The Real McBeal; Vegas Stage; Emmy Hosts (CNN)

Aired September 10, 1998 - 10:00 p.m. ET




WILLOW BAY, CO-HOST (voice-over): She's back. Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal.

CALISTA FLOCKHART, ACTRESS: On the one hand, she's a very good lawyer, I think, and getting better, and smart. And on the other hand, sometimes she's infantile.

BAY: We'll take you on the set of the most talked-about show on television.


GREG GERMAN, ACTOR: I like to smell shoes.



JANE KRAKOWSKI, ACTRESS: I'm just a girl who can't say no.


BAY: Will Calista Flockhart shed some light on the most scrutinized single girl in prime time?

FLOCKHART: People have grabbed onto this character and used her as a vehicle to talk about feminism and to reevaluate their own feminist ideas.

JUDD ROSE, CO-HOST (voice-over): The Vegas stage. It's come a long way since Frank and the Rat Pack played the strip. The strip isn't for lounge lizards anymore.

DAVID CASSIDY, ENTERTAINER: This is the closest thing to a Broadway musical and a huge extravaganza.

ROSE: Tonight we'll take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Vegas stage.

BAY: Someone big will be missing from this year's Emmys, the host. But not to worry, we've got an encore look at hosts of Emmys past.


JOHN LARROQUETTE, ACTOR: My name is John Larroquette.






DAVID LETTERMAN, ENTERTAINER: Ladies and gentlemen, in this list, I have all of the winners for tonight's awards. So I could wrap this up in like three minutes if you want.




DENNIS MILLER, ENTERTAINER: I'm your esoterically snobby host Dennis Miller.



ANNOUNCER: CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY with Judd Rose and Willow Bay. CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, two of the world's leading news organizations.

ROSE: Good evening. Welcome to CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. I'm at a newsstand in New York.

BAY: And Judd, I'm at a newsstand in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Sunday, L.A. hosts this year's Emmy Awards.

Tonight, we'll get a preview from the folks at "EW," visit the set of "Ally McBeal," nominated for 10 Emmys, and talk with its much- talked-about star, Calista Flockhart.

ROSE: And Willow, while you dally with Ally, we've got even more coming up when CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY returns.


ANNOUNCER: We now return to CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY with Judd Rose and Willow Bay.

BAY: On the cover of the new "Entertainment Weekly," TV's single girl of the moment gearing up for season number two, "Ally McBeal" star Calista Flockhart. The newest series from super screenwriter David Kelly (ph) became the surprise hit of the year. The show walked off with two Golden Globe Awards and 10 Emmy Award nominations.

It sparked the kind of water-cooler conversations network executives only dream about, turning "Ally McBeal" into the most talked about, in fact the most hotly debated, show of the year. But just what is everyone talking about?


BAY (voice-over): Ally McBeal, the 27-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer. Beautiful and brainy? Sure. But clutzy, impulsive and self- absorbed too.


FLOCKHART: It's the shoes.


BAY: She works at a Boston law firm -- Cage, Fish and Associates -- unlike any you've ever seen on the small screen, where an oddball collection of lawyers try cases and try each other's nerves.

They don't just share their workload, they share their feelings, their fantasies, their shrinks. They even share the loo.

At the center of it all, Ally, the lawyer who can win big cases one moment and turn into a big basket case the next. In her first TV role, Calista Flockhart stars as Ally.

FLOCKHART: And on the other hand, she's a very good lawyer, I think, and getting better, and smart. And on the other hand, sometimes she's infantile.


FLOCKHART: Am I on one of those hidden camera shows?


BAY (on camera): What do you think her greatest strength is?

FLOCKHART: I think her honesty.


COURTNEY THORNE-SMITH, ACTRESS: I really hate you. I'm ashamed to admit it.

FLOCKHART: No, no, it's OK because I really hate you too.



BAY: This show is filled with quirky characters. What are some of the quirks that you think are most telling about Ally?

FLOCKHART: Things that give away her personality...

BAY: Yeah.

FLOCKHART: ... or her past or her history? I make up my own little things.

For example, when she gasps. I think that can either go two ways. I think she's either really deep in thought most of the time so when she's taken by surprise, it's -- you know, she's so far gone in her own little world.

BAY (voice-over): When Ally retreats into her own little world, viewers get to go along too.

(on camera): One of the things that people are struck by with the show are these incredible fantasy sequences.

FLOCKHART: Well, I think that they reflect Ally's imagination. You know, she has a wicked imagination that's constantly coming. So for me, there -- they just kind of let you inside somebody's head.

Now it's sort of what she's really thinking, what she would really like to do, these impulses that we all repress.





