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Morning Report

October 12, 2002|Lee Margulies

TELEVISION

Prince Charles: Don't Forget Older Viewers

The setting was London, but many an American probably could relate when Prince Charles urged television executives this week to stop aiming so many of their programs at teenagers.

"As viewers, people don't remain as teenagers for the rest of their lives. We are getting older, and it's sometimes difficult to remember that," said Charles, the 53-year-old son of Queen Elizabeth II. "What we wanted to watch when we were young is not necessarily what we want to watch when we are past 50."

Addressing TV executives at a St. James' Palace reception to mark the Royal Television Society's 75th anniversary, the prince said: "So my tiny, little plea in this 75th year, and before you embark on the next 75 years, is ... there still be programs that recognize that a large proportion of the population is old.... Please don't forget the older, perhaps more discerning viewer."

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THEATER

More of Union Square's Playhouses Will Close

San Francisco theater owner Chuck Eisler--who operates the 240-seat Mason Street Theatre and the adjacent 80-seat Union Square Playhouse in the city's tourist-heavy Union Square district--plans to close both theaters at the end of the year. Eisler blames the closures on both the local economy and the lack of available commercial theater product coming out of New York.

"Even before 9/11, the dot-com bubble burst, the rah-rah days of lots of people with tons of money had certainly changed," Eisler said. After Sept. 11, he says, the drop-off in tourism decreased the potential theater audience still more, and fewer touring shows have been available for booking into the theaters.

The planned closures come close on the heels of the announcement of the demise of another theater in the district--this summer, Theater on the Square producer Jonathan Reinis revealed plans to vacate the 788-seat house when his lease expires Dec. 31. The final show on Reinis' watch, "Puppetry of the Penis," opens this month.

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ART

J.M.W. Turner's Heirs Air Museum Dispute

Descendants of J.M.W. Turner are threatening to take back hundreds of his paintings at England's Tate and National Gallery, saying the works are not being displayed in accordance with the terms of his will.

As reported in the London Evening Standard, the relatives are angry because the galleries are not complying with a specification in Turner's 1848 will that the paintings be hung in their own room.

Gallery officials downplayed the controversy. At the Tate Britain, which houses most of Turner's 300 paintings and 20,000 sketches, director Stephen Deuchar said, "Turner is more visible than ever before at Tate Britain and Tate recently launched online access to the entire bequest."

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POP/ROCK

Michael Jackson to Host Air Force Families

Michael Jackson has invited more than 200 military personnel from Vandenberg Air Force Base to bring their families to a party today at his Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.

An Air Force spokesman said the invitation was issued as a gesture of the entertainer's appreciation to base members who have served overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Bush administration-led military campaign in Afghanistan.

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Whitney Houston Is Sued by Father's Firm

Whitney Houston is being sued for $100 million by her father's entertainment company for breach of contract.

According to the lawsuit, filed in New Jersey Superior Court in Newark on Sept. 12, the singer was in financial straits and facing marijuana possession charges in Hawaii until her father's company stepped in.

Newark-based John Houston Entertainment LLC, run by John Houston and business partner Kevin Skinner, helped get the marijuana charges dropped and hired lawyers to negotiate a $100-million contract with Arista Records, Skinner said.

When John Houston Entertainment asked to be paid for its services, the company was denied, the lawsuit claims.

Whitney Houston's L.A.-based spokeswoman said the singer's 81-year-old father told her he has nothing to do with the suit, but Skinner and his attorney claim John Houston stands by it. Calls to John Houston's home were not answered Friday.

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QUICK TAKES

CBS' "CSI" achieved a record rating for itself on Thursday, averaging 30.7 million viewers for the hour. With that performance, the third-year crime drama moved ahead of NBC's "Friends" to rank as television's most-watched series so far this season....Rock group Creed has rescheduled eight concerts in the Western U.S., including the Los Angeles stop that was postponed earlier this week, because singer Scott Stapp has acute laryngitis. The new L.A. date will be Oct. 20 at Staples Center.... Prince Charles conferred a knighthood on Peter Blake, the painter best known for designing the cover of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

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