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In the Know / A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD

'N Sync Set to Face Stadiums Full of Kids

May 08, 2000

Watch this week for 'N Sync to hit the road in a big way. The high-flying pop group kicks off its new tour Tuesday in Biloxi, Miss., and they've promised it will have earmarks of KISS and Rolling Stones shows--seriously. What they're referring to are the pyrotechnics and other special effects that create "spectacle" shows, which is a good thing, since the tour includes a dozen stadium performances, among them the sold-out Rose Bowl on June 9. Overcoming the vast, impersonal space separating stage and rear seats is the classic challenge for acts cashing in on the capacity of stadiums. In recent years, rock bands appealing to baby boomers have accounted for most of the acts that have attempted the feat, says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, a concert industry trade publication. "This is different," he says. " 'N Sync is the first stadium tour by an act that appeals to its demographic since New Kids on the Block." That audience--predominantly teen and preteen girls and their parents--may actually be an easier fit for the stadium setting, he adds, noting that kids will have more room to roam and will likely be less finicky than their elders about sound quality. So the tour looks like a probable success? Bongiovanni chuckles and points out that all 51 shows sold out the first day they went on sale, setting a Ticketmaster record. "If you sell out all the shows on the first day, how bad can it be? The main thing you worry about is whether you could have sold more."

Sweeps Bring Fox Back to Reality

In the wake of the "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" brouhaha, Fox officials announced the network was backing away from so-called "reality" programming--a genre characterized by such much-lampooned specials as "When Animals Attack" and "When Good Pets Go Bad." Yet that pronouncement doesn't exactly jibe with the network's lineup during the current rating sweeps, which this week includes a pair of two-hour reality specials: "Battle of the Child Geniuses: Who Is the Smartest Kid in America?" and "Powers of the Paranormal: Live on Stage!," airing Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. In fact, Fox is relying heavily on reality fare, running nothing but reality shows the first three sweeps nights, including specials about ghosts and UFOs, "World's Wildest Police Videos," "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted." The network has insisted that its goal is to devise a new brand of "entertainment reality" programs that lacks the stigma associated with earlier fare, even as it seeks to plug holes in a prime-time lineup that has yielded its share of disappointments. As for the distinction between the "reality" Fox has shunned and the "reality" being put on the air, maybe one of those child geniuses or psychics can provide an explanation.

Montego Bay Comes to the French Riviera

The 53rd Festival International du Film, which opens Wednesday in Cannes, France, is a place of opportunity for filmmakers seeking to find distribution for their movies, for studio acquisitions executives looking to buy product and for journalists seeking to write about all of the above. But it can also be a launch point for other festivals, which is why everyone who's registered for Cannes has recently received an invitation to a cocktail reception for "Cinema Inna Yard! 2000." The event, set for a beach restaurant facing the Carlton Hotel on La Croissette, is designed to draw attention to the second annual Jamerican Film & Music Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in November. The four-day event will celebrate the work of filmmakers throughout the Caribbean and the world, and organizers are using Cannes to kick off their search for submissions. The festival is the brainchild of actress Sheryl Lee Ralph (of the UPN series "Moesha," among other projects), who says she created it to "provide hope, exposure and opportunity to those who want to pursue filmmaking, acting, directing or producing but don't know how." And if that isn't enough to pique interest, she offers this: "You'll rub shoulders with producers, directors and stars on some of the world's finest beaches, drinking the world's best rum, beer and coffee, eating jerk chicken as reggae rhythms pulsate through you! Who could ask for anything more?" The Cannes festival runs through May 21, with 23 films in competition for prizes to be awarded by the Cannes jury, headed this year by French director Luc Besson. The U.S. films in competition are "Nurse Betty," directed by Neil LaBute; "O Brother, Where Art Thou," directed by Joel Coen, and "The Yards," directed by James Gray.

--Compiled by Times staff writers

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