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

TELEVISION

Marching On: A tearful Katie Couric spoke for the first time about dealing with the "permanent damage" done to her heart by the January death of her husband, Jay Monahan. "The last year of my life is still too difficult to grasp and too painful to recount," the "Today" show co-host told a gathering of 1,300 businesswomen in New York Thursday. Couric, 41, said her world fell apart with Monahan's death from colon cancer at age 42. "[But] I drag my rear out of bed. . . . I do it because I have two girls [Ellie, 6, and Caroline, 2] who are depending on me . . . to show them what you have to do when life throws you a major curveball." Couric, who requested that video cameras be shut off before her speech, broke down when saying she's learned to believe the motto that "Everything I wanted was in my own backyard."

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Network Notes: ABC is changing the catch phrase for its "TV Is Good" advertising campaign to "We Love TV." The new effort will continue to use the bold yellow color associated with the initial ads, and ABC promises that the new campaign will be "even more aggressive" than the original. . . . Elsewhere at ABC, the network will air the remaining two original episodes of the canceled series "Ellen"--which went unseen when the program was taken off the air during the May sweeps--on July 15 and 22. . . . Fox, which last month announced plans to move its successful Sunday night series "King of the Hill" to Tuesdays in the fall, will take that jump a little sooner. The network now plans to begin "King's" Tuesday night reign on July 28, with back-to-back episodes airing from 8 to 9 p.m. through the rest of the summer.

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'Live Show' Canceled: KTLA-TV Channel 5 is terminating "The Live Show," its 11 a.m. weekday program starring Sam Rubin and Stephanie Edwards, because of lackluster ratings. The show premiered on Jan. 2; the final episode will air July 3, just prior to the ratings sweeps period that begins July 9 ("Little House on the Prairie" repeats will fill the slot starting July 6). It is the second daytime flop for Rubin, following his "Scoop" with Dorothy Lucey.

MOVIES

King of the Waiting Game: Oscar-winning director James Cameron says he's still undecided on his next film project following the incredible success of "Titanic." Cameron told a news conference in Toronto that he's "not eager to jump back into it," and that he expects it will be about a year before he gets his next feature underway. Reports have suggested his next film will be a remake of "Planet of the Apes" or a much-talked-about live-action adaptation of "Spiderman." But Cameron said he may instead opt for a small drama rather than a big-budget action movie.

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'Signals' of Success: "Smoke Signals," a movie about the Native American experience that is to be distributed by Miramax, won four awards--including best American independent feature film--at the just-concluded first San Diego World Film Festival. "The Truman Show," which previewed at the festival before opening nationwide last week, took four of five prizes for major studio pictures: best film, director (Peter Weir), screenplay (Andrew Niccol) and actor (Ed Harris). The fifth, best actress, went to Gwyneth Paltrow (for "A Perfect Murder").

STAGE

Political Theater: "But Not for Me," a play by Keith Reddin about the California U.S. Senate campaign in 1950--between Richard Nixon and Helen Gahagan Douglas--will premiere at South Coast Repertory, Nov. 6-Dec. 6. A revival of Alan Ayckbourn's comic trilogy, "The Norman Conquests," also has been added to the South Coast season, taking the final slot, May 29-June 27, 1999. Each subscriber will receive tickets to one of the three "Conquests" and be able to buy discount tickets to the others.

QUICK TAKES

Tina Sinatra is joining her siblings in reentering the public eye following her father's May 14 death. Frank Sinatra's youngest daughter is among 30 VIPs scheduled to attend a private luncheon--described as a "brainstorming for 2000" session--today at the Calabasas home of Democratic Party fund-raiser Sim Farar. Among others scheduled to attend: Vice President Al Gore, gubernatorial nominee Gray Davis, Sen. Barbara Boxer and actress Sally Field. . . . A day after a Boston judge ruled that actor Woody Harrelson assaulted two photographers during a 1995 scuffle in Martha's Vineyard, a jury in the photographers' civil case ruled that Harrelson should pay them less than $5,000. Harrelson had admitted wrestling with Star magazine photographer Steven Connolly and "Hard Copy" cameraman Paul Adao when the pair refused to stop taking pictures of his 2-year-old daughter. . . . Sophia Loren plans to star in a movie, tentatively called "Verna," for director Michelangelo Antonioni. "It's an extraordinary role written especially for me," the actress told Italy's ANSA news agency, without divulging further details. Antonioni, 85--who won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 1995--has been in ailing health in recent years. . . . Former "Beverly Hillbillies" and "Barnaby Jones" star Buddy Ebsen, 90, is recuperating at USC University Hospital after undergoing heart surgery Wednesday to replace his aortic valve. His surgeon said Ebsen was in "good condition," and termed the surgery "fairly routine." . . . Monty Python's Eric Idle will reportedly write the book for "Seussical," a planned Livent musical based on the Dr. Seuss books. An initial reading is planned for 1999 in Toronto, with a full production expected in 2000, Livent's Garth Drabinsky told the New York Times.

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