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March 07, 1997|SHAUNA SNOW


VH1 Honors Lineup: Recent Grammy winners Sheryl Crow and Celine Dion, along with the Wallflowers and the artist formerly known as Prince will perform at the fourth annual VH1 Honors on April 10 at the Universal Amphitheatre. This year's event will pay tribute to children's education, with proceeds going to VH1's Save the Music program, which supports music education in public schools. Tickets to the event, which will be broadcast on VH1 on April 11 at 9 p.m., go on sale March 15, for $35, $55 and $150.

New Legal Role: Rocker turned film star Courtney Love has asked Florida's Orange County to foot $27,000 in legal bills stemming from her acquittal in a 1995 misdemeanor battery case. She had been accused of punching two fans while diving into the crowd at an Orlando nightclub. Florida law allows acquitted defendants to recoup reasonable court costs, excluding attorney fees. But Asst. County Attorney George Dorsett said Orange County should refuse Love's claim because her bills--which include payments to a psychiatrist, expert witnesses and private investigators--were excessive for a misdemeanor case.


So-So Grades: The new class of series premiering this week hasn't generated much initial excitement in the Nielsen ratings. ABC's "The Practice" exhibited some promise Tuesday, attracting 15.5 million viewers and tying "Dateline NBC" in its time period. Arsenio Hall's sitcom, "Arsenio," topped a handful of new Wednesday shows with 15.4 million people tuning in, but it still lost 13% of the audience from its lead-in, "The Drew Carey Show"--not a good start for a heavily promoted program. CBS' "Temporarily Yours," starring Debi Mazar, did better by that standard, retaining nearly all of "The Nanny's" viewers, with 11.7 million people watching. Viewing of the network's dramas "Feds" and "EZ Streets" gradually declined, however, as the night wore on.

Tube Notes: "Blues Brother" Dan Aykroyd will star in the tentatively titled "Soul Man," a new sitcom from the producers of "Home Improvement." The show, which casts Aykroyd as a minister living in the same neighborhood as "Home Improvement's" Taylor family, will have a four-week test run on Tuesdays beginning in mid-April. Tim Allen will appear on the first episode and other "Home Improvement" cast members are expected to make periodic cameos. . . . ABC will premiere two new series--"Leaving L.A.," about L.A. County coroners, and "Gun," an anthology series co-produced by Robert Altman ("The Player")--on April 12. The series will air Saturdays at 9 and 10 p.m., respectively, replacing "Saturday Night at the Movies." Also on April 12, "Lois & Clark" moves to Saturdays at 8 p.m., replacing "Dangerous Minds." . . . The WB network will premiere "Smart Guy," starring Tahj Mowry, on April 2. It will air Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m., following "Sister, Sister," which stars his sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry. And starting March 12, WB will switch time slots for two other Wednesday night comedies, airing "The Jamie Foxx Show" at 9 and "The Wayans Bros." at 9:30.


Serena Tripi to Replace Doolittle: The Southern California Theatre Assn., founded by the late dance impresario James A. Doolittle, has promoted Serena Tripi, its director of productions, to general manager in the wake of Doolittle's recent death. Tripi is currently completing details for the organization's 1997 dance series at the Music Center. Meanwhile, a memorial service for Doolittle, who died on Feb. 1, has been scheduled for March 18 at 4 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.


Blockbuster Sale: Christie's expects to take in more than $80 million in a special May 12 auction of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art from the collection of New York philanthropists John and Frances Loeb. Christie's Chairman Christopher Burge described the collection, which includes rare portraits by Paul Cezanne and Edouard Manet, as "one of the greatest private collections ever assembled in this field." The Loebs, who both died last year, left behind a mandate that their five children sell the 30 masterpieces to fund a new philanthropic organization.


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