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The Insider

Apr 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Sie a reel competitor
Denver is getting ready for its close-up. John Sie, ever the man with a plan and a vision and, most of all, the money to back both up, has a roadmap to transform the cowboy town of Denver into a film capital that could stand shoulder to shoulder with New York and Los Angeles. Mr. Sie, chairman and CEO of Starz Encore Group in Denver, knows it’s a tall order, but he believes the city has the right ingredients, starting with the Starz Film Center in downtown Denver that opened this month and is being turned into a state-of-the-art film center with a screening room and educational facility.
The nonprofit theater shows independent, avant garde and experimental films that wouldn’t make it to Denver if commercial theaters were the only options. It also will be a home for film festivals, lectures and a family-centric “Saturday at the Movies” program, he said. Starz Encore Group, along with the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, donated $5 million to the project. A capital campaign plans to raise another $9.5 million by October to fund the renovation. The theater serves as a permanent home for the Denver Film Society and the University of Colorado at Denver’s College of Arts and Media film education program. “We hope Denver will eventually become a magnet to attract writers, directors, actors and post-production to the film center,” Mr. Sie said.
`24′ encores: the sequel
Faithful readers know The Insider has had a beef with FX’s erratic scheduling of “24” encores. The cable channel’s Web site clearly promises 11 p.m. Sundays and 10 p.m. Mondays, yet “24” repeats rarely have been found in either time slot. Instead, the repeats have bounced around to accommodate everything from TV movie premieres to tired old “Married … With Children” episodes.
At times such as these, The Insider sooo appreciates being in a position to calmly pick up the phone, dial the appropriate executive and, in her best Doris Day voice: “What in the !!@#$%^&*!! is the !!@#$%^&*!! point of !!@#$%^&*!! repurposing !!@#$%^&*!! shows if !!@#$%^&*!! finding them is !!@#$%^&*!! impossible?” Last time she asked, The Insider was, in effect, told that, well, FX never meant us to take the network so seriously on the posted airtimes.
Until now. Starting last weekend, FX is promising four weeks of reliable “24” encores at 11 p.m. every Sunday and Monday. Unless Fox Broadcasting were, for some unexpected reason, to pre-empt an episode (you can’t repeat something not seen to begin with) or a NASCAR race were to be delayed by rain. And then “24” would repeat at midnight each night.
Meanwhile, Cox-owned Fox affiliate KTVU-TV in San Francisco last week showed how to move “24” without demolishing or bedeviling the audience. The station was scheduled to pre-empt “24” for a Giants-Padres game on April 16, so it had tagged the previous week’s “24” with an announcement about when the episode would air and it made similar announcements during game coverage. The result: “24” aired at midnight on the April 16 and dominated the hour with a 5.1 rating/19 share (compared with a 7.5/11 in its normal time slot on the previous Tuesday).
Chung’s hit song
You may have read one verse of the song CNN’s Connie Chung warbled to great amusement at an American Women in Radio and Television luncheon in New York last week, but The Insider thought you hadn’t lived `til you’d seen all the lyrics Ms. Chung worked up with the help of as-yet-unidentified friends. It helps if you hum “I Enjoy Being a Girl”-and think subtext, subtext, subtext-as you skim the verses.
“I love when I break a story / Chasing sources sets me a’whirl / I’m buzzed when my ratings beat Maury / But I enjoy being a girl!
“There’s not getting much beyond it / We all fish for the same one pearl / I’m thrilled that I nabbed Gary Condit / But I enjoy being a girl!
“And now I am in a group historic / With Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball / By far, though, my fav’rite’s Katie Couric / Which means I’m not the shortest one of all.
“I’m strictly a female female / I’m the Fox not on Fox TV / And some M-S-N-B-C male / Is about to get his butt scooped by a girl like me.
“I don’t have the hair of Diane Sawyer / I don’t have the smile of Paula Zahn / I may not have Barbara Walters’ lawyer / But with Greta Van Susteren’s surgeon, I go on.
“I’m strictly a female female / Larry King and Lou Dobbs will see / Thank you, Lord, for not making me male / Or I’d not be in the A-W-R and T!”
Hold on, NBC’s funnin’
The Insider finds herself hoping she’ll get put on hold when she calls NBC West Coast these days. She’s not alone, not since nifty and nostalgic program-related material collected for some 50 75th anniversary spots by NBC Agency Co-Presidents Vince Manze and John Miller recently became the on-hold entertainment for callers to Burbank. “I’ve had people saying, `Can you put me back on hold?’“ said Mr. Manze, who said that he and Mr. Miller “literally produced a 17-minute radio show” that plays to on-hold callers.
Of course, Mr. Manze joked, “If you hear the whole thing on one call [it means] they’re not going to talk to you.” That never happens to The Insider. Well, almost never. Not in recent millennia, at least.