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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   May 20, 2003 at 4:01 PM   |   Comments

LESS SEX IN PRIME TIME

U.S. TV networks broadcast a "dramatic decrease" in sexual content between 8-9 p.m. from 1998 through 2002, according to a new study.

The non-partisan, conservative leading Parents Television Council reported Tuesday that every network except the WB showed less sexual content during the so-called "family hour," and every network but the WB and UPN showed less sexual content during the second hour of prime time, 9-10 p.m., during the four-year period.

PTC President Brent Bozell presented the findings at a news conference in Washington, attended by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. and Rep. Jim Greenwood, R-Pa.

"For years, conventional wisdom in Hollywood had it that 'sex sells,' and therefore, the more of it, the better," said Bozell.

"But ratings data and survey results prove that's not true. Parents don't want their kids to be exposed to irresponsible messages and explicit depictions of sex on TV -- but more than that, parents don't want to see it either."

The report was the first of three upcoming studies on the state of the television industry. The next reports -- scheduled for release later this year -- will focus on violence and adult language on TV during 1998-02.


OPRAH WILL STAY

Oprah Winfrey has confirmed recent speculation by agreeing to keep "The Oprah Winfrey Show" going through the 2007-08 TV season.

Not only that, but Winfrey will also deliver more new episodes than affiliate stations had expected.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, stations that renewed the show through the 2004-06 seasons agreed to just 100 original episodes in the 2004-05 season, and just 75 originals in the 2005-06 season -- down from the 145 originals agreed to for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. The paper said that Roger King -- chief executive officer of CBS Enterprises and King World Productions -- announced that stations will now get 130 original episodes during the 2004-06 and 2006-08 license terms.


HEADS ROLL AT DONNELL, YOUNG, DOLE & FLUTT

ABC's Emmy-winning legal drama "The Practice" will return to the network this fall, but without several of its leading players.

Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Chyler Leigh, Marla Sokoloff and Kelli Williams are being dropped from the show -- apparently in a case of cold, hard economics. According to published reports in Hollywood, ABC cut the price it pays for writer-producer David E. Kelley's show by something like 50 percent -- largely because the series turned in a poor ratings performance during the 2002-03 season.

McDermott is expected to appear as a guest star in at least four episodes during the 2003-04 season. It is not known whether Boyle, Hamilton, Leigh, Sokoloff or Williams figure in Kelley's plans for next season. Michael Badalucco, Steve Harris and Camryn Manheim will remain with the show.


BOB DYLAN TO LOOK BACK FOR MARTIN SCORSESE

Martin Scorsese will direct a documentary film about Bob Dylan, according to a report in Daily Variety.

The project is expected to focus on the cultural and political impact of Dylan's early music. Variety said Scorsese will have Dylan's full cooperation -- including the Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer's first filmed interview since he talked with ABC's "20/20" in 1985

Scorsese featured Dylan in "The Last Waltz," his 1978 concert film about The Band.

The new film is being produced as part of Thirteen/WNET New York's "American Masters" series and BBC Television's "Arena." It will cover the period between 1963 and 1966 -- when Dylan went from performing Woody Guthrie-inspired folk songs to the electric band sound that shocked and disturbed his hardcore folk constituency.

Scorsese told Variety he is a great fan of Dylan.

"For me, there is no other musical artist who weaves his influences so densely to create something so personal and unique," he said. "This project gives me a chance to explore one of the most exciting artists and icons of the past 50 years."


HUGH JACKMAN WILL HOST TONY AWARDS

Movie star Hugh Jackman is going Broadway again -- as host of the upcoming Tony Awards, and a starring role in a musical this fall.

Jackman -- best known as the star of such movies as "X2: X-Men United" and "Swordfish" -- will host the Tony telecast on CBS on June 8. Beyond that, he is scheduled to star on Broadway this fall in the new musical "The Boy From Oz," based on the life of the late singer-songwriter Peter Allen, who -- like Jackman -- was from Australia.

Jackman was a presenter on last year's Tony Awards. He also starred in a one-night-only presentation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Carousel" at Carnegie Hall -- part of a centennial celebration of the composer Richard Rodgers.

Presenters on the upcoming Tony telecast include Matthew Broderick, Tyne Daly, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Glover, Sarah Jessica Parker, Christopher Reeve, Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave and Barbara Walters.


MORE 'HOPE' ON NBC

NBC will rebroadcast the Bob Hope tribute, "100 Years of Hope and Humor" on May 25, four days before the legendary entertainer's 100th birthday.

The special -- hosted by Jane Pauley and featuring highlights from Hope's show business career -- originally aired on April 19. It attracted 16 million viewers and was the No. 1 show that night among total viewers, households and women 25-54.

The special featured guest appearances by and all-star lineup that included Alan Alda, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Phyllis Diller, Kelsey Grammer, Jay Leno, Steve Martin, Eric McCormack, Don Rickles, Ray Romano, Brooke Shields, Barbara Walters, Raquel Welch and Oprah Winfrey.

It also featured appearances by Sean Astin, Drew Carey, Michael Chiklis, Harvey Fierstein, Brad Garrett, Dennis Haysbert, Allison Janney, Jack Jones, Alan King, Michele Lee, Bernie Mac, Conan O'Brien, LeAnn Rimes, Joan Rivers, Jane Russell, Martin Short and John Spencer. Sports broadcaster Bob Costas and golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods are also featured.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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