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Saudi prince’s co. takes over Jackson biz

GOOD MORNING: Saudi Arabian Prince al-Waleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Entertainment will replace Sandy Gallin-Jim Morey Associates in all of Michael Jackson’s endeavors. Jim Morey got word of the decision when he was en route to their BevHills offices from Paris and London, after putting together the second leg of Michael Jackson’s tour. The managers have represented Jackson for the past 6 years, through thick and thin. (In fact, when I had called Gallin awhile back, he was quick to agree that Jackson’s lyrics in “HIStory” were out of line and should be changed — and they were.) Another thorn (in Jackson’s professional life, that is) was the “Jackson Family Honors” concert-TV special in Las Vegas two years ago. Monday, Gary Smith dropped the fraud case against the family to clear the way of getting verdicts on the other two cases before federal Judge Laughlin Waters. Waters can now decide if Jackson broke his promise to perform and whether the Jackson production company JCI and Michael personally are responsible for $1.5 million in excess costs — a result of Michael not showing up for the original event in Atlantic City in December 1993. Smith-Hemion won its case against JCI for $1.7 million, but the claim has never been able to be collected. Gary Smith also has a case pending before state court Justice Sherman Smith that could force Jackson to pay the money to JCI, which would then be collectible by Smith-Hemion. Still with us? All that happened while Gallin-Morey managed Michael and were involved with all phases of Jackson’s biz, from concert to pix and legit development. Jackson’s showbiz activities are now in the realm of Kingdom Entertainment.

IT WAS HARD TO BELIEVE MY EYES when I watched NBC’s “Dateline,” Friday and viewed the seg “Hide in Plain Sight,” the story of former Nazis living in Canada. It was the same story that Mike Wallace of CBS’ “60 Minutes” had been readying and about which I had written here Jan. 22, with a followup on the 29th. “Dateline’s” senior investigating producer Allan Maraynes (who says, “Mike Wallace raised me from a pup”) allows, “I thought we’d get a different audience. Besides, I don’t think you can do too many of those stories (about Nazi horrors).” Bob McKeown was NBC’s correspondent on the seg produced by Sandy Dennison. NBC called the Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier to get info and background on their story, but Hier said, “It would be unethical to give it to them (NBC). We didn’t cooperate with them. ’60 Minutes’ came up with the idea first. And we told them so.” NBC’s Maraynes admitted to me, “Everybody we called had already made an arrangement with Mike (Wallace) . It was kind of fun getting into a competitive situation with Mike.” When NBC was unsuccessful in getting cooperation from Nazi hunter Steve Ramban tracking the Nazis in Canada, they got that footage of him from an Israeli TV show on which he’d appeared earlier! When asked his opinion of all the above, Wallace allowed, “It’s a business!” P.S. both nets did creditable jobs and Maraynes concluded of their dual coverage, “We were doing a mitzvah.” … Bill Cosby will narrate the tribute to the late Jackie Robinson at the fifth annual ESPY Awards marking excellence in sports performance and commemorating the 50th anni of Robinson breaking the color barrier in the Majors. Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodger teammate Carl Erskine, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and Super Bowl champ Reggie White ofGreen Bay will also participate.

SCOTT KALVERT (“Basketball Diaries”) will direct the remake of “Gloria” to star Sharon Stone. An August start is anticipated, when Stone winds “Sphere.” A talent search will be held to find the youngster to play opposite Stone. Steve Antin is reworking the remake script. John Cassavetes wrote and directed the 1980 original, which got Gena Rowlands an Oscar nomination. Rowlands has been asked — and has indicated she would be willing — to play a small role in the new one. Lee Rich and Gary Foster will produce for their Eagle Point company via Mandalay’s financing and distributed by Sony. … I spoke to Mel Torme, who is home again from the hospital. “I feel good,” he told me in a huskier-than-usual Torme tone. But he is confident that with therapy he’ll fully recupe. He appreciates the letters and cards from all of you. … Scott Glenn, in town for tonight’s preem of Clint Eastwood/Castle Rock’s “Absolute Power,” returns to the stage Feb. 22- 27 at the Public Theater in a retro of Sam Shepard’s plays; he’s in “Killer’s Head.” Glenn and wife Carol, who own a house in the wilds of Idaho and in ditto rural Baja, bought a loft in SoHo. Glenn, who plays a Secret Service agent guarding President Gene Hackman in “Absolute Power,” says it was Hackman, also an ex-Marine “who helped me get my start in showbiz, with a teacher, agent, etc.” — but they never before worked together. “Power” was also Glenn’s first time working with Eastwood and Scott says, “I’ve been around a lot of action directors who are major pains in the ass, but Clint is the most unpretentious one I ever worked for. He even directed a White House ballroom sequence without telling me the (beautiful) music being played was something he composed!”

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