Thesp asks FCC’s help in fighting Stern suit

GOOD MORNING: Eric Douglas, fighting an $11 million lawsuit resulting from his two appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show, dating back to 1989, appealed for help Tuesday from a Congressional FCC panel. (During an on-air “Dial-a-Date” seg, Douglas discussed a woman’s sexual prowess and referred to her by name.) Congressman James Moran (D-Va.), who sits on the appropriations subcommittee of the Federal Communications Committee, told me Douglas asked for the appearance, hoping the FCC “would establish a system whereby people would be better protected on radio/TV programs where they might be abused and/or put in a compromising position.” Douglas also hoped the FCC would ask Stern’s syndicator, Infinity Broadcasting, to help pay Douglas’ defense costs in the suit brought by a listener — against Douglas as well as Stern. Meanwhile, Stern and Infinity also sued Douglas and he, in turn, countersued Stern and Infinity! It all costs big legal bucks and Douglas doesn’t have ’em. Moran admitted to me, “I don’t think the FCC can do much in this case.” He said the FCC will speak to Infinity’s lawyers but, “I don’t think they’ll require them to do anything.” Moran said Douglas showed poor judgment in staying on Stern’s show when the questionable “Dial-a-Date” seg came up. “And he showed poorer judgment in coming back. I think Mr. Stern is one of the most obnoxious people I’ve heard on any media — but as long as (his) audiences keep expanding — it’s tough.” One of Douglas’ lawyers, Richard Lapidus, said they hoped “the FCC would issue new guidelines for people who appear on those kind of shows.” Douglas appeared on the talker, as do most celebs, to plug an appearance. The case in the N.Y. courts is completing discovery, trading documents — building up costs … Meanwhile, in Canada, Paul Anka faced off vs. the Ottawa Senators hockey team, and has retained his legal ownership interest in the National Hockey League expansion team — receiving a $ 1,072,000 settlement package from the Senators and Terrace Investments. Anka, an Ottawa native, joined a syndicate to establish the team in 1991, expecting to become a partner in the team and the Ottawa Palladium, home for the Senators.

SHERIFF’S OFFICERS, GUNS DRAWN, searched thesps Samuel Jackson, Ellis Williams, Oba Babatunde and Ren Brown, then had them spread their legs and place their hands on the sheriff’s car as calls went in to check their IDs. They then sat the thesps on the curb. Jackson and Williams are appearing in “Distant Fires” nearby at the Coast Playhouse, and the other duo had come to see ’em in the play Sunday. They then supped at Hugo’s when they were apprehended at the corner of Santa Monica and Kings Road. “They (the cops) said someone called in to report four black men with bats and guns were standing on the corner,” Jackson told me. “We have no bats or guns — so now what?” he told the cops — three cars had arrived. “They wouldn’t tell us who made the anonymous call while people were walking by and saying ‘Hi’ to us. We had just been talking — and we were dressed respectably. One of the cops even said, ‘You look familiar.’ “”We’re just doing our job,” one of them explained. Jackson filed a complaint. He’s also working by day in the bigscreen “Pulp Fiction,” and will next be seen in John Frankenheimer’s HBO Attica prison drama, “Against the Wall,” as well as Showtime’s “Trial of Johnson Whitaker”… An invitation-only tribute to River Phoenix will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the new Paramount Studio Theater. The studio’s “The Thing Called Love,” which opens in Seattle Friday, was previewed by director Peter Bogdanovich up there last weekend, and he now admits , “My reaction was complicated. His death makes the whole movie different. But those (press) who saw it,” he adds, “liked it.”

SHARON STONE AND JERRY WEINTRAUB are discussing”The Specialist” to co-star with Sylvester Stallone. The highly erotic WB pic’s to be directed by Luis Llosa (“Sniper”) … The year-end listings have started: December’s Vanity Fair 1993 Hall of Fame with photos by Annie Leibovitz leads off with Cindy Crawford as Eve — adorned only by a strategically placed snake. The list continues with Yasser Arafat (!), Tommy Lee Jones, Heidi Fleiss (!), Richard Avedon, Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Crichton, Holly Hunter, Tony Kushner, Michael Jordan, David Letterman, Donna Karan and Marky Mark. Vanity Fair’s “cover goddess,” Demi Moore, is again their cover girl … Margot Kidder is Patty Duke’s best friend in NBC’s thriller “Saving Grace.” Kidder sold Simon & Schuster rights to her experiences in the biz — and she’s got ’em! Kidder hopes to complete the manuscript for ’94 publication.