Ramin Setoodeh

Stories by Ramin Setoodeh

  • This is Only A Test

    But relax--it's not from the Emergency Broadcast System. Put down the remote and see how well you score when it comes to boomer TV triva. Ah, those were the days.
  • Close Call

    In a normal year, someone like Christopher Shays—a well-liked moderate Republican and a nine-term incumbent with a loyal base—would not have been sweating on election night. But dissatisfaction with the Iraq war in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District was a big reason why Shays found himself trailing Democratic challenger Dianne Farrell by a 51-44 margin in a Zogby/Reuters poll released Monday. Still, as Tuesday night became Wednesday morning, Shays appeared to narrowly retained his seat."We want Shays! We want Shays!" screamed his supporters late Tuesday at his Election Day headquarters, a hotel in Norwalk, Conn., as the incumbent declared victory, with roughly 51 percent to 48 percent of the vote. (His opponent, Democrat Diane Farrell, said, "We're not there yet," asking that all the votes be counted before she conceded.) Blowing kisses to his supporters, Shays's acceptance speech humbly referenced what many considered his biggest weakness: his support for the war in Iraq....
  • Technology: Kickin' and Streaming

    Let's say you missed Thursday's episode of "Ugly Betty" because you were too busy watching "Survivor." (Dumb move, but who are we to judge?) In the olden days--i.e., last year--your best shot, after TiVo, would have been to buy the episode for $1.99 on iTunes. But now you can get it online, legally, free. Networks spent all summer revamping their Web sites, rolling out full streaming episodes of their hit shows. You'd think this might chip at the number of people who watch their TV on actual sets. But Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC's digital content, says the reverse is true: "Streaming our shows online absolutely promotes back to the original series and increases viewership."A few caveats, though, before you jump on your computer to look for Teri Hatcher. Since nothing is really free in TV land, the streaming episodes come with mandatory commercials. Still, they're much shorter than regular TV commercials: usually less than two minutes per 40 minutes of content. The episodes don't...
  • Newsmakers

    Q&A: ROD STEWARTRod Stewart has a new album called "Still the Same ... Great Rock Classics of All Time." He spoke with Nicki Gostin.I am lazy. I've admitted that since 1971. I made my name as an interpreter of songs and I get great pleasure from it.I don't think people buy my records because I've got good hair! People love my voice--although it is a very good head of hair.Yeah, one. I'd been nominated 15 times. I was actually enjoying not winning. It felt like the martyr on the cross.My very good friend Long John Baldry, who died last year, gave it to me. He was a wonderfully funny homosexual.I don't mind. I've got very effeminate ways, and my hair was like Dusty Springfield's.Next year.Yes, we have a date, thank you very much. Nice try!I sort of played on it 20 years ago. Not anymore--anyone who knows me knows I'm a very generous person.I wouldn't allow you. You'd be surprised how many dinners I buy for people. When you've got some money and you've got friends who haven't done...
  • Travel: Packing Light

    Breathe a sigh of relief: your shampoo and mouthwash are legal again. Last week the Transportation Security Administration loosened its carry-on ban on liquids, allowing travelers to bring some toiletries on domestic flights. (International policies vary, so check with your airline.) But here's the catch: you've got to pack the toiletries in a clear plastic one-quart zip-lock bag. If your bag is too big, or if you have more than one, you'll likely be sent back to the checked-luggage counter. Also, remember that none of your toiletries can be stored in containers larger than three ounces--including aerosol cans, which are allowed now, too. The restrictions don't apply to baby formula or prescription medicine. For a complete list of what you can and cannot pack, see tsa.gov . Or just ship your luggage ahead.
  • Ask Tip Sheet

