Entertainment Today

By DICK KELSEY, United Press International  |  Sept. 2, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Viewers of NBC's "Meet The Press" got a sneak peak of retiring Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., in his new role as a conservative district attorney in the peacock network's "Law & Order" series.

Host Tim Russert aired a clip of Thompson, as DA Arthur Branch, seated behind his desk discussing a case.

"With all the money we spend on the so-called war on drugs, we could buy all the poppy fields in the world and burn them to a crisp," Thompson's character said. "But do we do it? No. And why? Because without a war on something, people in Washington wouldn't get elected."

And what's the difference between politics and acting, Russert asked. "The pay," Thompson replied. "I've always thought there was an affinity between Washington and Hollywood because neither really understood what the other did, and I'm still convinced of that."

In March Thompson announced he was retiring, and last month NBC disclosed he was joining the cast of "Law & Order."


Viewers of this month's Miss America pageant telecast will be able to vote for their favorite contestants via the Internet at abc.com -- keyword Miss America -- during the three segments of the competition.

Pageant officials say results of online polls for swimsuit, evening wear and talent competitions will be broadcast after each segment during the broadcast.

In the pageant's knowledge quiz, the five finalists will answer questions submitted online by viewers prior to the telecast.

Additionally, results of how the remaining 46 contestants vote -- which will account for 10 percent of the finalists' scores -- will be shown on screen.


A company that edits movies to remove sex, violence and profanity has taken big-time Hollywood directors to court.

CleanFlicks of Colorado and Idaho lawyer Robert Huntsman have asked a federal court in Denver to determine which "methodology" is permissible for editing movies for private viewing.

The lawsuit, which names Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford and 14 other high-profile directors, seeks no monetary damages.

CleanFlicks and Huntsman -- who holds a movie-editing patent -- said they learned through a news release posted on the Directors Guild of America Web site the group was planning to file a lawsuit against editing firms, which led them to file their own suit.

The company buys a DVD or VHS, removes or alters objectionable content and then distributes, through franchise outlets in several states, the edited version to customers who pay annual or monthly dues.

That CleanFlicks based its lawsuit on the First Amendment strikes the DGA as ironic, spokeswoman Carol Stogsdill told The Denver Post.

"We think it is interesting that they are citing the First Amendment as an excuse to alter the original work that is owned by the studios," she said.


Fox TV reportedly is developing a reality series based on the old TV sitcom "Green Acres, which would put a wealthy family into the boondocks to fends for themselves.

Variety reports the network is planning to move "a rich, upper-class family or individual" to a far more spartan lifestyle, probably in the South.

The original sitcom, which starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as socialite New Yorkers, first aired in 1965 and lasted six seasons.

Last week CBS announced it is working on a reality-type show based on the "Beverly Hillbillies" that would relocate a rural family into the posh environs of Beverly Hills, Calif.

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