Canal Plus CEO visits U

BON JOUR: A week after the engagement between Seagram and Vivendi became official, Canal Plus chairman-CEO Pierre Lescure made his first official visit to the Universal Studios lot for a series of low-profile meets-and-greets Thursday. Lescure, who has been tapped to oversee the entertainment side of the merged Vivendi Universal, took meals with prexy and chief operating officer Ron Meyer and Universal Pictures chief Stacy Snider and met with other senior execs amid what was described as a friendly atmosphere. The agenda did not include a visit to the commissary. Lescure is expected to return as early as next week. Will there be any special celebrations at Universal City Walk on July 14? … Barbra Streisand to sing at the Democrats’ National Convention — it’s under discussion. Would one of her songs be “Happy Days are Here Again”? She sang it (memorably!) to President John F. Kennedy, May 14, 1963, at the Washington Press Corps’ dinner. Barbra is set to finale (?) her concertouring with dates at L.A.’s Staples Center Sept. 20-21 and at Madison Square Garden, Sept. 27-28. If she’s having as good a time offstage as she’s now enjoying, who knows if she’ll pick up any of the many other venues offered her? … Denzel Washington will back-to-back New Line’s “John Q.” costarring with Robert Duvall and directed by Nick Cassavetes, followed by “Training Day” at WB with Antoine Fuqua directing. Washington then directs the Antoine Fisher story (untitled) at Fox, in which he may also take on a role … Regis Philbin gets a week off taping “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” next week, but continues the daily “Live” show (after the 4th). ABC wants Reege to continue “Millionaire” all summer. July 28 is the final day for Kathie Lee Gifford on “Live”; the final week will shows retros of memorable moments — and some “live” swan songs … Talk about “Survivor” — “Inside Gilligan,” a 10-year-old book written by the show’s creator, Sherwood Schwartz, will return as a telefilm from ABC. Ironically, the book reveals the problems with CBS on the making of “Gilligan’s Island,” a series that goes on and on, airing now (again) on Nickelodeon.

YOU’RE INVITED TO BROADWAY in October,” Manny Azenberg told the cast of Neil Simon’s “The Dinner Party” after he caught a performance this week at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Costar Henry Winkler (getting raves in D.C.) told me B’way theater reps (Nederlander, Jujamcyn, etc.) are now arriving in Washington to set the proper Gotham site and date. The D.C. stand winds July 16. Winkler told me Simon has changed only 15 lines since the stand at L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum in December. “I spoke to him (Simon) the other night,” said Winkler, “and he said he thinks he’s got it right and needs no more tampering.” It’ll be Winkler’s first time on B’way since 1973: He opened and closed in one night with “42 Seconds From Broadway” at the 48th Street Playhouse. The break between D.C. and N.Y. gives Winkler time to work on his banner Fair Dinkum’s many projects, including exec producing a WB pilot, “Reality Check.” It’s a one-hour show combining creative elements of youthful participants. ‘Nuf said before someone steals it! The versatile Winkler also exec produces the multi-awarded family show, “So Weird” (Disney Channel), and “Dead Man’s Gun” (TNN). Winkler and partner Ann Daniel are developing two movies for Showtime. And while getting acting plaudits for “Dinner Party,” he is being pushed for an Emmy nomination for his highly dramatic two-parter in “The Practice” Asked how he can play B’way and produce the above shows, Winkler noted, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” “Dinner Party,” directed by John Rando, also stars John Ritter, Len Cariou, Penny Fuller, Veanne Cox and Annette Michelle Sanders.

“WE WENT UNDERCOVER,” admits Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, to get material for their planned feature, “Save Me.” Writer Alan Poul was with ’em in disguise at an Exodus movement meeting for “born-again recovering homosexuals” in July. (They say it’s a romantic comedy.) Meanwhile, “Paragraph 175,” the Epstein-Friedman award-winning (Sundance 2000) dramatic docu account of Nazi treatment of gays and lesbians, will screen Thursday at Outfest 2000 at the Orpheum in L.A. When they screened it in Berlin, one of the victims of Nazi treatment of gays, Pierre Seel, who swore he’d never shake hands with a German, made an emotional appearance, to a standing ovation. The pic bows in N.Y. Sept. 13; SanFran, Sept. 15. Lily Tomlin makes the presentation to Friedman and Epstein. She also narrated their “Celluloid Closet” … Actors Jon Cryer (“Pretty in Pink”) and wife Sarah Trigger (“Hefner: Unauthorized”) welcomed their first, son Charlie Austin at Good Samaritan, June 27 … Mark Weinberg and Erin Davy are back from a European honeymoon; they were married June 10 at Callawassie Island, S.C. … Ron Silver, who will play attorney Bob Shapiro in CBS’ mini “American Tragedy,” dined with Shapiro Wednesday night at the Grill in BevHills … Tom Hatten, KNX entertainment editor, is named president of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. Hatten, a 1950 grad of the Pasadena Playhouse, was the host of KTLA’s popular “Popeye and his Friends” — and has appeared in dozens of legits … Gary Owens asks me, “Now that the Lakers’ season is over, will the players will be sitting in the front row at every Jack Nicholson movie?” If they are, I don’t want to be sitting behind ’em.

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