Tartikoff showing himself as a key player again

July 13, 1994|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- Brandon Tartikoff is definitely back.

The former NBC programming whiz became the chairman of New World Entertainment in June, and he seems to be all over the place here promoting his productions. Yesterday, he announced the debut of "Q&E!" -- a program that he says will feature "celebrities in a fast-paced, round-robin, question-and-answer format."

The show, which sounds like the game show presented as entertainment, will debut Aug. 22 on the E! Entertainment Television cable channel.

"I'm a big fan of 'E! Entertainment Television' and its programming," Tartikoff said yesterday. "The television business and the television audience are changing dramatically, and E! is at the forefront of this change."

Tartikoff said his relationship with "E!" gives him a "dynamic and creative laboratory to try new ideas and test new concepts."

New World's primary purpose, of course, is as a supplier of programs to Fox. Rupert Murdoch's deal with New World, which resulted in eight New World TV stations leaving the major networks for Fox, set off the game of musical chairs that resulted in ABC's abandoning WJZ in Baltimore after 45 years and taking on WMAR as its Baltimore affiliate.

And, a heads-up for Tom Clancy fans.

Tartikoff said he's also producing a four-hour mini-series for NBC based on a "concept" by Clancy. The finished product is expected this fall.

Lifetime deal:

The Lifetime cable channel yesterday announced it has reached a deal with Chilton Research Services to conduct a year-long poll on women's attitudes.

"Whether it's how women and men feel about the Wonderbra or what their opinions are about Hillary Rodham Clinton, these polls will give the public and Lifetime information on what women and our viewers are thinking about," said Judy Girard, senior vice president for programming.

Lifetime markets itself as the channel for and about women.

Running late:

Don't expect an HBO movie about the late-night TV wars any time soon.

HBO optioned "Late Shift," the book by New York Times TV critic Bill Carter (formerly of The Sun), but still does not have a script, according to HBO Chairman Michael Fuchs.

When asked at a press conference yesterday how casting was going on "Late Shift," Fuchs said, "Casting? Maybe we should get a script first. We're having enough trouble right now finding someone to play Mike Tyson."

Fuchs was referring to HBO's current campaign to find a Mike Tyson lookalike for a film on the boxer's life.

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