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Morning Report

September 26, 2002|Elaine Dutka

TELEVISION

Something Old: Viewers Pick 'Frasier' and 'Blue'

For all the focus on new programs, two series kicking off 10th seasons won their time periods Tuesday night, as NBC's "Frasier" attracted its biggest audience in nearly two years--helping the new sitcom "Hidden Hills" get off to a solid start--while ABC's "NYPD Blue" ranked first at 10 p.m.

ABC's John Ritter comedy "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," meanwhile, dropped 25%--or by 4.5 million viewers--from its lofty premiere numbers but still fared reasonably well, finishing second in its slot (behind the season premiere of CBS' "JAG") with 12.8 million estimated viewers.

Featuring the marriage of Niles and Daphne, "Frasier," attracted more than 21 million viewers, with the audience dropping a respectable 25% for "Hidden Hills." NBC's "In-Laws" also premiered to modest tune-in. "Blue" averaged 13.2 million viewers, edging a preview of CBS' new medical drama "Presidio Med."

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THE ARTS

Barnes Petitions to Move Out of Suburbs

Lawyers for Philadelphia's cash-strapped Barnes Foundation have asked a court for permission to move its world-renowned collection of Cezannes, Picassos, Renoirs and Van Goghs from the suburbs of Philadelphia to the city.

The move will attract more patrons and shore up its shaky finances, the group maintains.

The foundation is projected to run an $800,000 deficit this year and has less than $1 million in cash reserves. The multibillion-dollar collection, containing more than 9,000 pieces, has been handicapped financially by zoning regulations that limit the museum to 400 visitors a day, three days a week.

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Lenfest Foundation have promised to help the Barnes raise $150 million to construct a new building in Philadelphia and establish a substantial endowment, but such assistance is contingent on court approval of the move, because Albert C. Barnes' will forbids removal of the paintings from the present site.

Stretton Resigns as Royal Ballet Director

Only 13 months into his three-year contract, Ross Stretton resigned Wednesday as director of Britain's prestigious Royal Ballet.

Stretton, 50, is the former director of the Australian Ballet and former assistant director of the American Ballet Theatre, where he was a principal dancer. His sudden departure comes on the heels of disagreements with dancers over his management style and negotiations to resolve casting issues.

"Even though I have enormous respect for the great heritage of this company, my interest lies primarily in developing the future of ballet, and that is what I want to spend my time doing," Stretton said.

Until a new director is appointed, Monica Mason, the assistant director, will lead the company.

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QUICK TAKES

Barbra Streisand will sing nine songs at a Sunday benefit for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Barry Manilow and comedian Steve Harvey will also perform.... Tom Hanks will again team with director Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump," "Cast Away") on "Polar Express," playing a conductor on a magical train taking a boy to visit Santa Claus.... Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson will star in a feature film version of the TV series "Starsky and Hutch" for Warner Bros.

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