GOOD MORNING: “Showgirls” media madness was never more evident than in the NBC “Today Show” and ABC “Good Morning America” race for space with the principals. ABC had six segs set to air — to the delight of MGM — but canceled the last three after Joe Eszterhas and Jack Valenti went tooth and nail on Wednesday’s “Today” show on NBC. As a result, co-star Gina Gershon was KO’d from “GMA” (today) — but, when NBC heard of it, they said they’d put Gershon on their show (“Today”) Monday … Eszterhas aptly describes reaction to the pic as “like a crazed, broken bronco.” Meanwhile, Thursday night, Eszterhas brought his wife, Naomi (for whom the central character of “Showgirls,” Nomi Malone, is named), son Steven (20) and daughter Suzanne (18 1/2) to the screening at the Acad. Joe said his wife “loves” the pic. Joe says his next will definitely be G-rated. It’s “Blaze of Glory,” the Otis Redding story. “There’ll be no sex, no violence in it.” A top director’s soon to be set and a studio to follow … Another pic that will be G or PG, with no profanity or scatological references, is Savoy’s “The Stupids.””It’s a family film — the kind where the parent takes the children and the parent loves it as well,” says director John Landis. But Savoy’s president of marketing, Bob Levin, says, “We have to convince people it isn’t ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ ” Landis adds, “In the old-fashioned sense — this could have been a Walt Disney movie.” (Coincidentally, Levin came to Savoy from Disney.) The pic once was at Universal, but producer Brian Grazer’s Imagine project went into turnaround to Savoy. Landis, who always cuts while he’s shooting, already has shown a rough cut and sez, “I’ve not been this happy with a movie of mine in years.” He further claims, “Stanley Stupid is the role Tom Arnold was born to play. And Jessica Lundy (his movie wife) is the new Lucille Ball. And the supporting cast is great — Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) and Christopher Lee, etc.” A sequel is “absolutely in the cards.” The movie’s moved up to Presidents Day release. Landis next is putting together “Blues Brothers 2000”– to star Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and Jim Belushi … Levin, by the way, assures, “Savoy is NOT going out of the movie bizness — just more flexibilities.”‘The Thin Line” and “Pinocchio” are his next release packages to prove Savoy is movie-minded.
NORMA JEAN IN “NORMA AND MARILYN” for HBO is Ashley Judd. The Marilyn Monroe role is yet to be set by producer Marvin Worth. Jim Fywell directs. Worth’s now shooting split days in Pittsburgh with “Diabolique” for Jim Robinson’s Morgan Creek and WB. And before starting his James Dean feature, Worth begins Fine Line’s “Easy Women” with “Diabolique’s” scripter, Don Roos, making his directing bow on his screenplay … Carol Burnett, in previews at the Martin Beck for the Oct. 1 bow of Ken Ludwig’s “Moon Over Buffalo,” says she hasn’t worked this hard in years — f’rinstance, the opening scene has her fencing! But Burnett’s buoyed by standing ovations each night. Tom Moore directs and Tony winner Philip Bosco (“Lend Me a Tenor”) co-stars … Martin Charnin directs the N.Y. cast of “Loose Lips” bowing at the Santa Monica Playhouse Oct. 29. As in N.Y., guest celeb narrators will appear … When Gary Owens is inducted into his native South Dakota’s Hall of Fame on Saturday, it marks the fourth hallowed hall he’s entered this year! … Darryl Marshak set Michael York opposite Nastassja Kinski in Danielle Steele’s four-hour NBC mini “The Ring,” also Rod Steiger in ABC’s “Dalva,” and Danny Rucci in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Eraser.” “Babe’s” delightful Farmer Hoggett, James Cromwell, also joins “Eraser”… Jilli Mack (Mrs. Tom Selleck) returns to thesping with a guestint on “Frasier”… Alec Baldwin narrates the docu “Wild Bill, Hollywood Maverick.” The Bill Wellman tribute film bows at the London Fest on Nov. 2, and the Sundance Fest in January with a retro of the great director’s work.
THE PLAY’S THE THING. No doubt about it as Mandalay Entertainment’s Peter Guber hosted a reception for the literary agents, etc., in the tony Sony Club. Guber’s literary division topper Nanscy Neiman co-hosted. Guests included Morton Janklow, Millie and Arnold Glimcher, Scott Sanders, ICM’s literary head Esther Newberg, William Morris’ Joni Evans and Owen Laster, Putnam/Berkley’s Phyllis Green — and Mickey Schulhof himself. Today, Guber’s in Boston where daughter Elizabeth bows in Ionesco’s “The Lesson” directed by Eduardo Ponti, son of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti. Sophia’s hoping to get off work in “Grumpier Old Men” in Milwaukee in time to attend … Funeral services for Julius Bengsston, longtime coiffeur to celebs including Nancy Reagan, will be at 2 p.m. today at the Westwood Cemetery … Kay Thompson’s “Eloise” celebrates its 40th birthday Saturday at Every Picture Tells a Story on Beverly Blvd. with original illustrator Hilary Knight on hand, plus Evelyn Rudie, who played Eloise on TV.