NO BOOB TUBE FOR GRAMMYS
As a direct result of the controversy over Janet Jackson's breast-baring performance at the Super Bowl, CBS has decided to put Sunday night's Grammy Awards ceremony on a time delay. CBS Executive Vice President Marty Franks told today's (Wednesday) Washington Post that CBS CEO Les Moonves phoned him at about 12:30 a.m. on Super Bowl night asking him to put in place a time-delay and editing system for the Grammys. "It's a combination of computer software and very high-tech tape machines. ... It's very expensive -- the tab is still running," Franks said. Meanwhile, AOL has canceled plans to provide a webcast of the halftime show "in deference to our membership and the fans." Published reports suggested that AOL may also seek at least a partial refund of the $10 million it paid to become the exclusive sponsor of the halftime show and to feature it on its website.
SUPER RATINGS FOR SUPER BOWL
Sunday's CBS telecast of the Super Bowl attracted a record audience and set up a huge late-night audience for the premiere of Survivor All-Stars, which followed. The football game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers was watched by an average of 89.8 million people. Survivor's audience was put at 33.5 million. The two shows overshadowed big ratings for the second week of the latest edition of Fox's American Idol, which nevertheless made an impressive showing. (It was even more impressive Tuesday night, as it scored a 19.1/27 in the overnights.) For the week, CBS averaged a 13.5 rating and a 21 share. Fox took second place with a 6.0/9. NBC followed close behind with a 6.2/10, while ABC trailed with a 5.2/8.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:1. Super Bowl XXXVIII, CBS, 41.4/63; 2. Super Bowl Post Game, CBS, 28.8/46; 3. Survivor: All-Stars Premiere, CBS, 17.9/32; 4. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 16.7/24; 5. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 15.7/24; 6. Friends, NBC, 13.3/21; 7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 13.0/19; 8. The Apprentice, NBC, 11.9/18; 9. Without a Trace, CBS, 11.5/19; 10. Will & Grace, NBC, 11.2/17.
VALENTI CALLS HISTORY CHANNEL DOC OBSCENE
MPAA chief Jack Valenti, who served as special assistant to President Johnson, has denounced The Guilty Men a History Channel documentary that suggested that Johnson may have been part of a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy. "I thought it was obscene as you can get," Valenti told today's (Wednesday) New York Post about the documentary, which aired last November. He also told the newspaper that he is scheduled to meet with officials of the channel today (Wednesday), when he will demand an investigation. Last week, Lady Bird Johnson, the 91-year-old widow of the former president, said that she was painfully hurt by the documentary.
SHRIVER QUITTING DATELINE
Maria Shriver, who took a leave of absence from her job as occasional co-host of NBC's Dateline in order to help husband Arnold Schwarzenegger in his successful bid for the California governorship, has now quit NBC News. Following the election, Shriver returned to the program on what appeared to be an accelerated schedule, but left once again following reports that she was playing an integral role in Schwarzenegger's administration. "It has become clear to me that as I try to move forward and balance my career as a news journalist with my new role as first lady of California, my journalistic integrity and that of NBC News will be constantly scrutinized," Shriver said in a statement.
RAYMOND COSTAR SAYS HE WANTS IT TO CONTINUE
Everybody Loves Raymond costar Peter Boyle has indicated that he has registered his hope that the show will continue at least another season. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Boyle said that a decision "could come at any second," although he has "no special insight" about what it might be. "The shows are still very good and the ratings are still high," Boyle told the Post. "I think there's a little more life left in it. I would love it to continue.
PORTABLE DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDER COMING
EchoStar Communications, which operates the Dish home-satellite system, plans to introduce a portable digital video recorder featuring a 6-inch screen and selling for less than $200, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Wednesday). The newspaper said that the device is likely to be available in time for the Christmas season this year. In reporting on the company's plans, the Journal commented that the device could provide a marketing edge against Dish's larger rival, News Corp's DirecTV.
