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November 17, 1994|SHAUNA SNOW | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

TELEVISION

David Who?: Jimmy Smits' first outing as the new man on the force in "NYPD Blue" paid off for ABC. The gritty police drama was the highest-rated network show Tuesday, edging out the CBS miniseries "Scarlett" and NBC's "Dateline," according to national Nielsen ratings. "NYPD Blue," which aired at 10 p.m., wound up with a 28 share, meaning that an estimated 28% of the television sets in use were tuned in to see how Smits fared in replacing star David Caruso, who left the show. The two-hour second part of "Scarlett," which premiered Sunday, started with a 23 share but rose to a 27 share in the hour against "NYPD Blue." "Dateline" at 10 p.m. received a 20 share.

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Company for Limbaugh: They swept the Senate. They won the House. Now they're preparing to take on television. The Conservative Television Network, a cable station set to debut by March or April of 1996, will target conservative viewers who believe existing networks operate with a liberal bias, its creators announced this week. Billed as a "mini-pay" station for which subscribers will have to ante up about $4 a month, network plans call for an in-house news operation as well as entertainment programs. . . . Elsewhere in the cable universe, Discovery Network plans to launch four new channels next year. The channels, each with a specific programming "niche," will be called Animal Planet (nature programs), Quark! (science and technology), Time Traveler (history) and Living (home-related shows).

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday November 19, 1994 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 2 Column 4 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 53 words Type of Material: Correction
Studios-- "Mistress of the Seas," a Jon Peters film to be directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, has always been at Columbia Pictures, and was never housed at Carolco Pictures. A rival big-budget pirate film, "Cutthroat Island," is currently in production at Carolco. Thursday's Morning Report contained incorrect information, which was provided to The Times by Columbia Pictures.

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Winning Trip: C-SPAN's touring school bus has won the cable industry's coveted annual Golden CableACE award. The special award will be presented along with other CableACE honors Jan. 15, in a show broadcast on cable's TNT. Since beginning its nationwide tour a year ago, the 45-foot bus, with three TV cameras, two computers, two laser-disc players, four tape decks, two cellular phone lines and three color TV monitors aboard, has visited 40 states, 176 schools and nine presidential libraries.

MOVIES

Stepping Up: Figure this one. French director Jean-Jacques Annaud replacing blockbuster filmmaker Paul Verhoeven on the $65-million on-again, off-again "Mistress of the Seas" for Columbia Pictures? That's right. Annaud is the same French director who brought you those beautiful, but financially unsuccessful films, "The Lover," "The Bear" and "The Name of the Rose." Now, however, he will helm "Mistress," the Jon Peters production picked up from Carolco Pictures because of a soaring budget. Word at Columbia is that Annaud was tapped because Verhoeven, the creator of "Total Recall," was just too pricey. Annaud is the filmmaker behind the 3-D IMAX film "Wings of Courage" for Sony Classics.

POP/ROCK

Pop Chart: "Hell Freezes Over," the first album of new recordings in 14 years from the Eagles, soared to the top of the nation's pop chart after selling more than 267,000 copies during its first week in U.S. record stores. Other aging rock stars who return to the Top 10 this week: Led Zeppelin alumni Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's "No Quarter," in the No. 4 spot with 138,000 units whisked off the shelves, and Sting's "Fields of Gold" greatest hits collection, in No. 7 with 96,000 copies rung up. The Eagles unseated last week's bestseller, Nirvana's "Unplugged in New York," which drops to No. 2 with 184,000 units sold.

THE ARTS

TV Stars on Stage: Roseanne and her TV co-star Laurie Metcalf, "Love & War" star Annie Potts and "Frasier's" David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney will take the stage for Lynn Siefert's play "Little Egypt," which will be performed Monday at 8 p.m. in the first installment of an ongoing play-reading series, "One Night Only," at the Coronet Theatre. The readings, which benefit AIDS charities, will be scheduled Monday nights, with the next performance planned for Dec. 5. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the theater box office one hour before the show.

QUICK TAKES

Ray Briem, a 27-year KABC-AM (790) broadcaster, will retire next month and be replaced by Ira Fistell, another KABC veteran, who was previously at the talk station from 1977 to 1992. Fistell will take over Briem's 11 p.m.-to-4 a.m. shift on Dec. 19, but will guest host a few times before then. . . . "The Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A.," the first in a series of new CBS TV movies featuring James Garner re-creating his Emmy-winning role as Jim Rockford in the 1970s TV series, has been set to air Nov. 27. . . .The final interview given by actress Jessica Tandy before her death earlier this year will be broadcast on today's "Entertainment Tonight." Tandy talks about her final film, "Camilla," which opens Nov. 23.

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