FLOCKHART: Kind of come out and they're over before you even know it, you know. So for me, they're fun. You know, sometimes they're really on the money and they work.

BAY (voice-over): On the money or off the wall, Ally takes it all to heart. And she's stalked by a dancing baby.


FLOCKHART: Not just a baby, Renee. It dances. It wiggles. It struts around.

All right Mr. Huggy, you want to dance? Let's go.


BAY: Yes, the dancing baby. He pops up from time to time to remind Ally of her ticking biological clock. He dances, throws spears, even plays roller hockey. The little devil has developed a cult following of his own.

But as odd as they are, Ally's imaginary time-outs are no stranger than anything else conjured up by the Cage and Fish crew.


BELLOWS: He's fingering her waddle.


BAY: Ever had a thing for someone's waddle? Yeah, waddle, the fleshy curve at the top of a woman's throat. Well, Ally's boss Richard Fish does. His waddle of choice: Judge Whipper Combs (ph), played by sexy 50-something Diane Cannon (ph). His second favorite, Attorney General Janet Reno's.

(on camera): We're a little confused by the Janet Reno stuff, though.

GERMAN: Well, you know, Fish I think, you know, a good waddle is a good waddle, you know?

BAY (voice-over): Greg German plays the waddle-loving law partner, Richard Fish.

GERMAN: I had a guy come up to me, a guy in his, I don't know, early 60s. And his wife was sort of standing behind him giggling. And he said, "We watch the show. We're big fans. And since we started watching the show, I've discovered my wife's waddle. And it's just, it's really," and she's giggling behind him. And I thought, this is more information than I needed to know. I started some kind of a trend.

BAY: And quite possibly the most talked-about McBealism of all, that little bit of Cage, Fish and Associates' corporate culture that your corporation could probably live without. That's right, prime time television's first unisex bathroom.


FLOCKHART: Oh! Well, take that.


BAY: Cage and Fish might be TV's most progressive law firm. But critics are split about Ally. Is she a progressive female role model, a true heroine for the '90s, or an embarrassment to womankind?


FLOCKHART: I am a strong working career girl who feels empty without a man. The National Organization for Women, they have a contract out on my head.


BAY: Love her or hate her -- and make no mistake, viewers do both -- "Ally McBeal's got everyone talking.

(on camera): What do you think it is about this character that really has prompted all of us to kind of want to turn her either into all women and every woman?

FLOCKHART: Well, that's the good and the evil of it I think. It's like, the thing is, first and foremost this is a character who is hugely exaggerated for the purpose of comedy. I mean, it's sole purpose for me is to entertain. We're not saying that this is -- I'm not saying anyway, I don't believe that this is every woman.

I think it's interesting that people have grabbed onto this character and used her as a vehicle to talk about feminism and to reevaluate their own feminist ideas. And what does that mean to us? And what does that mean to this generation?

BAY (voice-over): After just one season, Ally's been scrutinized, analyzed, even mythologized. In June, "Time" magazine put her on its cover in the Pantheon of great feminist thinkers, Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and asked, "Is feminism dead?"


FLOCKHART: We're women. We have double-standards to live up to.


BAY (on camera): Do you have a theory about why Ally has become sort of a lightning rod for the debate about the state of feminism today?

FLOCKHART: You know, I don't really have a theory. I do know that there definitely is a group of women out there who identify with Ally.

I mean, I have friends of mine that say it's an epidemic that there are all these women in their late '20s, early '30s who have careers and who are single and who are suddenly going, "OK, wait a minute. I'm having a panic attack because I want to get married and I want to have babies. And I have this career. But wait, they said I could have it all. And now all of a sudden I'm supposed to have it all and I don't have it all, so I'm a freak."


FLOCKHART: We're smart women. We're fairly attractive.


FLOCKHART: So why aren't we with hot men?


FLOCKHART: On the other hand, there are lots of women out there who have careers and they don't have husbands and they're not preoccupied with finding it. So it's really hard to generalize this. There's really no answer.


FLOCKHART: Besides, this is exactly my point. I'm not looking for a lifetime, I'm looking for a fun Tuesday night.


BAY: Are you surprised at all by some of the feminist criticism that's been directed towards what's essentially a sit-com character?

FLOCKHART: Yeah. I shouldn't maybe bring this up. But the "Time" magazine, I thought it was really surreal and outrageous to compare Ally McBeal, fictional television character, to Susan B. Anthony.

BAY (voice-over): Ally is a television heroine. And she comes along at an interesting time, when few of our TV role models seem to ring true.


FLOCKHART: I don't have my mental health. I don't have my...


