GOOD MORNING:Rob Reiner met with Tom Ridge during Ridge’s final four days as Governor of Pennsylvania. Reiner says he had been working with Ridge for a year and a half on dittoing Reiner’s parenting education program, I Am Your Child, in Pennsylvania. Reiner is instituting it in California as a result of passage of Calif. Prop 10. When Reiner had phoned Ridge to congratulate him on his appointment (by President Bush) as head of the Homeland Security Council, Ridge asked Reiner to quickly come to Pennsylvania “and we’ll launch it.” Ridge spent half a day with Reiner during those super-busy days. “He’s amazing: He looks you in the eye and says it — and it’s done. It’s remarkable for a politician!” The program will be launched with 150,000 “I Am Your Child” video kits being distributed. The videos are hosted by celebs including Reiner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Maria Shriver, Gloria Estefan, Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos, Phylicia Rashad and Cristina. In Calif. 500,000 kits will be distributed to educate prospective parents … Apart from politicking, Reiner’s readying a romantic comedy scripted by Jeremy Leven which he hopes to start filming early next year. Ben Stiller will see the script momentarily … Bill Clinton, who had met with Jerry Seinfeld last year in the White House after Mark Twain honors (to Carl Reiner) at the Kennedy Center, supped with Seinfeld, his wife Jessica after the comics’ (Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, etc.) Carnegie Hall fundraiser. Clinton is fascinated by standup comics. He (and we) will soon be able to see what goes on in a standup’s mind: “Comedian,” a theatrical film result of Jerry’s 13-month hiatus prepping his return to live comedy. The film includes his backstage ad lib confabs, learning what’s inside the comic mind of Cosby, Chris Rock, George Wallace, Colin Quinn, Robert Klein, Ray Romano, Garry Shandling, Kevin Nealon, Jay Leno and young comic Orny Adams. Many of these interviews were taped backstage at the Hermosa Beach Comedy & Magic Club where they work out when not visible at places like the Improv.
WE WILL CROSS OUR FINGERS,”Peter Funt admitted to me as he readies to again tape “Candid Camera” segs in N.Y. He winged into Gotham (from home in Pebble Beach, Calif.) to test the waters, to see if it was appropriate to do ’em. “Are they (New Yorkers) ready for our good-natured humor?” he wondered. He says he’s learned they are more polite than ever; when they jolt you, “they say ‘I’m so sorry.’ There’s an overabundance of courtesy.” He and his team had already lensed eight of the 28 hours ordered by PAX TV. He’s added this note in front of those segs set in N.Y.: “I hope none of you think that we’re failing to take seriously what has happened. It is our form of salute to New Yorkers’ fortitude.” (He’s originally from Gotham.) He’ll note, “There’s still plenty to smile about; you know our motto (for 53 years on TV!) is ‘Smile, you’re on “Candid Camera.” ‘ ” The first “victim” to be lensed (Friday) will be the owner of a fancy house who will be asked to contribute a tree on the front lawn, ostensibly to be used in Rockefeller Center at Christmas. Sure! … Irving Berlin’s music, led by “God Bless America,” will be saluted Monday at the N.Y. Friars’ Club. Robert Merrill will sing it and other performers will include Mickey Freeman, Marilyn Sokol and, of course, the Friars’ Abbot Alan King and Dean Freddie Roman. Paulette Attie is producing the show, which will include a visit by Berlin’s daughter, Linda Emmett Berlin, winging in from France. She’ll also promote the book she co-edited with Robert Kimball, “The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin.” Further, the evening will feature a never-before-heard recording of Berlin singing, “Here’s to the Friars” recorded at a 1913 club dinner held in his honor. You recall Berlin set proceeds from “God Bless America” to benefit the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MILLION-$ LOSS on the KO’d Shrine presentation of the Emmys? “We have reserve funds,” TV Acad president Jim Chabin reminds. “That is not a prime decision.” Meanwhile, the decision on location and date of the awards continues with the positive position of Les Moonves and CBS, Chabin adds. A hotel site remains the favorite but a military base (Point Mugu Naval base is interested) and even a return to the Shrine was discussed; the set has been put in storage … When not busy with presidential business at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Frank Pierson is readying his next film, a spy story, “The Last Spy” for Jodie Foster. It’s a thriller, but with a different direction for this spy — with emphasis on character … Natalie Cole and Kenneth Dupree will wed Friday in Nashville, where he is bishop of the Victory Church … “Gilligan’s Island,” which has been around for 39 years on the small screen (the latest incarnation will be Saturday’s airing of “Surviving Gilligan’s Island”), is now heading to the bigscreen. Creator Sherwood Schwartz, who also wrote the book, “Inside Gilligan’s Island,” is talking a bigscreen version with Jersey Films and WB … Joel Gallen, who produced the star-studded “America: A Tribute to Heroes,” will next produce “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” in N.Y.’s Bryant Park Nov. 13, to air Nov. 15 on ABC. The stars here are the world’s top models … Terry Bradshaw, who receives his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame today, has a go-ahead from Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books on his second book, “Keep It Simple,” to follow his bestseller, “It’s Only a Game.”