'Mick,' 'Wedding Singer' Hit Some Sour Notes
Viewers exhibited little appetite for ABC's Mick Jagger documentary special, "Being Mick," or Fox's telecast of "The Wedding Singer" on Thanksgiving night, instead turning to NBC's and CBS' regular Thursday lineups.
As usual, NBC's "Friends" and "ER" easily won their time slots, while CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" topped "Will & Grace" at 9 p.m. The night's specials, meanwhile, fared poorly, with both "Being Mick" and "The Wedding Singer," starring Adam Sandler, drawing just 5% of those watching television in their time slots, based on preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research.
Though overall TV viewing was down due to the holiday, the networks have continued to schedule high-profile fare through the weekend because it falls during the November rating sweeps, which conclude Wednesday.
'Ocean's Eleven' Cast Will Visit Troops in Turkey
It pays to know people. When Jerry Weintraub, producer of "Ocean's Eleven," decided to do his part in the war on terrorism, he called his old friend--former President George Bush. Minutes later, he got a call from the Pentagon, and his game plan began to unfold.
Hours after the movie's Dec. 5 premiere in L.A., cast members George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt and director Steven Soderbergh will board a jet headed for a U.S. military base in Turkey, where American service personnel and British coalition troops will be. DVD copies of this film and others will be handed out--and distributed to 11 U.S. warships.
"We want to bring them a little bit of home for Christmas," Weintraub said. Warner Bros., which is distributing the film, is paying for the trip.
Blair No Improvement, McKellen Says
Ian McKellen, a longtime gay rights activist, has accused Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor government of failing to tackle discrimination against gays.
The British actor, who stars in the upcoming movie "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," said in an interview published in Radio Times magazine this week that the Labor administration was no better than that led by former Conservative Prime Minister John Major, whom he called "woefully ignorant about gay people and their problems, as [are] most politicians at the time."
Blair appointed Britain's first openly gay Cabinet minister after the Labor Party took power in 1997, making Chris Smith his culture secretary. And a year ago, his government lowered the age of consent for gays from 18 to 16, bringing Britain in line with most other European Union nations. Homosexual sex between adults ceased to be a crime in Britain three decades ago.
Still, says McKellen, discrimination on the job remains an "appalling" fact of life. "It's still legal to sack someone for being gay," he observed.
Responding to McKellen's criticism, the government said it recognized the "importance of tackling discrimination in the workplace."
Hilary Duff, the 14-year-old star of ABC and the Disney Channel's popular children's show "Lizzie McGuire," will host the Los Angeles Master Chorale's family holiday program Dec. 1....Muhammad Ali will appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Monday, joining Will Smith, who plays the former heavyweight boxing champ in the coming film "Ali." ... New Line Cinema has acquired "Samurai Jack," a series on the Cartoon Network, to be adapted for a live-action feature film directed by Bret Ratner ("Rush Hour"). "Jack's" creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, will write the screenplay.... The International Documentary Assn. will give filmmaker Saira Shah ("Beneath the Veil," "Unholy War") its first Courage Under Fire Award at the 17th annual IDA Achievement Award gala at the Directors Guild of America on Dec. 7.... Before the Broadway revival of "A Christmas Carol," Patrick Stewart will appear in two performances of the show at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex on the campus of Cal State L.A. on Dec. 15-16.... The Premiere Weekend Club, the national nonprofit group promoting Latin films, is holding its inaugural Premiere Showcase Awards on Friday at the Academy Theatre in Beverly Hills.... East Timor has invited U2 and Garth Brooks to perform at independence celebrations next year. Acting foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta says he hopes they will accept his offer to witness the creation of the world's newest nation on May 20, 2002. East Timor's people voted to split from Indonesia in 1999; the country is now being administered by the United Nations.