GOLDEN ARCHIE You don’t see too many standing ovations in a traditional Catholic mass, but Carroll O’Connor brought the house down one last time as his casket was carried out of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Westwood, Calif., yesterday. Defending the appropriateness of the applause was Anne Meara, a costar of ”Archie Bunker’s Place” and a friend of O’Connor’s for more than 40 years. ”When someone dies, it’s a loss; when an actor dies, you lose a crowd.” Attending the service, along with Meara and husband Jerry Stiller, were Larry Hagman (another friend of O’Connor’s since their struggling-actor days four decades ago) and Martin Sheen, who both read from the Bible at the mass. Representing ”All in the Family” were series creator Norman Lear and costars Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers. (Jean Stapleton was unable to attend, as she couldn’t get out of her performance schedule for the stage production of ”The Carpet Bagger’s Children” in Houston.) Others among the 600 mourners included Carl Reiner (Rob’s father), Don Rickles, Dom DeLuise, and former Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown. O’Connor, 76, died of a heart attack on Thursday.
TUBE TALK NBC yanked Monday’s episode of ”Weakest Link,” having discovered just hours before airtime that contestant Julie Harmon, the documentary filmmaker who outlasted her competitors to win $92,000, is the ex-wife of NBC Studios President Ted Harbert. As the couple have been divorced for 15 years and don’t keep in touch, NBC ultimately decided that there was no ”Quiz Show”-type scandal brewing here, that Harmon may keep the money (the second-largest ”Weakest Link” jackpot yet), and that the episode will air next week. But since the outcome is already spoiled, maybe NBC should air instead a video of Anne Robinson giving network brass a proper tongue lashing….
Utah is only one time zone away from the West Coast, but a majority of NBC’s Pacific Time affiliates thought next winter’s Olympic Games in Salt Lake City would occur too early in the evening to air live. So they voted to show the games on a 2 1/2-hour tape delay, so that they would air in prime time during February sweeps. NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol is steamed. ”I am emphatic that delaying our prime-time Salt Lake coverage is a mistake,” he said in a statement. ”A domestic Olympics cries out to be telecast live across the entire country as previous U.S. games have been.” NBC blames the tape delay of the Sydney Olympics last year for defusing interest and deflating ratings….
Speaking of ratings, reality programming ruled the week, with strong showings from NBC’s new tubesploitation shows ”Fear Factor” and ”Spy TV,” ABC’s game shows ”You Don’t Know Jack” and ”Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” and CBS’ newsmagazine ”48 Hours.” CBS won the week with 8 million viewers, followed by ABC (7.8 million), NBC (7.7 million), Fox (4.9 million), UPN (3 million) and the WB (2.4 million). Thursday’s ”Millionaire” was the week’s top show, with 14.1 million viewers, and Reege grabbed the No. 2 and No. 4 slots as well. NBC’s ”Spy TV” and ”Weakest Link” were third and fifth, respectively. Ray Romano began earning his new $40 million paycheck, as ”Everybody Loves Raymond” came in at No. 7, the highest-rated scripted show of the week.
HEALTH WATCH Two months after her nearly fatal car crash, Niki Taylor is out of the hospital. Having been moved out of intensive care last week and upgraded to good condition, the supermodel has now been moved to an undisclosed rehabilitation center in Atlanta, where she will spend the next several weeks recuperating. Surgeons repaired severe damage to her lungs and liver in the days immediately following the April crash, in which she was a passenger.
REEL DEALS Does Cate Blanchett ever take a vacation? She’s shot four movies over the last several months (including ”The Shipping News” and ”The Fellowship of the Ring,” the first film in the ”Lord of the Rings” trilogy), she’s having a baby a few months from now, and she’s still thinking about squeezing in another role opposite Brad Pitt in an untitled sci-fi project by Darren Aronofsky (”Requiem for a Dream”)….
Grown-ups who take their kids to see the upcoming movie version of Nickelodeon’s ”The Wild Thornberrys” series may recognize some new voices behind the animation. Such prestigious names as Brenda Blethyn, Rupert Everett, Lynn Redgrave, Marisa Tomei, and Alfre Woodard are lending their voices to the nature cartoon….
Actor-turned-writer/director Peter Berg is ready to direct another dark script about plans gone horribly wrong, in the vein of his ”Very Bad Things.” Later this year, he plans to shoot ”Truck 44,” about a crew of New York city firemen who plot to rob a building but end up setting it aflame. Oops….
When Gary Goldman, who manages two Cincinnati art-house cinemas, was caught snipping three seconds of a sex scene out of ”The Center of the World” a couple weeks ago, angry distributor Artisan pulled the film from Goldman’s Esquire theater, and Goldman issued a public apology, assuring viewers he’d continue to book ”cutting-edge” fare. (Apparently, he takes the term literally.) But Goldman also punished Steve Ramos, the journalist who broke the story, by banishing him and his newspaper from the Esquire and sister theater the Mariemont. Ramos, the film editor at Cincinnati’s CityBeat, tells EW.com that Goldman has barred him from screenings at the theaters, removed the paper’s distribution boxes from the premises, and yanked from CityBeat all advertising, showtime listings, and advance press information about upcoming films. ”I don’t know whether to curse Goldman for the aggravation or thank him for making my life a little more exciting. Either way, being banned is a form of flattery.”
Ramos notes that he did test the ban and attended a preview screening of ”Sexy Beast” at the Esquire without incident. Goldman is on vacation, but at the time of his initial apology, he cited his fear that the offending sequence of the film would land him in legal hot water, Cincinnati being the city that prosecuted Larry Flynt for selling Hustler magazine and a local museum for showing Robert Mapplethorpe‘s photos.
Contrast the Cincinnati episode with what’s happening in Nicosia, Cyprus, where a local theater owner is willing to face jail for screening Catherine Breillat’s NC-17 rated French film ”Romance.” Cypriot authorities have demanded that Michael Papas surrender his print of the film, but he refuses. A law dating back to 1935, when Cyprus was a British colony, forbids public screenings of films the local censorship board deems ”immoral.” Papas has said screenings are only for members of his cinema club and are not public events, but anyone who wants to join can enter the theater and become a member on the spot.
JUVENILE OFFENDER That was one expensive bottle of champagne. Rapper Juvenile allegedly struck Jackson Saintagne with a bottle of Möet during a shopping mall melee March 28 in Miami. Saintagne is hitting back with a $4 million lawsuit, claiming that he has suffered several seizures since the attack and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic epilepsy. Juvenile has pleaded not guilty to charges arising from the incident, noting that many people were involved in the fight.