Tim Robbins, ''The Simpsons,'' and ''Anything But Love'' made headlines this week

Tim Robbins (Bull Durham), who has directed for the stage, debuts as a director of feature films with the political drama Times Are Changing Back: Profile, Bob Roberts, to begin shooting in late October. Robbins wrote the movie and will star as the title character — a right-wing folksinger/businessman who runs for the Senate on a platform that’s antidrug, patriotic, and back to ; basics. But that’s not exactly the credo of the multimillion-dollar company he runs, which may be involved in gun running and drug dealing. Robbins, whose live-in love, politically active actress Susan Sarandon, is expecting their second child in May, has been involved in the homeless movement, among other causes. ”This movie will make you question just who our leaders are,” says a rep for Robbins, who’s also cowriting the film’s songs with his brother, David.

Jay McInerney (Story of My Life; Bright Lights, Big City), 36, has a new novel due out from Knopf in June. Brightness Falls is already edging into the spotlight because it’s rumored to be à roman a clef about the publishing world. Not so, says Gary Fisketjon, McInerney’s editor. A central character does work in publishing, Fisketjon says, but the novel is more about ”a group of people realizing that they are not in the process of growing up. They have.”

Another album, man. Following the double-platinum success of The Simpsons Sing the Blues, the Springfield family has another record in the works. The LP is planned for next summer and, says creator Matt Groening, ”It will be a broad spectrum of styles, with the exception of the lambada.”

ABC’s Anything But Love got a taste of Scientologist touchiness last month while preparing an episode in which Marty (Richard Lewis) writes an expose of a Scientology-like group, which then begins a smear campaign against his colleagues at Chicago Weekly. According to sources, no less an adherent to the faith than John Travolta placed a call to Love star Jamie Lee Curtis, asking if there was a way to squelch the episode. There wasn’t; it aired Oct. 2.

Here’s a first: On Sunday, Oct. 6, NBC’s lineup finished fifth in the Nielsens — it was beaten by CBS, ABC, Fox, and HBO, whose premiere of Ghost gave it a rare victory over a national network.

Why would The Maury Povich Show recently devote a show to the cast of NBC’s Dear John, which ranks 83rd in this season’s Nielsens? Maybe because Paramount, which owns Dear John, also produces Povich’s new syndicated show. Why buy the commercial when you can get the plug for free?

Written by: Pat H. Broeske, Kelli Pryor, KM, Mark Harris

Anything But Love
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