Animated Peacock: Pop artist Peter Max, caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, “Beavis & Butt-head” animator J. J. Sedelmaier and “Ren & Stimpy Show” animator John Kricfalusi are among seven artists who will create interpretive animations of NBC’s long-running Peacock logo. In the latest network move to draw attention to the new fall schedule, the renditions will premiere on NBC’s prime-time schedule next month. It marks the latest alteration of the famous Peacock logo since its creation in 1956. Among other artists interpreting the logo: multimedia director David Daniels (“Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and Peter Gabriel music videos), animator Joan Gratz (creator of the clay-painting technique) and computer animator Mark Malmberg (MTV’s “Liquid Television” and the film “The Lawnmower Man”). NBC says the new logos “express the (network’s) new spirit of rebirth, revitalization and, above all, fun.”
*Bad News for ‘Dateline’: “Dateline NBC,” which had been moving up steadily in the Neilsen rankings and last week finished in third place for the entire week, was beaten Tuesday by “Good Morning America: Evening Edition’s” much-publicized interview with Burt Reynolds, which was seen by about 21% of the TV-watching audience, as opposed to the 19% who watched “Dateline NBC.” Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Southeastern Eye Center sued “Dateline NBC,” the network and reporter Brian Ross as expected Wednesday over a May report alleging unnecessary operations performed on the elderly. The total sought in the suit: $6 million. NBC continues to stand by its report as “fair and accurate.”
*More Cable Additions: Yet another new cable network, the Home & Garden Television Network, is planned for this fall. The new 24-hour network, operated by Scripps Howard Broadcasting Co., will focus primarily on the areas of home repair and remodeling, gardening, decorating and home electronics.
*Actress Sues: Cathy Lee Crosby has sued Lifetime Television and Hearst Entertainment for $1 million, alleging that the cable network backed out of a deal to have her star in a TV film and replaced her with Diane Keaton. In her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, Crosby alleges that she had a 1992 agreement to star in and executive-produce “One Child,” a film based on a book of the same title. But in March, the suit says, after another producer had already been assigned, Crosby was told that Keaton would appear in the starring role.
*A Date for Kent: An April 12 trial date has been set in Los Angeles for Arthur Kent’s $25-million lawsuit against NBC News, which fired the former “Scud Stud” last year. Kent, now an anchor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., said he would “take this case all the way to an apology from NBC and a settlement--or to a verdict at trial.”
*La Liz Bio: “A&E; Biography,” the cable network’s series of profiles, will present an hourlong portrait of Elizabeth Taylor on Sept. 7 at 5 and 9 p.m. The profile includes clips from Taylor’s movies as well as interviews with her celebrity friends Michael Jackson, Robert Wagner and Roddy McDowall. Other upcoming “A&E; Biography” subjects include Gregory Peck on Sept. 14, Madonna on Oct. 5 and Bing Crosby on Dec. 14.
Madonna Tops Michael: Props and costumes used by Madonna dominated the bidding at a Christie’s auction of pop memorabilia in London on Thursday, with Madonna’s black net negligee trimmed in pink feathers fetching $16,400. A black sequined jacket Michael Jackson wore in a Pepsi commercial drew $13,000. Other Jackson items did not reach their expected prices, including a single autographed ankle boot, which went for only $280, and a black felt hat, which went unsold when bidding ended at $566. But Madonna items sold well, including a plastic water bottle with pink lipstick marks that she reportedly used in the film “In Bed With Madonna” ($1,150) and a skimpy leather one-piece outfit ($6,500).
Sculpture Swiped: Maui’s Grand Wailea Resort is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the return of “La Branche Rockefeller,” a 1950 bronze sculpture by Fernand Leger, which was stolen from one of the hotel’s main walkways early Sunday. The sculpture, part of the hotel’s much-touted $30-million collection, was one of 18 works in a rare suite of Leger bronzes.
Van Halen will collect canned goods during tonight’s and Saturday’s shows at the Pacific Amphitheatre, with donations going to Anaheim’s Helping Hands Mission. In support of the food drive, Warner Bros. Records has donated 12,600 pounds of chicken, which will be distributed to three South-Central groups. . . . Lips are zipped about the reported nuptials of director Spike Lee to Washington lawyer Tonya Linette Lewis, 32. The two reportedly plan to wed Oct. 2 at Riverside Church in Manhattan. . . . Miramax Films is getting set for its widest release ever when “Fortress,” a futuristic action thriller starring Christopher Lambert, opens Sept. 3 on 1,200 screens.