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Entertainment Newsmags Show Respect

In any other week, Yasmine Bleeth's recent arrest on alleged drug charges would command big headlines on the syndicated entertainment shows Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and Extra. But in the wake of last Tuesday's horrific terrorist attacks, such celebrity scandals are being tossed aside like yesterday's news. "We're not touching Yasmine Bleeth," Access Hollywood executive producer Rob Silverstein insists to TV Guide Online. "It's not something we're interested in. If none of this ever happened, of course, that's something we would cover. But we don't think stories like that are appropriate at this time." While Access, ET and Extra have been pre-empted by news coverage in much of the country since Tuesday, most affiliates were expected to return to normal programming this week. And in addition to the Bleeth blackout, Silverstein says viewers tuning in can expect a kinder, gentler Access

Michael Ausiello

In any other week, Yasmine Bleeth's recent arrest on alleged drug charges would command big headlines on the syndicated entertainment shows Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and Extra. But in the wake of last Tuesday's horrific terrorist attacks, such celebrity scandals are being tossed aside like yesterday's news.

"We're not touching Yasmine Bleeth," Access Hollywood executive producer Rob Silverstein insists to TV Guide Online. "It's not something we're interested in. If none of this ever happened, of course, that's something we would cover. But we don't think stories like that are appropriate at this time."

While Access, ET and Extra have been pre-empted by news coverage in much of the country since Tuesday, most affiliates were expected to return to normal programming this week. And in addition to the Bleeth blackout, Silverstein says viewers tuning in can expect a kinder, gentler Access. "The whole feel of it will be different," he explains, noting that the show's glitzy opening has been dropped and the tone of the program "slowed down" out of respect.

It remains unclear whether Entertainment Tonight will follow suit, but rumors that Extra would, in response to the attacks, downplay its coverage of showbiz altogether are false. "Extra is not shifting its focus away from entertainment," clarifies a show rep. "We're taking things day-to-day."

Access isn't about to turn into World News Tonight either. "We're covering how it affects film and how it affects TV, but keeping in perspective that what we do in the realm of all this is insignificant," says Silverstein. "We're just giving people another option of something to watch." Upcoming Access segments include interviews with NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz, a Vietnam vet, and The Job's Denis Leary, who is starting a fund to help victims."

One thing you won't see on Access: The inescapable images of death and destruction that have blanketed TV newscasts. "We felt if people were going to be tuning into Access Hollywood, they were looking for some type of relief from the same images that you're seeing on every station and every cable network — the planes hitting the towers, the buildings imploding and the people running," says Silverstein. "We didn't show any of those images. We tried not to give it a maudlin tone."