O’Brien May Have Helped Leno: Viewers in more than 2.5 million homes stayed up to watch new late-night talk-show host Conan O’Brien’s premiere Monday night on NBC. O’Brien, whose 12:35 a.m. show follows Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” may have boosted ratings for Leno, who beat rival host David Letterman on Monday for the first time since the latter’s premiere two weeks ago on CBS. Leno was watched in 4.9 million homes, Letterman drew 4.6 million and Chevy Chase had 2.7 million. Leno’s viewers may also have tuned in to see guest Burt Reynolds, who is drawing attention because of divorce proceedings with Loni Anderson.
‘Compadres’ Extended: “Comedy Compadres,” Jeff Valdez’s Latino comedy show on Los Angeles’ KTLA Channel 5, has been renewed for at least eight more weeks. The extension was prompted by consistently high ratings for the Friday-night show, which last week beat both David Letterman and Jay Leno in Los Angeles markets during its 11:30 p.m.-midnight time slot.
Rapper Apologizes: Geto Boys rapper Bushwick Bill, who angered female journalists at the recent National Assn. of Black Journalists convention in Texas when he said that his songs call women “bitches and hoes” “because the bitches are hoes,” offers “an official apology” during an interview airing this weekend on Lee Bailey’s national “Radio-Scope” program, which airs locally at 8 a.m. Saturday on KJLH (102.3 FM). “I want to let all black women know I have no disrespect toward them at all,” says Bushwick, who had offered only a half-hearted apology after the the convention and had said he didn’t understand how anybody could be offended by his statements. “I apologize to all the women and ladies who didn’t understand that I was only talking about a certain group of females I’ve met in my lifetime.”
Troubled by a Light Diet: Don’t eat the lightbulbs. That’s the lesson learned this week by Jim Rose of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, whose much-anticipated 33-city U.S. tour was scheduled to begin next Monday but has been postponed until Oct. 16, on doctor’s orders. Rose, a big hit at the 1992 “Lollapalooza” festival, consumes light bulbs, swallows swords and ingests razor blades as part of his act. But on his recent sold-out tour of Europe, Rose collapsed in his Amsterdam hotel room after consuming five bulbs in one day while re-creating his popular feat to please TV and radio journalists (his system is used to only one every 24 hours). He was rushed to the hospital and treated for severe stomach cramps and bleeding bowels. Rose has been cautioned to let his intestinal wounds heal before continuing his show. Los Angeles dates for the tour have not yet been announced.
Stepping Down: Robert McC. Adams, who has led Washington’s Smithsonian Institution since 1984, announced Monday that he plans to retire from his position as secretary late next year. Although his departure had been rumored for months, Adams, 67, had vigorously denied he would leave before the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian in 1996 or before the groundbreaking for the planned National Museum of the American Indian. His decision comes at a time of uncertain financial future for the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum complex.
Strike Affects NSO: More strike-related problems at Washington’s Kennedy Center: The National Symphony Orchestra has canceled this week’s three opening concerts because NSO musicians have refused to cross a picket line set up by striking Kennedy Center Orchestra players. The concerts, which would have begun Thursday, were to have been conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich to kick off his final season as music director. The Kennedy Center musicians went on strike Sept. 1 in a contract dispute.
Making a Restored Voyage: Walt Disney Pictures will re-release “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” the 1954 Academy Award winner for special effects starring Kirk Douglas as Capt. Nemo, for an exclusive two-week Los Angeles run at the El Capitan theater, Friday through Sept. 30. The film, which has undergone full sound and picture restoration for the past year, was Disney’s first widescreen Cinemascope presentation. The studio has no plans for additional releases elsewhere, a spokesman said.
Workers were striking for the second day Tuesday on the set of CBS’ new series, “Harts of the West.” The crew, which wrote to Executive Producer Beau Bridges to ask for his support on Tuesday, is seeking union representation to end what it calls unfair labor practices on the non-union set. . . . After taping a television show in Miami that blasted crime against tourists, talk-show host Oprah Winfrey was shaken but unhurt Monday when her limousine filled with smoke. Although witnesses said a smoke bomb had exploded in her limousine, a spokeswoman for Winfrey later said the smoke was caused by a faulty air-conditioner. . . . A Los Angeles judge has given Martha Raye the green light to proceed with a lawsuit against Bette Midler, who Raye claims stole her story for the box-office bomb “For the Boys.”