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MORNING REPORT

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

October 10, 1998|JUDITH MICHAELSON

TV & RADIO

First Down: The new television season has claimed its first victim, with Fox canceling the Tuesday night comedy "Costello." The series will air next week but after that will be replaced by a second run of its lead-in, "King of the Hill." Sources say that Fox's low-rated Friday comedies "Living in Captivity" and "Getting Personal" are also at risk of getting pulled, but a network spokeswoman said there are currently no plans to remove them, although they will be preempted by specials at least once during the November rating sweeps.

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And Then There Was One: Cleavant Derricks will be the last of the four original cast members still present when "Sliders" begins production of its fifth season next week. The Sci-Fi Channel, which picked up the series after Fox canceled it in 1997, said Friday that original cast member Jerry O'Connell had opted not to return, as had his brother, Charlie O'Connell, who joined the cast when "Sliders" moved to cable. The series, about explorers who move through parallel dimensions of Earth, will continue with Derricks, Kari Wuhrer, Robert Floyd and Tembi Locke.

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Public Pledges: PBS stations nationwide collected a record $27.2 million in pledges during their August and September fund-raising drives, PBS said this week. More than a quarter-million U.S. viewers called in pledges; the total was 22% above last year's $22.1-million take. Locally, KCET raised $663,000, a significant increase from 1997's $480,000.

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And in Spanish . . . : Maria Elena Salinas, co-anchor of the nightly newscast on the Spanish-language Univision network, will join Radio Unica as a news commentator beginning Monday. Salinas, an Emmy-nominated journalist who began her broadcast career on Spanish-language radio in Los Angeles, will retain her position at Univision. Before joining Univision's national news team, Salinas co-anchored the local news at the network's flagship station, KMEX-TV Channel 34 in Los Angeles. Radio Unica is heard locally on KVCA-AM (670).

AWARDS

Achievement, She Wrote: Angela Lansbury will be honored Wednesday with the Mary Pickford Achievement Award by the Screen Smart Set at its 30th annual celebrity auction and fashion show luncheon at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Lew Wasserman, former head of Universal Studios, will present the award to Lansbury in place of actor Roddy McDowall, her longtime friend, who died last Saturday. Known for her starring role on CBS' "Murder, She Wrote," television's longest-running detective series (1984-96), Lansbury also appeared in 44 movies and is a four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical actress. She is being honored for her work with civic organizations and the fight against AIDS. Proceeds from the event benefit the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Also participating will be Lauren Bacall and Tom Selleck.

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Madonna, Too: Madonna will perform at the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York Oct. 23, and will receive the Gianni Versace Award in tribute to the late designer. The award will be presented by Sting, a close friend of Versace's, and by Donatella Versace, his sister. The event will be taped for airing on cable's VH1 Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. Madonna joins a roster of other performers including Janet Jackson and the Smashing Pumpkins.

LEGAL FILE

No Spice?: The Spice Girls' secrets are safe, at least for the moment. The group's former chauffeur, Paul Attridge, has lost his bid to overturn a gag order preventing him from disclosing information about the pop group in a spicy book he wants to write. Band members got an injunction in June following a newspaper story in which Attridge speculated about why Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell) left the group. A London court ordered Attridge, 31, not to release any details about the Spice Girls' love lives, business affairs or spending habits. After the ruling, however, Attridge said he would "fight on" and write his book.

QUICK TAKES

Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Allen are among those who will participate in rebuilding and refurbishing sections of Pan-Pacific Park in Los Angeles as part of Nickelodeon's "Big Help-a-thon 5" live next Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. . . . Tickets to Randy Travis' Oct. 30 concert at Blockbuster Pavilion in San Bernardino are on sale now for $9.50 plus Ticketmaster fees. Linda Davis is the opening act. . . . Universal Amphitheatre has added a fourth Juan Gabriel show on Oct. 23. Tickets go on sale Monday. . . . The syndicated "Martha Stewart Living," seen locally on KCBS, will expand from a half-hour to an hour in January, distributor Eyemark Entertainment has announced. Many stations, including KCBS, had already been airing back-to-back daily episodes.

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