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ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT REPORTS FROM THE TIMES, NEWS SERVICES AND THE NATION’S PRESS.

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TV & VIDEO

Disney Does DVD: Buena Vista Home Entertainment will release nine animated Disney classics on DVD as part of a four-month millennium celebration. The series, called Disney Video Discs, will kick off Oct. 26 with “Pinocchio,” which was also the first animated Disney film released on sell-through video, back in 1985. Subsequent Disney DVD releases will be “101 Dalmatians,” “Hercules” and “Mulan” on Nov. 11; “Lady and the Tramp,” “Peter Pan” and “Simba’s Pride” on Nov. 23; and “The Jungle Book” and “The Little Mermaid” on Dec. 7. Each title will be available for 60 days only, with most then placed on moratorium for up to 10 years.

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Seeking Ethnic Writers: In an effort to “broaden its talent pool,” cable’s Nickelodeon has created a fellowship program for writers from “culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds.” Five yearlong, salaried fellowships will be awarded in the network’s live action, animated television and feature film divisions, with the program slated to begin next June. “At Nickelodeon, we want to cast a wide net and reach out to creative people who are underrepresented in this industry,” said Albie Hecht, president of the network’s entertainment division. The announcement follows intense media scrutiny of the lack of minorities both in front of and behind the cameras among shows on the new fall TV schedule.

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‘Nash’ Turns Stone Cold: Wrestling star Stone Cold Steve Austin will return to “Nash Bridges” for five episodes this season, beginning Sept. 22. Austin, who plays a “rough around the edges” San Francisco cop, appeared in the role twice last season. The CBS show ranks No. 5 in the young-adult-male demographics to which Austin appeals.

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POP/ROCK

Radio Music Nominees: With categories like “Favorite Driving Song,” “Favorite Make-Out Song” and “Parents Just Don’t Understand” (nominees: Kid Rock, Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, Korn, Rob Zombie and Limp Bizkit), the first WB Radio Music Awards will air on the WB network Oct. 28, emanating from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay resort. Multiple nominees--in categories including R&B;, country, alternative rock and adult contemporary--include Jay-Z, Kenny Chesney and Sugar Ray (three nods a piece) and Zombie, Lauryn Hill, Dru Hill, TLC, Brandy, Lenny Kravitz, the Goo Goo Dolls, Sarah McLachlan, Backstreet Boys, Smashmouth, Mark Chesnutt, Jo Dee Messina and the Dixie Chicks (two each). In addition, Los Angeles’ Rick Dees (KIIS-FM) and Kevin & Bean (KROQ-FM) were among eight radio nominees for “air personality of the year.”

COMEDY

Second City Alumni Home: A “Second City Alumni Comedy Jam,” featuring Andy Dick (“NewsRadio”), Dan Castellaneta (“The Simpsons”), Ryan Stiles (“The Drew Carey Show”) and Joel Murray (“Dharma & Greg”), will be the official opening-night performance tonight at Arcadia, a restaurant and nightclub on the Santa Monica Pier. Also performing will be the Flying Fannoli Bros., a musical improv group. The venue, in the same site where the Ash Grove floundered, held its first performance in November but is just now beginning full-time operation. Tickets to the 8 p.m. opening-night show are $8. The 350-seat club will be the Second City Alumni troupe’s permanent home, with shows each Wednesday. Other scheduled events include Sunday gospel-jazz brunches and live musical acts on weekends.

MOVIES

Synergy at Work: Miramax Films is one of Talk magazine’s big backers, so it should be no surprise that the studio already has optioned film rights to “The Last Safari,” a first-person account of a Ugandan hostage situation featured in Talk’s debut issue. The story, written by American safari guide Mark Ross, tells of the terror faced by 16 tourists taken hostage by a group of Hutu rebels.

QUICK TAKES

Robert Foxworth has been cast as Vanya in the Geffen Playhouse’s 100th-anniversary production of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” opening Oct. 8. . . . Musician Beck has settled his lawsuit against Geffen Records, his attorney said. The singer had alleged that the company had not paid him for his latest recording, “Mutations,” and also owed him the copyright to the recording under his 1993 contract with the label. No settlement details were disclosed. . . . Lauryn Hill, Nine Inch Nails, Jay-Z, Kid Rock and DMX have joined the list of performers for the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards airing on Sept. 9 from New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. In addition, Janet Jackson is among the scheduled presenters. . . . The North Valley Jewish Community Center’s program director, Luane Sugerman, will guest on radio station KCSN-FM (88.5) this morning at 10. In addition to discussing the recent shootings, she will detail a musical program that the center is planning Saturday in an effort to pay the community back for its generosity and support since the tragedy.

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