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Morning Report

September 08, 2001|Elaine Dutka

TELEVISION

Zahn's Camp Calls

Fox Lawsuit Baseless

A representative of Paula Zahn's agent said Friday that a suit filed by the Fox News Channel over her jump to rival CNN is "totally without merit."

Zahn, a Fox news anchor, was fired by the network this week for receiving a job offer while still under contract by Fox. Zahn has since been hired by CNN. On Thursday, Fox filed suit in New York State Supreme Court accusing the N.S. Bienstock agency of illegally brokering a deal with another network and inducing Zahn to breach her contract. A Fox official called Bienstock's actions "dishonest, duplicitous and illegal."

"None of our actions as agents for Paula Zahn were in violation of her contract with Fox News," Bienstock spokesman Tom Goodman countered in an interview. "We are fully confident that this will be quickly resolved in our favor."

Among Bienstock's other clients are network anchors such as Dan Rather, Jane Clayson and Diane Sawyer.

At a news conference Thursday, Zahn denied that she'd broken the rules. "I was prepared to stay at Fox through the end of my contract and everything I have done has been totally consistent with my contractual obligations at Fox," she said. "I have had legal counsel guiding me throughout, and they have consistently confirmed the appropriateness of my actions and those of my representatives."

MOVIES

Sony Appeals 'Spider-Man' Fine

Sony Pictures is appealing a $59,000 fine handed down by the state of California for alleged safety violations on the set of "Spider-Man," following a March 6 accident that killed a crew member.

Tim Holcombe, 45, of Monrovia, died when a forklift modified to be used as a crane fell on him as he and other workers were lifting a metal sign framework to the top of a building facade on the set.

The studio declined Friday to comment on the case or its appeal.

PEOPLE

Brooks, Sheen Among Many Honorees

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) will present its Golden Note Award to Garth Brooks, honoring him for his "outstanding contributions to American music as a performer and songwriter." Members of Congress are expected to attend the awards ceremony in Washington Tuesday .... The Foundation of Motion Picture Pioneers has named producer Robert Rehme ("Patriot Games"), former studio chief and recent president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the recipient of its 2001 Pioneer of the Year award, to be presented at the group's 63rd annual dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel on Nov. 29 .... .The Museum of Television & Radio will honor producer-director James Burrows ("Cheers," "Will & Grace") and actor Martin Sheen ("The West Wing") at its Oct. 7 gala ....The Multicultural Motion Picture Assn. is presenting its ninth annual Diversity Awards to Showtime, actors Benicio Del Toro, Ving Rhames and Penelope Cruz, director Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou") and the writing-directing duo Mike Tollins and Brian Robbins ("Summer Catch"). The cast of CBS' "Survivor 2" will also be honored as the most diverse television cast at the new Hollywood & Highland Ballroom on Nov. 17.

Celebrity Wardrobes: Picks and Pans

For the 22nd annual "Best & Worst Dressed" special issue, People magazine named Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow its "glamour girls" of the year. Sarah Jessica Parker, Russell Crowe and Angelina Jolie got nods as the year's best "risk-takers." Renee Zellweger, Demi Moore and Lisa Kudrow were cited as "most improved."

U.S. Open stars Jennifer Capriati and Serena Williams were faulted for their "over-the-top" outfits. Worst dressed celebs included Juliette Binoche, Hilary Swank and E! fashion critic Melissa Rivers.

Among the deadliest sins, in the magazine's mind: wearing pantyhose with open-toed shoes (Martha Stewart) and socks with sandals (Bruce Willis).

THE ARTS

Switzerland Conduct Gets a Black Eye

Purportedly "neutral" Switzerland was a trade center for paintings plundered from Nazi victims during World War II, according to a new study--the latest installment in a five-year investigation on the country's wartime role.

The study, conducted by historians from Switzerland, the United States, Israel, Britain and Poland, said that Swiss art dealers sold paintings that had been taken from Jews or sold by German refugees to Adolf Hitler's Fuehrer Museum in Linz, Austria, and to Hitler aide Hermann Goering, who headed up Germany's air force.

The report said the Fuehrer Museum had 6,000 art objects by the end of the war. Of those, 152 were sold between 1941 and 1944 by Galerie Fischer--Switzerland's largest auction house at the time. Half were taken from Jews fleeing Germany. Goering also obtained 76 of the 2,000 art objects in his collection from Switzerland--at least two from Salomon Kohn, who fled Germany in 1939 and eventually settled in New York.

Swiss museums generally adopted a "cautious" stance, holding back from buying objects of "dubious provenance," the report said. Still, they obtained such works through donations. And private collectors, the findings showed, were consistently less critical.

QUICK TAKES

Brazilian singer-songwriter Chico Cesar has canceled his appearance on Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert will play as scheduled at 7:30 p.m. with Sergio Mendes & Brazil 2001 and vocalist Virginia Rodrigues

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