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September 10, 1996|ART BERMAN


Lion for Liam: There was a double helping of good news for actor Liam Neeson. On Monday, he was released from a hospital in Padua, Italy, after a weeklong stay for treatment of what doctors described as an intestinal problem. The 44-year-old actor had been stricken while attending the Venice Film Festival. On Saturday, the festival awarded him its Golden Lion as best actor for his title role in Neil Jordan's IRA drama "Michael Collins," and the film drew the festival's Golden Lion for best film. Julia Roberts also stars in the picture, which recounts the life of Collins, the IRA's former director of intelligence who helped fight for Ireland's independence from 1919 to 1921.


Out of the Soup: Greg Kinnear is giving up the NBC late-night series "Later With Greg Kinnear" to pursue his movie career. Kinnear has done two films since co-starring in the remake of "Sabrina" and was just cast in "Old Friends," playing opposite Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. A replacement has yet to be named for Kinnear, who took over hosting "Later" from Bob Costas in February 1994. The host will tape his last show Sept. 18, and NBC will run original shows featuring him through mid-October. NBC had tried to sign Jon Stewart as "Later's" permanent guest host with an eye to having a backup for Kinnear, but Stewart ultimately made a deal with CBS that may include a competing show in the same 1:35 a.m. time period. Kinnear got his start hosting E! Entertainment Television's "Talk Soup."


Emmys Draw Well: Sunday's Emmy Awards telecast on ABC walked away a winner from a ratings standpoint, according to preliminary figures. The show attracted 27% of the prime-time audience in the 33 major cities metered by Nielsen Media Research, a 17% increase compared to last year's rating and the kudocast's best results by that standard since 1986. The three-hour ceremony did especially well in Los Angeles, capturing 34% of the available audience. National Emmy ratings will be issued today and generally drop at least 10% off metered-market levels, reflecting higher big-city interest in the awards.


Old Globe Lineup: The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego has announced six shows for the first half of 1997. On the Old Globe main stage: Tina Howe's "Pride's Crossing" (Jan. 30-March 2), Steven Dietz's adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (March 20-April 20) and Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" (May 15-June 15). On the Cassius Carter Centre Stage: Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (Jan. 25-March 2), Richard Dresser's "Below the Belt" (March 15--April 20) and Giles Havergal's adaptation of Graham Greene's "Travels With My Aunt" (May 10--June 15).


Boffo in Budapest: Michael Jackson continued to attract throngs of screaming fans as his European and Asian tour reached Budapest. When he went into a downtown record shop Monday, crowds waited outside, surging into a plate-glass window and shattering it as he emerged. A worried Jackson climbed on his car and gestured to people to get away from the glass. No one was hurt, but for the rest of the afternoon, Jackson's security people and Hungarian police divided their attention between protecting the superstar and guarding the windows of a bookstore and an antique store he visited later. Jackson launched his first concert tour in three years Saturday in Prague, drawing 120,000 spectators. He is expected to draw 60,000 to the smaller People's Stadium today.


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