Quality TV for Kids: The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania is establishing an advisory group on excellence in children's television. The group--which includes filmmaker Ken Burns--will help the center define and identify "quality" TV shows for children. The center is releasing a survey of parents' and children's attitudes about children's programming today in Washington. The group plans to publish a video guide to children's shows and is hoping to distribute a sample video of outstanding children's TV programs free to video stores. "This is not an industry-bashing effort," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication. "Our goal is to increase quality children's TV programming and to help parents find out about the many good shows for children that already are on TV."
Delivery Postponed: The wait for the beloved film "The Postman (Il Postino)," starring the late Massimo Troisi, to arrive in video stores will be even longer than expected. The planned June 25 release date has been postponed indefinitely, according to a spokesman for the Miramax division of Buena Vista home video. The delay is because the 1995 movie is still doing well in theatrical release and, with revenues of just over $20 million, is close to breaking the foreign-language box-office record of $22 million held by "Like Water for Chocolate," another Miramax film.
No Longer Silent: "Hidden in Silence," a Lifetime movie that aired on the cable network in March, is raking in the accolades. The film, about a Polish teenager (played by Kellie Martin) who smuggles 13 Jews from a Jewish ghetto during World War II and hides them for two years, will be honored by the Munich Film Festival, the International Women's Day Committee, the Israeli Consulate and Catholics in Media Awareness, among other groups. Christian and Jewish congregations across the United States are using the film as a teaching tool, and Hillary Clinton has requested a copy for the White House Library Archives.
New Gift: The Carnival cruise line corporation has given Miami's New World Symphony 1.3 million shares of the its class A common stock, worth about $40 million. The gift from the Arison family, Carnival's majority shareholders, is the largest private donation ever bestowed on a U.S. orchestra, said Christopher Dunworth, symphony president and executive director. It will be used to establish a foundation to support the organization's education program for young musicians. The New World Symphony was co-founded in 1987 by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and Carnival cruise line founder Ted Arison to help top music school graduates hone their skills. It has placed more than 100 musicians in orchestras worldwide.
Pumpkin Problems: Cincinnati officials say they won't let Smashing Pumpkins perform in their city because of safety issues. The band often draws fans who mosh--dancing during which participants slam their bodies against each other. "We investigated the band and received information that there was a potential for injury there," said Joseph Charlton, acting city safety director. The group did not have a reputation for concert trouble until last month, when a 17-year-old girl died of injuries received in a front-row crush at a concert in Dublin, Ireland.
Royal Honors: George Martin, known as the "Fifth Beatle," will now be known as Sir George after receiving a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. Martin, who produced all the Beatles' records from their first hit "Love Me Do" in 1962, was among 1,041 people recognized in the queen's twice-annual honors list Saturday. The queen honored the Beatles in 1965 by making them Members of the Order of the British Empire, but none of the three surviving band members has received a knighthood. Paul McCartney has been regarded as a prospective "Sir," but Martin beat him to it. Singer Van Morrison was named an Officer of the Order of British Empire, the rank above a Member, as was jazz pianist George Shearing. Two Los Angeles denizens were also honored: Actor Michael York was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and director Ronald Neame, the co-founder of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, was named a Commander.
Mia's Story: It may not come as a surprise, but Mia Farrow's autobiography is going to rip Woody Allen. Farrow confided her intentions to about 2,000 people Sunday at an authors' round table at the American Booksellers Assn. convention in Chicago. Farrow slammed her ex-lover, calling him a man who had no respect "for everything I hold sacred, not for my family, not for my soul, not for my God or my goals." So, she said, she decided to write her autobiography, which will be out in early 1997. Their 12-year relationship ended in 1992, with Farrow charging that Allen sexually abused her adopted daughter.
Cher will be available to chat with fans on tonight's edition of "Cyber-Talk," Warner Bros. Records/Reprise Records' weekly interactive talk show, on America Online (keyword: Warner) at 6:30 p.m. She's plugging her new album, "It's a Man's World," due out June 25. . . . NBC News' "Today" co-anchor Katie Couric will carry the Olympic Torch on the air Tuesday as she takes the flame from outside "Today's" studio at Rockefeller Center, across 49th Street to the Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. . . . Warren Olney, host of KCRW-FM's (89.9) "Which Way, L.A.?," will be honored with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles' Distinguished Service Award on June 25 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Olney will be recognized for dealing with issues that affect women and families on his show.