A precocious child actress with a mass of brown curls and deep dimples, Hallie Kate Eisenberg made an auspicious film debut as the original owner of the title parrot "Paulie" (1998). Landing the role...
So exactly how DO you eat fried worms? Very carefully. Or if you’re the gaggle of pre-teen boys in How to Eat Fried Worms in as many inventive and repulsive ways as possible. Based on the hugely popular novel by Thomas Rockwell the story focuses on Billy (Luke Benward) a new kid at school who on his first day is immediately harassed by bully Joe (Adam Hicks) and his crew. But Billy isn’t the type to just roll over. He decides to stand up for himself and excepts a bet to eat 10 worms in one day. Of course he’s secretly horrified but by god he’s going to go through it—eating one disgusting worm concoction mixed up by Joe’s gang after another. Of course the kids eventually learn some important lessons giving us that certain warm and fuzzy feeling. Right after the queasiness passes. The child actors are all appropriately scrubbed fresh and generally act like regular kids without being too hammy. Benward (Because of Winn-Dixie) does a fine job as the hapless Billy. You definitely have to admire him for sticking to his guns and plowing through those worms no matter how revolting. Hicks (Disney's The Shaggy Dog) is actually refreshing as a bully in the fact he doesn’t exactly look like one besides being slightly taller than the rest of the boys. He’s skinny with red hair and freckles but he throws his weight around effectively. Some of the other boys you might recognize: Alexander Gould (Weeds) plays Twitch aptly named for his spastic behavior; Ryan Malgarini (Freaky Friday) as Benjy the chef du jour; and the most veteran of the kids Hallie Kate Eisenberg (Bicentennial Man TV’s The Miracle Worker) as the lone girl in the group who proclaims regularly “Boys are so weird.” As for the adults Ed’s Tom Cavanagh and According to Jim’s Kimberly Williams stand out as Billy’s parents. Production company Walden Media’s mission to bring wholesome family movies based on kid novels to the big screen is actually a smart move because there is definitely a market for good clean entertainment combined with popular children’s literature. They’ve already had tremendous success with The Chronicles of Narnia as well as with modest hits Because of Winn-Dixie and Holes. Of course these movies (besides maybe the fantastical Narnia) are still glorified after-school TV specials but I suppose with a little more money behind the idea feature films work. How to Eat Fried Worms has been a pre-teen staple on the bookshelves since it was first published in 1973 and writer/director Bob Dolman (The Banger Sisters) certainly captures the novel’s spirit. It’s down to earth has a message we can all relate to—and the worm shenanigans should tickle your youngster’s fancy.
ABC Radio gossip columnist Matt Drudge will be silenced come December. Drudge's syndicated talk show was canceled strictly as a business decision made by Bob Callahan, president of ABC's broadcast operations, The Associated Press reports.
But Drudge says the decision was punishment for reporting on ABC's activities.
"I guess I was a bad Mouseketeer," Drudge said Monday, a reference to ABC's parent company, Walt Disney Co.
Drudge also said that he thought the timing was odd, considering he had been talking with ABC executives about expanding his show to weeknights. His show was broadcast Sunday evenings in 135 markets across the country, reaching an estimated 1.25 million listeners. The show will continue until his contract expires in December.
MORE ABC NEWS: ABC packed a one-two punch in the ratings Sunday, drawing large audiences with "The Miracle Worker," starring Pepsi pitch girl Hallie Kate Eisenberg, and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." "Miracle" was the real star for the network, raking in the highest ratings for a "Wonderful World of Disney" production since it aired "Annie" in November 1999, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan averaged 17.4 million viewers in the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot. "Millionaire" kept up the pace with 25 million viewers as it kicked off its celebrity edition.
WB MOVIN' ON UP: Last year, many thought the WB network was out for the count in the ratings. Not this year, says the Reporter. After sliding 11 percent in the key 18-34 demographics, the little network that could is now up 20 percent, thanks to shows such as "7th Heaven,'' ``Charmed,'' and ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer.''
It's still a bit weak in the Friday through Sunday slots, but most of its midweek numbers are up, noticeably. Even men ages 18-34 are tuning in more to the WB. Those numbers are up 31 percent this season.
From Pepsi pitch girl to playing Helen Keller. Hallie Kate Eisenberg will next appear as the deaf and blind Keller in ABC's "The Wonderful World of Disney's The Miracle Worker" on Sunday.
It's the little tyke's first venture into a dramatic role, USA Today reports. Her mom said that Eisenberg was so into this particular role that she would wake up at night signing into her pillow. Uh-huh.
NEW NIGHTS FOR 'ED' AND 'TITANS': NBC is doing the shuffle. In an attempt to firm up a few weak spots in its primetime lineup, the network is moving its freshman show "Ed" to Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. while "Titans" is being relocated to Monday at 8 p.m. and "The World's Most Amazing Videos" will settle on Sundays at 7 p.m. All changes will take place beginning Dec. 6.
NO KNIGHT FOR CBS: Bobby Knight is still looking for a job. Indiana's former head basketball coach, who was fired in September, was in negotiations with CBS about a possible job as a college basketball commentator job, but The Associated Press reports that both sides failed to come to an agreement.
"It never got to that point. It wasn't going to work out," Knight's agent, Sandy Montag, said Thursday.
Knight would have sat in the booth with veteran play-by-play commentator Dick Enberg. Enberg's last partner, Al McGuire, left just before the NCAA Tournament last season due to an illness. After Knight was fired, he was contacted by CBS Sports President Sean McManus for a possible job, but an agreement never materialized.
Cast as Erika in family comedy, "How To Eat Fried Worms"
Feature film debut in "Paulie"
Made Broadway debut in the revival of "The Women"
Featured in a series of TV commercials for Pepsi where Joe Pesci's voice comes out of her mouth
Had supporting role in the CBS TV-movie "Nicholas' Gift"
Born and raised in New Jersey
Co-starred with Robin Williams in "Bicentennial Man"
Appeared as Christie, a moppet filmmaker, in a series of tongue-in-cheek TV commercials for the Independent Film Channel
Appeared in Michael Mann's film about whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, "The Insider"
Cast as Helen Keller in the ABC remake of "The Miracle Worker"
A precocious child actress with a mass of brown curls and deep dimples, Hallie Kate Eisenberg made an auspicious film debut as the original owner of the title parrot "Paulie" (1998). Landing the role after a nationwide search, the husky-voiced tyke was convincing as a little girl who overcomes a handicap with the bird's help but is forced by her parents to send him away after an accident. The talented youngster, who also writes poetry, composes songs and has had her first play produced, followed with her TV acting debut as the younger sister of a murdered child in the based-on-fact drama "Nicholas' Gift" (CBS, 1998). In addition, Eisenberg also was featured in two high profile, very amusing television advertising campaigns: For the Independent Film Channel, she portrayed Christie, a somewhat temperamental indie director; while for Pepsi, she's a sweet child who channels the voices of Marlon Brando, Aretha Franklin and Joe Pesci (among others) when her beverage of choice is unavailable.