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The Arts

October 01, 1994|STEVEN LINAN | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

A Touch of Culture: Jane Alexander, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, today will launch a monthlong celebration of the nation's cultural heritage by visiting several local sites. At 11 a.m., Alexander will attend a performance of young people participating in the "I do dance, not drugs" program at the Lula Washington Dance Studio. At 1:30 p.m., it's on to the Cornerstone Theater Company's project in Watts, where she will observe artists and residents collaborating on a new theatrical production at San Miguel Church and School. Alexander's day will conclude with the Los Angeles Arts and Humanities Kickoff Celebration beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

TELEVISION

Final Score: "Baseball" wound up its 18 1/2-hour PBS run on Wednesday, with viewership holding steady over the course of nine nights. Ken Burns' documentary averaged a 5.1 rating and 7 share of the audience in Nielsen's 32 overnight markets, which more than doubled the network's average numbers in prime time. The miniseries, which reached a cumulative audience of 28 million, according to PBS, will be repeated next April. . . . Elsewhere, the season opener of "Saturday Night Live," hosted by Steve Martin, averaged an 8.7 rating, up 2% from last year's season premiere.

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Moving Up: Andrew Heyward has been named vice president of CBS News and executive producer of the "CBS Evening News," effective Oct. 17. He succeeds Erik Sorenson, who will continue at the news department as a vice president in development. Sorenson, who had been executive producer of the nightly newscast since February, 1991, had asked for a reassignment. Heyward has worked on the Connie Chung newsmagazine "Eye to Eye" since February, 1993.

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Moving On: KABC-TV news anchor Susan Campos will leave the station to be a reporter for "Full Disclosure," an upcoming Fox newsmagazine based in New York. Campos, who filled in as co-anchor on KABC's 11 p.m. newscast between Ann Martin's departure and Lisa McRee's arrival, has worked at the station for five years. The new Fox program is a revamped version of the network's defunct "Front Page."

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Dental Bill: A federal judge in Philadelphia has ordered a dentist to pay ABC more than $250,000 the network spent defending itself in his libel lawsuit over a profile on the newsmagazine "20/20." A federal jury in December, 1992, rejected Owen J. Rogal's claim that ABC's March, 1989, profile falsely portrayed him as a "charlatan."

MOVIES

False Alarm: "Higgins and Beech" has been declared alive and well by 20th Century Fox in the wake of the announcement that Michelle Pfeiffer had opted to do Touchstone's "Up Close and Personal" first. Brian Gibson is lined up to direct "Higgins," a rewrite is in the works and, if creative and budgetary concerns are resolved to the studio's satisfaction, the project will get off the ground in February or March for an intended Christmas, 1995, release. Pfeiffer, Fox explains, had been offered the film, but no deal was ever signed. As the mother of a newborn, the actress reportedly bowed out because the project would have taken her out of town for six to eight weeks. Julia Roberts and Demi Moore are said to be leading contenders for the role. According to PMK, which represents Richard Gere, the actor is interested in the project and will make up his mind after reading the final script.

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LuPone to Perform: Musical theater star Patti LuPone will perform a one-hour concert during Sunday night's fourth annual entertainment industry fund-raiser for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. The dinner at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel is underwritten by Hollywood's major film and music companies and, for the first time, has a host committee that is made up of 80 openly gay and lesbian people who work in Hollywood. Among the celebrity presenters are Goldie Hawn and Ralph Fiennes, and the honored guest is Sen. Paul D. Wellstone (D-Minn.), who has been an active supporter of gay rights. Tickets for the non-black tie event are $300 each and remain available at Events Unlimited in Santa Monica at (310) 996-1188.

QUICK TAKES

Fred De Cordova, the longtime producer of "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson, was listed in fair condition Friday after being hospitalized with pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. . . . Richard Dreyfuss has made his directorial debut in London, staging "Hamlet" at a small English provincial theater. The actor agreed to direct the Shakespearean tragedy after being approached in New York by Old Rep Theatre head Neal Foster. . . . "Old MacDonald's Sing-a-Long Farm," the Lifetime cable channel's first weekday series for children, premieres today at noon with back-to-back episodes. The educational program, in which a veterinary student learns about the farm, moves to its regular half-hour slot Monday at 8 a.m. . . . On Monday, Chicago news anchor Penny Daniels will replace Jim Ryan as anchor of the syndicated newsmagazine "A Current Affair." . . . Phoenix Suns forward Wayman Tisdale has signed a recording contract with Motown Records' jazz division.

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