Press tour notes 'n' quotes:
* SOME THOUGHTS on the prime time Emmy Award nominations, announced here last week: - In their first year of eligibility, cable programs earned 15 nominations. That's a respectable showing, I guess. But in a more perfect world there probably would have been a few more bids, like best comedy and actor nominations for "It's Garry Shandling's Show" and its star, and maybe a tip of the ol' rabbit ears to CNN's "Larry King Live" in the informational series category; - What's it going to take for Bob Newhart and "Newhart" to get the recognition it deserves for six seasons of consistent excellence? - I'm trying really hard not to see the nomination of Ann Jillian and "The Ann Jillian Story" as a sentimental bit of sympathetic support. And even if it is, it's a nice gesture. But I can't help but feel that it's unfair to Mare Winningham and "God Bless the Child," more worthy winners both.- I personally believe first-time nominee Ron Perlman deserve the drama actor Emmy for his performance as Vincent in "Beauty and the Beast." But I do have to wonder why two-time winner William Daniels of "St. Elsewhere" wasn't even mentioned.
- Cheers to the academy for recognizing the wonderful supporting actor work being done by "L.A. Law's" Larry Drake, who plays the mentally handicapped errand boy Benny.
- Here's hoping multiple Emmy nominations help solidify the future for "Beauty and the Beast" (12 nominations), "thirtysomething" (10) and "Frank's Place" (9), three high quality shows that failed to finish among the season's 40 highest-rated series.
- Raise your hand if you understand why the Academy saw fit to issue only four nominations for best drama series while the show that probably deserves the award most, NBC's "A Year in the Life," was left off the list entirely.
I didn't think so.
* MOLLY DODD LIVES. Lifetime Cabletelevision Network officials announced Friday that they have reached an agreement with producer/writer/creator Jay Tarses and NBC to bring the critically acclaimed "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" to cable beginning next January. The deal calls for Lifetime to receive broadcast rights to the 26 installments of "Molly Dodd" that have already been produced for NBC and to produce 13 new episodes. Additionally, Lifetime has an option to do 26 more episodes if it chooses.
"This is the perfect series for us," said Lifetime vice president Pat Fili in making the announcement. "It's a show that provides a glimpse into the real world of contemporary women, and it sets us firmly on the path to becoming the only network women can truly call their own. We expect the series to flourish in its move from network television to its new home on cable."
For his part, Tarses said he and Emmy-nominated star Blair Brown are "thrilled to be here."
"Lifetime is doing something revolutionary here," Tarses said. "This is a signal to the entire creative community that we don't have to rely on the networks anymore. There's someplace else to go."
Someplace where they know - and understand - a quality show when they see one.
* SHARLENE WELLS HAWKES, the former Miss America and KSL sports reporter, has received her first assignments with ESPN, the cable sports network that recently hired her. She will be hosting "Scholastic Sports America" and "All American Sports Events," a new series that will cover a variety of miscellaneous sporting events like the Soap Box Derby and lumberjack competitions.
ESPN vice president Steven M. Bornstein acknowledged that the job is pretty much a "PM Magazine' type position," but he said it's part of a plan to let Wells grow into big-time sports.
"She needs to get some experience," Bornstein said. "But she's got a lot of talent. As far as we're concerned, the sky's the limit for her."
Including a shot at some play-by-play action, something she has previously indicated a desire to try? "Ahhh . . . that's way down the line," Bornstein hedged. "But who knows?"
"All American Sports Events" premieres on ESPN Sept. 30.
* RALPH BAKSHI, the center of controversy at CBS recently for his animation on "Mighty Mouse," has been signed by the Nickelodeon cable service to create a new prime time animated series for them.
Called "Tattertown," the series is an unusual mix of cartoon characters who know who they are - cartoon characters - and often run into their merchandised images. And if "Tattertown" sounds a little like "Toontown" and "Roger Rabbit," Bakshi insists its purely unintentional.
"Roger Rabbit' has been wonderful for animation," he said. "God bless 'em. But I first came up with this concept about 25 years ago."
And he probably wishes he had started work on it 25 months ago - instead of "Mighty Mouse." The last few months, with all the charges that Bakshi was pushing drug use with a coke-sniffing scene in the cartoon series, have been "incredible," he said.
"In retrospect, the scene wasn't a good idea," he admitted. "The drug culture has become so prevalent today, I should have known better than to have a character sniff anything, even a powdered flower, into his nose. But to tell you the truth, it just didn't occur to me that there would be any problem."
Bakshi noted that the cartoon aired several times before the Rev. Donald Wildmon of Mississippi made an issue of it. And even though CBS stood by him in the middle of controversy, Bakshi has asked the network to remove the scene in question from the cartoon for future showings.
"It wasn't a major story point," he said Thursday. "And this is certainly not an admission of guilt, as Wildmon claims it is. We're just thinking about the children here. I mean, if you tell a kid enough times that there's a drug scene in that cartoon, they'll believe it. I don't want kids around America debating whether or not Mighty Mouse is sniffing coke."
So Bakshi will do one more season on CBS and then bring "Tattertown" to life on Nickelodeon. But before he puts his "Mighty Mouse" days behind him completely, he says he has one more mission for the Mouse of Steel.
"I'd like to have him pay a little visit to Mississippi," Bakshi said, laughing. "I just hope he does right by me."