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Movies

May 26, 1995|ART BERMAN | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Warners Does a Disney: Warner Bros. announced it is taking its first plunge into producing an animated full-length motion picture, tentatively titled "The Quest for the Grail" and scheduled for late 1997 release. The musical fantasy-adventure will center on Susannah, an idealistic, independent young woman living in the days of King Arthur's Court, who goes on a dangerous quest for the Holy Grail to save her sister from a ruthless and powerful knight. The screenwriter is Elizabeth Chandler ("A Little Princess") and the story is based on a novel, "The King's Damosel," by Vera Chapman. Co-directors are Bill Kroyer ("FernGully, The Last Rainforest") and Frederick DuChau. Warner Bros. chairmen and co-chief executive officers Robert A. Daly and Terry Semel announced the project, calling it "a new era" for the film company, and vowed extensive marketing and merchandising support, including games, toys, computer software, clothing, theme-park and package goods tie-ins.

Illustrious Alumna: Actress Annette Bening will share the spotlight with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday at San Francisco State University's commencement ceremonies. Bening, 36, a 1980 cum laude drama graduate of the university's College of Creative Arts, will be honored as alumna of the year and will deliver brief remarks. Mrs. Clinton will be the commencement speaker before an expected crowd of more than 17,000. The First Lady will receive an honorary law degree, one of 3,000 sheepskins that will be conferred in the campus's Cox Stadium. Bening, who just completed production of "The American President" with Michael Douglas for December release, was most recently seen in "Love Affair" opposite her husband, Warren Beatty.

TV/RADIO

Remaining 'Exposure': "Northern Exposure," canceled by CBS this week after six seasons, has yet to complete its run on the network. The final three episodes of the offbeat series, which chronicles the eclectic denizens of tiny Cicely, Alaska, will be shown in July, a CBS spokesperson said. The final episode is not a series finale, a spokesperson for the show's producers said, because it was not known at the time it was shot that the series would be canceled. "There is some closure on the last episode," a spokesperson said, "but it's more of a season finale."

Farewell to Food News: Los Angeles radio station KNX-AM (1070) has quietly canceled "The KNX Food News Hour," a morning fixture on the news station for 33 years before it was preempted almost daily during the last four months because of KNX's gavel-to-gavel coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial. "It looked like there would never be a more appropriate time to say goodby because it was off the air anyway," news director Bob Sims said. The show, which debuted in 1962 and aired for the last time on April 28, was heard each day from 10-11 a.m. "It was a good idea in all respects except for the very big question of whether it was wise to make such a departure from our basic format in the middle of the day, every day, and hand our news audience over to the competition," Sims said. . . . Meanwhile, KCRW-FM (89.9) recently added a show for epicures, "Good Food," hosted by Border Grill chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Fridays at 2 p.m.

'Eye to Eye' Dangles: As of Thursday afternoon, the staff of the CBS newsmagazine "Eye to Eye" had not been notified when the show will go off the air. The newsmagazine, which Connie Chung anchored until she refused to accept demotion from co-anchorship of the "CBS Evening News," was not renewed for the fall season when CBS announced its schedule Wednesday. The hope at CBS News is that the magazine will continue to air through the summer. Chung's name was dropped from the title of the program that aired Wednesday night, and correspondents introduced their individual pieces. CBS said that it hoped to find other jobs for the "Eye to Eye" staffers when the show goes off the air. (For more Chung news, see Liz Smith below.)

MUSIC

Salonen & Co. Honored: The L.A. Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen were named first-place winners in the major orchestra category of the 1995 ASCAP awards for programming of contemporary music during the 1994-95 season. It's the third win in a row, all under Salonen's baton, for the Philharmonic and the fifth since the award was inaugurated in 1959 by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

QUOTABLE

"I've never told anybody this but I think that maybe I am afraid [to have children] . . . afraid that I will not be able to live up to what I believe a mother should be. . . . I would be afraid that I would make a lot of [the same] mistakes that were made with me. I would be afraid that I don't have the courage at this time in my life to follow through to do it the way it needs to be done because I believe that [motherhood] is the most . . . honorable job that there is."

--Oprah Winfrey, 41, interviewed on "Conversation With Ed Gordon," to be shown on Black Entertainment Television Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

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