on
their own terms, in my opinion. Hilary Duff -- people may have taken her on because of her
wholesomeness, but she's grown tastefully. I respect and admire that.'
FACTOR: UPN's 'Veronica Mars' may be a little creepy at times, but it's nothing
compared to the spookiness in Kristen Bell's upcoming thriller, ''Pulse' -- 'my first scary
movie,' she notes. 'We shot it in Romania and it was so scary. It's a remake of a Japanese
movie very much like 'The Ring' or 'The Grudge.' The Japanese movies tend to not be very
gory, but very suspenseful and mysterious.' The 2006 Dimension films release -- about a
curse carried over the internet that threatens to provoke mass suicide -- also stars
Christina Milian, Samm Levine and former 'Lost' actor Ian Somerhalder.