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Morning Report

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

May 26, 1999|SHAUNA SNOW

TV & MOVIES

'PJs' Peeve: Eddie Murphy, executive producer and co-creator of "The PJs," is furious that Fox has left the controversial series off its fall schedule, sources say. The show was the network's only animated comedy not to make the lineup. Although there were rumors Tuesday that Murphy--who provides the voice of lead character Thurgood Stubbs--was so angered that he had quit "The PJs," insiders insisted that he was still committed to the show, Fox's only prime-time series with a predominantly black cast. Fox Entertainment President Doug Herzog responded Tuesday by saying he still believes in "The PJs" and promising that it will return in midseason with 22 new episodes.

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More Color on ABC?: Stating that the network's prime-time lineup for next season "does not represent the diversity that we want it to," ABC Entertainment President Jamie Tarses said ABC is looking to add more black and Latino characters to its new series. Tarses, in a conference call with reporters, would not specify which of the shows would be affected. ABC has scheduled six new programs for the fall, none of which feature minority leads.

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'Springer' Sunk?: Amid speculation that the controversial "Jerry Springer Show" may be sold by its owner, Studios USA, all footage showing violence, physical confrontation or profanity has been pulled or will be reedited. "We will produce and distribute a program that we feel is responsible--no violence, physical confrontation or profanity," Studio USA executives said Tuesday.

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Hollywood Acting Honors: The Hollywood Film Festival has nominated Jackie Chan, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ian McKellen, Nick Nolte, Edward Norton and Billy Bob Thornton for Hollywood Actor of the Year, while Drew Barrymore, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow contend in the actress category. The public can vote on the winner through July 5 at Hollywood Video stores or at http://etonline.com and http://hollywoodvideo.com. Winners will be named Aug. 9.

THE ARTS

Upshaw Out of Ojai: Soprano Dawn Upshaw has pulled out of next week's Ojai Music Festival, due to emergency back surgery. Upshaw was to have performed June 4 in the world premiere of "'Sappho Fragments," a song cycle written for her by the L.A. Philharmonic's Esa-Pekka Salonen, guest music director of this year's festival. That piece will be sung instead by Laura Claycomb, and Denyce Graves will fill Upshaw's June 6 recital slot.

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Trojan War Story: Sir Peter Hall--who is directing three plays at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre this year--will stage "Tantalus," a 15-hour Trojan War epic, at the Denver Center Theatre Company in the autumn of 2000. Written by John Barton on a commission from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the $6-million production will include 10 plays seen over two or three days. It will tour England and Europe after 2000; other U.S. theaters may follow.

QUICK TAKES

"Shakespeare in Love" is due on home video Aug. 10. . . . Three unreleased Beastie Boys tracks go on the Web (at http://www.launch.com) for free download starting today. The band and LAUNCH.com will donate $1 for every download of the tracks to Kosovo relief efforts. . . . The "Mad About You" series finale drew nearly 20 million viewers Monday, the NBC comedy's biggest rating in two years. Fox's 'Melrose Place" finished its run Monday with an estimated 10.4 million viewers. . . . Jeff Valdez and Bruce Barshop, co-founders of San Antonio's Latino Laugh Festival, announced plans Tuesday to expand the event to Los Angeles, slated for June 7-11, 2000, at various Hollywood venues. . . . Bass Kenneth Cox has withdrawn from L.A. Opera's "Lucia di Lammermoor," opening tonight. He's been replaced by bass-baritone Jamie Offenbach.

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