Kennedy Center Special: "The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts," the prestigious annual event that this year pays tribute to actor Kirk Douglas, soul singer Aretha Franklin, composer Morton Gould, Broadway director Harold Prince and folk singer Pete Seeger, will be broadcast as a two-hour special Dec. 28 on CBS. The event, hosted by Walter Cronkite, will be held at Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 4. The honorees will also be honored earlier that evening in the White House at a reception hosted by President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Coming Attractions: Aaron Spelling fans alert: "University Hospital," a new Spelling program, will replace the very low-rated "Heaven Help Us" on the TV mogul's block of first-run syndicated shows on KCOP Channel 13. The lineup of first-run syndication shows, sometimes called Spelling's "mini-network," is on Thursdays from 8 to 10 p.m. The new show, about the lives and loves of four student nurses and their supervising nurse, premieres on the Spelling Premiere Network in mid-January. Tony-winning actress Tonya Pinkins ("Jelly's Last Jam"), who also starred on ABC's soap "All My Children," will play the supervisor. . . . Oliver Platt, Arliss Howard, Peter Riegart and Alan King have been cast in the upcoming HBO thriller, "In Hitler's Shadow," based on the book by Yaron Svoray, an Israeli journalist who infiltrated Germany's neo-Nazi organizations, and Nick Taylor. The telefilm will focus on Svoray's real-life experiences.
'Pops' Could Go Pop: After 25 years, it may be the finale for the beloved "Evening at Pops" PBS TV series. Hit by scaled-back contributions from financially strapped sponsors, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summertime concert series has to scrape up at least $1.2 million by Feb. 1 for national programming to continue. If the money is not raised, concerts would continue, including the live Fourth of July bash that draws about 350,000 people to a bandshell along the Charles River, but they wouldn't be seen on national TV. The televised broadcasts, which began in 1969, draw about 39 million viewers each summer.
Rap Video Airs: Despite intense criticism by crime-victims rights organizations, an unedited version of the controversial video "Natural Born Killaz" by rap stars Dr. Dre and Ice Cube will appear on TV. The video premieres Tuesday on "Hard Copy" at 7 p.m. on KCBS Channel 2. In it, the rappers portray serial killers and poke fun at the gruesome stabbings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman, as well as the shotgun ambush of Jose and Kitty Menendez. During the making of the video, representatives for the families and the victims-rights groups called the rappers "irresponsible" and chastised them for "ridiculing a tragedy."
New KLOS-FM Lineup: After firing veteran deejays Bob Coburn and Jim Benson last week, KLOS-FM (95.5) turned to rival rock station KNAC-FM (105.5) for their replacements: Long Paul and Remy Maxwell. And Randy Maranz, who has been doing deejay work at the station for the past year, has been given a full-time on-air job to replace Gino Michelini, who was dropped Oct. 24. Beginning today, the KLOS weekday lineup is Maranz, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Paul, 2-6 p.m.; and Maxwell, 6-10 p.m. "I felt it was a necessary change if KLOS was to continue to evolve into a more contemporary rock station," program director Carey Curelop said.
Hunting Dispute: Steven Seagal, the actor and martial-arts expert, reportedly is incensed that a man who took him elk hunting in October may have lied about his qualifications. Jodi Clay Hill was arrested in Hot Sulphur Springs, Colo., last week on charges of outfitting without a license and illegal sale of wildlife. Seagal says he asked Hill at least three times if he was licensed and Hill assured him he was, a state wildlife agent said in court papers. His guide's qualifications aside, Seagal, who paid $5,000 for the trip, did bag a bull elk.
Ricki Lake, the hip talk-show host who is gaining on Oprah in the yak-pak ratings, will star in director Richard Benjamin's next film, "Mrs. Winterbourne." The comedy about a woman who is mistaken by a dead man's family to be his widow is set to begin shooting this summer. . . . A Picasso print of a weeping woman sold for a record U.S. price of $1,036,500 at Christie's auction house in New York. The print, "La Femme Qui Pleure I," was purchased by a London dealer. . . . "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno guest-stars on tonight's "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" at 8 p.m. on NBC. . . . In another NBC guest appearance, Debbie Reynolds appears on Tuesday's "Wings" at 8 p.m. as Helen's (Crystal Bernard) mother. . . . Turner Classic Movies will offer a tribute to Ronald Reagan with a presentation of 40 of his 54 films in February. The line-up will include "Knute Rockne, All American," "King's Row" and "Santa Fe Trail."