    --Carolyn Johnson, Rehoboth Beach, Del.
  • Harvard Opts Out

    While many educators fretted over Harvard's announcement last week that it was rescinding its Early Admissions policy, Azusa Pacific University stood firm. It will not end Early Action. But wait. The small Christian college near Los Angeles let in 2,300 of 3,100 freshman applicants for this fall. That's a 74 percent acceptance rate. Why does it even need Early Action to attract applicants? "Students kept asking us if we had Early Action," says Deana Porterfield, vice president for enrollment management. When the school finally enacted the policy in 2001, the number of applications jumped 13 percent.The big question now is whether Harvard's unique position as arguably the most prestigious brand in American higher education could make getting in early seem as obsolete as a 2005 iPod. Starting in 2007, applicants to Harvard will no longer receive a slight edge by ranking the college as their No. 1 choice and mailing their applications before the regular deadline. Of all the students...
  • Newsmakers: Lionel Richie, Katie Couric, Ivanka Trump

    He's a chart topper again with his new CD, "Coming Home"--and not just because he's Nicole Richie's father. He spoke with Nicki Gostin.Excuse me, hands down Lionel Richie. If it comes down to making love, Barry's got that covered, but I travel the country and people say, "Lionel, you were part of the engagement, the wedding and the child." In some cases I've done four to five children.Let me just get really bold. Chicago? Are you kidding me? I've knocked up the world.Absolutely.Why do you think that when someone says Nicole went shopping, I don't flinch that much? God always gives you a great equalizer. He gives you "Dancing on the Ceiling," and then he gives you Nicole.Yes--and thank God. There was a moment there where I was going down fast. ...
  • Movies: Hot Feet (And Abs)

    Of the top 10 most searched actors on Yahoo last week, a new guy busted a move. Channing Tatum, star of the upcoming dance movie "Step Up," has developed a cult following--even though he has yet to open a movie (he's had supporting roles in "Coach Carter" and "She's the Man"). Coming from the pages of Abercrombie & Fitch, he's the first male model turned actor to generate Hollywood heat since Ashton Kutcher. "Tons of crazy girls have said to me, 'Channing Tatum is in your movie? Oh, my God, he's so hot!' " says "Step Up" director Anne Fletcher. "When you go onto MySpace, it's insane how many people love this boy." In the movie, he carries the screen opposite a cast of professional dancers, even though he's never trained. "I definitely had my days when my s--t was not working, but everyone was understanding," says Tatum, who is about to start filming the new Kimberly Peirce ("Boys Don't Cry") movie, where he plays a sergeant back from Iraq. "We just wrapped six days of boot camp....
  • Newsmakers: Hasselhoff, Kevin Smith

    The Hoff is back, as a judge on the summer hit "America's Got Talent." The "Baywatch" star spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh.Yesterday I Googled my name. There were 7.9 million references. There's so much crap out there about me being the Antichrist.I don't know. This is not my cup of tea. I signed on for one season, and Simon Cowell conned me into it: "Here's a lot of money, and it's like 'The Gong Show'." I'm trying to get on a sitcom or maybe even my own show, "Travels With the Hoff."It's about growing up since I was 7 and realizing a dream. But when I was out trying to save the world, I forgot to save myself.I was in London, shaving. I guess the hotel was built for short people. I lifted my head, and broke the lamp. One piece sliced my hand like beef. So I went into Mitch Buchannon rescue mode, "What's the number for 911 in London?" The tabloids make so much stuff up. I was at Wimbledon, and they said I was escorted out drunk.Absolutely not. I don't drink anymore. Right now I'm...
  • Newsmakers: Heidi Klum, Wynonna Judd

    The German supermodel is back as host of "Project Runway," which enters its third season this week. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.I don't really crave stuff. My favorite snack is Big Mac and fries. I also cook meatballs with cucumber salad, tomatoes and steamed artichoke. Have you ever eaten an artichoke?We have them in the backyard. A lot of them. If you let them flower, they turn into a beautiful blue.We have a great villain. You always hope for something like that. I want the show to go on forever, until everyone in America has become a designer.We've never discussed that. Our concept is really about women's clothes.It was not appropriate. The Emmys are a very big event, and it was Halloween-costumey. You do have to think a little bit about yourself when you go. It would not have been good for him, either.I have. I do "Germany's Next Top Model." We have millions and millions of viewers.No, I don't have them. How sad. I want them!You should call the head of Victoria's Secret and...
  • The Design Dozen

