News from the entertainment capital

Oct. 17, 2001 at 4:26 PM
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The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is hoping maybe the third time will be the charm, scheduling the 53rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards for Nov. 4.

Ceremonies originally scheduled for Sept. 16 were rescheduled for Oct. 7 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The October ceremonies were canceled on a few hours' notice, following the announcement that the United States and Britain had launched air strikes against military and terrorist targets in Afghanistan.

The TV academy announced Wednesday that it will hold the ceremonies at the Schubert Theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, which is the first Sunday of TV's November sweeps period.

Finding a suitable air date was a two-pronged problem for CBS. The November primetime schedule is already crowded with high-profile programming for the ratings sweeps, but the network had been counting on the Emmys telecast to provide an opportunity to promote its upcoming shows.


According to a new survey commissioned by the Entertainment Industry Council, entertainment consumers put gun violence last on the list of features that would attract them to watch a movie or TV show -- and first on the list of turn-offs.

The EIC is a nonprofit group founded in 1983 by entertainment industry professionals "to provide information, awareness and understanding of major public health and social issues among the entertainment industry and to audiences at large."

"You would think, from just the prevalence of guns on the screen, that the entertainment industry must think they're filling some kind of need," said the EIC's Barbara Lurie in an interview with USA Today. "But audiences don't want that kind of bang for their buck -- literally."

Lurie is the council's director of programs and research.

Researchers interviewed 462 people for the survey -- 55 percent of them were adults and 45 percent were teens. The paper said teens were slightly less turned off by gun violence than the grownups.

What do audiences want?

The survey says humor is number one, followed by special effects, adventure and mystery.


According to a report in Daily Variety, Francis Ford Coppola has called a delay in production of "Megalopolis," described as a futuristic epic about the rebuilding of New York after a disastrous incident.

Coppola has reportedly been working on the project for 15 years, and had planned to start filming this summer -- but has now decided to rewrite the screenplay and start production next fall.

In an interview with Variety last year, Coppola said the New York he wants to show in the movie is like the "New York of 15 years ago, when the city was badly in debt and desperate for renovation."

The two main characters in the story are the mayor, who wants to preserve the city's heritage, and an architect-planner who wants to replace the old with the new. The conflict actually bears some resemblance to what happened in New York in the 1950s and '60s when developer Robert Moses spearheaded development of expressways and modern buildings, and largely changed the character of the city.

Variety reported that Coppola has told friends that the Sept. 11 terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center twin towers further convinced the "Godfather" director that "Megalopolis" needs to be made.

"I feel as though history has come to my doorstep," he is quoted as having told friends.


A who's who of comedy turned out at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Monday, as Whoopi Goldberg became the first woman to pick up The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

"Our dear Mr. Twain put it best when he said, 'Humor is the good-natured side of a truth,'" said the Oscar-winning actress. "I am deeply honored to join the ranks of Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters and Richard Pryor, who, along with the great Samuel Clemens, are some of the most fabulous truth-tellers of our time."

Reiner, Winters and Pryor are the other comedians who have been honored with the Twain prize.

Billy Crystal and Robin Williams -- who shared hosting duties with Goldberg for years on the annual "Comic Relief" fund-raising telethon -- helped celebrate the occasion at the Kennedy Center, which was taped for a two-hour telecast over PBS on Nov. 21.

Goldberg was nominated for an Academy Award for "The Color Purple" in 1985. She won the supporting actress Oscar for "Ghost" in 1990. She played Guinan for five seasons on the "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

She currently stars in the syndicated hit game show, "Hollywood Squares" which she also produces. Goldberg stars in the upcoming TNT movie, "Call Me Claus," scheduled to air Dec. 2.


William H. Macy has offered an endorsement, of sorts, to Michael Bloomberg -- the media mogul who also happens to be the Republican candidate for mayor of New York City.

Macy isn't endorsing Bloomberg's candidacy, just his approach to movie producing.

Bloomberg produced Macy's new movie, "Focus," based on an Arthur Miller novel about a Brooklyn couple who are mistakenly identified as Jews by anti-Semitic neighbors during the last days of World War II. Unexpectedly finding themselves on the receiving end of persecution, the couple align themselves with a Jewish immigrant who faces a similar struggle.

Macy told the New York Post Bloomberg is the best producer he's ever worked with.

"That is, he wrote the check (for $6 million) and we saw him at the wrap party and that's it," said Macy. "That's great producing."

Macy said "Focus" director Neal Slavin is pals with Bloomberg. He said Slavin told Bloomberg it was "an important film," and after reading the screenplay, Bloomberg told Slavin, "You're right, go make it."

Macy is best known as the star of such movies as "Jurassic Park III," "Pleasantville" and "Wag the Dog." He was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar, and won the Independent Spirit Award, for "Fargo" in 1996.

Laura Dern and Meat Loaf Aday join Macy in the cast of "Focus," which opens a limited engagement this Friday.


According to various reports in Hollywood, Russell Crowe is being courted to star in "The Cinderella Man," as Jim Braddock, who beat Max Baer to become the heavyweight boxing champion in 1935, and lost the title in 1937 to Joe Louis.

Braddock was called the Cinderella Man because he came more or less out of nowhere take the title from Baer in a 15-round decision.

Crowe, who won the best actor Oscar earlier this year for "Gladiator," is due in U.S. theaters at Christmas in director Ron Howard's new movie, "A Beautiful Mind," playing the brilliant but troubled math genius John Forbes Nash Jr. Lasse Hallström ("Chocolat," "The Cider House Rules") will direct "The Cinderella Man."

There are also reports that Renee Zellweger is considering starring in "Down With Love," as a feminist writer who becomes romantically involved with a womanizing journalist.

The picture is being produced by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, who produced the Oscar-winning hit, "American Beauty."

Zellweger is set to co-star with Catherine Zeta-Jones in the upcoming movie version of the Bob Fosse musical, "Chicago."


Nick Turturro -- who rose from officer to detective as James Martinez in seven years on the ABC-TV drama, "NYPD Blue" -- has signed deal that could land him in a primetime series on CBS-TV.

Turturro had a deal with CBS last year too, developing a pilot that the network eventually chose not to pick up.

His next major appearance is in the upcoming TNT movie, "Monday Night Mayhem," in which he plays TV football producer Chet Forte. His brother, John Turturro stars as Howard Cosell in the TV movie account of Cosell's rise to the level of broadcasting legend on ABC's "Monday Night Football."

The screenplay is by New York Times TV critic Bill Carter, who adapted his own book for the project. Carter did similar duty on the 1996 HBO movie, "The Late Shift," the story of the late-night TV rivalry between Jay Leno and David Letterman.

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