POST JANET: BREAST BEATING
Fallout from the Janet Jackson breast-baring incident during Sunday's halftime production at the Super Bowl rained down from all directions on Wednesday. A spokesman for the singer indicated she would probably not participate in Sunday's Grammy Awards show as scheduled. CBS said that instead of the usual five-second delay that it uses for some live telecasts where verboten language may be uttered, it will use a five-minute delay during the Grammys. ABC said it would do something similar for the Oscars. The NFL ruled out a performance by 'N Sync band member J.C. Chasez during next Sunday's Pro Bowl game, explaining that "Blowin' Me Up (With Her Love)" contained "very suggestive lyrics." And NBC removed a scene from tonight's (Thursday) E.R. showing an 80-year-old woman being rushed into an emergency room with an exposed breast. "The atmosphere created by this week's events has made it too difficult for many of our affiliates to air this shot," NBC said. E.R. producer John Wells lambasted the decision, saying: "There is an 80-year-old woman who is gravely ill," he said. "There is nothing salacious, no attempt at titillation."
COULD TIVO BECOME BIG BROTHER?
A news release from TiVo, the personal digital recorder company, saying that owners of the devices played and replayed the Janet Jackson incident at the Super Bowl numerous times has raised questions about whether the recorder could also be used in ways that infringe on privacy rights. "It noticed that boxes were doing that, but it didn't notice it was Phil's box that was doing that," TiVo spokesman Scott Sutherland told today's (Thursday) Chicago Sun-Times. Nevertheless, he conceded that the potential for misuse exists since TiVo devices are hooked up to telephone lines. Commented Sutherland, ""I understand people have privacy concerns [about TiVo]. But when you look at the actual track record and the policy and procedures, that may not be altogether justifiable."
IDOL CONTINUES TO STEAMROLL COMPETITION
American Idol remained a force to be reckoned with Wednesday night, capturing an 18.5 rating and a 26 share, representing nearly 29 million viewers. Fox's season premiere of Oliver Beene failed to ride on Idol's coattails however, as it placed fourth in its timeslot with a 7.8/11. Nevertheless Fox remained well ahead of its rivals for the night, scoring a 13.4 rating and a 19 share. CBS followed in second place with a 9.8/14, followed by NBC with an 8.32/12 and ABC with a 6.4/19
IDOL PRODUCERS NOW CHECKING BACKGROUNDS OF ALL CONTESTANTS
After three American Idol finalists last season turned out to have less-than-squeaky-clean backgrounds, the producers of the talent show have begun to screen all of them, MTV Newsreported Wednesday. "People are always going to tell lies, so you can't legislate for that until you find out," Co-Executive Producer Ken Warwick said. "But they sign a contract, and if they do that, they are in breach of contract." Suggesting that the producers' investigations may be going beyond simple background checks, Warwick said that had producers learned during the competition that Ruben Studdard was accepting endorsement money from 205 Flava Inc. he "absolutely" would have been reprimanded.
ESPN YANKS HIT DRAMA PLAYMAKERS
Responding to complaints from the National Football League, ESPN has canceled its controversial drama Playmakers after a single season. The show, which dealt with such topics as drug use, wife beating, racism, homophobia and infidelity among football players, had received much critical praise and had attracted a relatively large audience (its audience of 2 million was five times the size of the previous occupant of the time slot) but the NFL reacted angrily to the less-then-flattering depiction of some players. "Many considerations went into this decision, not the least of which was the reaction from a longtime and valued partner," ESPN Mark Shapiro said Wednesday.
HISTORY CHANNEL AGREES TO "REVIEW" ASSASSINATION FILM
The History Channel said Wednesday that, following a meeting with several former members of Lyndon Johnson's White House staff, it had agreed to review its broadcast of The Guilty Men, a 1988 British documentary that implicated Johnson in John F. Kennedy's assassination. "We laid out our case and said it was a blot on a man who's dead," MPAA chief Jack Valenti, who was special assistant to Johnson, told the New York Post. "We let them know we weren't going away, that we weren't going to vanish. Our resolve is sturdy and strong -- we're going to push this to the wall."
JOBS JOINS EISNER'S ENEMY LIST
Pixar Chairman Steve Jobs has sharply criticized the Walt Disney Co., calling the Disney animated features Treasure Planet and Brother Bear duds and the sequels Return to Neverland and Lion King 1 1/2 "pretty embarrassing." He maintained that there had been little creative input from Disney on Pixar's hit films "for years." Jobs made the comments in an interview with the Los Angeles Times and during a conference call with analysts in which he announced that Pixar had recorded record profits for the fourth quarter and for 2003. He said that it had earned $83.9 million for the quarter and $124.8 million for the year. Jobs, who broke off negotiations with Disney to extend its distribution deal, said that he has heard from every major studio in Hollywood since. He told the Times that he expected to begin formal negotiations with them next month, adding that it was "very unlikely" that talks with Disney would be revived. A Disney spokesperson responded that it was "sad and unfortunate that [Jobs] has resorted to insults and name-calling in the wake of the disagreement."
ED DUE TO BOW OUT ON FRIDAY
NBC has indicated that Friday's episode of Ed will amount to a series finale. In an interview with the online edition of TV Guide, NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker remarked, "It's been a terrific run, but the odds are this is its final season." Nevertheless, he added, "We're going to leave ourselves a little flexibility for when we put the schedule together in May."
ACADEMY EXPELS MEMBER FOLLOWING SCREENER UPLOADS
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled actor Carmine Caridi, who admitted sending screeners of Oscar-nominated films to a friend, who in turn posted them on the Internet. The screeners included The Last Samurai, Something's Gotta Give, and Mystic River. Following the decision by the Academy's board of governors, academy President Frank Pierson remarked: "We had hoped that this situation would not arise." He noted that the academy had agreed to a demand by the MPAA to require members not to allow the screeners out of their possession on pain of expulsion. Pierson said that the academy must now "live up to our part of the bargain and to enforce our commitment to safeguard the video tapes sent to us."
The 54th annual Berlin International Film Festival -- the Berlinale -- is scheduled to open tonight (Thursday) with a screening of Anthony Minghela's Cold Mountain. With hundreds of movies being screened between now and the closing date of Feb. 15, long lines began forming early today in the chilly weather in front of ticket booths set up in the center of the city. Taking shelter from the cold, one line of festival goers extended more than halfway through the center of a shopping mall located near the principal theater, the Berlinale Palast. (A local publication referred to the lines as being reminiscent of those that were common during Communist rule.) The Berlin press took note of the fact that Tony Curtis, the first Hollywood star to arrive in the city for the festival, was wearing a pair of white shorts and open-toed sandals. The German tabloid Bild featured his picture and asked: "Doesn't Tony know it's winter?"