On The Air: The latest news from the TV beat
GLAAD targeted NBC, while ABC is set to produce the six-hour fantasy 'Dinotopia'
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GLAAD Gets Mad The ever-vigilant Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has set its sights on a new target: the home of Will and Grace. GLAAD’s annoyed that NBC is the only broadcast net that doesn’t offer benefits for same-sex partners, and it’s also peeved about the Peacock’s plans to feature Eminem as the musical guest for Saturday Night Live‘s Oct. 7 premiere. GLAAD wants assurances from NBC that Slim Shady won’t perform a song with homophobic lyrics (e.g. ”Criminal”), and it insists that the net run a public service announcement about slain gay teenager Matthew Shepard during the show. An NBC spokeswoman says they’re exploring the benefits issue with parent company General Electric, but Eminem’s another matter: The network’s already notified GLAAD that Saturday Night Live has built its reputation on comedy and music that’s cutting edge and controversial. In other words, it’s unlikely a ”The More You Know” spot will follow the show that features the Ambiguously Gay Duo cartoon, but stay tuned.
‘Dino’ Might The hardest-working telefilm producer in showbiz, Robert Halmi Sr., is so confident that The Tenth Kingdom — his dismally rated 10-hour medieval mess for NBC last season — did not sound the death knell for the fantasy genre, he’s raising the bar (and the bill) even higher for his next trip through miniseries make-believe. Halmi’s spending an unprecedented $80 million on ABC’s Dinotopia, a six-hour movie inspired by James Gurney’s book of the same name about an island where man cohabits peacefully with dinosaurs. While ABC calls the flick — slated for May 2002 — a coming-of-age story, two thirds of Dinotopia will be computer generated, which has been risky in the past (see Leprechaun, Halmi’s effects-heavy 1999 NBC dud). ”This genre is not dead. It’s just coming to life,” argues Halmi, who blames Tenth‘s ratings failure on poor marketing. ”Fantasy is escape.” And, apparently, quite lucrative: Tenth has not only sold in 54 countries, but spawned an Internet fan base that’s begging for a sequel. Now, that’s fantasy.
‘World’ Widens Sorry, Peter Pan, but ABC has decided that it’s time for Tinker Bell to grow up. Tired of luring only a tot lot with saccharine Wonderful World of Disney flicks like My Date With the President’s Daughter, the net’s telefilm franchise will feature a new look and lineup beginning Nov. 12. ”We want to appeal to the entire family — probably the mothers first — with movies that are perfectly appropriate for an 8-year-old,” says ABC exec VP of movies Susan Lyne. First up: a remake of The Miracle Worker starring Hallie Kate Eisenberg, followed by a Melissa Joan Hart-produced biopic about Shirley Temple and a live-action Snow White from Robert Halmi Sr. himself. Let’s hope that Camryn Manheim — whom Halmi curiously cast as Snow White in The Tenth Kingdom — won’t reprise the title role.