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MORNING REPORT

ENTERTAINMENT

‘Angel’ Ayes: Fox’s new sci-fi show “Dark Angel,” starring Jessica Alba, got off to a strong start Tuesday, despite running against the presidential debate on ABC and CBS in most of the country, and baseball on NBC. The James Cameron-produced drama attracted an estimated 17.4 million viewers with its two-hour premiere, compared with roughly 30 million combined viewing the debate on ABC and CBS. About 8.8 million tuned to NBC, which offered stations the option of carrying the playoff game (as did KNBC) or the debate.

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Waters’ Rap Connection: A Drug Enforcement Administration and Houston police investigation into the activities of a rap label and its founder was reportedly frozen after U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) wrote to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno on the label’s behalf. The Dallas Morning News reported that the investigation into Rap-A-Lot Records and its owner, James A. Prince, was dropped after Waters wrote Reno in 1999 saying that Prince and his associates feared for their lives because of what they called racist police harassment and use of excessive force. In the appeal, the Dallas paper reported, Waters cited the record of the case’s lead agent, who had previously been involved in six fatal police shootings. That officer, the newspaper reported, has since been transferred from active investigation to a desk job. However, the head of the DEA’s Houston division denied the investigation has been shelved and said the agent was transferred because he was needed elsewhere, not because of Waters’ letter. Waters, meanwhile, is in Washington this week and has not yet responded to the Dallas report, her Los Angeles spokesman said. Prince, who has been arrested twice on minor drug and weapons charges that were later dropped, has not been charged as a result of the DEA investigation. He has said his Houston-based company has done nothing illegal.

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Skipping a (Christmas) Beat: Twentieth Century Fox has pushed back the release date of its Baz Luhrmann-directed musical “Moulin Rouge” from Christmas to early summer. “This is a complicated, unconventional movie, so the most foolish thing we could do is to conventionalize [and rush] the post-production just to make the release date,” a Fox spokesman said. He noted that although all work by stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor is done, much work still remains on the film’s music and soundtrack.

QUICK TAKES

Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon will be unveiled as the new co-anchors of “Saturday Night Live’s” “Weekend Update” when the NBC show has its season premiere Saturday. Fey, who is also the show’s head writer, and Fallon, in his third season as a cast member, replace Colin Quinn behind the “Weekend Update” desk. . . . Martin Landau receives the Character Actor Award at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival’s opening tonight at the Writers Guild in Beverly Hills. . . . As expected, the syndicated TV show “Dr. Laura” has been dropped by several Canadian TV stations, citing low ratings. The four stations--the program’s only Canadian outlets--are in Montreal, Vancouver, and smaller towns in Ontario and Alberta. All are owned by CanWest Global Communications. . . . Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes has signed a three-year contract to stay with the organization through January 2004.


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