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Broadcasting the Praises of Paramount's TV Chief

December 12, 1996|MARY LOU LOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It took seven heavyweights--NBC entertainment President Warren Littlefield, comic Jon Stewart, writer Al Franken, TV talk show host Leeza Gibbons, "Frasier's" David Hyde Pierce, Viacom Entertainment Chairman Jonathan Dolgen and MTM Television President Michael Ogiens--to introduce Kerry McCluggage, chairman of the Paramount Television Group, on Monday evening at the Beverly Wilshire.

There was an original comedy video starring Kelsey Grammer and Kate Mulgrew. And a serious video on the HIV Day program at the Los Angeles Free Clinic.

The evening grossed $750,000 for the clinic, which celebrates its 30th anniversary next year.

McCluggage's power and silver hair were roasted and toasted, and his "intelligence, executive ability and his decency" were lauded. Franken referred to McCluggage's "25 V-chips."

Friend Dolgen called him "a man who can wipe you out of the business with a flick of the paw."

McCluggage is responsible for all aspects of Paramount's television operations and oversees the company's interest in the USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel.

Some of the television series under his domain include the multiple Emmy Award-winning "Frasier," "Wings," "JAG," "Sister, Sister," "Sabrina," "Clueless," "Viper," "Entertainment Tonight" and the "Star Trek" series. Before that, he developed hit series for Universal, including "Magnum, P.I.," "Coach," "Miami Vice," "Law & Order" and "Murder, She Wrote."

Said McCluggage, "I'm grateful for this dinner." He lauded his wife, Vicki, and children--Matthew and Mary--and said, "The work of the clinic is awe-inspiring."

According to Mary Rainwater, its executive director, the clinic provides 60,000 people of all ages with free medical, dental and mental health services and legal help.

Dr. Howard C. Mandel, a dedicated volunteer, also was honored with the clinic's first Lenny Somberg Award, presented by Mimi West.

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