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TELEVISIONGood Medicine: NBC’s “ER” was the cure...

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

TELEVISION

Good Medicine: NBC’s “ER” was the cure for 48,213,000 viewers who tuned in last Thursday night, giving the emergency room drama an astounding 45% share of the available viewing audience. “ER’s” audience share was the highest for a regularly scheduled program (not including premieres or finales) since “The Cosby Show,” which attracted 45% of the audience on Jan. 12, 1989. In comparison, “ER’s” competition at 10 p.m. on Thursday needed some resuscitation: ABC’s “Murder One” was watched by 11% of the available audience and CBS’ “48 Hours” by 10%. The two shows combined attracted less than half the number of viewers who watched “ER” that night.

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Koppel in Jerusalem: Ted Koppel will moderate a “Nightline” town meeting in Jerusalem that will deal with the issues facing Israelis in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The discussion, set to air on ABC at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday, will include participants from across the political spectrum in Israel. Former Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon and current Minister of the Interior Ehud Barak are among the officials set to participate.

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Rather Unhappy: CBS anchor Dan Rather is the latest to criticize his network’s lawyers for ordering “60 Minutes” to drop an interview with a former tobacco-industry insider from a report on the newsmagazine. “I don’t like the way this makes us seem,” Rather told radio talk-show host Don Imus on Friday. “If you believe in the reporting, let them take you to court. . . . Let’s face it, the lawyers never want you to run a story. They can’t get in trouble if you don’t run a story. I don’t like it any time we back down, back up, back away.”

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Rather Jolly and Happy: CBS is building two snowmen on Dec. 1. The network will air the original “Frosty the Snowman,” the animated special narrated by Jimmy Durante that first aired in December, 1969, at 8 p.m. The classic “Frosty” will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by a new animated show, “Frosty Returns,” narrated by Jonathan Winters. John Goodman provides the voice of the snowman with the corncob pipe and the button nose; comic Jan Hooks’ voice will also be featured. Lorne Michaels (“Saturday Night Live”) is executive producer.

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POP/ROCK

Beatles, Part II: Although “The Beatles Anthology Vol. 1" collection of previously unreleased recordings won’t be in stores until Nov. 21, fans will be able to hear five tracks from the set at all L.A. area Blockbuster Music stores starting Tuesday. However, the Blockbuster preview tracks will not include either of the two “new” songs that the three surviving Beatles built around home tapes made by John Lennon before his death in 1980.

STAGE

NAACP Honors: South Coast Repertory’s production of “Jar the Floor” was the big winner at the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP’s eighth annual Theatre Awards, which honor local productions presenting African American artists and images. In the awards’ equity category, “Jar the Floor” won best production for South Coast Repertory, best direction for Benny Sato Ambush, best playwright for Cheryl L. West and best performance by an actress for Juanita Jennings. Best performance by an actor went to Victor Trent Cook for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” Louis Gossett Jr. received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the event last week.

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THE ARTS

Renovation: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. will undergo major renovation and reconstruction at a cost of nearly $50 million over the next five years. The project is aimed at bringing the structure, which opened in 1971, up to current building codes for fire and safety, heating, air conditioning and handicapped access. Acoustics in the Concert Hall will also be improved. Financing for most of the project has been authorized by Congress.

QUICK TAKES

Singer James Brown’s wife, Adrienne Brown, now denies that her husband hit her and wants to drop domestic violence charges against him. Her sworn statement is expected to be filed today in Aiken County court in South Carolina. . . . . Morley Safer, CBS News correspondent and “60 Minutes” co-editor, PBS’ “Frontline” documentary series and Los Angeles Times TV critic Howard Rosenberg will be honored at the 35th annual USC Distinguished Achievement in Journalism Awards Dinner on Tuesday at the Biltmore Hotel. CNN’s Judy Woodruff will host. . . . Luciano Pavarotti could not perform in “La Fille du Regiment” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera on Saturday due to a cold. The tenor, who left a performance of the opera midway last week after missing the high notes because of phlegm in his throat, hopes to sing the four remaining performances of the opera--the next one will be Wednesday.

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