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Aug 21, 2003  •  Post A Comment

KTVU to Air California Candidates Forum

Cox-owned Fox affiliate KTVU in San Francisco will air on Sept. 3 what it bills as the first candidates forum in the state for California’s upcoming gubernatorial election. But leading contender Arnold Schwarzenegger has not yet decided whether he will participate. KTVU, in association with the Contra Costa Times, will present a two-hour special, “Race to the Recall,” from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. that afternoon. The station has invited the top seven candidates: Cruz Bustamante, Peter Miguel Camejo, Arianna Huffington, Tom McClintock, Bill Simon, Peter Ueberroth and Mr. Schwarzenegger.

The six others have confirmed their intention to participate.

On the Aug. 21 edition of KTVU’s “Mornings on 2,” the station’s Ross McGowan asked Mr. Schwarzenegger’s adviser Sean Walsh whether the actor would join in debates. Mr. McGowan said, “I know you have a debate slated for the third [of September], The question is, though, will that be the right time or will we debate a little later, on or closer to Election Day? That is unclear right now. We will debate. We certainly find yours to be a very, very attractive, serious venue. But whether we can do that on the third or not remains to be seen.”

KTVU began organizing the forum about a month ago. The candidates will discuss issues with each other and answer questions from reporters, said Roland De Wolk, KTVU’s coordinating producer for the coverage. The forum will be led by KTVU Political Editor Randy Shandobil; Contra Costa Times Political Editor Daniel Borenstein; and KQED Public Radio Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers. KTVU will offer the special to other stations around the state and the country, as it has done in the past with political coverage.

Thompson to Develop Bonny Lee Bakley Movie: Larry Thompson, the producer known as the “King of TV Bios,” has acquired the rights to the life story of the late Bonny Lee Bakley from Margerry Bakley, the sister of the murdered wife of actor Robert Blake.

Mr. Blake, who has been charged with his wife’s murder, is not a party to the deal, but will be portrayed. The project has not yet been set at any network.

Mr. Thompson said he will produce the story as a docudrama with the title “Dying for Stardom: The Absolutely Unbelievable True Story of Bonny Lee Bakley.” The script, by Christopher Canaan, is described as “the tragic saga of a woman’s lifetime quest for love, acceptance and fame.”

Mr. Thompson most recently produced “A Date With Darkness: The Trial and Capture of Andrew Luster,” which aired on Lifetime Television to strong ratings.

The producer’s previous credits include TV movies on Sonny and Cher and on Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He is also currently developing a reality series, “Celebrity Home Video,” with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

NBC to Execute Plans of Cross-Promotion: On Monday night NBC will forge new cross-promotional territory when it runs two English-language spots touting two Spanish-language shows debuting Sept. 8 on NBC-owned Telemundo.

The shows getting this unprecedented boost are “Amor Descarado” and “La Cenicienta.” The 30-second spot for “Amor” will air during “Fear Factor,” and the spot for “La Cenicienta” will air during “For Love or Money.” An NBC spokeswoman said both “Fear” and “Love” have high levels of Hispanic viewership.

Both promotions will omit the Telemundo shows’ specific airtimes, which will accommodate most network affiliates’ restrictions on day-and-date ads promoting off-network programming.

NBC scheduling executives are said to be working out a second run for the Telemundo spots the following week.

Askin Elected ATAS Chairman: Dick Askin, as expected, has been elected chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Mr. Askin, who is also president and CEO of Tribune Entertainment, will officially take office Oct. 1. He replaces Bryce Zabel, who has been chair for the past two years and chose not to run for re-election.

At a meeting Wednesday evening in North Hollywood, a number of other offices were also set. John Shaffner, who was previously second vice chair, was elected the new vice chairman. He is a production designer with Shaffner Stewart.

The newly elected second vice chair is Karen Miller, a senior VP, programming, for The Reality Channel.

Two officers were re-elected to second terms in the same positions. They are Secretary Daniel Birman, who is a producer, and former ATAS Chair Leo Chaloukian, C.A.S.

The L.A. Area vice chair is now Mitch Waldow, a TV news reporter.

On Thursday, ATAS also announced that the 55th Annual L.A. Emmy Awards will take place Sept. 6. The show will be hosted by John O’Hurley, who portrayed J. Peterman on “Seinfeld.” Presenters will include Teri Garr, Linda Gray, Florence Henderson, Lorenzo Lamas, Shaquille O’Neal and Mickey Rooney. Executive producer of the event for the seventh consecutive year is KCOP news reporter and L.A. Peer Group Governor Hal Eisner. Jeff Androsky and Carol Sherman will produce the L.A. Area Emmys for the first time. The L.A. Area Governors Award for lifetime achievement will be presented to veteran meteorologist Dr. George Fischbeck. There will also be a special tribute to the late Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, and a special tribute to Bob Hope.

For the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 21, ATAS announced that Edie Falco and James Gandolfini of HBO’s “The Soprano’s” have been added to the growing roster of presenters. Ms. Falco is nominated again this year for her lead role as Carmela Soprano, for which she has already won two Emmy Awards. Ms. Falco is the only actress to ever receive the Emmy Award, the Golden Globe Award and the SAG Award for her work on a show all in the same year. Mr. Gandolfini earned his third Emmy nomination this year for his role as Tony Soprano, which won him consecutive Emmy Awards in 2000 and 2001.

Separately, ATAS also announced that for the second year in a row the magazine Architectural Digest will design the Green Room, where celebrity presenters wait to go on during the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Caliendo Joins ‘Fox NFL Sunday’: Frank Caliendo, the stand-up comedian and impressionist whose credits include the past two seasons on Fox’s MadTV, has been named game prognosticator for “Fox NFL Sunday.” He is assuming the role held for the previous four seasons by Jimmy Kimmel and has made previous appearances with the pregame show’s boisterous co-hosts Terry Bradshaw and James Brown, analysts Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson and weather forecaster Jillian Barberie. Mr. Caliendo will make his debut Sept. 7.

Roy Disney Sells His Shares: Walt Disney Co. Vice Chairman Roy Disney late Wednesday dumped 40 percent of his stake in the company, selling around 7.5 million shares to investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston for $163 million.

The sale leaves Mr. Disney with about 10 million shares-less stock than Disney Chairman Michael Eisner owns; Mr. Eisner has 14 million shares-however he will retain voting control of the company for five years.

The company said Mr. Disney’s decision to sell the stock had to do with the company’s share price nearing a 14-month high and his desire to limit his downside if the stock retreats.

The WB Orders Spelling’s ‘Summerland’: As this summer winds down, The WB is already making plans for next summer. The network ordered 13 episodes of drama series “Summerland,” starring Lori Loughlin, to air in summer 2004. “Summerland” was originally developed and considered for this fall, but didn’t make the final cut. “We wanted to bring a broad-based, blue-sky series to summer, which is why we committed these resources to this series,” said Jordan Levin, entertainment president at The WB. “We believe we are giving it its best chance to succeed.”

The series stars Ms. Loughlin as a single public defender living in a beach house who takes in her sister’s three kids after her sister and brother-in-law die. “Summerland” is produced by Spelling Television. Stephen Tolkin, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent executive produce.