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MORNING REPORT

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.

May 22, 1997|SHAUNA SNOW

TELEVISION

Guest Rosie Trounces Host Rosie: According to overnight ratings from the nation's biggest markets, Rosie O'Donnell's guest shot on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Tuesday drew a 24% share of the audience while "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" drew only 11% of viewers. Nonetheless, the 4 p.m. newscast on KNBC-TV Channel 4, which immediately follows O'Donnell's show, almost became a "Rosie-a-thon" by featuring two O'Donnell segments Tuesday. The first report offered a live interview where viewers could ask O'Donnell questions about her appearance on rival Winfrey's show. And later in the newscast was the latest in weatherman Fritz Coleman's series of behind-the-scenes pieces on O'Donnell's show. KNBC News Director Bill Lord said that O'Donnell's appearance on Winfrey's show was a "big news story," and that the second piece had already been scheduled to run. "The second story could have gone away and the newscast would not have suffered, but we thought it was a 'top of mind' issue for our viewers," Lord explained.

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CNN in Brokaw's Future?: NBC reacted with calm Wednesday amid reports that anchor Tom Brokaw had been offered a $7-million-per-year contract at CNN. An NBC spokeswoman said Brokaw told a gathering of affiliates in Arizona last Monday that "I look forward to spending the rest of my career at NBC News." She added that the CNN offer was "no surprise" since CNN has had a standing offer for Brokaw's services for years. "Based on what he said, we do not anticipate him leaving," she said.

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Everyone's a Critic: During another affiliates meeting in Arizona Wednesday, NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer lashed out at congressional efforts to "tell us what we can program and to control the choice of the viewing public," adding that studies show "the public says very clearly they don't want the government involved in determining what they watch." Ohlmeyer also took a shot at cable noting that, through satellites, those broadcasters also use "the public airwaves" but without governmental controls.

QUICK TAKES

Paul McCartney has discovered an old notebook containing five songs he wrote with John Lennon 40 years ago when the two were students in Liverpool. Included are "Love Me Do" and four never-recorded ditties. McCartney is said to be undecided about what to do with his find. . . . Actor Gary Busey told "American Journal" Wednesday that he has a rare form of cancer in his sinus cavity and recently had a tumor "the size of a plum" removed. "I believe everything will be all right," Busey said. He's scheduled to undergo a second surgery and begin radiation treatments this weekend.

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