News

Boy Oh Boy, a Benefit at 'Taboo'

11/02/2003 7:00 PM Eastern

Joining in Viacom Inc.'s global AIDS-awareness campaign, VH1 and VH1 Classic are set to sponsor a Broadway benefit on World AIDS Day, Monday, Dec. 1.

The venue: Taboo, the London-in-the-1980s musical starring Boy George and bankrolled by Rosie O'Donnell. The beneficiary: Cable Positive.

The sister nets have blocked out at least 200 tickets at the Plymouth Theatre, where Taboo opened in previews last Tuesday (opening night is Nov. 13). Tickets will cost $500, $375 and $150, with all but the $150 tickets providing entrée to the after party, VH1 senior VP Laura Nelson said. The star-studded host committee includes Boy George, O'Donnell and David Bowie, aided by MTV Networks celebs Judy McGrath, Brian Graden and Christina Norman and by Time Warner Cable vice chairman John Billock.

Gamey Goa'ulds

Sadly, fans of Sci Fi Channel's hit Stargate SG-1 have to wait until after Christmas to explore the galaxy via board game.

Fleet Games (fleetgames.com) president Anthony Listrom said last week the Chinese manufacturers initially had some trouble making models of the required starships and the Goa'ulds, enemies of Earth. "On the first pass, they didn't get it right," he said. But "as of yesterday they came in looking great."

The $34.95 games should be ready to ship Jan. 4. This is Fleet's first pass at a basic-cable show adaptation. Show producer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer liked the outfit's first endeavor, "Fleets," a game with good-looking starships.

A Thankful Man

If you are looking for topical reading this holiday season, you can seek out a name that will ring bells in the cable industry: Ed Bleier.

Most would recognize him by his former title: president of Warner Bros. domestic pay-TV, cable and network features. His latest titles: retiree and author.

His book isn't an industry tell-all. It's a history of Thanksgiving, and celebrates the fact the holiday centered on a meal that incorporates Americans from all religions and ethnic backgrounds.

He did, however, tap some of his entertainment contacts for cover blurbs. Praising his literary work are Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones and wordsmith William Safire.

Given the time of year, The Thanksgiving Ceremony is front and center in some bookstore displays, although it was published late last year.

Friends brought the title to the Wire's attention, noting, "There is life after Warner Bros."

Born to be Wild

Here's a way to plump the morale of employees in the celebrity-starved Midwest. Give 'em a chance to motor down the highway with a celebrity pitchman.

According to a memo forwarded to The Wire, Charter Communications Inc. will allow a limited number of its St. Louis-based staff to ride their motorcycles with Saturday Night Live alumnus and Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd when he visits the corporate HQ on Nov. 6.

But, safety first! Those under consideration for the drawing for the ride must show their motorcycle driver's license, show proof of insurance and wear the state-required helmet.

Due to high interest, Charter was planning a random drawing to see who gets to go on the two-wheel trek.

A Patient Man

Judge John G. Roberts, the newest member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is now known to many in the Beltway telecosm as the man who wrote the opinion upholding the Federal Communications Commission's authority to require off-air DTV tuners in nearly all new TV sets.

Getting to court took extraordinary patience. Roberts was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in January 1992, but the Senate failed to act. He was renominated in 2001 by President George W. Bush, but had to wait another two years to be confirmed.

Now that he's a berobed member of the federal judiciary, how does it feel to have lifetime tenure? "I am enjoying my new job immensely. My fellow judges made sure I had the best view of the construction going on outside," Roberts quipped, noting that everything goes by seniority, from office selection to mail sorting.

Roberts spoke last Thursday at a luncheon gathering of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group whose members supported his nomination.

Asked to comment on the judicial confirmation process that strung him along for more than a decade, Roberts said he made a private pact not to discuss that for at least a year. "I have eight months and four days to go."

By Kent Gibbons. Contributors: Linda Haugsted, Ted Hearn.

March