    Minneapolis: Design CityMinneapolis took root on the Mississippi where St. Anthony's Falls powered the city's early industries. A French missionary had named the falls after his favorite saint--and now another Frenchman has laid claim to the riverbank with the spectacular Guthrie Theater. Thanks to that and other stunning new buildings, the city's become a design boomtown. ...
  • Newsmakers: Adrian Grenier, Cate Blanchett

    He's returning for a third season of "Entourage" and will appear in "The Devil Wears Prada." Grenier spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.Adrian Grenier: I'm getting out of my car. I'm packing to move to another location in L.A. I have a lot of stuff--couches, TV, papers.I'm moving in with a buddy of mine. My friend and I both want to play music but we didn't have any place to play.Yes, the Honey Brothers. It's been difficult since I started the show. We're kind of on a virtual hiatus.Vince is famous. He's an A-list celebrity. I'm a B-list celebrity.My advice to Vince would be, like, "Look, it's over. You can try again, but once you get rejected, it's over."People are hooking up everywhere. I've never put too much importance on my love life. I like to stay focused on work and have fun.It's hard to date. It's hard to get along with people. It's hard to be in any relationship, friendship or otherwise.It's a coming-of-age dark comedy about two girls who cross roads with a family friend and have a...
  • Here’s That Girl

    Marlo Thomas broke ground in the 1966 television series "That Girl." As the first to feature a single woman lead character, it helped pave the way for Mary Tyler Moore and a new generation of woman stars on the small screen. With the first season "That Girl" DVDs coming out this week, Thomas spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh.NEWSWEEK: Hi Marlo. What are you up to these days?Marlo Thomas: I have a new book out called "The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2." It's only been out for a week and it's already on The New York Times best seller list. It's a follow up to my first book, called "The Right Words at the Right Time.""That Girl" was revolutionary in that it was the first show about a single woman. Did it feel that way at the time?I knew that we were breaking ground, because there hadn't been one. All the women on television were the wife of somebody or the daughter of somebody. But there was nobody who was just a somebody. I wanted to do a show about a young woman who has a...
  • Travel: A Vacation Well Spent

    The average American will take eight vacation days this summer--and spend several hundred dollars to get there. To help you plan ahead, we asked the editors of Budget Travel for advice on how to save some change. Here are their top tips. ...
  • He's Goode to Go

    When Matthew Goode first starred in "Chasing Liberty," opposite Mandy Moore, he was called the next Brad Pitt. But now, a few roles later, he's beginning to seem more like the next Hugh Grant. (Maybe it's the British accent.) In Woody Allen's "Match Point," Goode plays a wealthy Englishman who dates Scarlett Johansson's Nola Rice before she sleeps with a married tennis instructor (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). With the DVD coming out this week, Goode spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh. Excerpts: NEWSWEEK: Did you take the subway here?Matthew Goode: Yes, I did this time. The other day, I had an interview with Scarlett Johansson for Interview magazine. I had to get to midtown, and there were no cabs. I was like, "I can't be late, I can't not go." My girlfriend Sophie said, "Get on the subway—it's really easy."How long have you and she been together?Six, seven months. Long enough to make the commitment. We met brilliantly randomly. She works for a fashion house, with really high-end knitwear....
  • Theater: It Sure Beats 'Mona Lisa Smile 2'

