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Hollywood Notes

Apr 29, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Hotel guests sue MTV for ‘Harassment’
A couple from Washington has filed suit against MTV and the Hard Rock Hotel chain over a hidden-camera reality show in development called “Harassment,” claiming to be unsuspecting witnesses to what appeared to be a bludgeoned body in their hotel bathroom. In a suit filed April 19 in Los Angeles Superior Court, James and Laurie Ryan are seeking more than $120 million in statutory, compensatory and punitive damages.
The suit stems from a Jan. 25 incident in which the Ryans were checking into the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The filing said the couple entered Room 932 and found ”what appeared to be a dead human body covered and surrounded by blood, evidently the victim of a homicide.”
Fearing for their own safety, the Ryans tried to exit the room but found the doorway blocked by two individuals representing themselves as hotel security guards. Shortly thereafter, several other individuals, including actor Ashton Kutcher, who is also named in the suit as host and co-producer of “Harassment,” informed the Ryans they had been secretly taped for the MTV hidden-camera show.
The suit claims the Ryans were “subjected to the extreme and outrageous conduct of the staging of an apparent homicide and were unlawfully recorded in their emotionally distressed reaction to the scene” in addition to “suffering humiliation, mental anguish, and severe and extreme emotional distress.” A spokesman for MTV was not immediately aware of “Harassment’s” status at the network.
Another year for `Crossing Over’
Studios USA Domestic Television’s “Crossing Over With John Edward” has been renewed for a second season by 160-plus stations covering more than 90 percent of the country and has been upgraded in Chicago (WPWR-TV), Detroit (WWJ-TV) and San Diego (XUPN-TV). WGCL-TV in Atlanta and KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City have added a second run of the show, while in Washington the strip will move from UPN affiliate WDCA-TV to CBS affiliate WUSA-TV in the fall.
`Outward Bound’ in expansion mode
RCN Entertainment, the producers of the “Outward Bound” series and worldwide licensing agent for the brand and its television rights, has started a global expansion strategy that will create new opportunities and revenue streams for the franchise. The original and popular “Outward Bound” television series is just completing its third season in prime time on the Discovery Kids channel. RCN will produce two new series based on the format of the original-“Celebrity Outward Bound” and “Outward Bound Real Women.” The celebrity series will feature stars from the worlds of television, film and music, while “Real Women” will center on the wilderness survival efforts of women from all walks of life. Both series are being offered to buyers for the first time directly through RCN Entertainment. The company has also reached a new international distribution agreement with Decode Entertainment.
O’Donnell to host `Survivor’ reunion
Rosie O’Donnell, who is giving up her daytime syndicated talk show next month, will host CBS’s “Survivor: Marquesas” reunion special to be broadcast live from New York’s Central Park at 10 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 19. CBS has also confirmed that the sole survivor will be revealed live during the two-hour finale of the fourth “Survivor” series at 8 o’clock that night.
`Matthews’ cleared in 70 percent of U.S.
NBC Enterprises has sold upcoming first-run weekend news program “The Chris Matthews Show,” hosted by the anchor of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” in 70 percent of the country, including nine of the top 10 markets. The announcement was made last week by Barry Wallach, executive VP, NBC Enterprises. “The Chris Matthews Show” is set to launch in fall 2002. The half-hour weekly series will be seen on WNBC-TV, New York; KNBC-TV, Los Angeles; WMAQ-TV, Chicago; WCAU-TV, Philadelphia; KNTV, San Francisco; WCVB-TV, Boston; KXAS-TV, Dallas; WRC-TV, Washington; and WXIA-TV, Atlanta.