BAY: Courtney Thorne-Smith plays Georgia, another lawyer in Ally's firm.

THORNE-SMITH: We don't want cookie cutters: "This woman is totally uncomplicated. She's a feminist, period."

We want women to be able to be as complicated as they are. And I think that's what Ally represents.

BAY: Ally also represents a new kind of romantic lead.

Actor Gil Bellows plays Billy, Ally's childhood sweetheart.

BELLOWS: I think the reason why Ally is so appealing is because she's vulnerable, she's smart, she's witty, and she's a challenge. And as much as men sometimes profess not to like to be challenged, I think ultimately everybody likes to be challenged. And she is challenging.

BAY: And the show itself will face a challenge when it goes on the air next Monday.

(on camera): You guys this season, or at least for part of the season, are going up against Monday Night Football. Is "Ally McBeal" a show that you think will get some guys to defect maybe?

GERMAN: Yeah. You know, the idea that it was just a chick show, you know, I think that's overstated because I get stopped as much or more by guys as I do by women. Is that a problem? Do I need to examine that maybe? BAY: Looking ahead to this season, any hints on what we might see?

FLOCKHART: I'm not telling you anything.

BAY: Oh, come on.

FLOCKHART: No, I can't.

BAY: I heard a rumor about some new digs.



BAY: More appearances of the dancing baby.

FLOCKHART: I can't tell you anything.

BAY: Love interests.

FLOCKHART: I can't tell.

BAY: OK, come on, some breakthroughs in therapy. Nothing?

FLOCKHART: I'm not telling you anything.

BAY: All right, tougher than you look.



BAY: There are a few things we did manage to find out about the upcoming season. A sexy new female lawyer comes to work at the firm. Ally and Renee move into a new apartment. We'll see more of Tracy Ullman as the therapist and no more of the dancing baby.

ROSE: OK, but will Calista Flockhart be a winner at this Sunday's Emmys? She is nominated for Outstanding Leading Actress in a comedy series.

We'll take that up and do some more Emmy predictions with the writers and editors of "EW." But we can tell you right now who our choices are for the "Winners and Losers of the Week."


ROSE (voice-over): "Winner of the Week": "There's Something About Mary." Released eight weeks ago, this summer's gross-out comedy has out-grossed all the competition at the box office.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a bleeder!


ROSE: Landing at number one this week. "Mary" made $11.6 million over the weekend, bringing the total to $131 million.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you the little girl making all that big noise?


ROSE: That's the first time ever that a movie crossed the $100- million mark and only then went to number one. "Mary" is certainly Hollywood's sleeper of the year.

"Loser of the Week": Sue Costello. The debut of her new sitcom called "Costello" where she plays a Boston barmaid, that along with the rest of the Fox Tuesday night prime time lineup, was bumped, this despite positive reviews of "Costello," which all appeared in this week's newspapers.

But if you tuned in to catch the show, surprise, you would have seen Mark McGwire setting a new home run record, 62 in a season. McGwire, Major League Baseball, and baseball fans around the world, by the way, were all winners.

About "Costello," you'll have to wait until next Tuesday.


ANNOUNCER: Still ahead, Courtney Love is back, her first new release in four years. But what do you do when you're the queen of grunge and grunge is no longer in? Find out with the "EW" review of "Celebrity Skin."

But next, what's on stage in Vegas? Our guided tour by "Entertainment Weekly's" Jess Cagle. Remember David Cassidy?

JESS CAGLE, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": I hope you're a big "Partridge Family" fan because now we're going to go see David Cassidy in "EFX (ph)" at the MGM Grand. And then, we're going to interview him after the show.

ANNOUNCER: Stick around to see who else is playing in the desert when CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY returns.


ROSE: The Las Vegas stage. It makes you think of Wayne Newton in a tight tux belting out tunes to your grandparents. And of course, don't forget the Rat Pack.

While these kinds of acts are still around, a lot has changed on stage in the desert. In Vegas today, the appeal has broadened considerably. Bring the entire family, there's something for everyone. "EW's" Jess Cagle takes us now on a tour of the Vegas strip 1998- style and grades the best and the worst.


CAGLE (voice-over): Despite booming gambling revenues, Las Vegas is experiencing some growing pains. There's a glut of hotel rooms, 105,000 at last count. And to keep them filled, hotel and casino owners are reinventing Vegas-style entertainment to pull in bigger and younger crowds.

Las Vegas wants you.

(on camera): They come here to the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to see a new breed of entertainment, acts like Sheryl Crow and the Wallflowers (ph).

