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Fallen stars: 1992

The glow is waning for celebrities like M.C. Hammer, David Lynch, and Michael Jackson

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* The censor once ruled over network programs with an iron red pencil. But with raunchy cable and home video cutting into the networks’ pie, Standards and Practices is going the way of the Hays Office for motion-picture decency.

* Leo Chaloukian, president of the television academy, has been blamed for the Emmys’ brutal length, senseless categories, tacky production values, and low ratings. Next year’s new American Television Awards could turn the Emmys into the Golden Globes of TV.

* Stephen Chao, former president of Fox Television Stations, was stripped — of his job — by Rupert Murdoch after he hired a male model to disrobe during Chao’s speech before a group of dignitaries, including Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.

* Hammer lost his M.C. handle, his Hammerman cartoon, and much of his massive pop audience with Too Legit to Quit. His horse Dance Floor failed to win the Kentucky Derby. But he still has those KFC commercials.

* Michael Jackson declared himself the King of Pop, released Dangerous, then declared himself the King of Pop, Rock, and Soul. Hey, Mike, ever heard of Elvis? Or James Brown?

* Mario Kassar produced 1991’s biggest movie (Terminator 2) and one of 1992’s biggest movies (Basic Instinct) and still managed to bring Carolco Pictures to the brink of bankruptcy. Why, something like that hasn’t happened since…last year, when Orion collapsed after making two other big films, Dances With Wolves and The Silence of the Lambs.

* Helen Gorman Kushnick alienated half of Hollywood during her four-month reign of terror as Jay Leno’s executive producer at the post-Johnny Carson Tonight Show, reportedly blacklisting celebs who dared to appear on Arsenio Hall’s or Dennis Miller’s talk show (she denies doing so). But when her bad behavior didn’t bring good ratings, NBC bumped her. Off the lot.

* David Lynch was declared a genius after the film Blue Velvet and the first bizarre season of television’s Twin Peaks. But success spoiled him: Witness the critically maligned ABC sitcom On the Air (off the air in a month) and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (which shuffled out of movie theaters just as quickly).