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Democratic party strategist who guided presidential candidates like Humphrey, McGovern and Mondale

COMEDY: CHRISTMAS HIGHLIGHTS

Rainer Hersch 27 & 28 Dec

God lends a hand in daytime TV ratings war

IT'S BEEN a long wait under the heat of the studio lights but, at last, the host of America's newest daytime talk show emerges from behind the set. His guest is to be an adolescent girl and the topic is, "Why my mother is my worst enemy". Taping will start in a moment, but first he wants to meet us. He chats a while, before bowing his head and uttering a prayer. Finally, we join him in making the sign of the cross.

Christmas Shows: It's panto time, kids! Oh no it isn't...

From Widow Twankey to `no room at the inn', Christmas shows are back. What's best, the old-fashioned or the new-fangled approach? By Paul Taylor

Christmas Shows: Cinderella: the makeover

Susie McKenna, panto doyenne, is treading a fine line. Can she mix ancient and modern at the Hackney Empire? By David Benedict

Parents: could do better

Fifty per cent of adults say they need lessons in looking after their kids. ROLAND HOWARD returns to school

Broadcasting: Red sauce goes nicely with velour

BRIAN VINER ON TELEVISION

Leading Article: Celebrity countdown

POLITICS AND entertainment have long been soul mates in the United States. But it is becoming increasingly hard to draw the line between the two. This autumn, NBC will broadcast The West Wing, a take on life in the White House. The show's advisers include Patrick Caddell, a former White House strategist. He could soon have another job: advising Warren Beatty, who, worried by the lack of attention given to serious issues such as inequality, is considering the presidency. They could be up against their Hollywood neighbour Cybill Shepherd, who is contemplating running on an anti-abortion platform, and a former basketball star, Bill Bradley. A wrestler is a state governor; turn on the TV, and there is the ex-mayor of Cincinnati, Jerry Springer, hosting his ludicrous talk shows.

Dumb Watch: Toilet talk from Jerry Springer

ITV HAS made no secret of its ambition to establish Jerry Springer at the heart of British television schedules. It is running a British version of his trademark confessional talk shows, albeit with more verbal and fewer physical brawls than the US original.

Arts: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL '99: Fringe: Pick of the Day

l Do You Come Here Often?

Glenda to get real on the Jerry Springer show

THIS IS a tale of two women and one city. Glenda is a glamorous former actress and politician. Susan is a businesswoman with an interest in eastern European transport.

Arts & Edinburgh: Pick of the Day

Fittings - The Final Freakshow

Jerry Springer `to go for Senate'

HIS EXPERIENCE with angry, dysfunctional chair-throwing extroverts may stand Jerry Springer in good stead if he takes the next logical step in his career: standing for the US Senate.

Theatre: Freak out, c'est chic

Roll up, roll up: the freak show is back. It doesn't get more dangerous and politically incorrect than this. But what if the actors are disabled, dictating the terms, and making you laugh?

Network: Diary of a nobody can make gripping reading

Journal writers are abandoning their bedside diaries and setting up websites. You can now tap into the lives of thousands of people, by accessing the internet. By Caroline Lister

Jerry Springer aims to move from brawn to brain

JERRY SPRINGER, America's "Titan of Trash", is turning his hand to becoming British television's next Michael Parkinson. He is, according to Carlton Television, coming to the UK to host a chat show devoid of almost constant physical violence and confessional outpourings of sexual deviance.
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn