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Guv goes to Gotham

Studio coin finances Arnold's GOP confab trip

NEW YORK — Hollywood may not be showing up in droves for the Republican convention, but they’re no strangers to playing the political influence game.

In fact, six major studios or their parent companies plus the Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Recording Industry Assn. of America are helping to foot the $350,000 bill to send California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Gotham GOP schmooze fest.

Fox Entertainment, NBC Universal, News Corp., Paramount, Time Warner, Walt Disney Co. and Viacom are among the 20 private donors picking up the tab for Schwarzenegger’s swing through Manhattan and his Tuesday primetime speech.

Even with Schwarzenegger leading a Republican revival of sorts in Hollywood, the showbiz GOP delegation will be a shadow of the group that showed up in Boston to support John Kerry.

Expect the Republican regulars: Dennis Miller, Bo Derek, the Rock, Bruce Willis, Robert Duvall, Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty and Kelsey Grammer.

The final convention entertainment lineup, meanwhile, reflects the same “big tent” compassionate conservative image the GOP powwow wants to project.

There will be gospel and Latin pop and, for the party’s base, a healthy dose of Christian rock and Southern-fried favorites. The convention program features country stars Lee Ann Womack, Brooks & Dunn and Darryl Worley, Latin artist Jaci Velasquez, Christian rock band Third Day and gospel vocalist Donnie McClurkin.

Other skedded acts include country performers the Gatlin Brothers and Sara Evans, soul-inspired singer-songwriter Dana Glover, tenor Daniel Rodriguez, surfer Daize Shayne, and Christian rocker Michael W. Smith.

Other artists who may make an appearance include Chaka Khan, Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, Steven Tyler, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Wayne Newton and Stephen Baldwin.

Kid Rock is slated to perform Wednesday night at the hot-ticket party of the week, sponsored by the RIAA.

While the gaggle of stars cannot compare to the celeb turnout in Boston, Republican pep rally will have more than its fair share of Hollywood influence peddlers.

Outgoing Motion Picture Assn. of America topper Jack Valenti will be on hand for a final tribute from a GOP group of industry reps who have dubbed themselves the Entertaining Republicans. His last official day on the job is Wednesday, when he passes the torch to successor Dan Glickman.

The Creative Coalition, a lobbying org for the arts co-chaired by Tony Goldwyn and Joe Pantoliano, held an unprecedented number of convention events in Boston, increasing its political profile to new heights.

An avowed nonpartisan group, Creative Coalition plans a similar level of activity for New York, holding an event honoring moderate Rep. Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.) Tuesday and a benefit featuring Sens. Robert Bennett (La.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Trent Lott (Miss.), John McCain (Ariz.), Rep. Mary Bono (Palm Springs) and GOP Entertainment Caucus chairman Mark Foley (Fla.). Entertainment for the event is Max Weinberg, band leader on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.”

Other members of the movie biz aren’t being so diplomatic. Michael Moore no doubt will cause a stir as a convention columnist for USA Today.

Other Bush-bashing celebs will take to the airwaves in a series of campaign TV ads set to begin airing during the GOP festivities.

The star-studded spots are a joint effort by the Hollywood figures and MoveOn.org. Billed as “10 Weeks: Don’t get Mad, Get Even!” they feature the voices of Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner, Ed Asner, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Woody Harrelson, Illeana Douglas and Margaret Cho.

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