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No funny busines during the ad break

No funny busines during the ad break

By Benjamin Nugent

Bill Clinton ceased to be President about a year and a half ago, but people are still burning to find out what he's doing behind closed doors. It's just that now the urgent question is whether he has had relations with CBS about starting his own talk show. In May there were reports he was discussing a talk-show offer with NBC, but nothing seemed to come of it. Then an article in the New York Times last week reported that CBS executives said they were in preliminary talks. It also quoted NBC executives as stating that Clinton once negotiated with their network. CBS declined to comment. "August is rerun season, so we've seen this episode before...and it has the same ending: nothing is imminent," says Clinton spokesman James Kennedy. The only way anybody will know for sure is if David Letterman is sighted reading the help-wanted ads in Variety.



If any senior citizen leads a life as eventful as those of the women on The Golden Girls, it's Leni Riefenstahl. The director of aesthetically innovative Nazi propaganda films turned 100 last week, but she's still zippy enough to stir up controversy, most recently over who should play her in a movie about her life. A prominent name mentioned at one point was Jodie Foster, who was developing a now stalled project. Working on a competing film was director Paul Verhoeven, who reports that he communicated with Riefenstahl by mail and through the producer on the project. "The producer told me she said, 'Jodie's not beautiful enough to play me,'" Verhoeven informs TIME. She suggested a different, icier blond: "Leni's ultimate idea of herself is Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct" (one of Verhoeven's films). He adds that a contract Riefenstahl signed with the producer stipulates "that any affair between her and Hitler or her and Goebbels would be prohibited onscreen." That way, at least the film would have a shot at a PG-13 rating.


All across America, radio listeners whose knuckles scrape the floor are slumping even lower. The nationally syndicated Opie & Anthony Show, starring frat-boy jokers anthony cumia and gregg hughes, was yanked off the air last week. Its home station, New York City's wnew-fm, announced the decision after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began an inquiry provoked in part by an incident in which, complainants alleged, the hosts encouraged a tourist couple to have sex in Manhattan's St. Patrick's Cathedral and broadcast the event live. When the show was canceled, one of the most high-profile offended parties, William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, pronounced himself "satisfied with the results of this decision" and stated that he saw no reason to revoke wnew's license. The FCC pressed on with its investigation. Visitors to the Big Apple looking to find a place to get it on are advised to check into a hotel instead.


It seems Soul Train isn't used to criticism. When the 32-year-old dance show was the subject of a Web petition protesting its choice of Ashanti as 2002 entertainer of the year, it railroaded the opposition. Rommel Zamora, 15, who gathered more than 25,000 electronic "signatures," was attacked on and, he claims, in an obscenity-laden e-mail from a show employee. Though the show's creator, Don Cornelius, told TIME he didn't authorize any such e-mail, he's still eager to bury Zamora: "It's a patriarchal syndrome when any 15-year-old nonblack kid can get on a soapbox and raise questions about a program like ours."




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