Hollywood Notes

Mar 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

`Will & Grace’ gets three more seasons
NBC has inked a three-season licensing renewal, estimated at roughly $3.5 million to $4 million per episode, for the NBC Studios-produced sitcom “Will & Grace.” The new deal, valued at $231 million to $264 million for 66 episodes, would carry “Will & Grace” through the 2004-05 season on NBC. The 4-year-old sitcom ranks as the fourth-most-expensive series on NBC, with “ER” ($13.2 million), “Friends” ($6 million) and “Frasier” ($5.2 million) ahead of “Will & Grace’s” per-episode take. NBC network and studio officials were unreachable for comment on the approximate dollar figures for “Will & Grace,” which is created and executive produced by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. This season, “Will & Grace” has been averaging a 9.1 rating/22 share in the adults 18 to 49 demographic and 17.3 million total viewers in the 9 p.m.-to-9:30 p.m. (ET) Thursday slot.
Actors get probation in sex offense case
Two actors who appeared on Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted” pleaded guilty last week to having sex with a 14-year-old girl who lived at an abused children’s shelter. Cristian Saliadarre, 28, and Anthony Alvarez, 27, pleaded guilty to an amended complaint of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 16, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Melinda Murray told the Associated Press. Both admitted having sex with the girl in January 2001. In return for the plea, prosecutors dropped charges of sodomy and oral copulation with a minor under 16.
The minor girl, listed as Jane Doe, brought a lawsuit Jan. 30 against Fox Television Stations and 20th Century Fox Film Corp. as well as Mr. Saliadarre and Mr. Alvarez on complaints of battery and negligent hiring and supervision by the affiliated Fox production companies. There was no word from Fox or the girl’s attorney, Steven Berkowitz, on the status of the suit.
Mr. Saliadarre and Mr. Alvarez were each sentenced to five years probation and a year of sex offender counseling. They were also fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service and to stay away from the victim.
Twentieth Television, the distributor of “America’s Most Wanted,” issued a statement specifying that Mr. Saliadarre and Mr. Alvarez committed the sexual assault after production had wrapped on the episode. Furthermore, the company said, the actors were retained through a casting service, and neither had been “engaged” in a previous episode of “AMW.”
SAG relaxes talent-ad combo rule
In a critical first step in allowing advertising agencies to expand their ownership positions in Hollywood talent agencies from 10 percent to 20 percent, the national board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild voted 57 to 44 last week to approve a motion that would formally relax the 63-year-old regulations.
Passage of the proposed agreement with the Association of Talent Agencies and National Association of Talent Representatives will now be decided in a special referendum for SAG members on April 3, with a deadline for return of the ballots set for April 18. Also included in the ballots will be a minority report outlining dissenting issues placed in the referendum. A vote in the affirmative to loosen advertiser ownership restrictions would lead to an amendment of the agency regulations and the basic agreement struck between SAG and the ATA/NATR.
SAG membership is expected to approve the enlargement of the ownership cap to 20 percent, which is still significantly lower than the 49 percent level some talent agencies and advertisers had been seeking.
SAG honors casts of `Wing’ and `Sex’
Top TV acting honors at the annual Screen Actors Guild awards Sunday night went to the ensemble casts of NBC’s “The West Wing” and HBO’s “Sex and the City” and to Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally, who play the lead characters’ sidekicks on NBC’s “Will & Grace.” But SAG wasn’t the only awards presentation on Hollywood’s social calendar. TV honors from the Directors Guild went to Alan Ball for HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” Todd Holland for Fox’s “Malcolm in the Middle” and Frank Pierson for HBO’s “Conspiracy,” an original movie about the genesis of the Nazi’s so-called Final Solution.