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Carson Daly
Credit: Carson Daly: Chris Haston/NBC

TUBE TALK ”Total Request Live” fans who stayed up past their bedtimes to catch the premiere of Carson Daly‘s late-late NBC talk show ”Last Call” on Monday night must have been shocked and disappointed to see a rerun of ”SCTV” instead. Daly’s much-hyped debut was scrapped at the last minute over a contract dispute. It’s not clear what the sticking point was, but as of Monday night, Daly still hadn’t signed, and his lawyers wouldn’t allow the show to air. The incident was embarrassing for NBC, which, in promoting the premiere, had gone so far as to call Conan O’Brien to come in on his day off Monday to tape a new episode and plug Daly’s talkfest so that ”Last Call” wouldn’t have a rerun as a lead-in. Daly had taped two shows in advance, one with guest Alicia Keys and another with Gwyneth Paltrow; the Keys episode aired last night once the dispute was settled….

Self-appointed fashion grinch Mr. Blackwell named Anne Robinson ”fashion’s weakest link” in his 42nd annual worst-dressed list. He said she looks like ”Harry Potter in drag.” Robinson edged out last year’s worst-dressed woman, Britney Spears, who had to settle for second place this year. Others on the list include Oscar fashion victims Juliette Binoche, Björk, and Kate Hudson; Destiny’s Child; Cameron Diaz; Gillian Anderson; and token non-performers Princess Stephanie and Camilla Parker Bowles. Blackwell mused that perhaps his cattiness would be out of fashion after Sept. 11, but then, if he can’t continue to dish about fashion failures, then the terrorists win. Besides, he also offered a (much less fun) best-dressed list, which included former and current Tom Cruise squeezes Nicole Kidman and Penélope Cruz; morning news rivals Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer; Julia Roberts; Oprah Winfrey; Gwyneth Paltrow; Joan Allen; Renée Zellweger; and for good measure, opera star Renee Fleming.

Even as ABC entertainment co-chief Stu Bloomberg was cleaning out his desk over the ratings-basement performance of his network, news came that ABC had won the weekly Nielsen ratings race for the first time in ages. Of course, what boosted ABC to a winning average of 12.7 million viewers for the week wasn’t its regular entertainment programming but its four college bowl games, plus ”Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2002.” Even with football, ABC still took a backseat to CBS, whose Sunday NFL postgame show was the week’s most-watched program, with 22.6 million viewers. (ABC’s Rose Bowl coverage was No.2, with 21.6 million viewers.) NBC was second for the week, averaging 10.7 million viewers, edging out CBS at No. 3 (10.6 million). Fox came in fourth with 8.1 million viewers, followed by UPN (3.7 million) and the WB (2.8 million).

TROPHY TIME With the critics’ groups and even such mainstream awards as the Golden Globes recognizing indie fare like ”Mulholland Drive,” ”In the Bedroom,” ”Gosford Park,” and ”Memento,” the Independent Spirit Awards have had to go especially far afield to provide an alternative. The Independent Feature Project, which presents its indie alternative to the Oscars the day before the Academy Awards, has nominated ”L.I.E.” for six awards (including best picture, best director for Michael Cuesta, and best actor for Brian Cox) and five nominations each for ”Memento” (including best picture and best director and screenplay for Christopher Nolan) and ”Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (best picture and best director, screenplay, and actor for John Cameron Mitchell)

Other best picture nominees are Allison Anders‘ drama ”Things Behind the Sun,” and Richard Linklater‘s animated ”Waking Life.” A full list of nominees is available at the IFP website.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve
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