Return of the Slugger

After a respite from Hollywood, programming whiz Brandon Tartikoff swings for the fences again

Don and Ann Ballinger have been married for 50 years. For 46 of them, they haven't said a word to each other. That, at least, is the "true" story being re-enacted for the TV cameras on this particular afternoon in a rented house near Orlando, Florida.

"Louis, will you please tell your father to pass the pastry?" says the actress playing Ann, seated at the dining-room table. Louis, their middle-age son, obliges: "Dad, will you please pass the pastries to Mom?" Dad picks up the pastry dish and, smiling, gently places it next to his wife.

Brandon Tartikoff watches from a...

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