Hall of Famers: David Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Velvet Underground, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jefferson Airplane, Little Willie John and the Shirelles have been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it was announced Monday in Cleveland, where the hall opened in September. They will be inducted--along with folk singer Pete Seeger and pioneer San Francisco radio executive Tom Donahue, who will be honored in the "early influence" and "non-performer" categories--at a dinner Jan. 17 in New York.
Talk Shows Blasted: House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) accused daytime TV talk shows Monday of contributing to "an increasingly ignorant culture," adding his name to a growing list of public figures critical of the popular programming. A former history professor, Gingrich told a college audience that the ill effects of bad TV and bad schools are pushing America into a major cultural crisis as the country grapples with highly disciplined economic rivals such as Germany, Japan and China. "If you were to look at the five most popular talk shows in America in terms of television, and look at the level of ignorance and misinformation which substitutes for learning, you would understand better why we are an increasingly ignorant culture," Gingrich said.
Great Moments in PR: The TNT network is ballyhooing the fact that it will bring Faye Dunaway and "Sunset Boulevard" "together at last" this Thursday starting at 5 p.m. Well, not exactly. Dunaway will host a showing of the CableACE-nominated "Inside the Dream Factory," a historical look at Hollywood. That will be followed at 6:30 p.m. by the classic 1950 film, "Sunset Boulevard," starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden. Dunaway had been scheduled to star in the stage version of "Sunset Boulevard" at the Shubert Theater in 1994 when producer Andrew Lloyd Webber dropped her from the show, saying she could not meet the vocal requirements of the role. Dunaway sued Lloyd Webber for more than $6 million and the dispute was settled out of court early this year. But, don't expect Dunaway to shed any "Sunset" light during Thursday's TV stint. In her current autobiography, "Looking for Gatsby," Dunaway devotes a one-page chapter to the incident, reprinting the joint press release she issued with Lloyd Webber, followed by: "The terms of this settlement prevent me from any further comment on the matter."
The Lehrer Hour: Public television's newly constituted "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," minus the newly retired Robert MacNeil, focuses heavily on California this week with news teams visiting San Diego today, Los Angeles on Wednesday and UC Berkeley on Thursday. Discussions will center on local conditions and reactions to the Bosnia crisis.
Presidential Gala: "Grace Under Fire" star Brett Butler will host this year's "A Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre," honoring President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The show, airing Nov. 18 on ABC, will include performances by comedians Jeff Foxworthy and Paula Poundstone, country star Shania Twain, the Temptations, Chicago and the magic group the Pendragons, and more. The program will be taped Nov. 12 in Washington.
Dropping Out: Citing conflict with the shooting schedule for his TV series "Live Shot," David Birney has pulled out of the Theater League's "My Fair Lady," which is slated for the Alex Theatre in Glendale Dec. 12-17. A spokesman said negotiations are in progress for the services of another actor for the role of Henry Higgins. The cast also includes Jody Benson, Robert Mandan, Tony Tanner and Ray Benson.
Struck Out: Rosie O'Donnell canceled her sold-out show in Cleveland on Saturday so she and her audience could watch the sixth game of the World Series on television. "I wanna watch the Indians, too! So I'm changing the date of my show," O'Donnell said last week in an ad announcing the new March date of her show at the Palace Theatre. Considering Atlanta beat Cleveland 1-0 to clinch the series, maybe the show should have gone on.
True Grit: He's been dead 16 years but the Duke can still take on the likes of Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson. John Wayne came out on top in the latest Harris Poll survey that asked 1,005 Americans to name their favorite movie star. Eastwood, No. 1 last year, slipped to second place this year, followed by Gibson, Denzel Washington, Kevin Costner and Tom Hanks. Female stars didn't make the top 10; Julia Roberts and Demi Moore were the highest-ranking actresses, tying for 22nd place. Meanwhile, TNT--don't those folks ever rest?--announced it will premiere Wayne's "McLintock" Sunday at 5 p.m. The film, which had been held by the Wayne family estate for 15 years, is the most requested film at TNT, the network said. Wayne's sons Michael and Patrick will host the event. Patrick appears in the film and Michael produced.