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Aftershocks shift H’w’d to low gear

No sooner had Hollywood begun to resume its normal rhythms and activity Friday — however tentatively — then a new series of strong aftershocks sent many people home.

One CBS show became another casualty of the quake and rumors, later discounted by CalTech, had Monday’s temblor serving as a precursor to a larger earthquake.

Late-morning aftershocks Friday — one as big as 4.6 on the Richter scale — led to early shuttering of hundreds of businesses, particularly those in the San Fernando Valley. That’s where the heaviest damage was inflicted — and where nerves are most frayed– from the Northridge quake.

The CBS serial “Second Chances” has been indefinitely shut down by the earthquake, which put the Valencia studios where the series was filming out of commission.

All the sets need to be rebuilt, so CBS has put the show on hold, possibly to return this summer. Nine of the 20 hours ordered have been completed, with the eighth to air this Thursday. CBS, which has yet to set a replacement, would have preempted the show twice in February in any case due to the Winter Olympics.

“Chances” comes from “Homefront” producers Lynn Marie Latham and Bernard Lechowick and is distributed by ITC Entertainment. The series has been struggling in the ratings, averaging a 8.4/14 since its more promising Dec. 2 premiere.

The comedy joins NBC’s high-rated “Seinfeld” on the indefinitely disabled list. The Studio City stage on which the show is taped were seriously damaged, and new sets will have to be built (Daily Variety, Jan. 21).

In other developments:

Walt Disney Co. president Frank G. Wells issued a letter to employees Friday offering such assistance as the arrangement of interest-free loans, time off with pay and up to $ 500 a week toward housing for staffers displaced by the quake.

In the letter, Wells called rebuilding the No. 1 priority. The exec could not be reached for comment on the letter, while Disney spokesman said it was “an internal memo only, not intended for outside distribution.”

NBC in New York instituted a similar plan for its Burbank-based operations late last week.

As predicted (Daily Variety, Jan. 21), Cannon axed the skedded release Friday of its Chuck Norris film “Hellbound.” A representative for the company said there had been problems in the production of prints, but declined to name the lab handling the work. However, the source said the technical woes made it doubtful the opening could be met. The company has not firmed a new release date.

At UCLA’s Royce Hall, visible tears in two 1929 masonry towers forced closure of the entire structure, which includes a rehearsal hall and a large auditorium.

Royce Hall — one of UCLA’s four original buildings — is home to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra records there.

Meanwhile, Tom and Roseanne Arnold have donated $ 10,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to help earthquake victims.

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