Mr. Ambassador: Jackie Chan, the high-kicking action hero whose new film, "Rush Hour," debuted Friday, is taking on a new battle: speaking out against the killing of stray street dogs in Taiwan. On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, he is urging Taiwan to enact an animal protection law when the issue comes before the Legislative Yuan this month. "I was saddened to learn recently that dogs in Taiwan are being killed by poisoning, electrocution and starvation," he said in a letter to Liu Pi-Liang, Taiwan's secretary general. "This treatment of dogs goes against everything that an advanced, humane nation like Taiwan represents. Along with my friends at [PETA], I humbly ask you to give these dogs the consideration they deserve." Chan joins Steven Seagal, Brad Pitt, Kim Basinger and David Duchovny in this effort. Chan's diplomatic approach can't hurt in his native Hong Kong, where he has accepted the post of ambassador of tourism to Hong Kong. This is the first time a tourism ambassador has been chosen since the changeover to China from British rule last year.
Hartman Video: A video of the late comedian Phil Hartman, who starred in NBC's "NewsRadio" and was a former featured cast member on "Saturday Night Live," will be available tonight through NBC Home Video. The $19.95 (plus shipping and handling) stereo recording, running approximately 83 minutes without commercials, embodies the special "SNL' tribute to Hartman's myriad characters, wide range of comic talents and overall body of work over several seasons. The tribute will be rebroadcast tonight on NBC at 11:30. "The video was prompted by numerous calls from viewers asking about the availability of a Phil Hartman retrospective following his tragic death," said NBC's Elisabeth Sami, vice president of business development. "Phil was a remarkably versatile, irreplaceable performer and his fans are legion around the globe. It gives us great pleasure to be able to celebrate his life and brilliant work as well as keep his spirit and his comedy alive with this showcase home video."
New East West Season: In addition to Philip Kan Gotanda's "Yohen," a co-production with Danny Glover's Robey Theatre Company (see F1), East West Players' 1999 season will also include "Carry the Tiger to the Mountain," the story of the brutal murder of Vincent Chin, written by Cherylene Lee and starring Beulah Quo (Feb. 24-March 14); "Hanako," by Chungmi Kim, about a hidden war atrocity that leads to the unfolding of an emotional story about the Korean "comfort women" (April 7-25); and "Beijing Spring," an original musical with music by Joel Iwataki and lyrics by Tim Dang, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre (May 12-June 6).
New 'Frankenstein': A new musical version of "Frankenstein," by Carol Weiss, will launch International City Theatre's 1999 season at the mid-size Center Theater in Long Beach, Feb. 12-March 7. The season also will include the Rodgers & Hammerstein revue "It's a Grand Night for Singing" (June 15-July 11), "Lend Me a Tenor" (Aug. 31-Sept. 26, 1999) and "1940s Radio Hour" (Nov. 2-Dec. 5, 1999).
Roseanne Up but Whoopi Down: The new syndicated programs "The Roseanne Show" and "Hollywood Squares," featuring Whoopi Goldberg, had varying degrees of success in their first week. "Roseanne," which airs locally at 10 a.m. on KNBC-TV Channel 4, scored an average 11% of the available audience in its first four shows, and came in second in its time period. "Hollywood Squares," which airs on KCBS-TV Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m., attracted 7% of the available audience and placed fifth in its time period. Both shows are syndicated by King World. Meanwhile, NBC's affiliate in Paducah, Ky., confirmed that it has pulled "The Roseanne Show," which just made its debut Monday. Daily Variety said sources indicate the issue was the use of four-letter words by Roseanne and her talk-show guests. All the words were bleeped out for the broadcasts. The program had been airing on WPSD-TV in Paducah at 9 a.m.
R&B; singer Maxwell will perform at Universal Amphitheatre Nov. 11. Tickets go on sale today. . . . ABC's best drama Emmy winner "The Practice" tied with Comedy Central's foul-mouthed "South Park" with two nominations apiece for the Environmental Media Awards, to be held Oct. 11 in Pacific Palisades. Single nominees for the awards, recognizing programs "incorporating positive environmental messages," include NBC's "Law & Order," "ER" and "Suddenly Susan"; Fox's "The X-Files" and "The Simpsons"; and ABC's "Home Improvement." . . . Singer Keely Smith, billed as the "first lady of Las Vegas," receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday. On Wednesday night, along with a 17-piece orchestra, she will stage a tribute to the late Louis Prima, her former husband and singing partner, at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. . . . "Fox Files" will air the first interview with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee since his release from jail for spousal abuse. The interview will air on KTTV-TV Channel 11 Thursday at 9 p.m., and will include home video footage of Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson and their son Brandon. . . . Sir Elton John is the most recent addition of contributors to the upcoming album, "Chef Aid: The South Park Album." He's written a new song, titled "Wake Up Wendy."