Montel has advice for new latenite talkers

GOOD MORNING: A word (or more) of advice from the No. 1 male daytime talkshow host, to the two male newcomers to nighttime. Montel Williams was discussing this week’s dual debut on the late-night blabber beat of Keenen Ivory Wayans and “Vibe’s” Chris Spencer. Williams, 1996 Daytime Emmy winner as outstanding talkshow host, is about to start his sixth national season, and he should know whereof he speaks. “I hope their shows don’t limit themselves to whom they’re trying to appeal to. The pop culture now relates to every demographic. It should not be a white or a black talkshow. The public knows of three kinds of talkshows: variety, salacious and info-entertainment.” He’s in the last-mentioned, natch. Williams, who’s in 97% of the markets, points out that 25 daytime talkers have “come and gone” during his tenure. His formula: “We try to figure out why things happen.” While Wayans and Spencer now also vie for celeb guests, Williams admits, “I put out an all points bulletin in Hollywood: ‘You want to talk about an issue — come see me.’ ” He tapes six shows in two days in N.Y., with audiences shifting on every show; he said 700 are waiting three months to be part of his audiences He exec produces this show, is developing a variety show (he will not appear) and is producing a feature “A Sense of Honor,” all for Par. His acting career is also in high gear: he’s just back from Vilnius, Lithania, where he donned tights and buckskin for the TNT “Robin Hood” series playing a Moorish Frenchman; he completed his first feature role in Dolph Lundgren’s “The Peacekeeper,” and will guest in a “JAG” seg and a “Walker” for Chuck Norris. He’s also developing a sitcom, in which to star, “Me & My Girl,” for UPN. He wings here Saturday to be honored with the Racial Harmony Hall of Fame award from the A Place For Us org.

SHARON STONE’S ATTORNEYS, but not Sharon herself (as yet), are suing Frank Sanello, author of “Naked Instinct: the Unauthorized Biography of Sharon Stone” and Birch Lane Press/Carol Publishing Group, for defamation and two causes of invasion of privacy. Stone’s plaintiff attorneys are Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, and William J. Skrzyniarz And the ongoing litigation may be coming to an end surrounding “Marilyn Monroe — The Life The Myth” (Rizzoli Co.), a coffee-table book. Worldwide Monroe photographers claim the book is an “infringement” and depositions against Rizzoli have been held in London, Milan and Gotham. Monroe lensmen in Hollywood — Tom Kelley (the famous MM nude on red velvet), George Barris (MM in billowing skirt), Phil Stern (pregnant MM during “Some Like It Hot”) — will give their depos. Aug. 18-20. … Jason Alexander, who returns to the stage in “Promises, Promises” at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse Aug. 14-24, is still hopeful of his eventual return to B’way to star in the musicalized “Marty,” but it’s at least three years off. That’s when his infant children are older and able to understand daddy’s nighttime absences! Alexander, you recall, is a Tony winner for “Jerome Robbins’ B’way.” Meanwhile, his banner’s also developing the feature adaptation of the musical “Once on This Island.” Alexander is again Emmy-nominated (a seventh time) for supporting “Seinfeld” but allows, “I have no chance of winning.” He’s signed for two more years on the series and admits he’d love to do another series when this one winds. “But not necessarily a sitcom. Nothing can compare with ‘Seinfeld’ and, besides, it’s on the air in syndication a half-dozen times a day!” The series returns for its first reading Aug. 20, delayed to give Julia-Louis Dreyfus time to recupe after welcoming her second baby boy. During this hiatus, Alexander also co-starred in “Cinderella,” well as the indie feature, dark comedy “Denial,” and he directed a seg of AMC’s “Remember WENN.” And he was at the opening of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus Thursday night — because he always dreamed of being a trapeze artist. He probably could be.

“LETHAL WEAPON IV” STARTS FILMING Jan. 8 in L.A., sez Dick Donner. Mel Gibson, interviewing himself in Sept. US mag, asks himself, “You mean they haven’t offered you everything including a blank WB check?” He answers himself, “Oh that’s true.” … Adrian Pasdar segues from starring in U-TV/NBC’s mini, “The House of Frankenstein” to direct a feature, “Cement,” in Texas. He describes it as “Fargo Meets Othello.” … Dennis Quaid’s now in London co-starring with Natasha Richardson in “The Parent Trap” as the father of twins, but gets a break of three weeks to complete editing TNT’s dramatic “Everything That Rises,” his directorial debut in which he also co-stars with Mare Winningham and Meat Loaf. Quaid shot in Paradise Valley, 10 minutes from his own ranch. In his vidpic he plays a rancher hoping to save his land. He says he learned a lot about what hope means while shooting “Saviour” in Serbia during the winter. Quaid told me he took a cut in salary (as an actor) in order to direct the TNT movie. “It’s like when I first started,” he laughed.

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