Three days after Los Angeles was injured by earthquake and aftershocks, the insults to business-as-usual in Hollywood continued.
Among the earthquake-related ramifications to shake the city: the apparent aborted release of one film, the decision to rebuild the sets of a TV series, as well as reports of inflammatory remarks by a French film official.
NBC’s top-rated series, “Seinfeld,” is shopping for a new venue to continue production this season, after its Studio City soundstage sustained additional damage from Wednesday’s 5.1 aftershock.
Castle Rock Entertainment is said to be looking at Paramount and other locations, and will likely have to construct replicas of the show’s existing sets — which can’t be reached because of structural damage inflicted by Monday’s earthquake and subsequent tremors.
An NBC spokesman said the series has enough episodes in the can to get through the February sweeps, though it’s unclear how long it will be before additional installments can be produced. The series has been taped at the CBS/MTM lot in Studio City.
French exec’s theory
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, French newspapers, including Liberation and Le Figaro, quoted Unifrance president Daniel Toscan du Plantier as saying: “And now, with the earthquake that hit Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, where there are a number of studios, it is proven that God, who rarely manifests Himself, is at work; and He has shown where His sympathies lie …” He then added, “I would have preferred that He had spared lives, but God is cruel, which we have known for a long time.”
Le Figaro reported that while the exec made clear that he will defend his statement, it is in no way synonymous with widespread French anti-Americanism.
Back at the scene of the quake, there were unconfirmed reports Thursday that Cannon Pictures has delayed today’s release of “Hellbound,” because the quake had frozen postproduction on the Chuck Norris vehicle. Cannon reps were unavailable for comment.
Although large parts of Santa Monica were hit hard by Monday’s quake, the American Film Market will still be held Feb. 24 through March 4 in various sites throughout the beach-side town, including the market’s headquarters, Loews SantaMonica Beach Hotel.
According to a spokesman for the AFM, all of the screening facilities for the market, many of which are on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, came through the quake unharmed and have already resumed unspooling films to the public.
In addition, there was no damage to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, the site of Location Expo, and the majority of Santa Monica hotels are operational.
Sony damage slight
A Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesman said Thursday that it has suffered no significant damage, and engineers have declared everything sound.
After Wednesday’s aftershocks, Burbank officials closed a section of Barham/Olive just north of Forest Lawn Drive while Dept. of Water & Power crews shut off water pipes under the area. However, reps of Disney and Warner Bros. reported that the traffic inconvenience was minimal and that things were pretty much back to normal at the studios.
On television, coverage of Monday’s earthquake continues to do boffo business nationally, as news magazines “Now With Tom Brokaw & Katie Couric” and “48 Hours” on Wednesday each devoted their full hour to the disaster and came away with their highest ratings this season.
“Now” and “48 Hours” registered a 13.3 rating, 19 share and 13.5/22, respectively, on the Nielsen scale.