Jewish World Review April 8, 2004 / 17 Nissan, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

Stephen King vs. ABC; trapping the love rat; Liv-ing it up; more | NEW YORK — Scaremaster Stephen King is horrified that ABC, the beleaguered fourth-place television network, has rescheduled "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital" to Thursday nights — tantamount to burying it in the "show sematary."

"We don't know what they're doing," co-executive producer King told me Tuesday in an exclusive interview from his office in Maine. "It was originally on Wednesday nights, and now, starting this week, it's on Thursday night at 9 o'clock. That's a tough time slot — against 'CSI' on CBS and 'The Apprentice' on NBC. It's kind of like where shows go to die."

"Kingdom Hospital," which was adapted by King from a Danish series, is now a prime candidate for cancellation.

King complained that ABC execs — under fire from their corporate parents at Disney for poor prime-time ratings — have not lived up to their promises concerning the series.

"They told us they were going to double-schedule it — show each episode twice a week — and then they didn't do it," King said. "They wouldn't put any money into advertising. Finally I sort of pushed them into it by saying I would put my own money into advertising."

An ABC Entertainment rep didn't return my phone call Tuesday.

The fabulously wealthy literary mogul, who described himself as "a working schmo," said he and his partners own a one-third stake in the show — with the remaining two-thirds owned by Sony and ABC.

"They do a lot of on-air promotion on their own network, but that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy — which is not a good one," King said. "ABC is the Detroit Tigers of networks. They don't have a lot going for them."

Yet King has stuck with ABC since the mid-1980s, and said he rejected advice from his reps at Creative Artists Agency to shop "Kingdom Hospital" to other networks. "I'm monogamous," King said.

On his Web site,, some of King's fans are downright angry. "They have every right to be angry," King told me.

A message posted there reads: "This is a great show. If the individuals at ABC can't get their heads out of their a— - to see that point, then you do not deserve to air this show at all. Release Mr. King from his contract with you so that he may have his vision shown on another network that would do justice to his work."

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The late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's grieving father is up in arms over "The Other Man," the kiss-and-tell book by ex-"Baywatch" hunk Michael Bergin.

"I haven't read the book — and I won't be reading it," William Bessette tells Star magazine about Bergin's widely disbelieved claims that he continued to have sex with Carolyn after her marriage to John F. Kennedy Jr., that she had two abortions and suffered a miscarriage, and that she was desperate to leave Kennedy for him.

"I have no idea why someone would write something like that," Bessette says.

JFK Jr.'s godmother, Martha Buck Bartlett, calls Bergin's literary effort "pure fiction and hogwash. In my day we would call this Bergin character a cad, especially since John and Carolyn are no longer around to defend themselves."

Jacqueline Kennedy's cousin, John H. Davis, also weighs in. "I'm horrified by this book," Davis says. "It's really horrible these things are being said . . . and they're not true."

Bergin has insisted that he wrote the book to obtain "closure," but Star reports that, creepily enough, the aging underwear model began working on a screenplay about his relationship with Carolyn more than a year before her death in a plane crash.

"She came across the stuff I had written in a notebook," Star quotes Bergin from a previously unpublished interview. "She freaked out! She was really mad at me. That was the last time I saw her."

Further casting doubt on Bergin's credibility is his claim — on the dust jacket of his book — to be married to makeup artist Joy Tilk, the mother of his two children, Jesse and Alana Jade.

In fact, he and Tilk are merely engaged.


GENTLEMAN JACKASS?: Before quitting his popular and deeply twisted MTV show, Johnny Knoxville endured a stabbing, a beating and an electric shock — all without a flinch. But the 33-year-old costar of "Walking Tall" seemed thrown for a loop Friday night when he wandered into Hue and confronted a phalanx of supermodels. "He was like, 'Whoa!'" a spy told this column, describing Knoxville's reaction to Sports Illustrated swimsuit beauties Petra Nemcova, Bridget Hall, May Anderson and Amy Wesson, and Calvin Klein postergirl Natalia Vodianova, all partying in the cozy downstairs area. "He was totally overwhelmed by the models," the spy revealed. "And he got serious attention." But Knoxville — who has a young daughter with clothing designer Melanie Clapp, his wife of six years — behaved himself. "He wasn't drinking at all. He let people know he was married."

LIV-ING IT UP: That was Liv Tyler spending $200 on a facial and acne products at the Upper East Side salon Mario Badescu on Sunday. I'm told that the 26-year-old Tyler — who has plenty of fetching closeups in "Jersey Girl" — has been visiting the salon regularly since age 16. This column's team of accountants estimate that Tyler has spent about $120,000 on skincare alone — including treating her mother-in-law, Cynthia Langdon, whose rocker son Royston, of the band Sparticle, is Liv's hubby.

