New Grammy Categories: The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has added six new categories to its annual Grammy Awards, including separate album categories for pop, rock, country and R&B.; Those categories will be in addition to current awards recognizing performances on singles or separate album tracks. Other new awards include best pop vocal collaboration, which will separate performances by artists who do not normally record together from the pop duo or group performance category; and best Latin jazz, which will be an album award. In other changes, the contemporary jazz, jazz vocal and large jazz ensemble awards will now recognize entire albums, not singles or tracks. The total number of annual Grammy Awards is now 87.
* 'Crow' Soars: The box-office success of Brandon Lee's "The Crow" helped catapult the film's soundtrack last week into the No. 1 spot on the pop album chart. The eclectic rock collection--which features songs by the Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, Medicine and Rage Against the Machine--sold an estimated 125,000 albums at stores across the nation. That's a 40% sales gain over the previous week, when it debuted at No. 5 on the chart.
Trekkers Rule L.A. Sweeps: Monday night's series finale of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was a ratings king, drawing more Los Angeles viewers than any other during the all-important May ratings sweeps. The show attracted about 1.2 million local viewing homes, accounting for 32% of those watching TV at the time. The closest competitor was the season finale of ABC's "NYPD Blue," which drew about 1 million Los Angeles viewing homes. Overall, the syndicated "Star Trek: TNG" averaged 27% of the available audience in the 13 major markets in which it aired Monday, also winning its time period in other top markets, including New York, Washington and San Francisco.
Celebrating Lucy: The fourth annual Lucille Ball Festival of New Comedy, also known as the LucyFest, gets under way Friday in Ball's hometown of Jamestown, N.J. The three-day festival aims to keep the late comedian's spirit alive by showcasing little-known but promising comedy acts. Also scheduled are tours of Ball's old haunts, including her girlhood home in nearby Celoron, and an auction of 112 items--including glitzy costumes, rare photographs and jars of henna Ball used to dye her hair red--donated by Ball's estate to raise money for a comedy museum honoring Ball and her late ex-husband/partner Desi Arnaz.
The Boy Wonder: Actor Chris O'Donnell, who co-starred with Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman," will co-star with Michael Keaton in the upcoming "Batman Forever," director Joel Schumacher's third "Batman" film. O'Donnell, who most recently appeared in "The Three Musketeers," will play Robin, the caped crusader's comic-book partner who was absent in the first two films. Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones have been cast as villains in the Warner Bros. film. Batman's love interest remains to be cast.
* The $8 Movie: Just as the National Assn. of Theater Owners is crowing about how the average price of movie tickets is somewhat lower than $5, two of the nation's bigger theater circuits have raised prices in Manhattan from $7.50 to $8. It's typical for theater chains to raise prices just before the start of a major movie-going season, and this week marks the beginning of the summer movie rush. The $8 ticket establishes a new high for a movie ticket in the United States. For now, the $8 ticket is only in Manhattan, but other markets have seen some increases in the order of 25 cents, to $6.50. Sources in the Los Angeles area, where the top ticket price is $7.50, said no boost is contemplated.
Good Opera News: At its annual meeting Tuesday, the San Francisco Opera proclaimed 1993 a major financial and artistic success. Record ticket revenues of nearly $17.5 million, a reduction in company expenses and a special fund-raising campaign contributed to a $1.3 million-surplus for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31. In addition, a new, five-year agreement was signed with the orchestra and chorus last year, as well as a six-year extension of the contract of General Director Lotfi Mansouri.
Andre Previn, the former music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has been released from New York's Cornell Medical Center following heart bypass surgery. He is scheduled to resume conducting June 22 at the Caramoor Festival in Katonah, N.Y. . . . The Directors Guild of America's new African-American Steering Committee honors directors Bill Duke and Debbie Allen tonight at its premiere networking reception. The committee was founded to help improve opportunities for African Americans in the film industry. . . . Mikhail Baryshnikov's girlfriend, former American Ballet Theater dancer Lisa Rinehart, gave birth to the couple's third child on Tuesday. The daughter has not yet been named. . . . Television writer-producer Stephen J. Cannell ("The Rockford Files," "The A-Team," "21 Jump Street") is writing his first novel, a political thriller, for publisher William Morrow.