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MORNING REPORT

August 10, 1994|SHAUNA SNOW | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

TELEVISION

Pre-Trial Movie: Fox-TV on Tuesday announced that it will air its O.J. Simpson movie, tentatively titled "The O.J. Simpson Story," on Sept. 13, one week before the start of the former football star's scheduled trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman. The two-hour film, which will launch the second season of "Fox's Tuesday Night Movie," will star former UCLA football player-turned-actor Bobby Hosea ("Jack's Back," "China Beach") as Simpson, with Jessica Tuck ("One Life to Live") playing the football star's former wife. Based on court testimony and other items of public record, the film opens with the discovery of the murders, then flashes back to tell the story of Simpson's life and his relationship with Nicole Simpson.

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Searching for Laughs: Cable's HBO has launched an international search to "discover and develop" new comedy talents, who will be featured on upcoming HBO comedy specials. The performers also will be considered for possible series development deals through HBO Independent Productions, which works with both HBO and the broadcast networks. Comedy veteran Stu Smiley, who has held top creative posts with HBO and Fox-TV, will spearhead the search. Stand-up comics, performance artists and actors with one-person shows will be considered.

PEOPLE WATCH

Nosotros Unidos : After years of bitter in-fighting that nearly destroyed the organization, actor Ricardo Montalban has recaptured the reins of Nosotros, the advocacy group he founded in 1970 to improve the image of Latinos in the entertainment industry. The former "Fantasy Island" star left the group in the late 1980s after a series of internal problems. He attempted to return to the organization's helm in 1991, but lost his bid to unseat then-president Marc Allen Trujillo, who was suspended the following year in a bitter dispute over the group's finances. Now, Montalban has been unanimously elected to chair the group's board, with Gil Avila, who co-founded Nosotros with Montalban, elected the group's president. "We're going to straighten (Nosotros) up and clear up all the turmoil," Montalban told The Times. "We have a vision of it as a brotherhood, with all of us trying to help one another and to establish a clear dialogue with writers, directors and producers. We have a vision of purity, and we hope to give it some dignity as well." Montalban and Avila also hope to resurrect the group's annual awards show, the Golden Eagles, which has not been held for two years because of legal disputes. And Avila plans a new name for the awards: the Ricardos.

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Jackson Suit Stands: A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit against pop star Michael Jackson, one of several defendants sued in conjunction with last February's ill-fated "Jackson Family Honors" TV special. Jackson handed out two awards but did not perform on the Las Vegas-based show, which was billed as a live charity event and panned by critics. Smith-Hemion Productions, which filed the suit in March, claims the company--along with several singers, dancers and crew members--was never paid for work done on the show. Earlier in the year, Smith-Hemion obtained a judgment against Jackson Communications for $1.6 million. Michael Jackson's attorney, Howard Weitzman, argued that the pop star should have been dropped from the suit since his contract was with his family's Jackson Communications and not Smith-Hemion.

MOVIES

Ratings Battle: Civil rights attorney William Kunstler and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz have been hired to spearhead Miramax's latest battle against the Motion Picture Assn. of America's ratings board. Kunstler held a press conference Tuesday in New York, where he said he wanted to "get rid of the entire rating system (and) leave it up to the parents." Kunstler and Dershowitz will appeal the restrictive NC-17 ratings that the MPAA board has slapped on two upcoming Miramax releases, "Clerks" and "The Advocate." Kunstler said he took the case based on "strong First Amendment feelings."

QUICK TAKES

Pop star Janet Jackson has tied soul queen Aretha Franklin for the most gold single records released by a female artist. Jackson's 14th gold single is "Any Time, Any Place," from the album "janet.". . . Film star Buddy Rogers celebrates his 90th birthday today during the annual "Buddy Rogers Summer Party" at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda. . . . Actor Curtis Armstrong, who played Booger in the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies, was a volunteer escort last weekend at Florida's Pensacola Women's Medical Services, one of two Pensacola abortion clinics where doctors have been shot to death

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