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Morning Report

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

October 25, 2000|SHAUNA SNOW

TELEVISION

'Tucker'-ed Out: NBC has yanked its low-rated Monday comedies "Daddio" and "Tucker," and will replace them beginning next week with a fourth edition of "Dateline NBC." Though neither is officially canceled, "Tucker" is unlikely to return, while "Daddio" could resurface on another night. "Daddio" and "Tucker" slipped to their lowest ratings yet Monday--5 million and 3.9 million viewers, respectively--against the premiere of Fox's new David E. Kelley high-school drama, "Boston Public," which made a strong showing with an estimated 13.9 million viewers, exceeding tune-in for the fourth-season premiere of Kelley's "Ally McBeal" (13.2 million) in Fox's subsequent hour. "Ally" was off 17% from last season's premiere, finishing well behind its CBS competition, "Everybody Loves Raymond" (19.6 million) and "Becker" (17 million).

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Uncertain Mir Course: NBC's plans to launch the winner of a "Survivor"-type TV show into space could come crashing to Earth if Moscow opts to ditch its aging orbital station Mir. On Monday, Deputy Russian Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov told Russia's Interfax news agency that the government may "bring Mir down and sink it" in the Pacific Ocean in February. However, a network spokeswoman said Tuesday that while the future of Mir is now up in the air, "NBC remains very excited and supportive of 'Destination MIR' and our development of the series will continue as planned."

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Utah's UPN Flap: UPN is losing its Salt Lake City affiliate, KJZZ, after the station's management refused to renew its contract without, among other things, the option of canceling the relationship should UPN increase its number of minority-centered prime-time series. Referring to the impending split, UPN Chief Operating Officer Adam Ware called KJZZ's demand to limit "urban/ethnic programming" both "outrageous and offensive," saying: "They . . . don't want any more shows that feature African American stars." However, KJZZ general manager Randy Rigby said the station's stance has nothing to do with race, just with ratings. "It's simply a viewership issue and is in no way any indication of . . . 'ethnicity' at all. It's simply . . . [that] the urban-programming slant has not worked in our marketplace." KJZZ is contractually bound to remain a UPN affiliate until Jan. 15, after which it will become an independent station.

THE ARTS

Honoring Strasberg: David Lee Strasberg, youngest son of the late Method acting guru Lee Strasberg, is opening a theater company, the Group at Strasberg, at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center in West Hollywood that is operated by his mother, Anna Strasberg. The birth of the company will help launch a centennial observance of Lee Strasberg's birth, Nov. 17, 1901. The first production, "Molly's Delicious" by Craig Wright, opens Friday in the Creative Center's 96-seat Marilyn Monroe Theatre.

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Chinese Cooperation?: Senior officials of the national palace museums in Taipei and Beijing met Monday to discuss possible exhibition exchanges and other cooperative ties, the China Times has reported. The meeting is important because mainland China's government has always regarded the 600,000 pieces in Taiwan's art museum, considered among the world's greatest, to be a treasure trove "stolen" by the Kuomintang government during the Chinese civil war in the 1940s. China has long vowed that the works would someday be returned to the mainland. Taipei's National Palace Museum has always taken that threat seriously, requiring foreign museums to guarantee immunity from judicial seizure to any loans or exhibitions borrowed from its collection. Tu Cheng-Seng, director of the museum, told the Chinese newspaper that the same guarantees would be required of Beijing.

QUICK TAKES

Cable's Showtime has green-lighted "Fidel," a miniseries chronicling the life of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Victor Huggo Martin ("La calle de las novias," "Sex, Shame & Tears") will play the title role, with other cast members to include Hector Elizondo and Tony Plana. A 2001 premiere is expected. . . . The People for the American Way Foundation gives "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin its Spirit of Liberty Award tonight for his "outstanding contribution toward freedom of expression and human rights." . . . Grammy-winning rapper Stanley Howse of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony has been sentenced to two years in prison for felony weapon and resisting an officer charges stemming from a Jan. 3 disturbance at a relative's house. Howse, 37, was also sentenced last month to an 11-year prison term for an assault with a firearm conviction. The two sentences will run concurrently, L.A. prosecutors said.

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