Hewitt supplies real ‘Insider’ info

GOOD MORNING: “The real hero/reporter of ‘the tobacco wars’,” said “60 Minutes’ Don Hewitt, “is not Lowell Bergman, (then of ’60 Minutes’), but it was Walt Bogdanich, now of ’60 Minutes,’ who did the ‘tobacco wars’ work for ABC news.” ABC, Hewitt reminds, “is now owned by Disney which made ‘The Insider.’ (Bogdanich) reported on how tobacco is spiked with nicotine which becomes addictive. Nowhere did the movie show that ABC apologized (Aug. 21, 1995) — as read by Diane Sawyer — for Bogdanich’s report (on ABC’s “Day One”).” She read, in part, “We now agree that we (ABC) should not have reported that Philip Morris and Reynolds add significant amounts of nicotine from outside sources. That was a mistake that was not deliberate on the part of ABC but for which we accept responsibility and which requires correction. We apologize to our audience, Philip Morris and Reynolds.” Hewitt emphasizes, “Bogdanich refused to apologize — and came to work for ’60 Minutes.’ And ABC (now owned by Disney, again repeated by Hewitt), also paid the legal fees to the attorneys who represented Philip Morris — because of Bodanich’s report. ABC apologized on the air!” Hewitt, executive producer of “60 Minutes” for 30 years, also adds, “Bergman, never quit ’60 Minutes’ as in the movie. He was still working for CBS three years after the movie said he walked out in disgust. And he also tried to get Mike Wallace to intercede to get him a job on ’60 Minutes II,’ which Wallace did not do.” Hewitt receives the California B’caster’s highest award in May in Palm Springs. On the Nov. 21 “60 Minutes,” Mike Wallace has another revealing interview (ha!) this one with Carol Burnett (bowing on B’way in “Putting It Together”) in which Carol admits to Wallace, “I’d rather be Kim Basinger — but she’s already taken!”

HERE’S THE MEDICAL REPORT on/from Andy Williams following his exam at UCLA Medical Center. He is ordered not to sing for eight-10 weeks, returning for an exam Jan. 10 to check on the node on his vocal chords. It will then be determined whether surgery is necessary. “It might not be,” said Andy who sought the second opinion after medics in Nashville told him the operation was needed at this time. “There’s a chance I won’t need one at all,” he said. “It’s not a done deal. But, the operation, I was told, is not a big deal. However, sometimes it does affect the sound of your voice. I might come out sounding like Johnny Mathis,” Andy laughed. “I always wanted to sound like him. As long as I don’t sound like Barbra Streisand — that wouldn’t be too good coming out of a male body!” Andy has canceled all dates — both in the U.S. (Branson, Mo.) and London to await the outcome of the next exam. He’s also been advised to limit his conversations. “That’s easy,” said Andy. “I don’t talk very much, anyway.”(as all his pals know!) As for not singing for eight weeks, he said, “I feel like a kid let out of school.” He’s never, ever been on a “song-less” vacation … Gigi (Levangie) and Brian Graser welcomed their first child, son Thomas Costa G., Nov. 15 at Cedars-Sinai. He arrived two weeks early but mother and son are doing fine. As is daddy who is currently busy with two other productions, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Nutty Professor II” at Universal … And Helen and Martin Scorsese welcomed their first, daughter, Francesca, Nov. 16. And all three are also doing extremely well.

AFTER RECEIVING A “CEASE AND DESIST” order from CBS, Lions Gate today deletes the slogan “Get Touched by an Angel” from all ads for “Dogma” and replaces that phrase with “the number one comedy in America.” Lions Gate co-president Tom Ortenberg said, “We thought, like everything else in ‘Dogma’, it (the ad line) was cute and funny.” CBS didn’t … For 40 years, restaurateur Jay Fiondella could only renew the lease on his landmark Santa Monica eatery, Chez Jay, for only six moths at a stretch — until the city of Santa Monica bought the acreage on which Jay stands; they have given Chez Jay a four-year lease. Regulars here over the years include Danny DeVito, Al Pacino, Oliver Stone and many who’d like to keep their eating whereabouts secret … Among those well-wishing Jimmy Murphy as he reopened his swank BevHills eatery, Lois and Art Linkletter and son Jack, the Irwin Russells celebrating their 31st weeding anni. Among their guests Tamara Asseyev, who, as administrator of Tony Richardson’s Woodfall Films, told me she is set to remake his pix like “The Entertainer” (with Imagine, starring Steve Martin), also “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” “Look Back In Anger,” “Tom Jones,” A Taste of Honey,” etc … .Along Came Mary’s Mary Micucci whose delicacies spice up Hollywood premiere parties, will delight 5,000 (!) dining revelers for the Jimmy Buffet starrer at Universal Amphitheatre … The Laugh Factory again donates meals to the needy at Thanksgiving and Christmas — with comedians also brightening those holidays for the diners. The Laugh Factory’s Jamie Masada has hosted these events since 1979 … Harvey Korman, Shelly Berman, Tom Poston and Budd Friedman will be part of a panel discussing comedy writing — past, present and in the future at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, Dec. 2. where “Mr. Allen, Mr. Allen” (as in Fred) is currently on stage. The panel discussion takes place before showtime with ticket holders invited to attend.