Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, news services and the nation’s press.
Jack’s Latest Honor: Jack Nicholson will receive the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s 1999 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 56th annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 24. Nicholson will be honored for his “outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.” Previous honorees include Shirley MacLaine, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. Meanwhile, Tori Reid, the 23-year-old actress daughter of actor-producer Tim Reid, has been named the 1999 Miss Golden Globe.
Catholic League Versus ‘Ally’?: The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights--whose previous protest targets have included the defunct TV drama “Nothing Sacred” and Terrence McNally’s new play, “Corpus Christi"--is upset with Fox’s “Ally McBeal” over what it calls a “clear and intentional pattern of Catholic bashing” on the program. The league wrote to Fox after Monday night’s episode, which featured a nun who sued the Catholic Church for being dismissed because she broke her celibacy vow. The episode also featured a priest who videotaped confessions about sex for a documentary called “World’s Naughtiest Confessions.” Officials at Fox and David E. Kelley Productions, which makes the program, wouldn’t comment, although one Fox source noted that the show is broadly satirical, and that the segment about the priest’s videotape was poking fun at the network’s own reality shows. Gregory Coiro, a Los Angeles priest who acted as a script consultant for ABC’s since-canceled priest drama, “Nothing Sacred,” was also upset by the episode, calling the humor “insulting and very demeaning.”
Back on the Clock: CBS News has named the first two correspondents for “60 Minutes II,” the second-night installment of the long-running news series that’s scheduled to debut in early 1999. The network said “CBS Evening News” and “48 Hours” anchor Dan Rather will add the “60 Minutes II” duties to his schedule, as will Bob Simon, the network’s chief Middle East correspondent. Rather is a veteran of the original “60 Minutes,” and Simon has been a regular contributor to “60 Minutes” since 1996.
‘Maggie’s’ Growing Pains: Just three months after extolling cable’s Lifetime as “gutsy” for picking up his Tuesday-night Ann Cusack sitcom “Maggie,” executive producer Dan O’Shannon has walked off the series over creative differences with the cable network. “They want the show to be unique, as long as it’s unique in a way they’ve seen before,” O’Shannon said, adding that he quit after Lifetime gave him an ultimatum to change the direction of the show. A Lifetime source said O’Shannon was blowing the dispute out of proportion, noting that the network showed faith in the sitcom recently by ordering the remaining nine episodes of its freshman season.
Coming Showtime Fare: Cable’s Showtime announced a slate of eight upcoming TV movies Thursday, including a remake of Jason Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “That Championship Season,” starring Gary Sinise and featuring the directorial debut of Paul Sorvino, who starred in the original Broadway play and film. The other projects include “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” starring Kirsten Dunst as a pampered Long Island teen who is transported back to her family’s tragic past during the Holocaust. Mimi Rogers and Dustin Hoffman are among that project’s executive producers.
Just three days before the Nov. 13 opening of the movie “Meet Joe Black,” starring Brad Pitt, Universal Studios Home Video releases four new Cinema Classics titles on Tuesday, including “Death Takes a Holiday,” the original 1934 film on which “Meet Joe Black” is based. It stars Fredric March as the Grim Reaper who takes human form in order to learn why the world fears him. . . . Unlicensed “pirate” radio station KBLT--which operated out of the Silver Lake area for the last three years, including about a year at FM 104.7--has been shut down by the FCC. Agents confiscated the station’s equipment following an Oct. 30 raid. . . . A member of Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera Company was accidentally stabbed Wednesday when a prop knife failed to retract during a rehearsal of a stabbing scene in “I Pagliacci.” The baritone, Kimm Julian, 48, was listed in satisfactory condition Thursday following emergency surgery.