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January 17, 1994|BETH KLEID | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press


'Philadelphia' Story: The AIDS drama "Philadelphia" made a dramatic showing at the movie box office as it was widely released, taking in $12.1 million to lead the weekend box-office race, according to early industry estimates. The TriStar movie starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington opened in 1,245 theaters across the country after playing in only four theaters since Dec. 22. "Mrs. Doubtfire," the daddy-turned-nanny comedy from 20th Century Fox, dropped to No. 2 with $9.2 million. New Line's "House Party 3" opened in third with $6.6 million, followed by Warner Bros.' "Grumpy Old Men" with $6 million. Warner Bros.' "The Pelican Brief" was fifth with $5 million. These box-office totals do not include estimates for today's holiday.


Manilow Mix-Up: Barry Manilow canceled his headlining performance Saturday at an inaugural gala for New Jersey Republican Gov.-elect Christie Whitman in Atlantic City, saying he didn't know his show was related to the inauguration. The event was billed as an Ethnic Pride and Heritage Festival at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Manilow said in a statement that he was told in writing the concert would be a nonpartisan event. "I would not have agreed to endorse Ms. Whitman in this way having never met her . . . or been aware of her political platform," Manilow said. But Whitman's staff said ads for the show had been submitted to Manilow's staff in advance. Since Manilow pulled out hours before the concert was to begin, concert officials persuaded Donald Trump to move a Paul Anka concert from the Trump Plaza to the convention center.

Standing By Wynette: Fans loved country music star Tammy Wynette at her first performance since being hospitalized with a severe bile duct infection. She got a standing ovation in Tucson, where she appeared with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra during the weekend, even though she cut her usual program to save strength.


HBO Coming Attractions: HBO announced that new shows for its Friday late-night time slot are on the way. One will be a six-part series starring comedian Dennis Miller live, which will air beginning in April. Miller will provide a satiric recap of the week. Also slated: a four-episode series with hot new Latino comics hosted by Carlos Mencia; two shows featuring comic John Leguizamo; a special called "Bad Girls of Def" showcasing female comedians; the "Peep Show," from Madonna's Maverick Television Co., which peeks at provocative performers around the globe. In addition, HBO's successful "Russell Simmon's Def Comedy Jam" and "Hardcore TV" will be back with new episodes.

Menendez Movie and More: Fox Broadcasting will present a made-for-TV movie on the 1989 killings of Jose and Kitty Menendez, network executive Gary Hoffman announced. It will be the second TV project on the case--CBS plans to air a four-hour miniseries this spring. Other Fox projects announced include movies based on "The Munsters" (to be executive produced by John Landis) and "Alien Nation," a biography of baseball and football star Bo Jackson, and a miniseries on Mia Farrow.

Mini-'Cheers' Reunion: Attention "Cheers" fans: Frasier Crane is reunited with ex-wife Lilith in the Feb. 3 episode of the spinoff "Frasier"--but only briefly. A spokeswoman for the NBC comedy series stressed that Bebe Neuwirth was signed only for the one installment, in which Lilith visits Frasier in his new Seattle digs. The episode was taped last week, after which Neuwirth went to New York to star in "Damn Yankees" on Broadway.

Sharing Assignments: NBC has signed a couple of former CBS staffers to a work-sharing arrangement so they can take turns staying home to care for their young children. Victoria Corderi has a 19-month-old daughter and is expecting; Lisa Rudolph, who worked at WCBS in New York, has a 5-month-old girl. The New York-based women will share assignments, appearing on NBC's "Now" and on "Dateline NBC," starting immediately.


Alfre Woodard and James Earl Jones appear on "The Arsenio Hall Show" tonight for a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Woodard will read from King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Jones also stars in two television movies earlier in the evening. . . . Radio talk-show host Tom Joyner will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on his nationally syndicated morning show with the help of Denzel Washington, who will read "I Have a Dream." Jody Watley, Lou Rawls and the cast of "Living Single" will also do readings on the show, which airs locally on KACE-FM (103.9). . . . Elizabeth Taylor entered St. John's Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica on Friday because of a chronic hip ailment.

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