News

Rivers Calls E! Boss on Carpet

4/01/2001 8:00 PM Eastern

It's rare that a non-Hollywood star gets face time on Joan Rivers' Live on the Red Carpet
show on E! Entertainment Television, but it happened on her March 25 pre-Oscars special. Even as Joan and daughter Melissa were busy throwing verbal bouquets to Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts, Joan Allen and Renee Zellweger and brickbats at Sarah Jessica Parker's mini and Bjork's swan dress, Joan spotted E! president Mindy Herman-her boss since last year-as she walked along the red gauntlet en route to the Oscar ceremonies.
Herman enjoyed cheers from nearby fans but later said it was probably directed at the nearby contingent from the Oscar-nominated Traffic.
On camera, Herman told Rivers that she'd attended a previous Academy Awards ceremony as a seat holder while still a student at UCLA. Later, she noted that she'd also walked the red carpet at a Grammy Awards-"but this is the Oscars."

...Some companies might shell out a big chunk of their marketing budgets to buy the title sponsorship for a convention like the Western Show. But the California Cable Television Association named this year's Western Show theme afterdigital ad-insertion/video-on-demand vendor SeaChange International Inc. for free-well, sort of.
After calling last year's confab "Broadband Wagon," the CCTA settled on "See Change" as its 2001 theme. "We checked with [SeaChange]. They were a bit concerned about the spelling," said CCTA spokesman Paul Fadelli. While SeaChange spokesman John Coulbourn said he hopes the name will help drive traffic to the company's booth, other vendors aren't as thrilled. "We trust in the great creative minds of the CCTA that they could come up with a name that's not associated with a vendor," cracked nCUBE spokeswoman Louise Mooney, a former CCTA publicist, who stressed she's just poking fun. Concurrent (Computer Corp.) or Diva (Systems Corp.)-the names of two other VOD vendors- apparently don't roll off the tongue like SeaChange.

...The "merger of equals," the oft-cited moniker for the corporate marriage between America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc., hasn't exactly resulted in parity for Time Warner's Washington-based government relations crew. Time Warner's D.C. office head Tim Boggs mailed in his resignation after losing a power struggle with George Vradenburg III, AOL Time Warner's executive vice president of global and strategic policy. Next out the door was Boggs lieutenant Art Sackler. That leaves just Cathy Nolan from the old Time Warner Inc. team. And Nolan-a Capitol Hill veteran from the GOP staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee-is apparently about to leave the new company, too.
That's likely by the end of March, according to a cable-industry insider. Nolan has been a good solider, having helped to guide CNN News Group chairman and CEO Tom Johnson during his all-day appearance last month before Nolan's old committee.

Johnson testified on CNN's embarrassing fumbling of last November's presidential election outcome.

... In a sidebar to its cover feature on Home Box Office's The Sopranos
last week, Newsweek
featured some other television and cable program "faves." Among them: Crocodile Hunter, which the newsmagazine
incorrectly credited to Discovery Channel.
It's on Animal Planet and, occasionally, NBC. Sic 'em, Croc.

...EchoStar Communications Corp. recently ran a free preview of America's Top 150, bringing digi-nets normally available only to customers of its Dish 500 hardware systems. The company promoted a free hardware-upgrade program to convince Dish Network customers to switch to the more robust programming package. One Wire correspondent was tempted to take Dish up on the offer-until she realized she'd need a second TV set to go along with the larger Dish 500 antenna.
There's no way her husband would be able to tear himself away from Discovery Wings, unless it was to watch Speedvision. But this Wire reporter sees no point in getting the Top 150 if she can't watch reruns of the 1970s daytime serial Ryan's Hope
on SoapNet.

...Sci Fi Channel hit Farscape
could be in relatively good shape if Hollywood's writers and actors strike. The Australian production features only one (U.S.) Screen Actors Guild performer, star Ben Browder (Cmdr. John Crichton). In such cases, SAG issues a get-out-of-strike-free waiver, series creator Rockne O'Bannon said during a visit to MCN
's offices last week. In theory, too, the producers could round up more Australian writers to crank out strike-resistant scripts, he said.
But that won't happen.Writer and consultant O'Bannon, who figures he could complete scripts as far as episode 18 (of 22 for the year) before the strike hits, is a Writers Guild of America member. He and executive producer David Kemper would have to break out picket signs Down Under if their writing roles were replaced, O'Bannon joked. On the other hand, he said he was confident it wouldn't take long for his value to be recognized after some green Aussie scribes tried to replace him....Memo to those planning to attend VH1's Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin
at Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 10: Prepare to sweat bullets. As attendees at the network's first Divas Live
in 1998 found out, Aretha has an aversion to air conditioning. Other singing divas slated to salute "Lady Soul"-and sweat to the oldies-at that Save the Music Foundation benefit so far include Janet Jackson and Mary J. Blige.

...The Weather Channel's latest Currents
newsletter carries an interview with Jennifer Lopez. No, not that
one. She's one of the network's on-camera meteorologists. "People look at my ID and ask, Where's Puff Daddy? "
she said. "But I don't think anyone is ever asking the other Jennifer Lopez, How's the weather?"

March