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Rhino Horns In On Late-night Tv

September 20, 1987|STEVE POND

A little MTV goes a long way. "Friday Night Videos" doesn't come on until 1:30 in the morning. "The Tonight Show" only rarely features musicians. David Letterman rarely gives pop musicians more than a couple of minutes at the end of the night. Fox Television's "Late Show," which tried to have the strongest pop music presence of any late-night TV show, is being replaced by a comedy-oriented program.

When it comes to late-night television, it seems, pop music fans don't have much to look at. And for those who want a show with an adventurous, offbeat, rock 'n' roll sensibility, the choice is simple: Letterman or nothing.

But a change may be in the works, courtesy of one of Los Angeles' most offbeat and adventurous record labels. The Santa Monica-based Rhino Records started as a record store, turned into a label and has branched into video and film. Now, Rhino is quietly preparing a late-night show for ABC.

Entitled "Club Rhino," the program is not yet guaranteed a slot on ABC's lineup. But the label is currently working with Heritage Entertainment on a low-budget pilot presentation--and if ABC likes what it sees, Club Rhino will wind up on the air as many as four nights a week.

"The best way I can describe it is as a hip 'Mickey Mouse Club,' for a much older audience," says Rhino co-founder Harold Bronson. "It'll be more adventurous and irreverent than anything else on late-night TV, and a lot of it will relate to things on our label. It'll have music, weird videos, occasional guests. . . ."

Bronson and his partner, Richard Foos, came up with the idea for the show some time ago; a lawyer friend, Bob Emmer, put them together with Heritage, where they'll produce the program with Alan Sachs, a TV veteran who worked on such shows as "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "Chico and the Man." The show will be hosted by a team known as the Rhino Brothers--but although Bronson and Foos have gone by that name in the past, they're currently casting those roles for the TV show.

"The show will fit really well with Rhino's multiple personality," says Bronson of the label's new venture. "It's about music and film and general craziness--but with substance."

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