GOOD MORNING: It is now expected that President Clinton will point the finger at the NRA — as he did in Arkansas — during Monday’s summit on youth violence. As of late Thursday, Hollywood’s studios will be repped solely by Jack Valenti, who has been busy all week telling the studios’ point of view at D.C. meetings, panel discussions on many TV shows as well as for print interviews. Valenti is pointing up facts and figures on deaths by gunfire in the U.S. compared with gun-controlled countries which show our films — as well as their own which are equally, if not more, violent than any made here. F’rinstance, Valenti points out, “In firearm deaths, the U.S. outpaces Japan, a land known to indulge in a sex and violence media culture — by 2,400 to one, in Germany by 170 to one. In 1996, (most recent figure) 9,390 Americans were murdered by gunfire. This compares to 106 in Canada, 30 in Great Britain. The U.S. leads the world in using guns to kill its kids. In 1997, of all the firearm deaths of kids under the age of 15 in 26 industrialized nations, including Canada, 86% were in the U.S. The point is: there is little availability of guns in other nations. Not so, by a long shot, in the U.S.” … Bob Daly, in a conversation with me involving Hollywood being targeted by Congressional do-gooders, asked, “How come they (the Solons) don’t talk about guns? They ignore guns being the violence factor?” And point to Hollywood. Daly, too, reminded that our films, TV and music play in countries like Japan where there’s no gun violence — “because there’s no guns.” And there’s no NRA.
THE WB HOLLYWOOD LOT IS FOR SALE — but it has not been sold. There have been conversations with two-three potential buyers. The Hollywood lot has been totally updated from stages to state-of-the-art recording studios. WB had earlier completed its rebuild of the Burbank lot and the Burbank ranch as well, thus giving WB hefty stage and technical facilities … Candice Bergen is back in the newsroom — well sort of. She’ll be surrounded by Barbara Walters, Connie Chung, Leslie Stahl, Mike Wallace, Steve Kroft and others when she presents Howard Stringer with the Steven J. Ross Humanitarian award from the UJA-Federation of N.Y., May 11 at the Waldorf … Over 500 reps of studios, agencies, and other pros attended Columbia U.’s Film Division presentation at Paramount Tuesday and Wednesday to discover new talent. Nickelodeon Movies showcased graduate student films. “Gods and Monsters” Oscar-winning writer-director Bill Condon, a Columbia grad attended — along with his agent Brent Rose, scouting talent for his new Shulman Rose Agency. Also on hand checking the talent was George Shapiro (“There’s a lot of talent out there”), Sarah Douglas and Doug Draizin, who set grad Stephen Leeds to direct his first feature for him … And Mississippi native Gerald McRaney m.c’s Sen. Trent Lott’s Celebration of Miss. Leadership at Kennedy Center, May 23 in a program featuring Mississippi artists to benefit the U. of Miss., which both Lott and McRaney attended. The town of Collins, Miss. honored Mac last week by naming the street where he was born Gerald McRaney Ave. … Step Up, Women’s Entertainment Network’s 1999 Filmmakers’ Lab, will be held today through Sunday at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica . Founder Kaye Popofsky says a field of more than 400 scripts was submitted and three winning femme writers will have their scripts the focus of the lab presented in association with Writers’ Boot Camp. Here too, participants include reps from the major agencies, studios — plus writers, directors, etc. Everyone’s banking on the future.
THE 17TH ANNUAL GOLDEN BOOT AWARDS will be dedicated to Gene Autry, Aug. 17 at the BevHilton, a benefit for the Motion Picture and TV Fund … Ernie Borgnine heads to Indiana, Pa., Jimmy Stewart’s home town, May 22 to receive the Stewart Museum’s “Harvey” award. They worked together on “Flight of the Phoenix” … They came from far and near to the Mark Taper Forum for the bow of “Enigma Variations” starring Donald Sutherland and Jamey Sheridan: French play-wright Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, producer Duncan C. Weldon from England and Emmanuel Azenberg from N.Y. Also, Suther-land’s wife Francine Racette, one of the producers and son Roeg Jacob, a recent Princeton grad who is the show’s translator. Also there, Anjelica Huston and husband- sculptor Robert Graham — one of his bronze statues, “Neith, 1988” (a naked woman) is on the set throughout the play … If you get any mail from Guyana, it may have Sidney Sheldon’s postage stamp on it — they’ve honored him with an $80 stamp (50¢ U.S.). Sheldon is part of a series of “Great Authors of the 20th Century” and is a Latin American favorite … Barry Newman, so far this year, has four pix opening including “Bofinger’s Big Thing” in which he plays a harried agent who bears the brunt of Eddie Murphy’s movie star hysterics: “Get me a Schwarzenegger script. Where’s MY hasta la vista, baby?” … The famous souffle of the BevHills Bistro and later the Bistro Garden is now available in Gelson’s Supermarkets, joining the other famous celeb dishes — Spago pizzas and Chasen’s chili.