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Morning Report

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

April 28, 1998|JERRY CROWE

STAGE

Novelist Lending Hand to 'Phantom' Sequel: Spy novelist Frederick Forsyth is teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber to write a sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera." Forsyth will work on a story for the musical, the composer's spokesman Kevin Wallace said in London. A novella is expected to be published before the show's opening late next year. The collaboration marks a rare instance of an espionage writer entering into the world of the musical theater. Forsyth's novels include "The Odessa File" and "The Day of the Jackal." Lloyd Webber's works include "Sunset Boulevard" and "Cats."

MOVIES

Snoop Drawn to 'Bones': Rap star Snoop Doggy Dogg is considering New Line Cinema's "Bones" to make his motion picture starring debut, New Line Productions President and CEO Michael De Luca announced. Based on a pitch by Tim Metcalfe and Adam Simon, "Bones" is being developed as a contemporary franchise film about a ghost who is awakened 20 years after his death to seek revenge against those who killed him and ravaged his neighborhood. Although no deal has yet been made, it is expected that an arrangement will eventually cover Snoop's participation in the film and soundtrack. Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, has made cameo appearances in such films as "Half Baked," "Ride" and "Caught Up." His third full-length album, "Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told," is due Aug. 4.

TELEVISION

Good Night and Goodbye: Tom Snyder has told CBS that he plans to quit his late-night talk show before his contract expires in September 1999, leaving either in December or next May. Snyder, who has hosted the show since January 1995, told the New York Post he is ready to move past the nightly grind. David Letterman, who produces Snyder's show, will continue to produce "Late Late Show," although a replacement has yet to be set.

Cronkite Laments Ratings War: Walter Cronkite sees the race for ratings and profits as a villain that has sent print and TV journalism sinking to new depths. The former CBS anchorman told journalism students at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., that reporters are more informed and better educated than they were 30 or 40 years ago, but the product is worse. Corporations that own media outlets are driven to make "excessive profits," he said. Coupled with that is the increased competition in both print and broadcast. "I think that the reporters, the managing editors, the people in charge of the news . . . are better," said Cronkite, 81. "The pressures have so increased for ratings, for circulation, that they have lowered their standards."

VIDEO

Lordly Ambitions: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will bestow an authentic British title of nobility as part of its promotion for today's video release of the animated musical "Anastasia." To enter, purchasers of the video must submit by May 11 an essay of up to 25 words detailing why they would like to become a part of the nobility, and what good deeds they would undertake. But while the newly designated "lord" or "lady" (of Whinnymoor, Nottinghamshire, England) will receive a weeklong trip to London and Paris and $5,000, the prize won't include a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. Fox said the lordship honors will be "bestowed upon the winner at an elaborate ceremony in their own hometown." The feudal title, dating to the 11th century, may be handed down to the holder's immediate descendants (or sold, as in the case of the title's unnamed previous holder). In "Anastasia," a girl discovers she is the lost member of a royal family.

POP/ROCK

His Brother's Keeper: Roger Clinton took it personally when Grand Funk Railroad singer Mark Farner made a crack about the presidency on stage. The first brother was in the audience April 15 at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville when Farner joked that he had told a lie. "If I keep it up, I'll be president," Farner said. According to Farner, Clinton told him off at a post-show reception, saying he had no business using the stage to talk politics. Farner said he meant to poke fun at the office, not the man currently in it.

QUICK TAKES

In the first pre-Tony indicator of the New York theater season, "Ragtime" won 14 Drama Desk nominations Monday, compared to 12 for "The Lion King." Two off-Broadway plays commissioned and premiered by South Coast Repertory, "Collected Stories" and "Three Days of Rain," were among the nominees for best play. . . . CBS has renewed its revivals of "Kids Say the Darndest Things" and "Candid Camera" for next season. Both have been winning their time periods on Friday nights.

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