Midler to start Emmys off on right foot

GOOD MORNING and good luck, Emmy nominees: This year’s show will lead off with comedy categories plus Bette Midler singing “Rose’s Turn” from the nominated “Gypsy,” to get the show off to a hefty start. “That’s the time when home audiences are more liable to go channel surfing,” says producer Don Mischer. This year’s Emmys will also include more of the excitement surrounding the show, the outside, the people watching, backstage with co-hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Patricia Richardson. Although Richardson tells me she’ll only do an interview with “the accountant, Ellen will do the Paula Poundstone stuff.” The ladies have been on a 24-hour satellite interview merry-go-round and start actual show rehearsals for the first time Saturday. The “backstage stuff” will also include thepress room interviews, the director’s truck, etc. “Today’s audiences find this part of showbiz interesting, ” says Mischer, who admits upfront, “It’s hard to please everyone” with an awards show. It sure is …”NYPD Blue” nominated director Greg Hoblit weds “Earth 2” star Debrah Farentino in Big Sur Saturday; they honeymoon at the Emmys Sunday, and she reports back to work on the NBC/U/Amblin series Monday in Santa Fe … Richard Rubinstein, Emmy nominated (exec producer) for his Laurel Ent. ABC mini, “The Stand,” attends the Emmys with 12-year partner Stephen King, next joins with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Reid on a Lena Horne telebiopic … Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, one of the Women in Film “Lucy luncheon” awards honorees Saturday, and husband Harry T. will houseguest Hillary Rodham Clinton (and mebbe Chelsea) at the Thomasons’ Santa Barbara beach house this weekend. The Thomasons have been unable to visit with their close friends, the Clintons, in D.C. lately because they’re readying the “Women of the House” pilot for CBS.

“LOVE AFFAIR” HAS ADDED SCENES. “E! News Daily’s” Steve Kmetko and “Entertainment Tonight’s” John Tesh and Mary Hart were filmed in their respective newsrooms for opening scenes of the Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Kate Capshaw WB feature. They “announce” the fact “wedding bells will soon be ringing for Lynn Weaver” (Capshaw) a TV superstar, to “one-time NFL backfield coach Mike Gambril” (Beatty), who is also noted to be a “perennial ladies’ man.” The movie’s added seg was directed by Andy Davis (not “The Fugitive’s” director) while the movie’s director is Glen Gordon Caron. WB plans a mid-Oct. release …”Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted” will be published by Dove and distributed by Viking-Penguin with an initial printing of 250,000 hardcover copies. The book’s by Faye Resnick, a Brentwood socialite divorcee friend of Nicole’s who traveled with the Simpsons. The book will reveal details of O.J.’s relationship with Nicole in the past two years and it reportedly is a “headline-maker.” Resnick has been in hiding while the book has been in preparation. Dove’s Michael Viner says they’ve turned down million-$ offers for tabloid (TV and newspaper) rights …”An American Tragedy: The Tonya Harding Story,” scripted by Deborah Amelon, will be produced by Zev Braun Pictures, with Amelon also directing the feature. She’s also a professional figure skater and previously wrote “Exit to Eden,” which Savoy releases Oct. 14 …”Hard Copy” co-anchor Terry Murphy and personal manager Cheri Ingram, no doubt inspired by Jim Carrey’s “The Mask,” have formed their Somebody Stop Me Prods.

FRANK MANCUSO HAPPILY REPORTS MGM/UA “is where I wanted it to be at this time. And by the first of the year we will have a full complement of 18-20 productions for the year. It’s a joyous start.” The Mancusos on Wednesday were dining at Bernard Erpicum’s successsful new Eclipse eatery, the site of Beverly Hills 213’s 11th anniversary party hosted by publisher Seth Baker. Among those on hand to congratulate were Edie and Lew Wasserman, Doug Cramer, Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin, Tony Curtis, etc. Steven Seagal, a partner in Eclipse, arrived later, told me he’s readying to start his “Dark Territory” (“Under Siege 2”) next week in Colorado, then L.A. with Geoff Murphy directing … Suzie and Burt Lancaster celebrate their fourth wedding anni Saturday … Jim Aubrey’s passing saddens yours truly. He was responsible for the start of nightly showbiz reports on TV on the 11 p.m. news when he hired me in 1954 for the then KNXT (Channel 2) “Big News.” Aubrey ran the local CBS station and went on to the network’s highest heights — and the peak in movies (MGM) as well. Despite his ups and downs, we remained friends and I will miss his calls — and comments on the state of the biz.

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