That's not all. Casino owner Steve Wynne (ph) and Hollywood producer Sandy Gallan (ph) have teamed up to bring real theater to Las Vegas. Eventually, they will develop stuff good enough to take to Broadway.

Frankly, all of this has me a little worried. What about the old-fashioned Las Vegas spectacle, the showgirls and magicians and acrobats and drag queens? Could they be a dying breed?

"Entertainment Weekly" senior writer A.J. Jacobs and I came to Las Vegas to take their pulse.

(voice-over): The classic Las Vegas spectacle live on at the Mirage. But in this case, it comes at a steep price.

It will cost you $89 and change to catch Sigfried and Roy, those taut, Teutonic Titans of magic. But if you think you're buying a magic show, think again. You're getting pure Vegas flash.

Sigfried spends most of the 95-minute show posing among a small army of dancers with lots of smoke and fire. Meanwhile, Roy floats through the air, fights a fire-breathing dragon, and never musses his hair.

But the real stars here are the rare whit tigers, one of whom is hoisted high and then disappears. Of course, you'll have to buy a ticket to the show if you want to see that one.

Sigfried and Roy are as slick and entertaining as Wayne Newton's hairdo. And they're just as hip.

Our "EW" grade is a B-. This act needs a facelift, and I don't think that's an alien concept to Sigfried and Roy.

Just down the strip, you can find a star who may appeal to a somewhat younger crowd, former "Partridge Family" heartthrob, David Cassidy.

(on camera): Now we're going to David Cassidy in "EFX" at the MGM Grand. And then, we're going to interview him after the show.

A.J. JACOBS, SENIOR WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Oh, great. I can't wait to find out what happened to the first Chris.

CAGLE: Uh-uh, no "Partridge Family" jokes. He does not think they are funny.

(voice-over): Yes, David Cassidy. At 48, he's the strip's resident former superstar. And for $45 and up, you can see him singing, running, and flying through the air in the musical variety extravaganza "EFX."

CASSIDY: I love to see people's reactions when you go out and do something like that. You know, people are just stunned. They're amazed. Sometimes their reaction is like silence because it's -- you know, it's that.

Cassidy plays -- get this -- a busboy who takes a journey through his childhood imagination, bounding into the shoes of Houdini, P.T. Barnum, and H.G. Wells. The show's script makes "The Partridge Family" look like the Bronte sisters.

But this may be the most extravagant live show you'll ever see, which is fun for the kids. And it comes alive when Cassidy plays to the audience with surprising self-deprecating humor.


CASSIDY: What's the matter? You don't look very happy. Come on, get happy.



CASSIDY: I mean, honestly I love doing it. I, you know, I don't do that many things well in my life. And I guess one of the things I do well is I entertain people.

CAGLE: For sheer spectacle, not to mention its hardworking star, "EFX" rates a good solid B. Shirley Jones should be proud.

(on camera): Of course, Las Vegas has always been big on family fun, as well as adults' entertainment. And two new shows opening this summer follow in that tradition.

First, the family friendly Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance." But don't expect to see any Michael Flatley. (voice-over): Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" is running at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino. Michael Flatley is nowhere to be seen. And frankly, I can't blame him for not being here.

Although the Irish dancers are talented and energetic, the story line is incomprehensible. And the show is totally lacking in sex appeal.

But you've got to hand it to these dancers. And so we gave this one a B-.

Leave the kids at home for the other new show in town. It's the "History of Sex" at the Golden Nugget. It may be the best adult bet in town at a mere $29.95.

If you like nearly-naked entertainment, you'll love these 12 whistle-worthy male and female dancers who twist and turn their way through a very sexy history lesson. The choreography is clever. The songs are smart. And that adds up to a B+.

After all that adult fun, A.J. and I decided to get in touch with our inner children at King Arthur's Tournament.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, I dub thee Sir A.J., Sir Jess, honorary knights at King Arthur's Round Table. You may rise.

CAGLE: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well done. Welcome to our castle.

CAGLE (voice-over): If you're too young to gamble, this show's got it all. The little lords and ladies of the audience sit around a dirt-filled ring and watch knights joust and get knocked on their chain-milled keisters (ph).

And kids have permission to eat with their hands. Yes, a utensil-free meal is served that includes a mysterious yellow dragon stew. What's not to like?

JACOBS: So what did you think?

CAGLE (on camera): I think except for the dirty old man Merlin and the guys in the leather jock straps, probably the best show for kids. Plus I liked the king who did the Elvis impression. I give it a solid B.

JACOBS: I don't know. All I could think of was Jim Carrey in "The Cable Guy" and Janeane Garofalo as his server wench. I give it a B-.

CAGLE: Yeah, but you know, I'm your editor.

JACOBS: I cannot work under these conditions.

CAGLE (voice-over): Some other shows you might be considering, "Lance Burton, Master Magician" at the Monte Carlo. He's a low-key alternative to Sigfried and Roy, and he even levitates a sportscar. Lance gets a B.

Then there's "Enter the Night" at the Stardust. Let's call it a low-energy review and leave it at that. This one gets a D. And how about "Jubilee" at Bally's. It features the Titanic disaster with scantilly-clad dancers. And no one dies. That rates a B+ from us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, sit back, relax and enjoy...


CAGLE: But our pick for the best show in town can be found at Treasure Island. It's called "Mystere (ph)," a breathtaking production from Cirque du Soleil starring an amazing array of multicultural acrobats, trapeze artists and clowns.

At "Mystere," you won't find any white tigers or topless dancers. But the crowds are flipping over it.


ROSE: OK, now if you're planning on heading to Las Vegas to take in a couple of shows, it might be a good idea not to wander off into the casinos. After all, gambling is still the biggest business in Vegas. In fact, last year alone, the casinos in Clark County, that includes Las Vegas, won $6.2 billion. And most of that came out of the pockets of folks just like you and me.

We'll be right back.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up, it's not whether you win or lose, but it's how you host the show.


JOAN RIVERS, ENTERTAINER: This is not the dress to bowling in, but...



ANNOUNCER: A look back at award-winning Emmy performances.


LARROQUETTE: I'll be your host for the next 16 hours.


ANNOUNCER: But next, the story of a world class runner in the race of his life.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you always so positive about everything? (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Is "Without Limits" destined for gold, or running on empty? An "EW" review when CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY returns.


ROSE: Welcome back to CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. We've got a lot more for you this half hour, including a candid talk about the upcoming Emmy Awards with the writers and editors of EW and an "Encore" look at some pretty funny moments in Emmy history.

BAY: But first, grunge rock goddess Courtney Love. It's been four years since her music career caught fire with the album "Live Through This." A lot has happened in her life since then. Love's husband, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, committed suicide. She became a movie star and changed her look entirely, from heroine sheik to Versace and diamonds. But what about her music -- what about the band? "Entertainment Weekly's" music critic David Browne has a review of Hole's "Celebrity Skin."


DAVID BROWNE, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY" CRITIC: It has taken four years, but Courtney Love is finally a rock star again. After all those years in Hollywood making movies, she has finally gotten around to making a new record with her band, Hole. And it's called "Celebrity Skin." You can tell Courtney's a rock star again, because right on the cover of the record, she's back to sporting kind of limpid hair and a midriff, as opposed to the old glam gown look that she sported at the Oscars last year. The only problem is, she doesn't exactly sound the way she used to.

"Celebrity Skin" is probably the tightest and most polished record that Courtney Love and Hole have ever done. It has a big, brawny rock 'n' roll sound. And while it sounds very radio ready, the problem is, it might be a little too polished. The thing that we always loved about Courtney was her rawness and her brazenness. "Celebrity Skin" will probably sound great on the radio, alongside bands like Third Eye Blind. But that's part of the problem. We don't really want Courtney Love to sound like some generic radio rock act. We want her to sound like Courtney Love.

"Celebrity Skin" isn't a total washout. There are a couple of eerie ballads. And there are a few moments when Courtney actually revs her voice up to its old fury, and the band follows with her. But in general, Courtney Love's return to rock 'n' roll leaves a strange after taste. It feels like musical plastic surgery. I still like Courtney Love, her attitude, and what she stands for. But the eerie musical perfection of "Celebrity Skin" left me feeling that it was a C+.


BAY: Sounds like a lot of Love's fans may be disappointed. Well, if you're a fan of sports movies, you won't be disappointed by the new film about long-distance running legend Steve Prefontaine. It's called "Without Limits."

EW's film critic Owen Gleiberman has this review.


OWEN GLEIBERMAN, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY" CRITIC: In "Without Limits," Steve Prefontaine, the fabled Olympic track star of the '70s, emerges as a complex and inspiring figure. Sure, he's fast, but he also refuses to pace himself, even if that decision adds previous seconds onto his time. Prefontaine, known to everyone as Pre, is played by Billy Crudup, and he gives a true star performance. With his shaggy corn-silk hair and mustache, Pre burns through races like a muscular version of the young buck, Robert Redford. He's a new kind of hero -- a track and field rock star.

"Without Limits" was co-written and directed by Robert Towne, the legendary '70s screenwriter. And it's an incisive and enthralling movie, as fast on its feet as the athletes it's about. At the University of Oregon, Pre comes under the wing of the track coach, Bill Bowerman, played with winking intelligence by Donald Sutherland. Gradually, he breaks Pre like a stubborn horse.




SUTHERLAND: They're only encouraging the little show boater.


GLEIBERMAN: The races themselves are sequences of rare physical and intellectual beauty, observed from both the crowds' and the runners points of view. It's easy to see why Tom Cruise produced this movie. Like cruise's best films, "Without Limits" is about the price and grace of American victory.


SUTHERLAND: You don't want to win?

BILLY CRUDUP: I don't want to win unless I know I have done my best. And the only way I know to do that is to run out front and flat out until I have nothing left.


GLEIBERMAN: Unfortunately, there is one dramatic stumbling block that Towne can't overcome. Prefontaine's death in 1975, the result of a car crash that occurred when he was driving back from a party, is certainly a tragedy, but a naggingly arbitrary one. Pre's death, I'm afraid, breaks all the rules of screen writing, but his life, in "Without Limits," is more pungent than ever. I'm giving the film an A-.


ROSE: You know, that's not bad for a tough judge like Owen. Now, if you want some more advice about what's hot and what's not in the movies, here's "Critical Mass," "Entertainment Weekly"'s roundup of what some of the nation's top film critics are saying.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at me I am, like, deformed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have been blessed. Breasts are wonderful.


ROSE (voice-over): Life gets pretty freaky for an adolescent girl caught in -- can you believe -- "The Slums of Beverly Hills."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go to Sizzler.


ROSE: The critics kind of liked slumming. "EW" gave this one a B+ and the rest of the critics did as well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm taking you in.

LESLIE NIELSEN: I am not going back, whenever it is.


ROSE: Have we had enough of the "Naked Gun" and "Airplane" spoofs? Well, we might put up with one more, since Leslie Nielsen is still funny. But "Wrongfully Accused" didn't get more than a ho-hum C+ from "EW." Average: C-.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever hear about Steve Rabble (ph).


ROSE: No one thought they were slumming when they went to Studio 54 back in the 70's. But as a movie, it has lots to be desired.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to my party handsome.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROSE: "EW" gives the movie a mere C-. The average also a C-.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up, the clock is counting down to Emmy night.

Any surprises this time around? We'll handicap this year's TV showdown.


PETER BONVENTRE, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY," EXECUTIVE EDITOR: If ER wins, I don't think it's going to help their ratings go much higher than it is.



BAY: As we've said, the big talk this week in Hollywood, is Sunday night's Emmy Awards. Who's hot, who's not, and to some extent, who cares?

This week, Judd got together with the writers and editors of "Entertainment Weekly" for our Emmy preview.


ROSE: The Emmys are at the top of tonight's checklist. On Sunday, the 50th annual TV awards show, which of the Emmys to look for?

KEN TUCKER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY" CRITIC: I think it's going to be the year of FLockhart.


ROSE: "Ally McBeal."

TUCKER: "Ally McBeal," yes, deserves it in the comedy category.

BONVENTRE: Now, Ken, you're our TV critic, explain why "Ally McBeal" is in a comedy category.

TUCKER: Because it's slightly funnier than being a drama, and it's an hour long and I don't...


MURPHY: Because of David Chacha (ph).

BONVENTRE: Has there ever been an hour show in the comedy category?

TUCKER: No, no in the comedy variety, something like Carol Burnett, but not as a sitcom. So it's a real first. ROSE: Among the nominees are two TV stars that I noticed, who are leaving their hit shows: Jimmy Smits, leaving "NYPD Blue," he's nominated; and Andre Braugher, of "Homicide," is nominated.

Is there such a thing as a sympathy vote, traditionally, at the Emmys?

MURPHY: Well, I think if there is Phil Hartman will be the person who gets it this year, because he's up for best supporting actor in a comedy.

TUCKER: And I think Braugher has a good chance. I think he turned in particularly strong work this year, and he really deserves it as he leaves that series.

BONVENTRE: He does have a good chance but then you worry -- that Dennis Franz has won it three and they could give it to him for a fourth year.

MURPHY: And Helen Hunt won. You know, it just gets boring. John Lithgow.

BONVENTRE: It gets the same people.

MURPHY: And that's the problem with the Emmys. I mean, every year you think -- OK, somebody new is going to break through, but there are generally very few surprises. You know, maybe the surprise would be if Calista Flockhart didn't win and...

ROSE: So, then I've got to ask you: What's so important about having an Emmy anyway? Does it really make a difference for a show that wins one?

