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IN THE KNOW / A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD

If It's 'Premiere Week,' Where's My Show?

September 21, 1998

Despite the hoopla about this being television's "premiere week," several shows--including some favorites--won't be around for quite a while. New episodes of ABC's "NYPD Blue" won't begin walking the prime-time beat until Oct. 20, while Fox's "The X-Files" starts seeking the truth again Nov. 8. Some new shows will also lag behind the pack, such as Fox's "Brimstone" (Oct. 27) and the NBC dramas "Trinity" (from "ER" producer John Wells) and "Wind on Water," which features Bo Derek's TV debut but won't be exposed until mid-October. The main culprit is the Major League Baseball playoffs, which NBC and Fox will both air, though Fox gets to broadcast the World Series. Networks have discovered there's no reason to confuse viewers by putting a new show on only to preempt it for several weeks. In addition, holding back "X-Files" (which faced the additional hurdle of turning out a movie this year) or "NYPD Blue" means that when those shows finally do premiere, they'll offer fewer reruns in trying to spread 22 new episodes over the course of a 35-week TV season. Meanwhile, pity tonight's six premiering CBS, NBC and WB series, which must compete for attention with TV's most heavily promoted new show: President Clinton's grand-jury testimony.

Manson Performing Rock Resuscitation

"Rock Is Dead" is the title of a Marilyn Manson song from his new "Mechanical Animals" album. But can the colorful controversy magnet bring rock back to life with his (relatively speaking) kinder, gentler new glam-rock move? That's what many in the music business will be looking for when SoundScan figures for the new album's first week will be available Wednesday. With sales in recent years from such rock titans as U2 and Pearl Jam diminished and the Smashing Pumpkins' "Adore" stalled on the charts, rock has certainly had better days commercially. Hip-hop, R&B and pop have overshadowed the harder-edged sounds. Initial reports look good for Manson, with retailers projecting first-week sales at around 300,000 nationally. Wherehouse new-music buyer Bob Bell says, "It seems he's reaching a new audience, particularly since he has his most accessible radio song ['The Dope Show'] with this record." Concurs Gary Arnold, vice president of marketing for Best Buy, "By going glam, Marilyn's expanded his audience, excited people. It's a healthy thing for rock music now, and rock always has and always will pay the bills, while other kinds of music will come and go. Manson's strong sales show that rock really does matter."

TV's 'Lolita' Ready to Seduce Moviegoers

Millions of people have already seen "Lolita" during its month of airings on Showtime, but the Samuel Goldwyn Co. is betting that millions more who did not see it on TV--and some who did--will check out the controversial film on the big screen. The Adrian Lyne-directed adaptation of the Vladimir Nabokov novel opens Friday in Los Angeles and New York, then spreads to a dozen cities each week for the next six weeks. Far from hurting its box-office prospects, the Showtime exposure only served to whet appetites for the movie, contends Jeff Lipsky, marketing and distribution chief for Samuel Goldwyn Co. which is distributing the film. "I think it's the best media preview of a motion picture that any independent film has ever had the opportunity of taking advantage of," he said. Showtime has an estimated 10 million subscribers. A spokesman for the company said "Lolita" was "one of the highest-rated programs of the year" on the cable channel, though no specific figures were released. The $58-million movie stars Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert, the college teacher obsessed with a young girl, played by Dominique Swain. Although it was released in Europe last year, it languished unseen in this country after no U.S. distributor stepped forward to release it because of its controversial subject matter. Showtime finally acquired the movie, then cut a deal with Goldwyn to release it theatrically. The movie played in L.A. for one week in August, prior to the television release, in order to qualify for the Academy Awards. It grossed $41,089, almost breaking the house record, said Lipsky. Lipsky noted that in 1994 "The Last Seduction" was an indie hit even though it previously had run on HBO. "It's all about the movie," he said.

--Compiled by Times staff writers and contributors

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