IT'S FOX NEWS'S TURN TO APOLOGIZE
Fox News has apologized for a bogus news report posted on its website that included fabricated quotes by John Kerry boasting about how he was bolstered in last week's debate with George W. Bush by his "metrosexual" appearance, including a manicure. The item quoted Kerry as saying, "Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" The article was written by Carl Cameron, Fox News's chief political correspondent. In a message posted on the website, Fox News said, "We regret the error, which occurred because of fatigue and bad judgment, not malice." Later, a Fox News spokesman told the New York Times that Cameron had been reprimanded but he declined to discuss the nature of the reprimand.
DEBATE MODERATOR SAYS RULES ARE "LAUGHABLE"
Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer, who is scheduled to preside over the Oct. 13 presidential debate in Tempe, AZ, says he learned from a newspaper report that the two sides had decided to devote the first debate to foreign policy issues and the last to domestic issues, instead of the other way around, as initially planned. "I felt like the kid who bones up for the science test, then when he shows up, it's about algebra," the CBS newsman told today's (Monday) Philadelphia Inquirer. Schieffer also described as "laughable" the list of ground rules that the two sides negotiate between themselves prior to the debates. "Every year, the debates we have over the debates is more ludicrous. If the candidates want to answer questions standing on their heads, it's fine with me. My job is to show up with a pocketful of questions."
BROKAW AND JENNINGS RALLY TO RATHER
Dan Rather, caught up in a hurricane of controversy surrounding his discredited report concerning George Bush's National Guard service, maintained Saturday that he won't "give up the fight" against his critics who want to remove him from the anchor chair of the CBS Evening News. Appearing at a New York forum along with rival anchors Tom Brokaw of NBC and Peter Jennings of ABC, Rather said that CBS management had asked him not to discuss specifics of the controversy while an independent panel investigates it. However, Brokaw volunteered a two-fisted defense of Rather, saying that he was the target of "a kind of political jihad." Jennings remarked: "I don't think you ever judge a man by one event in his career."
MIKE WALLACE GLUM OVER 60 MINUTES DEBACLE
Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace is hoping that, following the internal investigation of the Dan Rather report about President Bush's National Guard service, that the name of the Wednesday edition of the show will be changed. "People should stop saying this is 60 Minutes," Wallace told FoxNews.com's columnist Roger Freedman. "It's not." Rather's report aired on what had been called Sixty Minutes II until last June, when the Roman numbers were dropped. However, the two programs are produced independently within the CBS news organization. In his interview with Friedman, Wallace questioned the professional standards of the Wednesday show's production staff and when asked about CBS's reputation as being the "Tiffany network," he commented, "That doesn't exist any more."
TV SHOWS BECOME BIG HITS AT VIDEO RENTAL STORES
Television shows on DVD have not only become a surprise boon for DVD retailers, but they've also become one for rental stores, Video Store magazine reported on Friday. The trade publication quoted Todd Rowan, VP of marketing for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, as saying, "There is a misconception that TV DVD is only for sellthrough, but in reality it is very viable in the rental channel -- and gaining popularity in the rental channel." The magazine said that several rental stores are breaking up the series or season sets and renting each disc separately. Online "rentailer" NetFlix reported that TV shows on DVD now represent 12 percent of its business and is its fastest growing segment.
ALL-IN-ONE VIDEO RECORDER TO DEBUT NEXT YEAR
Scientific-Atlanta, which manufactures many of the settop receivers for cable and satellite systems, is planning to augment them with a TiVo-like digital recorder that will allow viewers to watch programs whenever they wish and a DVD "burner" that will allow them to retain the programs on a DVD disc. The device, planned for release during the first half of next year, will also incorporate a conventional DVD player, according to the Atlanta Business Journal.
