Jewish World Review April 8, 2004 / 17 Nissan, 5764
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, stephenking.com, 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."
TRAPPING THE LOVE RAT
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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© 2003, Creators Syndicate