BONVENTRE: Not that much of a difference. I mean, if you go back a few years -- you look at "Picket Fences" won a bunch, "Thirty- Something" (ph) won a bunch. It never really helped them in their ratings.

MURPHY: It helped "Hill Street Blues" at a certain point, I remember.

TUCKER: Very slightly, but you never see that big bump in the ratings, the way a bump in the box office for a movie. There's more prestige.

BONVENTRE: Look, if "ER" wins, I don't think it's going to help their ratings go much higher than it is.

ROSE: So in the end, the significance of the Emmys is what, mainly for celebrities to show off their new clothes?

BONVENTRE: Bragging rights.

MURPHY: Not even. Not a great fashion night.

BONVENTRE: I have got a tip for the Emmys. Next year they ought to have a category: Best Performance in a Live Event, and just give it to Mark McGwire. To me that was the best moment in television all year; maybe the last three years.

ROSE: Sold, a guaranteed hit.

OK, second issue tonight: "Titanic," the movie that won't die, has now resurfaced on video and it's, once again, "Titanic."

BONVENTRE: Huge, a record. Eight million units moved in the first week. It is a phenomenon, and by the very definition of the word, it catches fire. The movie caught fire. DiCaprio caught fire.

MURPHY: I think that this movie created an industry that is not going to end by the end of this year.

ROSE: In a small town in Utah, the people aren't even going to get the cut that was shown in the theaters.

BONVENTRE: American Fork, Utah, right?

If you bought a video.

TUCKER: Sniped all the naughty bits.

MURPHY: All the naughty bits. Basically, the love scene.

BONVENTRE: They didn't snip the bits and then sell them. People who had bought the video went to them and said, look, I'd like these scenes cut out, which is a little different.

TUCKER: I'd rather not have my child turn into an artist, so please take out that scene where Leonardo is sketching that woman in the nude.

BONVENTRE: The real question I think about video sales for the future is -- the Holy Grail of our digital, multimedia world: Will we one day have video on demand? And punch in and get any movie we want at any time we want?

TUCKER: It already seems incredibly archaic to me that I have to get in my car and go some where to get a movie. I want it now, I want it in my house, I want to just punch it up.

ROSE: Just don't go by ship. You never know with those cruise ships, just can't trust them.

That's all for tonight.


ANNOUNCER: Straight ahead: the stars who hosted the Emmys from years past. Some unforgettable performances.


EDDIE MURPHY, COMEDIAN: They told me that if I hosted the show, I was going to win.


ANNOUNCER: And some big surprises.


ROBERT BLAKE, ACTOR: Angie, my dove, you're looking scrumptious this evening.


ANNOUNCER: We'll have an "Encore" look at Emmy hosts like you've never seen before, when CNN and "Entertainment Weekly" return.


ROSE: Happy birthday to our old friend Emmy; we mean, the Emmy Awards, which marks its 50th birthday this Sunday. But we, the audience, get the gift. There's no host for this year's show. Given some of the masters and mistresses of ceremonies we've seen over the past half-century, going host-less is an award-winning idea in itself.

Now, an "Encore" look at some memorable moments of the past five decades.


(voice-over): the years, the program that honors the best in television has provided some of the medium's rarest moments.

BLAKE: Angie my dove, you're looking scrumptious this evening.

ROSE: There was the time Baretta tried to take a bite out of Angie Dickinson.

There've been unlikely dancing duos, shameless plugs...

MURPHY: They told me if I host the show, I was going to win.

ROSE: ... pseudo-cynicism.

MILLER: I'm your esoterically snobby host Dennis Miller, and welcome to the 1992 Emmy Awards.

ROSE: And intended or not, the Emmys have given us plenty to laugh about.

JAMES EARL JONES, ACTOR: We dedicate the 1991 Emmy Awards telecast to -- comedy.

BRYANT GUMBEL, ENTERTAINER: I'm hosting the Emmys, you got any advice?





SEINFELD: Do comedy?


SEINFELD: How long's the show?

GUMBEL: Three, 3 1/2 hours.

SEINFELD: Oh, you'll be fine.

ELLEN DEGENERES: It's especially great for me to be here on a night when Bryant Gumbel is hosting because, as you probably already know, we started in standup comedy together.

RIVERS: Is Alexis (ph) a tramp, I ask you. I mean, she has had more hands up her dress than the Muppets.

JAMIE LEE CURTIS, ACTRESS: We watch award shows to see what people are wearing, what their hair looks like, so you can basically ridicule or, very occasionally, praise them as they walk across the stage, right?

ROSE: Jamie must have been watching Joan.

JOAN COLLINS, ENTERTAINER: This is not the dress to go bowling in.

