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H’w’d talks on tragedy

Getting back to work after the Labor Day weekend, Hollywood reacted to the death of Princess Diana by pulling some ads, rewriting some scripts and calling a press conference.

Weight Watchers Intl. postponed the formal launch of an ad campaign in which Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, says that losing weight is “harder than outrunning the paparazzi.”

“The campaign is not being halted; it’s just being postponed,” said spokesman Mary Ann Maryn of Rubenstein Associates, the PR firm for Weight Watchers.

Quick rewrite

Meanwhile, CBS’ drama “Diagnosis Murder” did some fast rewrites on a story for its first episode of the season, in which Brit actress Victoria Tennant was cast as a fictitious duchess targeted in an L.A. assassination attempt.

“Diagnosis” executive producer and co-writer Lee Goldberg and fellow exec producer William Rabkin spent Sunday and Monday on rewrites, emerging with a script that now cast Tennant as “the third richest woman in the world” with no British royal connection.

On Tuesday, actor George Clooney called a press confab at Screen Actors Guild headquarters in L.A.

The actor vowed to spend his “every free moment” pushing for a change in libel laws to eliminate the need for plaintiffs to prove malicious intent on the part of a publication. Malicious intent is “the loophole tabloids hide behind,” Clooney said.

“Change these two words and all journalists are held accountable in a civil trial,” he said, conceding that getting such a change passed into law would be “no small task.”

SAG itself had prepared to launch an anti-stalking campaign. However, “Because the environment has changed so quickly in the wake of this tragedy,” SAG spokeswoman Katherine Moore told Daily Variety, “we want to take some time — with some of our high-profile members — to create a cohesive and organized approach.”

In a press statement, SAG expressed sorrow at the death of Diana and Dodi Fayed. The statement outlined three areas “which should be open to public discussion”: including toughening libel laws, curbing the purchase of materials gathered irresponsibly and stiffening privacy laws.

**contributor:Cynthia Littleton

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