Is Janet Jackson back in control? Watch this week for Jackson to make a big splash on television and on the charts of Radio & Records, the industry trade publication. The singer is featured Tuesday night on a new MTV show called "mtvIcon" and is also artist of the month on VH1, assuring her major chunks of exposure from the video giants that are among the leading taste-makers of the day. She may not need that exposure, though, if the Radio & Records charts are an indication: Jackson's "All for You" will light up this week's tallies in historic fashion after it was added last week to the playlists of all 333 U.S. radio stations that report to the trade publication's weekly surveys of pop, urban and R&B; outlets. That's an unprecedented feat. "No other song has closed 100% of the panels in the first week at pop [stations], let alone ever closed all three panels in one week," said Kevin McCabe, director of charts for the trade. Widespread play of "All for You" means a potential 70 million radio listeners have heard the track already. That's music to the ears of Roy Cooper, co-president of Virgin Records America, who hopes to see fan hunger build for the April release of Jackson's album. "The new album is very bright, it's very upbeat and dynamic," Cooper said. "She wanted to make an album that was rhythmically strong as well as melodically strong. . . . She also wanted as explosive and strong a start as possible, and this certainly qualifies."
A Pause in the 'Friends'-'Survivor' Showdown
Television's titanic showdown between "Survivor" and "Friends" will be put on hold for two weeks. Because the men's NCAA college basketball tournament will tip off Thursday on CBS, the opportunistic network has opted to carry its Nielsen-topping "Survivor: The Australian Outback" at 8 p.m. this Wednesday and next (March 21), with the new crime drama "Big Apple" tagging along at 9 p.m. This canny strategy serves two purposes in that it sustains the surging ratings momentum of "Survivor," while simultaneously plugging a troubled one-hour slot occupied by the dismally rated midseason comedy "Some of My Best Friends" and the canceled "Bette." So instead of facing off against Ross, Rachel and company, the weathered Colby, Alicia, Elisabeth and remaining contestants will vie for viewers on Wednesday opposite NBC's "Ed" rerun and the ABC duo of "The Drew Carey Show" and "Spin City," which are also repeats. Next week's special hour of "Survivor" clips and previously unseen footage recapping the group's first 24 days Down Under also benefits CBS by pushing the staged, unscripted program's finale to May 3, two weeks into May sweeps, when it will reveal the winner of a $1-million prize and again challenge new episodes of "Friends." Until the ratings results are determined, the network has spoken.
Will 'Exit Wounds' Mark Seagal's Reentry?
As his box-office appeal has steadily waned, actor Steven Seagal has in recent years seemed almost a parody of an aging martial arts star--the long ponytail, ballooning weight and attire that a Hollywood trade publication once said was more fitting for the Lone Ranger's sidekick than an action star. Does the 7th-degree black-belt aikido master have any kick left? Hollywood will be watching this weekend's opening figures for Warner Bros.' "Exit Wounds," in which he co-stars with rapper DMX. Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, the film features Seagal as a maverick Detroit police detective who is assigned to the city's toughest precinct, where he joins a mysterious crime lord (DMX) in combating a drug conspiracy. Warner Bros. hopes that teaming Seagal with veteran action producer Joel Silver ("The Matrix," "Lethal Weapon") will resuscitate Seagal's career after such flops as "The Glimmer Man" ($20.4 million) and "Fire Down Below" ($16.1 million). Body counts have always been high in Seagal movies. One Internet Web site calculates Seagal has registered a total of 198 "kills" in 11 movies, including 50 in "Under Siege" and 30 more in "On Deadly Ground." The tally for "Exit Wounds" is anybody's guess. The studio has waited until the week before opening to screen the movie for the media--usually not a good sign. And DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, has had his own troubles of late, having been sentenced in New York to 15 days in jail for driving without a license. He was released on Friday. Should Seagal's latest movie bomb, however, there are always other avenues he can explore. On his personal Web site--http://www.stevenseagal.com--the actor not only offers for sale his personal line of essential body oils, but he also sells a video featuring "never-before-seen-footage" of aikido master Seagal in his Japanese dojo, and coming soon, a line of Seagal Gear featuring T-shirts, mugs, etc.
--Compiled by Times staff writers