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HOT LINE

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Ted's time on 'Taxi' HELLO, HOT LINE: Did Ted Danson ever play a role in the television show ``Taxi'? - J.C.

Dear J.C.: Danson, now known to millions as womanizing bartender Sam Malone on NBC's ``Cheers,' did indeed make an appearance on ``Taxi,' the critically praised series about an eclectic blend of employees at New York's Sunshine Cab Co.Danson played a hairdresser in an episode entitled ``Unkindest Cut.' In it, Cabbie Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner) decides to splurge a small fortune at a snobbish and trendy hair salon that probably would check your credit rating before granting an appointment. After Danson gives Elaine a hairdo that rivals Elsa Lanchester's fright wig in ``Bride of Frankenstein,' Elaine is persuaded by her friends to demand satisfaction for the coiffured injustice.

Danson is probably more widely known for his work on ``Cheers,' which has earned him several Emmy nominations. He also is making noticeable headway into feature films, including ``Three Men and a Baby,' ``Cousins' and recently, ``Dad,' with Olympia Dukakis and Jack Lemmon.

Danson caught the acting bug during his sophomore year at Stanford University. He paid his dues working off-Broadway, doing daytime dramas and guest-starring on TV series like ``Magnum, P.I.' and ``Laverne & Shirley.' Danson now dabbles in producing, as he did for the NBC television movie ``When The Bough Breaks,' in which he also starred.

In addition, Danson is an environmental activist. After having to tell his children they couldn't go to a beach because dangerous refuse was washing ashore, he founded the American Oceans Campaign, and has lobbied in Washington for the protection of the oceans from pollution.

Heated night music HELLO, HOT LINE: Who does the music and the singing for ``In the Heat of the Night'? - F.G.

Dear F.G.: The theme song for the NBC drama, set in a small town in Mississippi and starring Carroll O'Connor and Howard Rollins, was written by Quincy Jones with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. It is sung by Bill Champlin.

A spokesperson at the show's production company also says that the music you hear throughout the show consists of original compositions created by a rotating staff of composers.

Moving on HELLO, HOT LINE: What happened to Paul Dellegatto, who used to be on the Channel 12 news? - E.H.

Dear E.H.: Dellegatto, who was chief meteorologist at WXII (Channel 12), left the station at the end of December. He now works for WTVT in Tampa, Fla.

Dellegatto's replacement is Michael McClellan, previously chief meteorologist at WICS in Springfield, Ill.

Friday's Hot Line is devoted solely to entertainment questions. Send them to ENTERTAINMENT HOT LINE, P.O. Box 20848, Greensboro, N.C. 27420, or call 272-5635. Melanie Credle is the Friday Hot Line editor.

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