    It's Julia Roberts's first night on Broadway, and her most loyal 1,074 fans have sold out the Bernard Jacobs Theatre. When she finally appears onstage, there's hearty applause followed by flashing cameras. But at intermission the audience is underwhelmed: We can't hear Julia Roberts. Why isn't she projecting her voice? At the next day's matinee, the audience is still tepid. By Saturday, her seventh preview performance, Roberts is sounding better. But there's a new problem: her groupies have grown at the stage door, crowding both ends of the sidewalk. "It's a mob scene," screams 20-year-old Alissa Portet into her cell phone, adding, "This is the best day of my life!" As Roberts makes her way to a chauffeured van, the crowd floods the street. A police officer--there are five--shoves them back. "He scraped my arm," says Robert Certilman, who is contesting a ticket he got for blocking traffic. (The officer said "no comment" when approached by a reporter.)This Broadway season includes...
  • Home: Don't Let Them Bite!

    If you think bedbugs are nibbling you in the night, you're not alone. Calls to specialists about the bloodsuckers have increased 63 percent since 2000. How to get rid of them: Zap! You'll need a pest-control company to identify the problem. But if they say you have bedbugs, ask to see eggs (smaller than a piece of rice) or shed skin to make sure they exist. "If they can't show them to you, you shouldn't have treatment," says Cindy Mannes of the National Pest Management Association. Sleep easy. You only need to throw away your bed if it has visible tears. Otherwise, vacuum your mattress, floors and furniture. Toss the bag, so the bedbugs don't come back. Nothing to wear? You can dry-clean, but that might not kill the eggs, which are "surrounded by a mucus material," says Frank Meek at Orkin. He recommends washing in water 135 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.Ramin Setoodeh
  • Food: Bean There, Done That

    Jelly beans are known for their fruity flavors. But now they're starting to taste like other kinds of candy, too. We investigate (each bag costs $2 to $4): Life Savers jelly beans arrive in classic and pastel flavors, like cotton candy and banana. But our tasters sensed a hint of toothpaste. We prefer the candy rolled up. Starburst beans fared better. They had a nice balance of sweetness. Still, one taster complained that they were "not crunchy enough." Jolly Rancher, in blue raspberry and apple, is slightly tart--but not in a unpleasant way. Our favorite flavor: watermelon. Crayola has a line, too, but "they should stick to crayons." Russell Stover 's beans don't come with any flavor gimmicks. Maybe they should. They taste exactly like gummy bears--especially the red ones.
  • Technology: Pink Hang-Up

    After Motorola's RAZR phone sold 12 million units, it went pretty in pink. Now each provider has its own shade. How to stay connected: (T-Mobile, magenta, Verizon, orchid pink, Cingular, V3 pink)(graphic omitted)
  • Where’s the Artistic Freedom?

    Hollywood legend Mel Brooks has too many credits to name, but here goes. He directed 1968's "The Producers" and was the producer of the 2005 remake. He was creator of the 1965 series "Get Smart" and returned to TV in a recurring part on "Mad About You." His films are classics: "Blazing Saddles," "High Anxiety," "The Twelve Chairs," "To Be Or Not To Be," "Young Frankenstein," "Spaceballs," "History of the World: Part I" and "Robin Hood: Men In Tights." With the Mel Brooks DVD boxed set coming to stores this week, he spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh. Excerpts: NEWSWEEK: Hi Mel. Where are you today?Mel Brooks: You're talking to me from sunny Southern California. This is where my office is, in Culver City. This is where I make my movies, develop my Broadway shows. This is good territory—just a few blocks away from the old MGM.What are you working on now?I'm working on a Broadway show. It's called "Young Frankenstein." I'm writing the songs for it and a new sparkling book based on the...
  • From Silly to Serious

    One of today's most serious twentysomething actors started out on a silly sitcom about aliens: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who played the teenage earthling Tommy Sullivan on "3rd Rock From the Sun," has transitioned—very nicely, thank you—into edgy independent-film roles. He followed his supporting turn as a homophobic Mormon in 2003's "Latter Days" with a starring role as a gay hustler in last year's "Mysterious Skin." Gordon-Levitt's latest film, "Brick," is set in a California high school. But this is so not your typical teen movie. It's more like film noir meets "Sin City." Gordon-Levitt plays the lead, a thoughtful, lanky student named Brendan Frye, who's searching for his missing girlfriend. With the movie just opening in limited release, he spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: Wow. You're wearing a suit. At most interviews, celebrities dress down.Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Celebrity? I hate that word.But aren't you a celebrity?No, sir. I'm an actor. Actors didn't use...
  • Oscars: 'Brokeback' Heartbreak

    Most Oscar ads end on Oscar night. But fans of "Brokeback Mountain" are so heartbroken their movie lost the best-picture award to "Crash" they've launched a new campaign. Last week blogger Dave Cullen collected $26,000 from at least 600 people for an ad that ran in Friday's Daily Variety. It subtly suggests that "Brokeback," which was named best picture through "unprecedented consensus" in other awards circles, should have won the Oscar too. The group is now looking into placing similar ads in Entertainment Weekly or The New York Times. (A more negative campaign was considered and dropped, after the group feared it would look bitter.) But these aren't your everyday film buffs. Most of the donors are gay men who saw a "Brokeback" win as a step forward in the fight for equality. "Members of our community feel so compelled by their disappointment they want to share it with others," says GLAAD president Neil Giuliano. And many believe that homophobia cost "Brokeback" the Oscar. "We want...
  • Fashion: Who's Wearing Short Shorts?

    At beaches across the country, a few brave men may soon be wearing their underwear in public. Or maybe it will just seem that way. Take a look at the square-cut swimsuit. Inspired by the retro trunks of the 1950s, but in stretchier fabrics, these shorts cling to your body like a pair of boxer briefs. Fashion experts say they're a compromise between the boring board short and the too-skimpy Speedo. "We've lost the two ends of the spectrum," says Simon Southwood, owner of Sauvage Swimwear in San Diego. "It's a little more flattering than either." Ah, for some, perhaps. Just remember: you've got to provide the abs. If you think you're buff enough, "square" choices include the orange and spotted shorts pictured ($48 each; sauvage wear.com ). Other designers offering the style include Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Diesel (the blue and green shorts below are available at Saks Fifth Avenue for $50 each). But you'd better hurry. The department store reports a camouflage suit from Michael Kors...
  • At Home: American Masala

    At 21, Amit Sharma has a resume that would impress most parents--just not his own. After graduating as the valedictorian of his high school in Carbondale, Ill., he entered the University of Chicago, where he majored in biology. His college years were, in many ways, typical: he joined a fraternity, played intramural football and spent summers in a lab. But earlier this year, he rocked his parents' world. He decided he wanted to go into business, not medicine, and this summer will start work at JP Morgan as an investment banker. His parents are disappointed; they had groomed him to be a doctor since he was a child. But "I grew up in a town where every Indian was a doctor or a professor," Sharma says. "There is so much more out there."Raised in America by Indian-born parents, many of today's twentysomething "Desis," as they call themselves, are doing more--and less--than what's expected of them. They're moving beyond science and engineering into fields like business, journalism,...
  • Lost in Translation

    The audience for foreign films is a loyal and passionate one. It is also increasingly embattled, prone to nostalgia and regret. "When I was an undergraduate, I lived for foreign films," says producer Mark Johnson ("Narnia"), who chairs the Oscar committee that selects foreign-language films. "In fact, it's where you took girls to impress them with how smart you were. Now the number of theaters that show foreign films is down to very few. My children, 17 and 18, have no interest in subtitled films. It's a cultural thing. Our interests get narrower and narrower."For hard-core fans who love world cinema, who are exhilarated by glimpses of other lands and other visions, 2005 was a terrific year, full of stunning work from Germany ("Head-On"), France ("Cache"), Hong Kong ("2046"), Kurdistan ("Turtles Can Fly") and Italy ("The Best of Youth"). Commercially, however, it was the worst of times. The most successful foreign film of the year was "Kung Fu Hustle" at $17.1 million--making it the...