ROY DISNEY FILES ANTI-EISNER DOC WITH SEC
Roy E. Disney has filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission complaining that the reign of CEO Michael Eisner has been marked by numerous "failed ventures" including Euro Disney, Go.com, the California Adventure theme park and the ABC Family Channel. The document refers to them as "schemes that recycle rather than innovate." Since 1996, it observes, "rebranding the Disney image became more important than enhancing the classic Disney assets. At the New Disney, core businesses like Feature Animation and Imagineering became 'high risk' niche properties." At the new Disney, Roy Disney said, marketing rather than invention, "is the center of all existence. The product is no longer what matters most, just how you sell it." The document goes on to call for shareholders to withhold their votes from Eisner and three allies on the Disney board at an upcoming election.
GIBSON YANKS A SCENE FROM PASSION
Mel Gibson has agreed to remove at least one scene from his movie The Passion of the Christ that has been the subject of protests by Jewish leaders and religious scholars who have seen it, the New York Times reported today (Wednesday). The scene reportedly features Jewish high priest Caiaphas declaring of the Crucifixion, "His blood be on us and on our children." The Times, which said that it had been permitted to see the film, reported that the film depicts Pilate as being reluctant to treat Jesus severely but that in the end, he agrees to crucify him in order to mollify a Jewish mob.
COPPOLA FILMS SHORT FOR AMAZON.COM
In a unique marketing ploy, Francis Ford Coppola has produced a 15-minute video about the recently released DVD restoration of his 1982 film One from the Heart that can be viewed exclusively on the Amazon.com website <http://www.amazon.com/dvd>. In a statement, Coppola said that he hoped that the video would help counteract "the bad press and premature criticism" that originally shot down his film. "It seems appropriate to me now that we can take advantage of some of the fabulous technology available today, like the Internet and Amazon.com, to reach out directly to the public. Perhaps the film will at last find an audience," he said. Coppola has reportedly reworked parts of the film and has included more than six hours of "bonus material" in the DVD, which was released last week.
OPEN RANGE MAKES AUSPICIOUS DVD DEBUT
Kevin Costner's Open Range , an unexceptional performer at the box office last summer (it made $58 million domestically), has made a strong debut at video rental stores. The film topped the VHS rental charts with $1.8 million and came in second on the DVD charts with 4.7 million. Once Upon a Time in Mexico led the DVD charts with $5.8 million in rentals but came in third among VHS users with $1.5 million.
PROMOTES MOUNT AGAINST COLD MOUNTAIN
Although Miramax films are generally backed by an intense promotional campaign prior to the Oscars, Cold Mountain, the studio's biggest entry in the competition, is being hit with at least two even more intense opposition attacks. Today's (Wednesday) Los Angeles Times reported on campaigns by Hollywood workers who are upset that the film, which deals with the American Civil War, was actually filmed in Romania. Camera assistant Gary Dunham has launched an email campaign in which he writes: "Cold Mountain is the culmination of a lot of frustration. ... People are very, very angry. There really is no reason for [filming in Romania]. It's just greed." Separately, the Times reported that another email campaign has criticized the film for virtually ignoring blacks, although it was set in North Carolina, a slave state where more than of the population was black.
BARBERSHOP II TO GET WIDESPREAD DISTRIBUTION
MGM's opening of Barbershop 2: Back in Business on Friday will set a theater count record for an "urban" feature film of 2,700, the Los Angeles Times observed today (Wednesday). The newspaper noted that the wide release is part of a strategy by Vice Chairman Christ McGurk "that a big-league film franchise can be built on a minor-league budget." The Barbershop sequel reportedly cost $30 million to make. The original, which cost half that amount, grossed $75 million.
BERLINALE SEEN AS SHOWCASE FOR GERMAN FILMMAKERS
German filmmakers, who account for 58 films at this year's Berlin Film Festival, are being given a special showcase for their wor, published reports noted Thursday. "As long as I'm the head of this festival, its backing for German films will remain high," festival director Dieter Kosslick told Reuters. "I've never had to push for German films because I've always found them to be very good. It was always other people who had problems with them." Meanwhile, the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Argentur has reported that Thursday's red-carpet festivities for the opening-night screening of Cold Mountain will be sent by satellite to theaters in five other cities in Germany and will be webcast on the Internet at <http://www.berlinale.de>. The festival also plans to webcast all the major news conferences that will take place from Thursday's opening to the festival's end on Feb. 15.