Geraldo Scores: The end of the O.J. Simpson trial might be a resuscitation of sorts for the tabloid side of TV host Geraldo Rivera. His program, "Geraldo!," which features such topics as today's "transvestite gang members," will start filling a KTLA Channel 5 morning time slot as one of the replacements for the Simpson trial. "Geraldo!" apparently will continue to be shown at 1:30 a.m. on KCBS Channel 2, where it's been buried since September after being moved from an afternoon slot. (His "weightier" show, "Rivera Live," continues to air at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on cable's CNBC.) Channel 5, meanwhile, wraps up its trial-oriented news today with a one-hour special at 9 a.m. The station was still fine-tuning plans to air "Geraldo!," "Charles Perez" and an unspecified rerun from 9 a.m. to noon starting Wednesday. KTLA, the only local station to go full time with the Simpson case, had hoped to broadcast the forthcoming Menendez brothers murder trial, but cameras have been banned from that courtroom.
For Kids With Hearing Problems: A weekly hour of television for deaf and hard-of-hearing children will be launched Nov. 4, it will be announced today. Two half-hour programs from Total Communication Network, which uses sign language, full sound and open captions, will be aimed at preschoolers and kids 8 to 14. Negotiations with specific cable systems to carry the programs are ongoing, a TCN spokesperson said.
Vereen Offers Hope: Ben Vereen, who came back from a near-fatal accident, is trying to help a 15-year-old boy recover from a coma. "You have such incredible energy," Vereen whispered into Mathew Kosbob's ear Saturday during a visit to his Hartford, Conn., hospital room. The boy was severely beaten by four teen-agers in Stamford last July and doctors say he is beginning to emerge from the acute coma stage. Vereen was hit by a truck as he walked along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu in 1992 but recovered after extensive physical therapy. Vereen said healing is spiritual. "The miracle has got to come from you. We cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought," he said.
De Niro Accused: Robert De Niro allegedly stepped into a real-life tough guy role early Saturday and bloodied video cameraman Joseph Ligier's nose outside a New York club. De Niro was charged with misdemeanor assault and was booked and fingerprinted by police, then released pending a court hearing next month. Ligier told the New York Daily News that De Niro "punched me in the nose and grabbed my hair" after he refused to relinquish video he had been shooting outside the Bowery Bar. "He had me bent over a car. He kept saying, 'Give me the video.' I said, 'No way.' I had footage of Julia Roberts on the same tape," the 25-year-old Ligier said. Finally, Ligier said, "he let go and threw the camera's eyepiece and filter at me." De Niro's spokesman, Stan Rosenfield in Los Angeles, said the "Raging Bull" actor was the victim of a new breed of "video paparazzi" who provoke celebrities into scenes, then sell the footage.
Happy Misery: "Les Miserables" on Sunday celebrated 10 years as one of the world's most successful musicals, seen by 32 million people so far. From Tokyo to Budapest, with a stop in Los Angeles, the adaptation of Victor Hugo's epic French novel about noble but hunted convict Jean Valjean has been sung in 14 languages. Finnish is next. Shows are planned in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.
Planning Ahead: A clarification of repertory when Los Angeles Music Center Opera opens its 1996-97 season in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: A source close to the company says the season will begin Sept. 5, when company artistic adviser Placido Domingo sings the leading role in Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci." The following night, Domingo will don his other musical hat and conduct Bellini's "Norma," with Russian soprano Nina Rautio in the title role. What may be striking here is that "Pagliacci" has usually been half of a double bill, most often including Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana." This time, Leoncavallo's brief opera will be given by itself, with no curtain-opener.
It took 36 years, but country star Waylon Jennings returned Friday to the house that Buddy built--the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Jennings last appeared there in 1959 with Buddy Holly, who was killed that night in a plane crash. Ritchie Valens and J. P. (the Big Bopper) Richardson, who took Jennings' place on the plane, also died in the crash. "I've kind of dodged thinking about that all my life," Jennings told a news conference before performing. . . . Ray Briem, who retired last December after 27 years on the graveyard shift at KABC-AM (790), is returning to the airwaves--but this time during the day. Briem, 66, will host a 3:30-5:30 p.m. weekday talk show on KIEV-AM (870), beginning Nov. 6. When he departed his midnight-to-5 a.m. job at KABC, Briem insisted he would return only during regular working hours so he could sleep at night. A conservative, Briem loves to talk about politics, big band music, flying and ham radio.