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Ovitz-Eisner, Take 5 (or is it 6?)

November 04, 1996|Times Staff Writers and Contributors

Will the People Who Run Hollywood ever tire of reading about Mike Ovitz and his transition from agent to executive at the second-largest media company on the planet? Silly question. Anyway, this week Vanity Fair weighs in on the ongoing saga of the rocky relationship between Disney chief Michael Eisner and his No. 2 exec, Mike Ovitz. The article ("The Mouse Trap") offers 11 pages of anecdotes and quotes about Ovitz's 15-month tenure at Disney. The take: Ovitz is a "diminished figure who is no longer in charge of much of anything" and Eisner is "horrified" by Ovitz's management style. But the real question is: Will anyone in Hollywood read this one on anything but fax paper?

Uh, Steve, Have Time to Chat?

Although they're listed in your weekly TV guides, there's considerable speculation that CBS' Wednesday block of "Almost Perfect," "Public Morals" and "EZ Streets" won't air this week. The three shows premiered in their regular time periods last Wednesday with dismal ratings, and this week falls during the crucial November ratings sweeps. Television stations worry in particular about network ratings from 10-11 p.m., which can help feed viewers into their late newscasts. As a result, the expectation is that CBS will throw a movie in to replace those series in an attempt to generate more respectable numbers during the survey period. Still, pulling shows isn't simple. CBS has invested millions in each program, and "EZ Streets" has garnered considerable critical acclaim, so benching the show even temporarily would be a setback. "Public Morals," meanwhile, comes from star producer Steven Bochco, whom the network would like to keep happy because his company has a deal to produce more series for CBS down the road. The network isn't commenting, but handling such dilemmas is how executives earn their paychecks.

Stone Temple Pilots Cleared for Takeoff

Expect a mix of exuberance and nervousness when Stone Temple Pilots takes the stage at the Universal Amphitheatre tonight. The first of three Southern California shows, kicking off a six-week national tour, will be the quartet's first (other than a surprise Viper Room gig last Wednesday) since the court-ordered drug rehab stay of singer Scott Weiland put band plans on hold shortly after the release of the "Tiny Music . . . Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop" album last April. It has sold 1.1 million copies, compared to around 4 million for each of the band's two previous albums. "The guys are very anxious to play the new songs in front of people, as well as the old ones again," says manager Steve Stewart. "We're all very upbeat and optimistic." And well they should be--a Pasadena judge dropped all charges stemming from Weiland's May 1995 heroin and cocaine arrest last week, deeming that his progress met the terms of his probation. But questions remain about the band's long-term future. The other members--guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo, drummer Eric Kretz--are said to be waiting to see how this tour goes before making further plans about working with Weiland.

The Ice Cream Man Cometh

Abel Ferrara's films are not for the faint of heart--and "The Funeral," opening on Friday, is no exception. Like "Bad Lieutenant," "The Addiction" and "King of New York," the 1930s crime drama is an "an unflinching, in-your-face depiction of the moral mayhem of modern life," according to the publicity notes. The story of three racketeering brothers (Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Vincent Gallo) whose family is torn apart by violence and revenge, "The Funeral" is the second Ferrara vehicle released by October Films. "What we like about Abel is that he's very far from vanilla--probably not even chocolate or strawberry," said Amir Malin, co-managing executive for the company. "He's far more successful tackling the grittiness and harsh realities of life than mainstream studio fare. His remake of 'Body Snatchers' for Warner Bros. was a complete and utter disaster." Though none of Ferrara's films have taken off at the box office, they're low-budget outings with a strong video life. "Lieutenant" sold 90,000 units representing $5.5 million--or more than double the movie's theatrical take.

Is KSCA About to Ride Off Into the Sunset?

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