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


Say It Ain’t So: Jenny McCarthy fans may be dismayed to learn that MTV’s diva of dating will leave “Singled Out” in the middle of the coming season. The reason: She’ll be spread too thin to continue her co-hosting duties once production starts on her own previously announced weekly comedy-variety series, which doesn’t yet have a name but is expected to premiere sometime in December. In the meantime, MTV is shopping the various talent agencies to find a replacement for McCarthy, who co-hosts the popular “Singled Out” with Chris Hardwick. “But we don’t want a Jenny clone,” says an MTV spokesman, who noted that producers hope to have McCarthy’s replacement on board once the show resumes production in October, thus allowing for a three-host transition period before McCarthy’s departure.

‘Firefighters’ Revamp: The Fox show previously known as “L.A. Firefighters” will return Nov. 10 in the Sunday, 7-8 p.m. slot with a new title, “Fire Co. 132.” When it premiered early this summer, the show drew criticism from the L.A. County Fire Fighters Union, which asked Fox to quit using the department’s name in the title. The real-life firefighters had objected to the show’s depiction of the characters’ day-to-day lives, as well as work-a-day scenes that firefighters said violated real-life safety procedures. Earlier this summer, new executive producer Patrick Hasburgh (“21 Jump Street”) told television critics that the show would be revamped to address those concerns, with an aim toward more realism as opposed to melodrama. Among other changes this season: Cast member Christine Elise, who broke her foot during the show’s summer filming hiatus, will miss the premiere episode, but return in show No. 2; and Alexandra Paul (“Baywatch”) will be brought on board in a recurring role.

Knowing More: NBC’s “The More You Know About Violence Prevention” campaign has won the 1995 Public Service Emmy, beating out all other national TV campaigns. Cited were spots featuring the network’s series stars addressing issues including domestic violence, rape, violence prevention and conflict resolution. The award was presented in New York Wednesday night.


Promos Everywhere: Taking another page from “Independence Day,” NBC will have biplanes blanketing Southern California this weekend with banners that read “Have fun while it lasts. . . . The storm is coming. . . . ‘Dark Skies.’ Saturdays on NBC.” Dipping into the nostalgia bag, “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill has also recorded a 60-second radio spot promoting the series. . . . Daytime talk-show host Jenny Jones is also getting a new celebrity promoter--pop star Little Richard, who will be featured in commercials singing special lyrics to his 1957 hit “Jenny, Jenny” while Jones dances with audience members. The spots begin airing next week, just in time for the show’s Sept. 9 season premiere.


Costello/Attractions Split?: A spokesperson at Elvis Costello’s record company, Warner Bros., said Thursday that the British rocker is unlikely to continue playing with his band, the Attractions, after Costello’s current tour concludes in Japan Sept. 15. Costello reunited with the Attractions two years ago after an eight-year hiatus. Costello had told a crowded house of fans at the Universal Amphitheatre Wednesday: “This will probably be the last time we ever play Los Angeles, so let’s have a good time.”



Another Look at ’71 Classic: Sony Pictures Classics is planning a November re-release of Vittorio De Sica’s “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” which took home the 1971 best foreign language film Oscar and was nominated for best screenplay. The lyrical drama--based on a novel by Giorgio Bassani--tells the story of a wealthy Jewish family in Ferrara, Italy, who refuse to believe that World War II and Mussolini’s anti-Semitic policies will ever enter the enormous garden walls that have protected the family for generations. Dominique Sanda stars.


Margot Kidder, who talks to Barbara Walters Sept. 6 about her battles with mental illness and the recent incident in which she was found dazed and confused in a Glendale backyard, has landed a guest-starring role in the Sept. 15 episode of NBC’s sitcom “Boston Common,” in which she plays an “eccentric” and “flamboyant” drama coach. . . . A South Korean newspaper reported Thursday that major banks and bookstores, among the country’s most popular ticket outlets, have refused to sell tickets to Michael Jackson’s Oct. 11-13 “HIStory” concerts there. The move follows pressure from a coalition of Christian and civic organizations that oppose Jackson’s appearance because of 1993 child molestation allegations against the singer. Jackson was never charged in the case. . . . Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher left London for the United States on Thursday and if American doctors say he has recovered from his laryngitis, he will join the band’s concert tour tonight in Auburn Hills, Mich. Gallagher stayed behind earlier this week when the band opened its U.S. tour in Chicago, with Gallagher’s brother, Noel, handling lead singing duties, prompting speculation that the band was breaking up. But Liam Gallagher, 23, told reporters Friday: “Me and Noel are all right. We have had chats.”