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Morning Report

Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press.

May 12, 1999|SHAUNA SNOW

TV & MOVIES

'Train' Derailment: Backing away from a sensational on-air campaign citing real-life danger of a train derailment involving nuclear waste, NBC at the last minute is reediting its miniseries "Atomic Train," about a train carrying nuclear material that derails near Denver. The network will add a disclaimer to the program, which begins Sunday, that reads: "The events portrayed in this miniseries are pure fiction. They are not based on fact, and we do not suggest or imply in any way that these events could actually occur." In addition, dialogue will be changed to refer to "hazardous chemicals," as opposed to atomic waste. A spokeswoman said the network--which drew criticism for its artistic license with the Bible in another recent miniseries, "Noah's Ark"--was implementing the changes so as not to misinform the public.

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Next Up: Meanwhile, NBC's miniseries machine is steaming ahead, with the network announcing four miniseries for the 1999-2000 television season. Included are three mythic projects from Robert Halmi Sr.'s Hallmark Entertainment: "Leprechaun," scheduled for November; the 10-hour saga "10th Kingdom," for February; and "Jason and the Argonauts," for May 2000. Also scheduled for May 2000 is "The '70s," a sequel to this year's "The '60s."

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Rock-ing the Apollo: Chris Rock, who won Emmys for his 1996 HBO special "Bring in the Pain," will tape "Chris Rock: Bigger & Blacker" in June at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, with the program to premiere July 10 on HBO. In addition, Rock performs June 5 at L.A.'s Universal Amphitheatre (tickets go on sale Saturday), DreamWorks Records will release a Rock stand-up comedy CD on July 13 and "The Best of the Chris Rock Show" is scheduled for release on HBO Home Video late this summer. That late-night HBO series returns for its fourth season in September.

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Cannes Coverage: If you can't make it to France for the 52nd Cannes Film Festival taking place today through May 23, coverage will be available over the event's Web site at http://www.festival-cannes.org. And cable's Independent Film Channel will broadcast the opening ceremonies live this morning at 9:15, with a repeat at 5 p.m., and the closing ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on May 23.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

Orchestra's China Visit Delayed: Chinese officials have postponed two planned concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Beijing in the wake of NATO's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, BSO managing director Mark Volpe said Monday. The orchestra, which is now in Japan, had planned to visit China as part of its nine-day tour to mark the 25th anniversary of Seiji Ozawa as conductor, and to stimulate interest in classical music among young people, Volpe said.

LEGAL FILE

Hopper Payment Doubled: An arbitrator on Monday doubled the award to Rip Torn in his defamation lawsuit against fellow actor Dennis Hopper, adding $475,000 in punitive damages to an earlier judgment of the same amount. Torn had sued Hopper over comments he made on a 1994 "Tonight Show" appearance about an alleged knife confrontation between the two in the late 1960s.

QUICK TAKES

Lisa Kudrow has been named host of the 1999 MTV Movie Awards, airing on the cable channel June 10. . . . Speaking of MTV, the network will premiere Will Smith's "Wild Wild West," the first video from his big summer movie of the same name, today at 3:30 p.m. . . . The trailer for Leonardo DiCaprio's upcoming film, "The Beach," premieres on his official Web site (http://www.leonardodicaprio.com) today at 4:30 p.m. It's also one of the trailers chosen to hit theaters May 19 with the "Star Wars" prequel.

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