In this corner, a Really Big Ego! In the other, an Equally Big Ego! One of 1992’s fiercest feuds started in these pages, when, in EW’s April 17 cover story, Arsenio Hall threatened to kick Jay Leno’s ass in the opening round of the late-night talk-show fights. The bloody bout over ratings and bookings KO’d one contender (The Dennis Miller Show) and seriously wounded one career (that of Leno’s executive producer, Helen Gorman Kushnick, now his ex-producer). We weren’t in the ring for any other feuds of ’92, but we did keep score:
MICKEY ROURKE VS. SPIKE LEE At the Cannes Film Festival in May, Rourke blamed the X-man for starting L.A.’s riots: ”The blood of Los Angeles falls on those who instigated this revolt, the malicious prophets of black cinema and rap music, such as Lee and (John) Singleton.” Lee’s retort: ”Mickey Rourke is a f—ing a–hole. He’s a f—ing redneck, motherf—ing cracker.” No hitting below the belt, please, gentlemen.
ARTHUR KENT VS. NBC The Peacock network canned its foreign correspondent in August, in part because Kent turned down a risky assignment in Croatia. But the Scud Stud fired back, giving interviews and even handing out leaflets in front of NBC’s headquarters. (He also filed a $25 million lawsuit.) Kent claimed he was set up for the ax because he refused to fluff up his news stories; the network said the reporter had ”consistently been unable to work within a supervisory and collaborative environment.” Into your corners.
TARZAN VS. VOGUE When Vogue ran a fashion spread in April showing Tarzan and Jane in designer loincloths, the estate of creator Edgar Rice Burroughs went ape, suing the magazine for $1 million, claiming the pictures were ”sexually suggestive.” Vogue said the tree-swingers are in the public domain. A settlement was scheduled for mid-December. No word from Cheetah’s lawyers… yet.
ROSEANNE ARNOLD VS. TV CRITICS The voluble executive producer of hubby Tom Arnold’s new sitcom, The Jackie Thomas Show, took exception to the negative reviews of three critics: Howard Rosenberg of the L.A. Times, Ray Richmond of the L.A. Daily News, and Matt Roush of USA Today. On Dec. 7, Roseanne faxed profanity-embellished responses to each of them, prompting USA Today to sever relations with the Arnolds’ publicist. Roseanne then took her case to big-time TV, including Entertainment Tonight and The Tonight Show. Stay tuned.