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Morning Report

Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The National Press

May 20, 2000|JUDITH MICHAELSON

TELEVISION

"Must-See" Muscle: NBC's Thursday series finales yielded stellar results, including the biggest audience ever for "Frasier," with an estimated 33.7 million people tuning in for the show's Niles-Daphne cliffhanger. Facing that competition, ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" slipped to its lowest Thursday rating yet, with 18.6 million viewers. "Friends" (30.7 million) and "ER" (34.6 million) were no slouches either, attracting their highest and second-highest ratings this season, respectively, while ABC drew just 13.4 million people for a behind-the-scenes of "Millionaire" special opposite "ER." It was NBC's top-rated night since the "Seinfeld" finale two years ago.

POP/ROCK & RADIO

KROQ and Roast: The annual KROQ-FM (106.7) Weenie Roast is moving this year to massive Edison Field in Anaheim from its longtime home, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (formerly Irvine Meadows), sources said Friday. The show, reportedly slated for June 17, will likely emphasize the testosterone-fueled rock that's been KROQ's core sound of late, with metal icon Ozzy Osbourne (never a strong KROQ presence) set to join a lineup reportedly to include rock acts Limp Bizkit, Stone Temple Pilots and Incubus, pop-rockers No Doubt and rappers Cypress Hill. The move to a stadium with 40,000-plus capacity is seen as a response to the size and spectacle of the KIIS-FM (102.7) Wango Tango concerts that have filled Dodger Stadium in recent years. KROQ officials would not confirm the reports, but said official announcements about the show and ticket details might be made next week.

Of Conflicts and Chickens: For the second time in a month, KABC-AM (790) has featured an advertiser as a guest on one of its talk shows. Thursday night, Marc Germain ("Mr. KABC"), had Lillian Zacky of Zacky Farms as a featured guest in the 9-10 p.m. hour. On April 19, it was defense attorney Myles Berman on Al Rantel's midday show. Zacky Farms has been advertising on the station this year, said KABC spokeswoman Linda Bernson, who insisted Friday that there was no conflict of interest between programming and advertising. This comes at a time when the station has dropped to its lowest listener levels in 40 years. According to Bernson, Germain invited Zacky on the show after a listener phoned saying he didn't believe it really was Lillian Zacky on the commercials. Germain added: "No one from sales had anything to do with it. I wanted to have her on because she's a Southern California fixture." Asked whether advertisers would continue to turn up as guests on the station, Bernson replied, "They could--just as likely as a non-advertiser could." Meanwhile, KABC is continuing its search for a program director to replace Drew Hayes, whose departure May 10 came just days after the most recent Arbitron ratings were released, putting KABC 22nd in the market.

PEOPLE

For Free Trade: Arnold Schwarzenegger got into politically explosive trade-issue territory while visiting China to promote the Special Olympics. With China negotiating World Trade Organization membership with the European Union and a key Chinese trade vote in the U.S. Congress next week, Schwarzenegger, in Beijing, pronounced himself a "free trader"--when reporters asked. "I didn't come here for politics," he said at the opening of a Schwarzenegger film festival Thursday. "But I'm a firm believer, coming from the more conservative kind of political opinions, that all borders should open up and people should be trading among themselves all over the world," Schwarzenegger said. Today, he will take part in a torch run on the Great Wall.

No Laughing Matter: Comedian Dana Carvey is suing to recoup $7.8 million in damages he says he suffered after a botched open-heart surgery. Carvey, 44, told a San Francisco Superior Court jury Thursday that his surgeon operated on the wrong artery when he underwent a double-bypass surgery in 1998 to treat a blockage. "I remember just lying in my bed just sobbing," Carvey recalled of the day he learned of the surgical mistake. Carvey sued surgeon Elias Hanna of San Francisco last year. In Hanna's defense, Saratoga lawyer Dane Jones contends Carvey has an "unusual anatomy" and that his blood vessels were in atypical positions. Though Carvey has since recovered after getting the blockage removed in a subsequent angioplasty, he said it took six months before he returned to full health. In that time, Carvey said, he was so weak that he could only work three days of stand-up comedy performances.

QUICK TAKES

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"--Warner Bros. Pictures' adaptation of the first of the best-selling Harry Potter books, to be directed by Chris Columbus--will hit theaters throughout North America on Nov. 16, 2001. . . . Roberto Minczuk, who received the Martin E. Segal Award at Lincoln Center, will lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" at the final Toyota Symphonies for Youth concert at 11 a.m. today at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. . . . KFI-AM (640) weekend gardening guru Nick Federoff celebrates his 11th year on air Sunday from 7 to 9 a.m. with the live music of E.W. Hill, free gardening items for callers and, of course, answers to callers questions.

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