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


Programming Compassion: A record number of broadcast and cable programs will take part today in the “Fourth Annual Day of Compassion,” featuring television programming highlighting compassion and support for people affected by AIDS and HIV. It is billed as the largest media event ever for AIDS awareness, and participants will include nine daytime network dramas, virtually all daytime talk shows and several news and entertainment programs, including “CBS This Morning,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Hard Copy,” “Inside Edition,” “E! News Daily,” CNN’s “Showbiz Today” and Comedy Central’s “Politically Incorrect.” Celebrities who have taped public service announcements include Paula Poundstone, Bruce Davidson, Lea Thompson and Bess Armstrong. The Day of Compassion initiative, organized by the group Hollywood Supports, will focus this year on the rising infection rate among people younger than 20.


CBS Takes On Nielsens: CBS charged Thursday that discrepancies in the Nielsen ratings are leading to under-reporting of viewers for its “Late Show With David Letterman.” CBS Vice President David Poltrack said that comparing the combined local market ratings with the standard national Nielsen sample “leads [the network] to believe the national survey is understating the late-night audience, particularly the younger viewers for Letterman, to a significant degree.” A Nielsen spokesman responded that CBS was comparing “two entirely different measurement systems that present entirely different results. But those results are right in what they’re measuring. . . . [Letterman’s show] is down in the [national] People Meter ratings [for younger viewers] and up in the local [ratings]. But what CBS isn’t telling you is that for the 50-plus audience, they are up in the People Meter and down in the locals.”



Air Your Grievances: Independent label Black Pearl Records is seeking audiotape “performances” by “average Americans” commenting on the actions of their politicians. About 40 tapes will be chosen for inclusion in “A.W.A. (Americans With Attitude): We’re in the House,” a proposed 20-minute CD that will feature the critiques set to a backdrop of rap and hard rock music. Black Pearl plans to send the completed CD to all U.S. representatives and senators before the Republican and Democratic political conventions. Anyone wishing to take part can send a one-minute taped message to “A.W.A. (Americans With Attitude): We’re in the House,” Black Pearl Records, 9 Magnolia Ave. No. 1, Jersey City, NJ 07306. Tapes will be judged on the strength of the comments, as well as on the diversity of speakers.


Remembering Mario Lanza: The late, great tenor Mario Lanza, who died at age 38 in 1959, would have been 75 years old this year, so his children and close friends will take part in a public tribute in his honor tonight and Saturday night at West Los Angeles’ Gianfranco Ristorante All’ Opera, 11363 Santa Monica Blvd. The event is the first Los Angeles tribute honoring the opera-singer-turned-movie-star, who first inspired tenors Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carerras and Placido Domingo, then became a movie box-office sensation in the ‘50s with films like “The Great Caruso,” “The Toast of New Orleans” and “Serenade.” Tenor Charles Gavoian, star of “The Mario Lanza Story,” which recently completed a yearlong run at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, will sing a tribute to Lanza, and big-screen videos of Lanza will be shown. Showtimes are 7:15 and 9 each night, and reservations are required.


Wright’s Carjacker Sentenced: A 16-year-old boy has been sentenced to six months in a “long-term camp” for carjacking actress Robin Wright’s Toyota Land Cruiser from her Santa Monica driveway. The defendant had earlier entered the equivalent of a guilty plea. His alleged accomplice, 18-year-old Dackery Williams, has pleaded innocent to carjacking and robbery charges and is due to return to a Santa Monica court on July 2.


Today is the deadline for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 8,000 members to return nomination ballots for the 48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, taking place Sept. 8 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Nominees will be announced on July 18. . . . Perry Farrell and his band, Porno for Pyros, will broadcast tonight’s show at Los Angeles’ American Legion Hall live on the World Wide Web, beginning at 9:30 p.m. The concert will air on two Web sites: and . . . Twentieth Century Fox has pushed up the release day for its big summer movie, “Independence Day,” to Tuesday, July 2. The movie, starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, was previously scheduled to open a day later. . . . Former “Saturday Night Live” star Julia Sweeney’s popular one-woman show, “God Said ‘Ha!,’ ” has been extended at the Coronet Theatre through July 28, and further extensions are expected if ticket sales continue to go well. . . . Another “Saturday Night Live” player, Kevin Nealon, will perform at Pasadena’s Ice House Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.