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In the Know A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD

Is This the End for the Gallagher Brothers?

August 28, 2000

Is this the week Oasis deserts their fans? The volatile British rock band is scheduled to play the final show of its world tour today at a huge music festival in Leeds, and the U.K. press is reporting that the gig may also be the last stop for the group's 6-year roller-coaster career. The Sun, a tabloid that has long chronicled the band's exploits and excesses, reports that songwriter-guitarist Noel Gallagher will announce his departure from the band Tuesday. If it's true, it wouldn't be a major surprise--in May he walked away from the group's world tour, reportedly after a flare-up in his ongoing disputes with his younger brother and bandmate, singer Liam Gallagher. In May, Noel Gallagher said he would rejoin the band only for the tour-ending British dates, and now with those shows coming to a close, the band's future is a roiling topic of speculation on Fleet Street. The music of Oasis, directly inspired by the Beatles and other classic British rock acts, made it the biggest band in its native land and, for a time in the mid-'90s, a growing force here in the States. But then its 1997 album, "Be Here Now," was a commercial disappointment and the group's feuds, notorious excesses and perceived aloofness garnered more headlines than its music. So what now? Noel Gallagher, whose next project is a John Lennon tribute keyed to what would have been the Beatle's 60th birthday, was cryptic when a BBC Radio interviewer asked recently whether the Leeds show will be the swan song for Oasis. "I wouldn't get too emotional about it . . . I just hope the kids go and enjoy it."

Can 'Brother' Survive 'Survivor'?

CBS premiered two "reality" series imported from Europe this summer. One of them, "Survivor," just concluded its 13-week run with astounding ratings, leaving "Big Brother" to fend for itself. With episodes airing six nights a week, tune-in for "Big Brother" has fluctuated wildly, spiking when the series followed "Survivor," which routinely produced ratings for "Brother" almost twice as high as any other night. The show is counting down to its own finale in late September, when one of the "house guests" will walk away with $500,000. Though nowhere near "Survivor" territory, "Big Brother's" ratings haven't been bad, faring better than CBS normally would with summer reruns. Unlike "Survivor," however, the show has provoked considerable hostility among critics and viewers for its bizarre rules and boring cast. Of course, CBS isn't letting "Survivor" go quietly, planning reruns in September and updates about the contestants on morning program "The Early Show." Meanwhile, six of the seven remaining "Big Brother" occupants are currently marked for possible banishment, with viewer calls (only 99 cents each, and straight into the pockets of CBS and the producers!) to determine who's ousted next. While it's a longshot, is it too much to hope for a six-way tie, bringing the show to a premature end?

Studios Take a Three-Day Holiday Too

Hollywood studios plan their marketing strategies around holiday weekends, using them as launching pads for their biggest films. For example, "Mission: Impossible 2," starring Tom Cruise, arrived with a bang last Memorial Day weekend and, on the Fourth of July, two of the summer's most anticipated films--"A Perfect Storm" and "The Patriot"--slugged it out in a closely watched box-office battle. The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are some of the most valuable real estate for the studios, especially for animated and family films such as last year's "Toy Story 2." Then there's the forgotten holiday: Labor Day. One would think that a three-day holiday weekend would have studio marketing departments drooling. Think again. This Labor Day weekend, for example, includes such unheralded new arrivals as "Whipped" (with Amanda Peet), "Highlander: Endgame," "Mandadayo" and "Titanic Town"--all movies from small or independent distributors. Why have major studios ignored Labor Day? Tom Borys, president of the box-office tracking firm ACNielsen EDI, said that Labor Day is traditionally seen as a time when summer vacation is over, parents are back to work and kids are getting ready for school. "It's hard to get anyone's attention," Borys said. "If you look at Labor Day over the long haul, there have been exceptions, but it's typically a quiet time." That is not to say there are never any hits in September. Last September, for example, the Ashley Judd thriller "Double Jeopardy" opened and wound up grossing $116 million domestically; "American Beauty," which opened in limited release, went on to gross $130 million and capture five Oscars, including best picture; and "Stigmata" took in about $50 million. Still, Borys said, "it's very rare to have a $100-million gross in September." And this year's Labor Day weekend lineup isn't likely to change the odds.

--Compiled by Times Staff Writers

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