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MORNING REPORT

August 26, 1993|SHAUNA SNOW | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

TELEVISION

'Real World' Abortion: Abortion replaces who-forgot-to-wash-the-dishes as the topic on tonight's rather sobering episode of MTV's documentary series "The Real World." Starting at 10 p.m., the MTV cameras follow Tami Akbar, one of the three women who lived in a Venice beach house with six others for several months earlier this year, as she tells her roommates of her decision and then goes with her mother to a local clinic to terminate her pregnancy. In between, the subject is debated by, among others, Jon Brennan, a Bible-quoting country singer who opposes abortion. Akbar said she chose to permit the taping of her experience--the medical procedure takes place off camera--because she wanted to show the emotional and physical pain women go through when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. In advance of the episode, MTV issued a disclaimer stating that the show "does not trivialize or advocate abortion" but attempts to "present the range of emotionally charged opinions on this issue and the pain Tami experiences in the wake of her decision."

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'Dateline NBC' Suit: An attorney for the Southeastern Eye Center in Greensboro, N.C., said it was filing a lawsuit Wednesday against NBC, claiming the firm was defamed in a May 4 broadcast of "Dateline NBC" that dealt with unnecessary operations performed on the elderly. The clinic had demanded a retraction and apology from the network, but NBC News President Andrew Lack, defending the broadcast, has said repeatedly that no retraction would be forthcoming. Attorney Rodney F. Page said the federal court complaint would include "multiple claims that are, essentially, for defamation, trespass, invasion of privacy and interference with doing business." The clinic is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages plus unspecified punitive damages. The clinic claims business has dropped 30% since the broadcast.

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Competing Exclusives: Maria Shriver will have competition tonight when she conducts the first interview with Sarah Ferguson since the Dutchess of York moved into her new home outside of London. Shriver's 10 p.m. NBC interview will go head to head with Diane Sawyer's "PrimeTime Live" ABC talk with Monica Seles, in the tennis star's first substantial interview since being stabbed at a Germany tennis tournament April 30.

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Chase 'N' Champagne: Chevy Chase dedicated the renovated Art Deco theater named after him Tuesday with the traditional champagne. But instead of breaking a bottle against the Hollywood building where he will tape his show, Chase shot champagne-filled balloons at the Sunset Boulevard structure, formerly the Aquarius Theatre, from across the street with a huge slingshot. The festivities helped commemorate preparations for the comedian's late-night show, which premieres Sept. 7 on Fox.

THE ARTS

McNally Responds: "They're slamming the door, saying, 'I don't want to talk about it anymore,' " said playwright Terrence McNally, reacting to the cutoff of all arts funding in Cobb County, Ga., in a dispute that arose over charges that a production of McNally's "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" promoted "gay lifestyles." There are no gay characters in McNally's play (which is currently playing the Mark Taper Forum). But there is talk about gay neighbors and relatives and homophobia. In a telephone interview from New York, McNally told The Times that the characters "have maybe had their attitudes changed" toward gays by play's end, but "plays don't promote lifestyles. No play has ever made anyone perform an act contrary to their sexual persuasion." Told that the money for the arts would now go to the police, including more trained police dogs, McNally replied, "What are these dogs going to be looking for--homosexuals or drugs?"

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NEA Settlement: The National Endowment for the Arts reached an out-of-court settlement Wednesday with three gay and lesbian film festivals whose grant recommendations were overturned in 1992 by then-NEA acting chairwoman Anne-Imelda Radice. Radice's decision was attacked by the arts community as politically motivated censorship and the ACLU threatened a lawsuit. The NEA has agreed to pay the festivals a total of $17,500, the amount they would have received in 1992. Recipients are Los Angeles' Gay and Lesbian Media Coalition, New York's New Festival and the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival of Pittsburgh.

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New Blues Club: Something new is happening at the James A. Doolittle Theatre. Starting Friday, the theater's upstairs lobby will be transformed into Moe's Blues Lounge, a club setting for both theater patrons (following performances of "Five Guys Named Moe") and the public. On Friday and Saturday nights through Sept. 25, the club will feature Spreadin' Rhythm 'Round, a band specializing in boogie-woogie, jump blues and blues hits from the '30s-'50s, as well as appearances by jazz singer Millie McLaine and others.

QUICK TAKES

Comedian Rosie O'Donnell has been added to tonight's "Voters for Choice" concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The bill also features Melissa Etheridge, Shawn Colvin, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Spinal Tap and Gloria Steinem. . . . A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28 for "Rocky Mountain High" singer John Denver, who was charged with drunken driving after being stopped on the way home from a restaurant in Aspen, Colo., early Saturday. . . . Jerry Seinfeld's "distinct observations about life" are no longer limited to his TV show. The comedian's first book, the anecdotal "SeinLanguage," went on sale at bookstores Wednesday.

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