'ONCE' WAS TOO MUCH FOR VA. TV STATION
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is urging members to contact the management at the ABC-TV affiliate serving Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va., to protest the network's decision not to air Monday's episode of the family drama "Once and Again."
The episode depicted a romantic kiss between two teenage girls. WSET showed an infomercial instead, but did not say what motivated the programming choice.
GLAAD said the pre-empted episode was "exceptional." Titled "The Gay/Straight Alliance," it featured a storyline involving two teens whose friendship turns to romance.
"'Once and Again' is one of TV's most respected dramas," said GLAAD in a statement, "in part because of the honesty with which its creators and cast portray the complexities of family relationships. For WSET to decide that the show's sensitive, realistic portrayal of coming out is somehow inappropriate for its viewing audience sends a clear message that the experiences of lesbian and gay youth are unimportant."
GLAAD said ABC "was to be commended" for airing the episode, but accused the network of applying an "inappropriate double standard" for running a disclaimer prior to the show cautioning parental discretion due to "adult" subject matter.
"There is nothing in this episode that could be construed as sexually explicit or inappropriate for family audiences," said the statement. "If this episode had featured (a girl) sharing a first kiss with a boy, no parental advisory would have been posted."
THAT SETTLES IT
Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. has agreed to pay $325,000 to the state of Connecticut and to stop using phony reviews and ads to promote its movies.
The studio got caught last summer running newspaper ads containing made-up quotes by "David Manning," a film critic that didn't exist -- although the paper, The Ridgefield Press, was real enough.
Sony also got caught running TV ads in which its own employees pretended to be satisfied moviegoers, but the studio has company on that one. 20th Century Fox, Artisan Entertainment and Universal Pictures have all acknowledged using employees or actors in TV spots for their movies.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal engaged in a bit of Hollywood jargon when he announced the settlement.
"These deceptive ads deserve two thumbs down," he said, "and now are getting a third from Sony itself."
The studio said it was "pleased to have the matter resolved."
Newsweek broke the story, reporting that people inside of Sony's promotion department had fabricated glowing reviews by the non-existent Manning for "A Knight's Tale" and "The Animal."
Connecticut consumer protection chief James Fleming compared Sony to a chef who poses as a food critic and gives his own restaurant a 'four'. Sony put a stop to the practice after it was found out.
'T2' OSCAR-WINNERS SIGN UP FOR 'T3'
Stan Winston and Jeff Dawn, who won an Oscar for special makeup in the 1991 blockbuster "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," have joined the team for "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines."
Winston also won an Oscar for visual effects on "T2" -- along with Dennis Muren, Robert Skotak and Gene Warren Jr. Winston and Muren won a visual effects Oscar with Michael Lantieri and Phil Tippett for "Jurassic Park" in 1993, and Winston is up for an Oscar this year for "A.I. Artificial Intelligence."
He and Dawn are creating special makeup effects for the latest thing in terminators -- the T-X, which will have considerably more features and powers than the T-800 played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" in 1984 or the T-1000 played by Robert Patrick in "T2."
Quaid will star in "The Grubbs," a comedy for Fox. He'll play a blue-collar dad in Western Pennsylvania.
Reinhold will star in "Brave New World," a comedy being developed by the WB. Silverman ("The Single Guy") is set to co-star with Roselyn Sanchez ("Rush Hour 2) in "Miss Miami," a drama being developed for NBC.
STARS LINE UP FOR OSCARS
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Randy Newman and John Goodman will perform on the upcoming telecast of the 74th Academy Awards.
They will perform Newman's Oscar-nominated song "If I Didn't Have You" from "Monsters, Inc.," which is nominated for best-animated feature. Goodman provided the voice of "Sullivan."
Newman has been nominated 16 times for the Academy Award -- either for best score or original song -- but has never won. This will be his seventh performance on the Oscars telecast.
SLEEP DEPRIVATION ON THE SET
Three members of the production crew on the 1998 movie "Pleasantville" are calling for a government investigation into problems associated with sleep deprivation on movie and TV sets.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, John Lindley, Bruce McCleery and James Shelton filed their petition with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration in response to the death of a co-worker, Brent Hershman, in a 1997 car crash. Hershman had worked 19 hours on "Pleasantville" before the crash.
The complaint notes that 16-to-20 hour workdays are commonplace in movie and TV production.
"In a country which has declared war on drunk drivers," the complaint asks, "why are we still allowing drivers to be overworked?"