Oscar ball in Cates’ – or Crystal’s – court

GOOD MORNING after: “If Gil (Cates) does it, I’ll do it,” said Emmy winner (for co-writing the Oscar show) Billy Crystal when we asked if he’d again host the Oscars. So, later, at the TV Acad’s Governors Ball, we asked Cates if he’d again produce the Oscar show. “I’ll do it if Billy (Crystal) hosts.” Acad president Bob Rehme already has asked Cates to repeat–he’ll give his answer in “a few weeks”–no doubt depending on getting an answer from Crystal. Billy is busy putting final touches on “Mr. Saturday Night,” his first outing as director-star. And he admits in his next movie he will be strictly wearing one hat–as an actor. “Directing takes a year out of your life,” he admits. Director-producer Cates, with partner Dennis Doty, has just bought rights to Scott Whisnant’s “Innocent Victim” (Dutton), a copycat murder mystery they plan to miniseries … Cates and Crystal were among the 2,200 who segued from the Emmy Award ceremonies, despite the length, next door to the ball, which went on late into Sunday night. Faithful fans continued to line the street to ogle their favorites, having gotten a suntan on the same site in the afternoon. Bleachers were installed for the first time for the event, which has become increasingly popular–judging by the fans’ enthusiastic welcomes for the vidstars … The Emmy auditorium audience, by the way, would greatly benefit from the addition of many, smaller monitors placed along the auditorium’s sides, as the Oscars do at the Pavilion … Walter C. Miller, exec producer-director, while pleased with the ratings, was unhappy that some of the participants ignored pleas to stick to the script’s time limitations. Richard Lewis, f’rinstance, insisted on doing schticks to vent his anger at Twentieth TV, Miller says.

WHILE “THE SIMPSONS” didn’t get an Emmy, they got a Johnny–Carson, that is. Yesterday, he taped an audio guestint for the show and had such a good time, he lingered long afterwards with the “Simpsons.” He sounded like he was happy to be back in TV–if only vocally. Guests also coming up on “The Simpsons” are Bob Hope, Tom Jones and Linda Ronstadt–who is also writing a song to chirp … When I intro’d and interviewed Governors Award winner Ted Turner on his arrival at the Emmys, we also asked Jane Fonda about her “retirement.” She declined a comment, smiled and said she was happy to see us, but deferred to her husband’s night. She smiled, “He keeps me so busy”… I followed winner Candice Bergen as she made her way through the maze of press rooms after her (third) win and was impressed by her easygoing, honest, intelligent answers to the endless Quayle queries. No, she hadn’t heard from him yet. … Emmy winner Gena Rowlands was escorted by handsome director-son Nick Cassavetes, who will direct his mother in an indie feature, “Unhook the Stars,” about a woman who starts her career after being widowed and her children have grown up … Jane Seymour, at the Emmys with her “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” series producer Beth Sullivan, received word at the ball that their show was picked up (CBS) for six more segs … In N.Y., at the Russian Tea Room, Mary Tyler Moore hosted the Emmy-viewing party for about 200 including Brenda Vaccaro, Barbara Feldon, Julie Wilson, Georgia Engels (from the “MTM” show), etc. Mary will be here Sept. 8 to receive (finally!) her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (sponsored) it, ” admitted Mary, the star of so many CBS network shows.

ELTON JOHN SEGUED FROM DODGER STADIUM to a soundstage yesterday to tape the video for his “The Last Song” single (MCA), a ballad about a son dying of AIDS. Gus Van Sant directs. John and Eric Clapton packed the stadium (55,000) Saturday and Sunday nights. George Michael joined John on stage Saturday with a reprise of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”–after Elton had opened with it alone. John dedicated “Rocket Man” to Sid Sheinberg, there with wife Lorraine. Also there, MCA Music Entertainment Group Chairman Al Teller, plus Whoopi Goldberg, Corbin Bernsen and Amanda Pays, Harry Hamlin, Jim Belushi, Lionel Richie, Don Henley, Phil Collins, Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach, Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Cindy Crawford, etc. … And Tony Orlando gave one of the greatest shows we’ve ever seen him deliver (and there have been many) when he performed for the L.A. Retarded Children’s gala at the Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton. The event, chaired by Renee Holland, Gloria Aranoff and Claire Cummings, raised $ 150,000 for the facility. Orlando had the packed room acting like it was New Year’s Eve! He’s still a spellbinder … It also looked like New Year’s Eve at Spago, where the (Mumm’s) champagne was flowing out of a Jeroboam for Jim Coburn’s birthday. Mumm’s Jean-Francois Juliette had flown in from Rheims and Yanou Collart from Paris for a bubbly (three vintages) banquet prepared by Wolfgang Puck’s crew for the occasion. Coburn, who just completed taping “Mastergate” for Showtime (said it was a wonderful experience), next stars as twins in “Deadfall” to be directed by Christopher Coppola. Among those on hand, Capitol’s Joe Smith, readying to bring Garth Brooks to Paris on his first French trek. Meanwhile, Michel Legrand’s here from Paris to record Johnny Mathis with Alan and Mariyn Bergman lyrics.