ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT REPORTS FROM THE TIMES, NEWS SERVICES AND THE NATION’S PRESS.
‘Bullets’ on Broadway: Woody Allen and Marvin Hamlisch are teaming to create a musical-theater adaptation of Allen’s 1994 film “Bullets Over Broadway,” according to the New York Daily News. Allen’s movie poked fun at Broadway in its comic look at a struggling young playwright who makes compromise after compromise to get his play staged in 1920s New York, only to have a prominent gangster--and his play’s financier--prove to be a better writer than the author himself. No directors, lyricists or librettists were mentioned. The film version of “Bullets” used standards by a host of Broadway composers, including Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Jerome Kern and George Gershwin. The News reported that Jean Doumanian and Marty Richards will produce the show on Broadway. Hamlisch, who is preparing for an August workshop of his latest musical, “The Sweet Smell of Success,” starring John Lithgow, is set to begin writing the score to “Bullets Over Broadway” in the fall. “I’m very excited about the project,” Hamlisch said. “Between now and August, let the lawyers worry about it. Then we’ll worry about it.”
Humanitas Nominations: NBC’s first-year drama “The West Wing” captured two nominations Tuesday in the 60-minute category for the annual Humanitas Prizes, cash awards given to the writers of TV shows and feature films whose work “enriches and enlightens their audiences.” The third nominee in that category--the winner of which will receive $15,000--was another first-year drama, ABC’s “Once and Again.” Nominations in the network TV movie category (a $25,000 prize) went to CBS’ “Anya’s Bell,” CBS’ “Joan of Arc” and ABC’s “Tuesdays With Morrie,” and for cable to A&E;'s “Dash and Lilly,” TNT’s “Freedom Song” and HBO’s “A Lesson Before Dying.” In the category for 30-minute TV shows ($10,000), the nominees were episodes of NBC’s “Frasier,” NBC’s “3rd Rock From the Sun” and WB’s “The Smart Guy.” The feature film nominees ($25,000) were “The Straight Story,” “The Insider” and “The End of the Affair.” Winners will be announced July 12.
Sweet ‘Jesus’: ABC’s “Peter Jennings Reporting: The Search for the Historical Jesus” generated high ratings Monday and plenty of debate. Drawing 16.6 million viewers, it was the network’s most-viewed documentary since a 1993 report about the Waco Branch Davidian conflict, and easily gave ABC the highest ratings of any network during its 9-11 p.m. time period. ABC’s Web site, meanwhile, received 27,349 questions for Jennings, who chatted about the show after its airing (the site’s second-largest chat ever, behind “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” bride Darva Conger). By Tuesday afternoon, it had posted nearly 6,000 messages about the show.
Damon and Affleck Get Real: Academy Award winners Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (“Good Will Hunting”) are joining the reality-TV game, serving as executive producers of “The Runner” for ABC. The network gave the show a 13-episode order but didn’t disclose exactly when it will premiere. The series, which Affleck and Damon said they spent six months developing, will follow a single contestant as he or she tries to cross the country without being recognized or identified by viewers. The show will be produced by LivePlanet Inc., the actors’ production company, in association with Touchstone Television.
A Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll: Orange County radio station KIKF-FM (94.3) has dropped its country format after 20 years because its audience was dwindling. It switched as of Sunday to an adult-rock format dubbed “Cool 94.3--Today’s Mix.” KIKF-FM is owned by Carlsbad-based Astor Broadcasting, which owns a handful of radio stations in Southern California. Astor plans to keep playing country music on its Ontario station, KIKA-AM (1510).
Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre has become the first movie theater to offer online ticket purchasing, it was announced Tuesday. The new service, available now, allows moviegoers to buy seats by visiting https://www.elcapitantickets.com, and then print them on their personal computers. . . . Glenn Close, Harry Connick Jr., Rade Sherbedgia, Jack Thompson and Robert Pastorelli will star in the new version of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific,” a three-hour movie that will air next season on ABC. Production is set to start on July 10 and will be filmed entirely on tropical locations in Queensland, Australia, and Moorea, Tahiti. . . . Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss will receive the lifetime achievement award at the Hollywood Film Festival during an Aug. 7 banquet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Festival founder and executive director Carlos de Abreu said Dreyfuss’ “stellar performances are a perfect example of what actors should strive for.” The festival will run Aug. 2-7. . . . Ellen Ketchum will replace the departing Martin Kagan as executive director of the Alex Theatre in Glendale. . . . Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 2" will hit stores on video and DVD on Oct. 17. . . . Singer Vic Damone, in the midst of a national farewell tour, canceled appearances this week at an Atlantic City casino after being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. Publicist Rob Wilcox said Damone, 72, felt ill Monday morning and was admitted to an undisclosed New Jersey hospital. Damone canceled scheduled appearances through Friday.