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Broadcasting Locally, Yet From so Far Away

April 02, 2001

MTV star Carson Daly makes his big return to the Southern California local radio scene this week--or does he? The host of MTV's "Total Request Live" will debut his new pop music countdown show today at noon on KIIS-FM (102.7) and says he plans to sprinkle the show with talk of the Lakers or other local chit-chat so listeners will know the Santa Monica native is back in his hometown. But it wouldn't be completely precise to call this a local show. That's because it will be recorded on most days from Daly's New York home studio and it will also appear on about 100 other U.S. stations, from Miami to Detroit to Dallas. In a novel approach to a national radio show, Daly's daily show will be tailored to the Top 40 stations that play it: Every day he will record numerous song introductions and slices of "hometown" patter so each station can air a countdown with their local Top 10 songs and a Daly persona seemingly broadcasting from across town. Even the press release sent out by KIIS danced around the fact that the show was an East Coast import. Daly, a former KROQ-FM (106.7) deejay, says that's more about listener comfort than spin control. "We'd be fools if we thought anybody believed I was sitting here in L.A. every day when they see me on MTV from New York," said Daly, who has no plans to reduce his MTV role. "But we're trying to do a new thing here, customizing a show to each market. It's amazing, really, and labor-intensive to do it. We have a staff of 60 people; I'm just the guy behind the curtain." And, like Oz, Daly has his limits--he had to shelve plans to premiere a second nationwide radio show this week, one that would focus on his beloved alternative rock roots. That show's debut has been postponed a few months. Will KROQ pick it up, reuniting Daly with the station that gave him his big break? KROQ officials say they have to hear the show first and they, along with Daly, acknowledge that the powerhouse rock station rarely brings in syndicated shows. "It would mean a tremendous amount to me if they did," says Daly, whose departure to MTV was bruising for KROQ. "I don't expect it, but it would be wonderful."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday April 5, 2001 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 55 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 23 words Type of Material: Correction
Photo caption--The photo that accompanied an In the Know item about movies on BET in Monday's Calendar was of actress Tamara Taylor. The caption misidentified her.

Looking to Romance to Overshadow Firing

Much of the buzz surrounding BET (Black Entertainment Television) these days revolves around the firing of "BET Tonight" host Tavis Smiley. But executives at the black cable network hope that the launch of a new slate of romance-themed movies this Friday will overshadow the controversy. The three films premiering this month are a continuation of the BET Arabesque Films slate that first appeared on the network two years ago. Network honchos at that time called the venture the largest single group of African American-themed films ever produced for television. All the movies are based on romance novels from the BET Books division of the same name. The first offering of the new batch is "Fire & Ice," starring Kadeem Hardison as a late-night talk-show host who becomes involved with the daughter of a Georgia politician (Lark Voorhies). Coming May 4 is "Commitments," starring Victoria Dillard as a workaholic stock trader who falls in love with a country carpenter (Allen Payne). Coincidentally, "One Special Moment," which will air June 1, will mark the return of Smiley to BET: He plays himself in a cameo.

Murder Mystery Explores Mormon Culture

Fans of religious entertainment have the opportunity to see another movie at their local theaters this week with the release of "Brigham City." The Mormon-inspired drama, which stars Matthew Brown and opens Friday in 70 markets nationwide, follows last year's Christian-themed movies "Left Behind: The Movie" and "Carman: The Champion." "Brigham City," a murder mystery set in a small Utah town, is the second movie by Mormon director Richard Dutcher. As the mystery is unraveled, Mormon culture also is explored through the eyes of an FBI agent investigating the case. Dutcher's first film, "God's Army," played in 240 cities nationwide and grossed $2.6 million. Unlike "God's Army," which starred non-Mormon talent, a majority of the professional cast for "Brigham City" is Mormon, and although the director does not try to "convert" audiences, the film does "explore how people of faith deal with a crisis." Even with the increasing interest in religious-themed movies, they have not shown great box-office appeal compared with mainstream movies. "Left Behind," which cost $17 million to make, has only brought in $4.1 million at the box office. That film, however, had already been released on video and sold 2.5 million copies before its theatrical debut. "Carman," which was distributed by 8 X Entertainment, earned even less at the box office: $1.7 million. None of the movies has had the commercial appeal of 1998's "The Omega Code," which grossed $12 million.

--Compiled by Times staff writers

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