ROSE: And what would an awards show be without some embarrassing moments?

CHERYL LADD, ACTRESS: Hey, remember when Saturday night was a night to go out and wail?

I love you, Gilda.

ED ASHNER & SIRLEY MACLAINE, (SINGING): But all in all, when they roll that roll, we are proud to see our name.

ROSE: And even more strange dancing. That's "Charlie's Angel" Jaclyn Smith.

PATRICIA RICHARDSON, ACTRESS: And, what better way to start than with a performance like that?

DEGENERES: Oh, boy, that was amazing, wasn't it?

ROSE: And just when we thought we'd had our fill of the show...

JASON ALEXANDER, ACTOR: There will be champagne and hors d'oeuvres, so please stay in your seats. CYBILL SHEPHERD, ACTRESS: Oh Ellen. Oh my God, we're in the same category, we're nominated in the same category. Well, whatever happens tonight, good luck. Have a shrimp.

But don't choke.

LETTERMAN: ... Ladies and gentlemen, the number one reason I am co-hosting the 38th annual Emmy's: Bill Cosby said no. Thank you.

ROSE: Cos probably had an early bedtime; the Emmy's are notorious for running late.

DEBBIE BOONE, SINGER: And, if there is any time left over at the end of the evening, Mr. Asner and I will sing and dance the 11:00 news, sports and weather.

LARROQUETTE: My name is John Larroquette and I'll be your host for the next 16 hours.

LETTERMAN: Ladies and gentleman in this list I have all of the winners for tonight's awards, so I could wrap this up in like three minutes if you want.

ROSE: Dave was a dud, and Mary Tyler Moore didn't help the year she described herself and co-host John Denver as:

DENVER AND MOORE: Just plain John and Mary.

ROSE: Johnny Carson, who hosted the Emmys more than anyone, summed it up nicely.

JOHNNY CARSON, ENTERTAINER: I welcome you to "Much Ado About Nothing."

ROSE: And once in awhile, some truth in that humor.

PAUL REISER, ENTERTAINER: You know, ladies and gentleman, let me remind you, not every joke tonight can be a winner. Like yourselves, one out of five is all I'm hoping for.

MILLER: I've noticed not as many people seem to thank God at the Emmys as they do at the Oscars, and I guess the feeling there is that if God were really with them, they'd be doing films.

Let's all get on with our lives, not to mention tonight's show. We'll be right back. Thank you.


ROSE: You know, when the Emmy's started in 1948 there were only three categories. This year there are 77. Now back then, Shirley Dinsdale (ph) and her puppet Judy Splinters; they won for most outstanding TV personality. The best film made-for-TV was "The Necklace," and "Pantomime Quiz Time" won for most popular program. There's three winners that didn't exactly go down in history.


ROSE: We end tonight on a sad note: the death of a man considered to be one of the greatest film directors of our time.


(voice-over): Akira Kurosawa spent his younger years as an out- of-work painter, but he ended up a great master of the cinematic arts. Kurosawa was one of our century's most influential filmmakers. The 1951 release of "Rashomon" brought Japanese cinema worldwide recognition. It told the same violent tale from four different viewpoints. He won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and an Oscar for best foreign film.

East met West in his pictures. The epics "The Seven Samurai" and "Yojimbo" are action-filled stories of an idealistic, feudal, samurai Japan. His trademark pageantry and spectacle, drawn from Japanese theater, is showcased in his later film, "Dreams." He used Western techniques, like the three-camera shoot and fast-paced editing, to tell his epic tales.

Shakespeare was an influence. Kurosawa adapted "Macbeth" for "Throne Of Blood," and "King Lear" became "Ran." The American western was also an influence. That was his inspiration for "Yojimbo." Hollywood returned the compliment when "The Seven Samurai" became "The Magnificent Seven." Sergio Leone remade "Yojimbo" into "A Fistful Of Dollars" and the spaghetti western was born.

In 1990, he was honored with an Oscar for lifetime achievement on his 80th birthday. Akira Kurosawa died Sunday in Tokyo. He was 88.


Kurosawa's genius was informed by his devotion to filmmaking. As the great man once said, "Take myself and subtract films, and the remainder is zero."

Well, that's all for this week's edition of CNN & ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Be sure to come back to the newsstand Sunday night for "CNN & TIME" with Jeff Greenfield and Bernard Shaw; that's at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

BAY: Also, join Stephen Frazier and me on Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern for "CNN & FORTUNE." In Los Angeles, I'm Willow Bay.

ROSE: And I'm Judd Rose in New York. For all of us at NEWSSTAND, good night.