TELEVISIONTalking It Up: Actress-comedian Rosie O’Donnell has...

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Talking It Up: Actress-comedian Rosie O’Donnell has decided to go where others have trod with mixed results: She signed with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to host an hourlong daytime talk-variety series. In a field currently under fire for too much sex and sleaze, O’Donnell’s producers are promising “upbeat, often funny events and stories utilizing her irreverent, unpredictable, fresh and, above all, witty sense of humor to provide a thoroughly lighthearted and entertaining hour.” Said O’Donnell: “I promise there will be no fistfights.”


A Special Birthday: Comedian George Burns, who canceled a 100th-birthday appearance at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace because of ill health following a bathtub fall, has decided instead to celebrate his centennial with a fund-raising bash for the new Burns and Allen Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The affair at the Four Seasons Hotel near his Beverly Hills home will be limited to 300 guests with large wallets and will be held Jan. 16, four days before the cigar-chomping comic hits 100. Burns, a longtime supporter of Cedars-Sinai, is expected to make his own contribution to the research center, which will study various diseases, according to spokesmen for the fund-raiser.



CNN Aims at Latin America: Cable Network News said Monday it will launch an all-news channel entirely in Spanish for Latin America in early 1997, its first 24-hour production in a language other than English. Jon Petrovich, executive vice president for CNN’s Headline News division, told a Bueno Aires news conference the decision of CNN, a subsidiary of the Turner Broadcasting System, was based on its “continued commitment to the Latin American marketplace” and its fast-growing cable industry. CNN Spanish is scheduled to launch March 1, 1997, and will be produced from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta. CNN’s 24-hour English news service will still be seen in the region, but it will differ substantially from the Spanish edition, which will cater “to the special needs and interests of the Latin American public,” said Carlos Diaz, president of Turner International’s Latin American division. CNN began a Spanish edition in 1988 with two half-hour newscasts. It now has six half-hour newscasts daily, which reach 3.6 million households in 37 Latin American countries and 4 million homes in the United States.


Nureyev Estate on Block: Ballet lovers bid against art collectors Monday as the exotic contents of the late dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s Paris apartment went on sale in London. After a two-year legal battle between the dancer’s relatives, who wanted his belongings put in a museum, and the trusts controlling his estate, Christie’s auction house said the first session of the two-day sale raised $301,000--more than double the expectations. Antique dresses, Oriental robes and memorabilia from the apartment overlooking the river Seine were sold Monday. Nureyev’s ballet slippers and the costumes he wore in numerous ballets were to follow Monday evening. The highlight will come today, when rugs, sculptures, furniture, Old Masters and a vast collection of male nude paintings will be up for sale. The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation will receive the proceeds of the auction, which is expected to raise at least $3 million for young dancers and for medical research. Nureyev died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1993 at the age of 54.


Whoa, Pilgrims!: Jamie Masada, the big-hearted owner of the Laugh Factory who will be serving free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the 17th straight year, was a little taken aback when a Morning Report reader called to say her maid canceled out for Thanksgiving and she’d like to bring a party of nine Thursday. Masada, who expects to feed 1,500 people gratis on Turkey Day, explained that the dinner at the comedy club is for the struggling folks in Hollywood, especially would-be comedians and actors. Homeless are welcome, too. There are four seatings, 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. each with a comedy show. Reservations are suggested. Call (213) 656-1336.


President Clinton will appear at the conclusion of Saturday’s episode of NBC’s “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” which focuses on the health risks of teen-age smoking, with a taped anti-smoking message for teens. . . . In the new Hollywood tradition of skyrocketing movie salaries, Meg Ryan will make close to $9 million for her next movie, “Easy Women,” for Fine Line Features, sources confirmed. . . . Bruce Springsteen, on his way to appear at the Wiltern Theatre next Monday night, will stop by “The Tonight Show” to gab with Jay Leno. . . . Pianist Dave Brubeck returned as a hometown hero to the University of the Pacific in Stockton Saturday night to launch a concert series celebrating his 75th birthday. Brubeck, who will appear with his quartet in London and Vienna next month, graduated from UOP 53 years ago. . . . Barbra Streisand’s Barwood Films, together with Jazbo Productions and Showtime, are going ahead with plans for a three-hour movie, “Two Hands That Shook the World,” a chronicle of 50 turbulent years in the Middle East. Both the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had given approval for the film, which parallels their life stories, Streisand’s spokesman said. The film is planned for initial release via Showtime next year.