HOLLYWOOD TAKES PRECAUTIONS
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is taking steps to guard against allowing anthrax exposure to disrupt its third attempt at staging the 53rd Annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Nov. 4.
The academy is not accepting mail at its North Hollywood headquarters or at the Schubert Theater, where the awards are scheduled to be presented in ceremonies to be televised live on CBS. Academy officials said mail is being diverted to another location, where inspectors will sort it and examine it for signs of sabotage.
The Emmy Awards were originally scheduled for Sept. 16, but were postponed to Oct. 7 because of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington. The Oct. 7 show was called off hours before it was to begin, following the announcement that the United States and Britain had launched airstrikes against Taliban targets in Afghanistan.
KIDS IN THE NEWS
According to a new report by a children's advocacy group, local TV news coverage presents a distorted picture of children and children's issues -- including the role of children as perpetrators and victims of crime.
Children Now, based in Oakland, Calif., reported that its researchers found the presence of children in society is under-represented by local TV news operations. The group reported that while children account for more than 25 percent of the U.S. population, they are the subject of just 10 percent of all local TV news stories.
In a study conducted before the Sept. 11 terror attacks researchers concluded that 45 percent of stories about children focus on crime. Twenty-four percent have to do with health, 19 percent are about lifestyle and only 9 percent are about education.
The study analyzed the content of local TV newscasts in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Des Moines, Iowa.
Among the crime stories, the study concluded that young black males are more likely than any other group to be portrayed as perpetrators and young white girls are most likely to be shown as victims.
Sixty-nine percent of crime stories featured children as victims. According to Children Now, U.S. Department of Justice figures show that the violent crime victimization rate for youth has declined by half since 1994.
Although the violent juvenile crime offender rate dropped by more than half from 1993 to 1998, researchers said a recent Census Bureau poll found that two-thirds of those responding said they thought juvenile crime was a growing problem.
"By portraying children, particularly children of color, as perpetrators and victims of crime this frequently, local news fosters an environment where children are seen as constantly in peril,'' said Frank Gilliam, who conducted the research for Children Now. "This tends to lead to one of two actions by parents and policy makers: either bubble-wrap our children to protect them or support punitive measures against them."
PBS is running a series on the issue, "Local News," throughout October. Also, Children Now said community forums on the issue will be held in October and November in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Miami and several other major U.S. cities.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason will collaborate with filmmaker Adam Friedman on a documentary based on the best-selling book, "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton."
The husband-and-wife producing team that created the hit TV comedies "Designing Women" and "Evening Shade," are long-time Friends of Bill -- the nickname given to friends and political supporters of the former president dating back to the beginning of his political career in Arkansas.
Thomason was investigated for his involvement in the Travelgate controversy that developed during Clinton's first year in the White House. Bloodworth-Thomason directed "The Man From Hope," the 14-minute film biography of Clinton that was featured at the 1992 Democratic Convention.
"This is not a film about Republicans and Democrats," Thomason told The Reporter. "Rather, it's an insightful story that looks at the fringe elements of our society and their effect on the modern political process."
'EPISODE 1' MAKES MORE RETAIL HISTORY
"Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" has outdone "The Mummy Returns," selling an estimated 2.2 million DVD units in its first week in release.
"The Mummy Returns" sold about 2 million copies when it hit the marketplace earlier this month. Fox and Lucasfilm executives did not report specific sales figures, but they said consumers have bought about two-thirds of the 3.3 million "Phantom Menace" DVDs shipped to retailers.
While the retail sector overall continues to suffer during the current economic downturn, DVD sales are heading in the other direction. Hollywood can expect more positive results in the coming weeks as DVD and videocassette versions of "Shrek" and "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" arrive in stores.
RETRIAL ORDERED FOR 'JUDGE DREDD'
Sylvester Stallone's 1995 box-office flop notwithstanding, plans are moving ahead to make two more movies based on the comic book character, "Judge Dredd."
The comic's publisher, 2000 AD, has comes to terms with independent movie producer Shoreline Entertainment to make "Judge Dredd: Dredd Reckoning" and "Judge Dredd: Possession."
BUT IT WON'T BE HER LAST VIDEO
The video that singer-actress Aaliyah had just finished shooting when she was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas on Aug. 25 is ready to go, and BET has announced it will debut "Rock the Boat" on Nov. 9.
Aaliyah was one of nine people who were killed when the Cessna 402B they were flying in exploded on impact 200 feet past the end of a runway at Marsh Harbor International Airport on Abaco Island.
"Rock the Boat" promotes the second single from Aaliyah's self-titled third album.
A video for the next single, "More Than a Woman," had already been produced before Aaliyah died. It's due to be released early in 2002.