April 5, 2001

Entertainment News

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Becoming a Virgin

Doesn’t sound possible? Well, it is, and Mariah Carey is living proof.

In a statement released on Monday, Carey announced that she was leaving Columbia Records, her label since her multiplatinum debut album in 1990. On Tuesday, Virgin announced their multi-album deal with the Grammy-winning star. Terms were not released, but reports of compensation between $17 and $20 million per album have been noted.

Many saw Carey’s split from Columbia coming, after she divorced its former head, Tommy Mottola in 1993.

It’s All Your Fault!

Dr. Laura Schlessinger bowed out Friday, when Paramount officially announced that her syndicated TV talk show, Dr. Laura, had been cancelled.

The programming cut was widely expected, though, considering the show’s poor ratings throughout the season.

Dr. Laura was the target of criticism since the show’s inception last fall. Most of the disfavor came from the gay and lesbian community, citing Schlessinger’s comments on her radio program that homosexuality is “deviant” and a “biological error.”

The uproar led many advertisers to drop their sponsorship of her show and a substantial decline in ratings soon followed. In November, seven big city markets moved the show from an afternoon slot to the deserted graveyard shift.

According to Movieweb.com, during an appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live, Schlessinger blamed gays for her show’s demise. “Advertisers were intimidated and threatened by GLAAD [the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] and their constituency.” She said that she never once mentioned homosexuality on her TV talk show, but critics continued to fight her.

Joan Garry, executive director of GLAAD, maintained her organization’s stance though. “We respect Laura’s right to have an opinion but nobody has a First Amendment right to a television show.”

It’s likely that original episodes will air until this fall, when Dr. Laura will be permanently yanked from the small screen.

Cinematic Revelations

The teen genre may be dead, according to a report recently featured in Variety.

Last week’s release of the heavily-promoted Tomcats, starring Jerry O’Connell, earned an unimpressive $6.4 million in its opening weekend. Teen-oriented fare like Say It Isn’t So and Get Over It have been similarly snubbed at the box office of late.

Some executives believe that recent restrictions on marketing R-rated films during teen TV programs have markedly limited their appeal. And with Congress standing over Hollywood’s shoulders, fewer underaged kids are being admitted to the theatres.

But the apathy isn’t limited to R-rated movies, as PG-13 flicks are feeling the effects of a diminished audience as well. In this case, most analysts attribute low turnout to the thematic constrictions of this rating level. PG-13 just doesn’t spell “outrageous” anymore, and teens know this.

Nevertheless, studio execs remain fairly unfazed by the declining trend, noting that genre popularity seems to come in cycles.

And it’s certainly possible that this summer’s release of American Pie 2 could recharge the youth-oriented film once again.

Quote of the Week

“I’m really basically just like a 260-pound Woody Allen.”

Sopranos star James Gandolfini in Rolling Stone

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