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Morning Report

May 10, 2001|SHAUNA SNOW

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Sotheby's Sale Spells Success

Sotheby's New York sale of modern and contemporary art from the collection of Stanley J. Seeger was a raging success Tuesday. All but three of the 62 works sold--46 for above the auction house's estimates. The total take was $54 million, well above the expected high of $39.9 million. Francis Bacon's "Studies of the Human Body" went for the top price of $8.5 million--a record for the artist. Records were also set for paintings by Joan Miro ($5.6 million) and Max Beckmann ($3.8 million).

Sorkin Faces His Embarrassment

Resurfacing three weeks after being arrested at Burbank Airport on drug possession charges, "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin self-deprecatingly accepted an award in New York on Wednesday from the International Radio and Television Society Foundation. "When you feel stupid and embarrassed, facing a ballroom full of distinguished people in your industry is just what the doctor ordered," said Sorkin, who thanked his lawyer in addition to the cast and crew of the NBC drama.

Sitcom Off NBC's Fall Slate?

Although NBC executives denied Wednesday that they have officially passed on a sitcom starring a Latina stand-up comic for the network's fall prime-time lineup, the comic, Debi Gutierrez, and her managers said Wednesday they have been told the network is not interested. The show, called "bliss," would have featured one of the few Latino leads in the history of television, and was also to have included actress Teri Garr as the little-known Gutierrez's on-screen mother-in-law. NBC will unveil its fall programming plans in New York on Monday.

Upping the 'Everlasting Piece' Ante

The producer of "An Everlasting Piece," a DreamWorks comedy about Irish barbers in the toupee market, has upped the ante in his legal salvo against the studio. Producer Jerome O'Connor--who filed a $10-million suit against DreamWorks in February, claiming that the studio failed to promote the film by showing it on only eight U.S. screens before removing it from theaters--has added a fraud claim to his suit, and is now seeking $100 million in punitive damages. The action alleges that the studio suppressed the film to appease British officials upset over its sympathetic portrayal of the Irish Republican Army. DreamWorks said it does not comment on legal matters.

QUICK TAKES

Mel Brooks' "The Producers" has been named best musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle. The group also picked "The Invention of Love" as best play. . . . Celebrated painter Robert Rauschenberg, 75, is recovering from surgery to correct complications brought on by a fractured pelvis. The pop art pioneer was in fair condition late Tuesday at a Florida hospital after undergoing surgery Friday. . . . Bette Midler has decided not to write "Canceled," a tell-all book about her failed CBS sitcom, "Bette," after all.

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