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04/02/04: Don't mess with Brooke Hogan's dad; lawyers dancing on the head of a pin?; Trump vs. Trump?; more
04/01/04: D'OH! "Simpsons" actors in dispute with Fox; Diane Sawyer and Janet Jackson won't be bosom buddies; Condi and Maxim?
03/31/04: Hair-raising day on Wall Street; Foxy lady loses 50 Cent; How do you say "party animal" in Hebrew?; Rev. Al and Janet Jackson; more
03/26/04: Bye, bye Banfield; from porn to politics?; more
03/24/04: The perils of film criticism; Dole-ing out compliments; but what about a cure for career lag?; more
03/19/04: Trump trumps everything; Mario vs. Joe; Trudeau pays up; more
03/17/04: Remembering Hillary %*&$#! Clinton; PUT AWAY THAT KRYPTONITE!; more
03/12/04: OOPS!, did Jayson Blair do it again?; skewing Young; more
03/10/04: The laugh that dare not speaks its name; Mistaken identity? NAH!; Is this a great country or what?
03/05/04: Bush vs. Kerry: a Skull session; Kramer vs. The Times, scorch session; enthusiasm curbed; (Tina) Brown-nosing?
03/03/04: Oscars memorialize Hitler's fave filmmaker; baubles, bangles and Kelly Osbourne; moonwalking through cyberspace; more
02/27/04: Regan rebellion; Ed Limato strikes again!; tears for Tom; more
02/26/04: McCain predicts a nasty campaign; the misdirected missive; Janet Jackson, the interview; more
02/20/04: Introducing the Kerry sisters; cyberflap!; Snoop Dogg v. O'Reilly?; more
02/18/04: John Kerry's Friendster?; On the mend?; food for fraughtm; more
02/13/04: John & Carolyn, redux; Zell Miller shows the flag; kill Quentin?; more
02/11/04: HE FEELS BAD!; Dick Cheney, still not dead; more
02/06/04: Glittering Grammys; a laurel for Janet; Haryl's heart
02/04/04: Shriver quits NBC; "Marshmallow" Mike Tyson?; Super Bowl propriety?; MTV's next production?; more
01/30/04: The political forehead front; Alies meets Franken; the art of the hype; arrested career development?
01/28/04: Eyebrow-raising politics; call him indescribable; Woods vs. Williams; more
01/23/04: Eyebrow-raising mystery; who's punk'd anyway?; don't curb your enthusiasm; more
01/21/04: Ridiculous lives of the self-important stars; long arm of the law; all's fair in love and literature
01/16/04: Global warming at a glacial pace; targeting pop culture; Is 'the price of loyalty' too high?
01/14/04: Busting on the "cult buster"; Sarsgaard thinks globally; one angry woman; more
01/08/04: Sitcom star won't be excused from Blake murder trial; fierstein on fire; Drudge & Blumenthal, together again
01/07/04: Bono hits a brick wall; Britney, before the nuttiness; the Arianna primary; more
01/02/04: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio!?; "Bachelor" bruises; Returning to the scene of the crime?
12/31/03: Disaster for the defense; no-war Omar; the shoe must go on; more
12/19/03: Bob Shapiro's free commercial?; Are sophisticated and hip New Yawkers easily duped?; Positive Saddam fallout?; Ratty insult?
12/17/03: Magic Mystery Tour?; Russell Simmons battles ink by the barrel; Would it have killed her to say 'get well soon'?; no Gest room
12/12/03: Karenna defends her dad; now she tells us!; say it ain't so, Mo!; more
12/10/03: Man & wife, interruptus; pepperoni has feelings, too; more
12/05/03: The knives are out; Who's sorry now?; JWR in the news
12/04/03: The war of the gest-minnellis; something borrowed, something cashmere; fashion trendsetter, nailed!
12/03/03: Colombian grace under pressure; Lord of the Screwups; more
12/02/03: Curb your anti-Semitism?; fame fatigue?; bowing to pressure?; more
12/01/03: Dennis the Menace strikes again; first literary feud of the holiday season; Norma Jean & Hef in heaven?; the fog of McNamara; more
11/26/03: Catherine Crier raps Jacko's TV defender, refuses on-air hint of racism; At 50, Tina's in full cry; STAY OUT OF HER WAY!; more
11/25/03: The mogul strikes back?; go ahead, make Harvey's day; more
11/24/03: Georgette's pilfered baubles; prosecutor of pop?; absent but not missed?; Norman Mailer's prescription for education reform; more
11/20/03: Is a movie career in store for Maria Bartiromo?; People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans?; more
11/19/03: Scientologists on Razor's edge?; picking a winner?; source on a hot tin roof?; more
11/18/03: Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
11/17/03: When networks attack!; leaky Fawcett; forget the Paris Hilton video!; more
11/13/03: Publicity hounds; Prophetic priest; Dumb and Dumber
11/12/03: Not so Rosie; do you believe in miracles?; catalogue of sins; My Heart Belongs to Koppel
11/10/03: Gen. clark on the Subway diet; life of the party; MTV's Dumb and Dumber?; the hug issue; but does the $6,000 shower curtain convey?; red faces at Buckingham palace?
11/06/03: Let them eat pita?; verbal jousting; pretenders to the throne?
11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
11/03/03: Dean's tell-all on himself?; Lisaraye vs. Mya?; the odd couple; no need to panic; just don't call him "Scooter"!; Rosie scenarios
10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up — sort of
10/21/03: Morris & Jaci's charm offensive; Hell hath no fury; Wintertime for Hitler
10/20/03: Isn't it rich?; men (and the occasional woman) behaving badly; peacenik John Lennon supporting the U.S. military?; courageous Connie
10/16/03: George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars?
10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
10/13/03: Clothes, but no cigar; New Yorkers put a Sox in it; mad at Matalin?; more
10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate