ANY GIVEN CONSPIRACY?
Oliver Stone's new football film kicked off well at the box office, but the director of Any Given Sunday was grumbling about no-shows at the Florida opening, blaming it on -- you guessed it -- a conspiracy. Hollywood insiders say Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and head coach Jimmy Johnson, who both consulted on the movie, were no-shows at the Miami premiere on December 20. An irate Stone was overheard claiming that Marino and Johnson punted because of a National Football League plot against the movie. It seems that the NFL refused to cooperate during the making of the film, concerned about being negatively portrayed, and rejected the director's request to use pro-football clips and trademarks. But Marino insisted through a spokesperson, "I certainly didn't hear from the league one way or another" about attending the party. Dolphins rep Harvey Greene contends Coach Johnson didn't go because it was a game week and "he's got commitments here." But Stone remains suspicious: "Call me a conspiracy nut" -- well, duh -- "but ask the NFL if they put out a memo asking people not to participate. If they say no, they're lying." NFL corporate-communications director Chris Widmaier disagrees . . . somewhat. "There isn't a conspiracy," he says. "There were memos that went out to the clubs explicitly outlining our position: 'We are not participating in the film, but if you're going to participate, be aware of what you're getting yourselves involved in.' " Still, Widmaier couldn't resist a little Stone cutting. "How could it be an Oliver Stone movie without a good conspiracy?" he quipped.
MICK JAGGER: NO JERRYATRIC
Will the year 2000 bring sympathy for that bed-hopping devil Mick Jagger? Ex-wife Jerry Hall, who was recently in a fury over the birth of Brazilian model Luciana Morad's son, Lucas Jagger, and Mick's pursuit of model-actress-musician Milla Jovovich, forgave the lippy Lothario enough to agree to go away with him for New Year's. Hall and Jagger jetted with their kids to the island of Mustique -- which also happens to be the home of Jagger's on-again-off-again flame Vanessa Neumann. Though the weekend was slated to be a family affair, Neumann and Jagger were spotted at the Mustique Company's millennial bash, with Hall nowhere in sight. When the D.J. started playing Stones songs, Jagger hit the dance floor with yet another woman, a tall, sexy blonde who resembled a young Jerry Hall. For good reason -- turns out the babe was their daughter Elizabeth.
DID ABC TALK TOO SOON?
Television sources say that ABC has canceled its plans to run a story on underage fashion models based on a much-publicized BBC documentary. The move came after ABC learned of this month's Talk magazine story questioning the veracity of British "reality" shows, and of the modeling exposé in particular. ABC won the rights to the BBC's film -- which skewered Elite models executive Gerald Marie for his reported penchant for trysts with underage models -- after a heated U.S. bidding war. But sources say that after ABC senior producer Ira Rosen got a look at the Talk piece, the network's program was shelved. Media insiders note that while ABC claims to have had no signed contract, the BBC was stunned by ABC's sudden defection, believing they had a "handshake deal." "They're fuming," says one veteran newsman. BBC spokesperson Diane Santall would say only a terse "To our knowledge, ABC is not running the piece."
1 TOO MANY CHORES FOR REPORTERS
Journalist Annika Pergament has left New York 1 for WCBS, and she probably won't be the last to go. Reporters at the city's all-news cable channel, already feeling stretched to the limit, may be asked to edit their pieces when NY1 relocates to Chelsea next year. At a recent meeting with the editorial staff where he described the new space, vice-president and general manager Steve Paulus was asked where the new editing rooms would be. "There may not be editing rooms," he announced, setting off alarm bells that soon brought panicked editors knocking at his door. Paulus now says there will be editing suites and that what he meant to convey was that all reporters will have editing capabilities at their desktop computers. But some don't view reporters' editing as an improvement. "They already have to report, shoot, produce, and write," gripes a station insider. "It will be sink-or-swim for them, and a lot of them will sink." Paulus denies that he'll force anyone to edit. Besides, the NY1 boss says he's heard more grumbling about reporters' using other equipment. "Reporters hate shooting with the camera. Do you want a twenty-pound camera on your shoulder?" No, Steve. That's why we're in print.
Additional reporting by Lauren Bass and Suny Sehgal.