Plus, Rosie O'Donnell missed the Tonys because of a Howard Stern fan's threat, and Bravo will yank a controversial segment about teen snipers
MARRIED Ryan Phillippe and the pregnant Reese Witherspoon tied the knot on Saturday in Charleston, S.C. No word yet whether the WB has already signed the couple’s unborn child to a contract.
TONYS WRAP-UP People accepted that Rosie O’Donnell was not going to host the Tonys this year, but many wondered why she didn’t show up at all. Variety’s Army Archerd reports that she wanted to stay home with her family because a caller on the Howard Stern show had made a vicious threat to O’Donnell’s baby daughter shortly before the awards show…. David Letterman rescued CBS by booking the cast of ”It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues” on his show for Wednesday night, just three days after they were bumped from the Tony broadcast. The producers of the show had hired a lawyer to demand (along with the reimbursement of Tony expenses) and appearance on a CBS show, because they said that lack of exposure could cause the musical to fold more quickly. Letterman’s producer, Rob Burnett, called the ”Blues” producers after he heard about the brouhaha and bumped tonight’s musical act for them. Why? ”David Michael Letterman has always been a champion of the American theater,” he wryly told the New York Times.
CENSORED A segment on Michael Moore‘s Bravo show ”The Awful Truth” satirizing a ”teen sniper school” has been yanked from this Sunday’s episode. The satirical four-minute bit, filmed five months before the Columbine shooting, is a fake ad for a school that teaches kids how to be better shots, in case they decide to snap. It was Bravo’s decision, saying they liked the segment, but thought the timing was wrong. Moore naturally disagreed with the network’s sensitivity. ”Satire is not supposed to be the kind of Comedy Lite you can find on every other channel,” he wrote in an e-mail to fans. ”Satire assumes the audience has a brain.”
BAD GUESTS Pennywise has a strange way of promoting their new album, ”Straight Ahead.” While guesting on the radio show ”Loveline” on Los Angeles’ KROQ, the band’s guitarist, Fletcher Dragge, kept hosts Adam Carolla and Drew Pinsky hostage in the studio (while broadcasting live), blocking the doorway with his 300-pound body and claiming (falsely) that he had a hand grenade. Just to add to the clever high jinks, he said he was going to make Carolla eat his feces. Rock ‘n roll! The police were called in, although only one sergeant entered the studio, and no charges were filed. This was not the radio duo’s first romp with Flagge: In a 1995 appearance, he vomited on Pinsky, raising the question, why the return invite?
REEL DEAL Ben Stiller will direct ”The Making of the President, 1789,” a very unconventional biopic of George Washington. The comedy — which is said to be based on the truth — portrays the first commander-in-chief (John Cleese) as a philandering partyer who fell into his historical role. Steve Martin is also considering a role.
CASTING Just a week after backing out of the movie ”Navy Diver,” Cuba Gooding Jr. is now back in the starring role (with Robert De Niro). He’ll star as Carl Brashear, the real-life first African-American deep-sea Navy diver.
CLAMPING DOWN After receiving pressure from President Clinton, the National Association of Theater Owners has clamped down on the enforcement of the MPAA’s R rating. In a press conference Tuesday, the President announced that from now on ticket sellers would card young-looking patrons trying to get into R films, which require a guardian for those under 17. Many individual theater owners were surprised by the grave announcement, according to Variety, saying that they already followed those guidelines. James Edwards III, president of the Edwards chain, said this wouldn’t alleviate the problem, because most kids get into R-rated movies by buying tickets to PG or PG-13 flicks and then sneaking into another theater. ”Short of putting up barbed wire and armed guards,” he said, ”I’m not sure how you can completely eradicate the problem.”
PULLING OUT Owning ”The Jerry Springer Show” may be more trouble than it’s worth — but how much is it worth? That’s what the show’s distributor, Studios USA, wants to find out, as it is reportedly trying to unload the hot-button program, even after ”Springer” knocked off the fighting. Some smaller distributors, like Unapix and Pearson TV, are interested, and their lower profile would make them less susceptible to the criticism Studios USA has received, according to Variety. Analysts estimate that ”Springer” probably makes a profit of $30-40 million a year.
DEPARTURES CNN’s Financial News President and ”Moneyline” anchor Lou Dobbs announced his resignation Tuesday, and will leave to head up Space.com, a developing Internet site all about outer space. Dobbs, who was also the CEO of CNNfn, has reportedly had a rocky last few years at the networks, having threatened to leave a few times over various internal disagreements…. Friday will be ”CBS This Morning” cohost Jane Robelot‘s last day. She’s just the first chair to be emptied in anticipation of Bryant Gumbel taking over the show in November.