ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT REPORTS FROM THE TIMES, NEWS SERVICES AND THE NATION’S PRESS.
Remembering Madeline: CBS’ “Cosby” will pay tribute to the late Madeline Kahn in a Dec. 29 episode that will feature clips of her work on the show and remembrances from the cast. Kahn, an Oscar-nominated actress and comedian who starred in such films as “Blazing Saddles,” “Paper Moon” and “Young Frankenstein,” played the Cosbys’ quirky neighbor Pauline on the series. The tribute episode, titled “Loving Madeline,” will include taped segments with “Cosby” stars Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad. Meanwhile, the final original episode featuring Kahn, who died of ovarian cancer on Dec. 3 at the age of 57, will air Dec. 22.
Abraham Polonsky Memorial: The Writers Guild in Beverly Hills will hold a memorial for blacklisted writer-director Abraham Polonsky on Tuesday at 11 a.m. Scheduled participants include Malcolm McDowell and writers Ring Lardner Jr. and Walter Bernstein. Polonsky, who wrote and directed the classic “Force of Evil” and received a screenplay Oscar nomination for “Body and Soul,” died in October at the age of 88.
‘Cops’ to Visit ‘X-Files’: “The X-Files” will take a page from another long-running Fox series, the reality show “Cops,” during the February sweeps. In the planned episode, Mulder and Scully work with the L.A. Sheriff’s Department on a case, and a “Cops” crew begins following them and documenting their investigation. In a departure from its usual film format, the episode will be shot on video, in “Cops’ ” familiar hand-held, “gun-and-run style.” “Cops” executive producer John Langley is a consultant on the fictional “X-Files” installment and “X-Files” writer Vince Gilligan went on ride-alongs with actual “Cops” crews as part of his research. However, a network spokeswoman said there are no plans for any of the “X-Files” team to show up on “Cops.”
USA Development Slate: Cable’s USA Network is aiming to more than double original series offerings, with plans to add five new hours of prime-time series by the summer. Among the series under development are an untitled psychological thriller from filmmaker Sam Raimi (“A Simple Plan”); a series about black and white teammates on a Southern high school football team; “Infantry,” a futuristic drama about U.S. involvement in a Mexican civil war reminiscent of Vietnam; “Peep Show,” a comedy based on the short film of the same name; and “Iceberg and Son,” a “blaxploitation” comedy about a “Shaft"-era lead who “wakes up from a deep sleep and realizes he is now living in the ‘90s.”
Show Plans: Breaking with tradition, the producing team of Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck, producers for the 2000 Academy Awards ceremony, announced they are hoping to drop the use of dance numbers for the show. “We feel it has a little bit of that variety show feel and [the Oscars] are not a variety show,” Fini Zanuck said. The Zanucks, the team behind “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Deep Impact” and “Mulholland Falls,” also hope Billy Crystal will sign on as master of ceremonies for the March 26 show. Fini Zanuck’s appointment marks the first time a woman has been charged with producing the Academy Awards. “I’ve been in the business for 20 years and so obviously to me it doesn’t make a difference [to be the first woman], but I like the possibility that it might make a difference to a little girl watching the show somewhere,” she said. “As far as the academy goes, hopefully this will be the beginning of more women producing the show.”
Records for Serrano, Hirst: Andres Serrano’s controversial “Piss Christ” photograph of a crucifix suspended in urine, which sparked an art world furor in the ‘80s, set a record for the artist at a London Sotheby’s auction Thursday, fetching about $181,200, almost four times its presale estimate. Another version of the photograph fetched $43,700 in a U.S. Christie’s sale in October. Thursday’s sale also set a record for British artist Damien Hirst, when one of his “Butterfly Paintings” went for $288,500.
KROQ-FM (106.7) will broadcast its annual Almost Acoustic Christmas concert at the Arrowhead Pond--featuring 11 acts including Beck, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos and Blink 182--live without commercials tonight beginning at 5 p.m. . . . Although music station KLYY-FM (107.1) is switching from English to Spanish on Monday, it is keeping its 3-month-old rock en espanol show, “The Red Zone,” which airs Sundays at 5 p.m. But hosts Josh Kun and Yareli Arizmendi will now converse in Spanish. . . . Fox has ordered a full season of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s “Party of Five” spinoff, “Time of Your Life.” . . . Singer Barry Manilow on Friday received the USC Thornton School of Music’s Magnum Opus Award, following in the footsteps of past honorees such as Herb Alpert, Ella Fitzgerald and Leonard Bernstein. . . . After 12 years, David McCullough will step down as host of PBS’ Emmy-winning series “The American Experience,” at the end of the current season in May. His replacement has not yet been named.