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The latest in television news the week of October 26, 1990

The latest in television news the week of October 26, 1990 — Inside Vanessa Redgrave’s press feud, Ray Wise’s ”Twin Peaks” role, and Larry King’s variety show

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Don’t Ask
Vanessa Redgrave’s feud with the press continues: Last year, while starring on Broadway in Orpheus Descending, the actress — who in the past has been outspoken on Mideast issues — demanded that journalists sign a special nonaggression pact befororall interviews. Next year, Redgrave will be starring (with her sister Lynn, above) in an ABC remake of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and she’s making the same demand. She insists that reporters agree — in writing — to these conditions: ”1. No political questions will be asked during the interview. 2. No political editorializing will be done to the interview.” ”We have nothing to do with it,” a network spokeswoman says of Redgrave’s demands. ”It’s entirely Vanessa Redgrave’s doing. I guess she doesn’t want to answer any questions about Saddam Hussein. Who knows? We’ve never had to deal with anything like it before. Never.”

Blue Update
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY has reported (Sept. 28) that New York City’s infamous Channel J — home of such X-rated programming as Screw publisher Al Goldstein’s show Midnight Blue, satirized on NBC’s Saturday Night Live last season — was being cleaned up. But as of October Midnight Blue was still on the air, along with many of Channel J’s other porn programs, on New York’s Channel V. ”Originally we thought it was a censorship issue,” Goldstein says. ”We thought Time Warner [which controls Manhattan’s cable franchises] was trying to silence us. But we were wrong. It’s economic. They wanted to move us to another channel so they could raiseeour rates.” Goldstein claims it will cost him three times as much to buy airtime on Channel V as on J. But a Time Warner executive says that economics had nothing to do with the switch: ”We just wanted more control,” says Richard Aurelio, president of Tiie Warner’s New York City Cable Group. ”We wanted to be able to shape the programming to more accurately reflect the viewing community.” Aurelio says the porn programs now appear later in the evening than they once did: Channel J began its adult programming as early as 8 p.m., while Channel V begins its porn-pourri at midnight.

A Change In The Hair
Ray Wise has played some weird parts over the years-a sci-fi punk in the movie RoboCop, an LSD-taking talk-show host on NBC’s Riptide, an insane political assassin on CBS’ Scarecrow and Mrs. King. All of which may explain why the 43- year-old actor thinks his latest role, Leland Palmer on Twin Peaks, is as ordinary as a cup of Norma’s damn fine joe. ”It’s not that strange a show,” he says. ”There really isn’t anything on Twin Peaks that doesn’t happen in real life.” Oh really? What about Leland throwing himself into his daughter’s open grave last season, what about his sudden change of natural hair color this season, what about… ”These things happen,” Wise insists. ”I’ve been to funerals where people have thrown themselves onto the casket. And Leland has been severely traumatized — that’s why his hair turned white. But, you know, I’m not supposed to discuss plot details except in the most ambiguous ways. I wouldn’t want to give anything away.” This much Wise will reveal: ”Some of the things that are going to happen this season are going to be extraordinary and beautiful to watch.” He repeats the phrase, a bit cryptically. ”Beautiful to watch. Beautiful to watch.”

Larry King’s People
It’s our two cents…Larry King has more talent in his pinky than a lot of talk-show hosts have everywhere on their person…King‘s gonna prove it, too, on Oct. 28, when NBC gives the CNN gabster and USA Today columnist — famous for a staccato writing style much like the one we’re using here — his first shot at network prime-time TV with the hour-long variety show Sunday Night with Larry King…Look up great guests in the dictionary and you’ll find pictures of Sylvester Stallone, David Letterman, and Bart Simpson, all of whom will appear on King’s special…”I’m going to be like Ed Sullivan,” King told us. ”I’m going to come out and introduce these people and they’re going to do their stuff.”…King says Stallone will introduce clips from his new Rocky movie, Letterman will do a stand-up routine, and everyone will have a great time, gang ”I don’t know why variety shows have gone out of style,” King says. ”But it’s a shame. There’s a whole generation that doesn’t know what a variety show is.” Will his special change all that?… ”I don’t know. I’ve been in this industry 30 years and the big secret is, nobody knows a damned thing.”…You read it here first.