SHARK BITES BOX OFFICE
Although numerous reviewers did their best to sink it, DreamWorks' Shark Tale made a big splash over the weekend, taking in $49.1 million -- making it the biggest October opening in history. The success of the film will certainly come as a relief to DreamWorks, which is planning a $650-million IPO for its animation unit. Although it was far behind in second place, Disney's firefighter drama, Ladder 49, performed somewhat better than expected with an estimated $22.8 million, the studio's best October opening. Last week's top film, Sony's The Forgotten, dropped to third place with $12 million. The rest of the films on the box office list barely made blips on the box-office chart. Nevertheless, two of them made the list despite limited releases. Magnolia Pictures' Woman Thou Art Loosed opened in sixth place with $2.5 million although it played in just 408 theaters. Focus Features' Shaun of the Dead also held up well in its second weekend, earning $2.4 million in 645 theaters. Still, the most spectacular opening of the weekend was registered by Fox Searchlight's I (heart symbol) Huckabees, which grossed $300,062 on just four screens in New York and Los Angeles, an average of $75,016 per theater (compared with Shark Tale's $12,226 per theater).
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Shark Tale, $49.1 million; 2. Ladder 49, $22.8 million; 3. The Forgotten, $12 million; 4. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, $3.4 million; 5. Mr. 3000, $2.6 million; 6. Woman Thou Art Loosed, $2.5 million; 7. Shaun of the Dead, $2.4 million; 8. Resident Evil: Apocalypse, $2.3 million; 9. First Daughter, $2.15 million; 10. Cellular, $2 million.
BROSNAN NOT LIKELY TO BE REHIRED AS 007
Despite Pierce Brosnan's recent denial that he had decided not to accept another movie assignment as James Bond and his insistence that, to the contrary, he would like to have another go at the character, chances appear slim that he'll return, the Los Angeles Times indicated today (Monday). The newspaper observed that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, who control the Bond franchise, have let it be known that they want to replace the 51-year-old Brosnan with an 28-32 year-old actor. And Brosnan himself told the newspaper that the pair call the shots: "We've had a lot of success together. But as to the fate of the franchise, you have to remember that at the end of the day, it's the Broccolis' family business."
WRITER BARRED FROM SET OF MOVIE HE WROTE
Director Ang Lee and writer Larry McMurtry have had a falling out over changes that Lee reportedly made to McMurtry's script for Brokeback Mountain, which concerns a homosexual love affair between two cowboys played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, the New York Daily News's "Rush & Molloy" column reported today (Monday). According to the column, Lee has barred McMurtry from the set of the movie, shooting in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A spokeswoman for Focus Features, which is producing it, commented: "Larry McMurtry can never go on sets because he's got very severe allergies."
THE SIMPSONS: THE MOVIE TAKING SHAPE
After promising a theatrical feature version of The Simpsons for years, the TV show's creator, Matt Groening, has indicated that plans for the movie are at last approaching fruition. In an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper, Groening remarked, "We're trying to tell a story that we wouldn't do on television and take advantage of a longer process and a more ambitious process for animation." However, he added, the movie "will either kill the [TV] show or completely reinvigorate it." Admitting that he regards himself as a liberal, Groening also said that he has been given unprecedented freedom by the conservative-oriented Fox TV network. He told the newspaper: "We've poked fun at Rupert Murdoch a number of times and some of the executives are worried about it, although Rupert himself seems to be very good natured. He played himself as 'evil billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch' and good for him."
ACTRESS JANET LEIGH OF PSYCHO FAME DEAD AT 77
Janet Leigh, best remembered as the screaming slasher victim in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 thriller Psycho, has died in Beverly Hills at age 77. Leigh, whose film career began in 1947 when she became a contract actress at MGM for $50 a week, also had notable starring roles in A Touch of Evil with Orson Welles and in The Manchurian Candidate with Frank Sinatra. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) lists 63 credits for her film and TV work. Her daughters by Tony Curtis, actresses Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis, along with her current husband, Robert Brandt, were at her bedside when she died of complications from a vascular disease, according to a publicist.