TV & MOVIES
World's Scariest TV Trend Continues: Nash Entertainment, the company that brought us the "Magic's Biggest Secrets Revealed" series, has announced a number of reality projects planned for six networks. Among them: "World's Deadliest Storms: Caught on Tape," a February sweeps special for ABC; "Cheating Spouses: Caught on Tape," a Fox special; "World's Most . . .," a series capturing dramatic events around the world, for cable's Learning Channel; a CBS pilot for an updated "This Is Your Life"; and "Dates From Hell," a project in development for Fox, written by author Sandra Tsing Loh. . . . Meanwhile, cable's TBS Superstation has committed to 22 hourlong episodes of "The New Ripley's Believe It or Not," to premiere in 2000.
ABC Moves: ABC is canceling its "Fantasy Island" remake, with the show's final episodes expected to air in January. Meanwhile, the network will move its other Saturday drama, "Cupid," starring Jeremy Piven, to Thursdays at 9 p.m. starting Jan. 7. In other changes, the network will unveil its fourth edition of "20/20" on Feb. 1, airing Monday nights at 8; will begin airing a 9 p.m. Monday movie on Jan. 18; and will begin a revolving slate of news specials, tentatively titled "ABC News Thursday Night," on Jan. 14 at 10 p.m. Meanwhile, the network confirmed that a new series from "The Practice" creator David E. Kelley--a drama about four private investigators called "Snoops"--is being developed for next fall.
Market Crossovers: Sony furthered its strategy of using synergy between its entertainment divisions to cross over to the U.S. Latin market this week by signing Mexican singer-actress Patricia Manterola to act in English-language movies and Spanish-language television shows for Columbia TriStar and Sony Pictures Entertainment. As part of the long-term deal, Manterola has already been cast in the lead of the upcoming TV series "Angeles," a Spanish-language "Charlie's Angels" remake, for Sony property Telemundo. Last August, Puerto Rican singer Chayanne, who works for the Sony Music International label, made his English-language acting debut in the Columbia TriStar movie "Dance With Me." Manterola is reportedly considering a jump to one of Sony's recording divisions as well.
'Chicago' Hits Vegas Jackpot: The Tony-winning musical "Chicago" has been booked to open Las Vegas' $950-million Mandalay Bay Resort, with performances beginning March 3. That precedes the previously announced Luciano Pavarotti concert scheduled for April 10. However, "Chicago" will play at the hotel's 1,700-seat theater, while the tenor will sing at its 12,000-seat sports arena. "Chicago" casting is expected to be announced in January.
Remaking the Classics: RKO Pictures said this week that it is working on several deals to turn its classic movies into musicals--with efforts especially centering on Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane," which earlier this year topped the American Film Institute's list of the best U.S. movies of all time. RKO Pictures Chief Executive Officer Ted Hartley said that while remaking the 1941 classic on film might be too risky, adapting it to a different medium could help avoid odious comparisons. RKO declined, however, to give specific details on the project other than to say that it would likely be a big-production dance musical. Other RKO titles being developed as Broadway musicals include the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers classics "Swing Time" (1936) and "Top Hat" (1935).
Score One for the Boss: A London judge has blocked the release of an unauthorized collection of songs recorded by Bruce Springsteen early in his career. Springsteen had maintained that release of "Before the Fame" would damage his artistic integrity because the songs were inferior. London-based Masquerade Music, which had claimed it had a license for the songs, was ordered to pay Springsteen's legal costs, estimated at $825,000. A Masquerade spokesman said the company will appeal. Springsteen has a parallel case in the United States against two other companies.
Award Protest: A professional illustrator of detailed military diagrams protested the selection of Chris Ofili, who uses elephant dung in his paintings, as the 1998 winner of Britain's prestigious Turner Prize by dumping a load of cow manure on the steps of London's Tate Gallery Thursday. Illustrator Ray Hutchins, 66, drew cheers and some jeers from onlookers. An accompanying placard likened the pile to the state of modern art.
Roberto Benigni, the actor-director-writer of the Holocaust-themed Italian-language movie "Life Is Beautiful," will receive the Anti-Defamation League's inaugural Crystal Globe Award on Monday in Chicago. The award recognizes an individual or institution in the arts who "helps illuminate aspects of the human condition and teaches us that history must neither be forgotten nor revised." . . . The cast of "The Drew Carey Show" and additional comedians including Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin will perform at the Wilshire Ebell Theater at 3 p.m. on Sunday in "A Cracked Xmas," a benefit for the Trevor Helpline, a suicide prevention line for gay youth. The event is chaired by actress Holly Hunter. . . . Rod Stewart will broadcast his concert from London's Earl's Court live over the Internet today at noon (at http://www.LiveConcerts.com or http://www.RodStewartLive.com). . . . The correct night for the "Dilbert" premiere on UPN is Jan. 25. Thursday's Morning Report gave the wrong date.