- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2004

In her own words

The late Princess Diana will speak once more as part of a new documentary based in part on her own words.

NBC has acquired audiotapes the late Princess recorded and will air them in a two-part documentary to be telecast next month, the Associated Press reports.

The never-before-broadcast tapes were made inside London’s Kensington Palace and were used by Andrew Morton to write his book “Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words.”

NBC will supplement the tapes with video footage of Diana and interviews with some of her closest friends, some of whom are speaking for the first time about her life and death.

The documentary will air on two consecutive Thursdays, March 4 and 11, at 10 p.m.

Sharon wants Ozzy

Sharon Osbourne isn’t disillusioned with television following the cancellation of her short-lived talk show. In fact, she would like to try it again, so long as ailing hubby Ozzy Osbourne is by her side.

“I’ve had a complete blast doing it. I’m sorry that it had to go this way,” she recently told Larry King on his CNN talk show.

“The Sharon Osbourne Show,” which debuted last fall, was canceled Jan. 30 because of low ratings, Mrs. Osbourne said. She will shoot the program until May.

“I love doing TV,” Mrs. Osbourne added. “And for me to say, ‘No, I never want to do it again,’ I’d be a liar. Of course, I do. But I would … feel better doing it with my husband.”

Mrs. Osbourne said she was unsure about returning to the show after her husband was injured in an all-terrain-vehicle accident in England last year but that she was encouraged to come back. Ozzy Osbourne has little movement in his arm following the accident, she said, but he will recover.

Mrs. Osbourne also is putting the cancellation in perspective. “In the scheme of life, it’s nothing,” she said.

Hatfield revealed

An award-winning documentary about the embattled author behind a slam against President Bush gets its cable premiere at 8 tonight on Cinemax.

“Horns and Halos” follows the colorful life of celebrity biographer J.H. Hatfield, whose 1999 book, “Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President,” asserts that President Bush was arrested for cocaine possession.

We soon learned that Hatfield was a convicted felon, and the book was pulled quickly by St. Martin’s Press. That didn’t stop underground leftist publisher Sander Hicks from reviving the book with his Soft Skull Press outfit. Hatfield was found dead of an apparent suicide in an Arkansas hotel room in July 2001. He was 43.

“Horns and Halos” was named best documentary at the 2002 New York Underground Film Festival and best documentary at the 2002 Chicago Underground Film Festival.

Oscar: Time is money

Those Oscar statuettes aren’t the only things that are golden come Academy Award night.

Advertisers are paying a record $1.5 million on average for a 30-second commercial spot during the Feb. 29 Oscar telecast on ABC, Reuters News Agency reports .

The commercial average for the film industry’s highest honors will surpass the previous record, set last year, of $1.4 million, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Co.-owned network told Reuters.

By comparison, ABC’s highest-rated drama series, “NYPD Blue,” averages $195,000 for a 30-second spot, and “Monday Night Football” commands an average of $350,000, according to the industry trade publication Broadcasting & Cable.

The Super Bowl, however, remains the advertising king, averaging nearly 89.6 million viewers for the Feb. 1 telecast. Ads averaged $2.3 million per 30-second spot this year.

The Academy Awards presentation has long ranked as the most-watched entertainment special on U.S. television each year, although last year’s telecast — overshadowed by the war in Iraq — drew the lowest ratings ever for an Oscar telecast, with slightly more than 33 million viewers tuning in.

Maybe viewers couldn’t bear to watch director Michael Moore’s now infamous tirade against the administration that night.

Still, the Oscar presentation remains a major commercial platform for advertisers, and many of them use the event to launch new campaigns. ABC, which has broadcast the Oscars annually since 1976, said advertising time for this year’s ceremony sold out in September.

Among the companies planning to hawk their wares during this year’s 76th annual Academy Awards are consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble, fast-food chain McDonald’s, luxury automaker Cadillac, Allstate Insurance Co. and Pepsi, the network said.

ABC also said it will air this year’s Oscar presentation on a five-second delay — a first for the Oscars — to allow network censors to edit out any spontaneous outbursts of profanity or nudity that might occur during the live event.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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