Wherefore art thou 'Romeo Killer'? On Lifetime

Posted: March 22, 2013

LIFETIME has made a number of popular, salacious movies since it went on the air, but this time it looked as if it may have gone too far - until a New York judge stepped in.

The network was scheduled to air "Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story" this weekend, about a man who killed his father and maimed his mother with an ax, but a judge temporarily banned the showing after Porco sought to stop it.

The convicted killer argued that Lifetime needed permission to use his name because the movie represents a fictionalized account of the crime. New York state Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller agreed with him and temporarily barred the showing, pending a late April hearing.

Lifetime asked the state Appellate Division to lift the injunction and allow the movie, which stars Eric McCormack of "Will & Grace" as an investigator, to be shown this weekend.

"It's a sad day when a convicted murderer who has exhausted all of his appeals can convince any court to stop people from exercising their First Amendment right to talk about his crime," Lifetime spokesman Les Eisner said.

But Lifetime scored a court victory Thursday on an emergency appeal, clearing the way for "Romeo Killer" to air Saturday and Sunday.

So says the Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq., and TV Week.

The appellate division of the New York Supreme Court - Porco is in jail in New York - issued a stay on the injunction and ordered Porco to show cause by April 10 or it will lift the injunction.

"Lifetime is using the moment in the legal sun to now promote its film as the 'Lifetime Original Movie Chris Porco doesn't want you to see,' " said the Hollywood Reporter.

The extent to which Lifetime took liberties with the story is in question. Eisner said the movie was "inspired by" Porco's crime, but would give no further details. Court papers filed by Lifetime with the Appellate Division argued that the "details of the crimes, the criminal investigation, and the conviction of Porco as presented in the movie are all factually correct and well-documented."

Lifetime said it had spent more than $2 million acquiring rights to tell the Porco story and nearly $1 million promoting Saturday's premiere.

Lifetime argued that if viewers tuned in to see the movie and it wasn't on, they would come to view the network "as unreliable and not trustworthy, which will have long-term negative effects on Lifetime's 'brand' and reputation, and may ultimately lead to declines in its ratings."

Then again, they may get introduced to Jennifer Love Hewitt in "The Client List."

Chubby's 'Twist' checks in Library of Congress

Chubby Checker's 1960s dance hit "The Twist" has joined Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" as two of 25 recordings selected for preservation at the Library of Congress.

The library said Checker's rendition of "The Twist" became a symbol for the energy and excitement of the early '60s after "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark chose Checker to record a new version of the song.

The recording that received the most public nominations for this year's registry was Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon." The library said it was notable as an example of "brilliant, innovative production in service of the music."

Other selections included the original 1949 cast album for "South Pacific" and the soundtrack to the popular 1977 movie "Saturday Night Fever," starring John Travolta and featuring the Bee Gees, which revived the disco craze.

Van Cliburn's Cold War piano performance in Moscow when he won the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition at 23 also was selected. At the time in 1958, Time magazine noted his appearance and tour of the Soviet Union "has had more favorable impact on more Russians than any U.S. export of word or deed since World War II."

Other selections included recordings by Will Rogers, Jimmie Davis and President Dwight D. Eisenhower .

TATTBITS

* "Gangs of New York" director

Martin Scorsese has joined an effort to curb redevelopment of the Bowery, the former skid row near where he grew up.

Scorsese wrote last week to New York City's Planning Commission chairwoman, Amanda Burden, praising the neighborhood's grittiness, ambience and vivid atmosphere.

Scorsese is backing a plan that would limit the height of new development on the east side of the Bowery to eight stories. The plan also calls for preservation of several historic buildings.

* The ubiquitous Beyonce is featured in H&M's new ad campaign. Mrs. Carter, as she's called in the ads - you know, because that's how everyone refers to her - is seen lounging on a beach wearing a sundress, short shorts, a bikini and other key items from the summer collection.

H&M says the ads, which were shot in the Bahamas, aim to capture the many sides of women, showing Beyonce as strong, vulnerable, sensual, fun, flirtatious and maternal.

* YouTube says more than 1

billion people are now visiting its site each month.

Does that make YouTube the McDonald's of the Internet?

Bobby Brown has been

released from an L.A. jail after serving less than one day of his 55-day jail sentence for driving under the influence.

A sheriff's spokesman said Thursday that Brown was released after eight hours because of jail overcrowding and good behavior, and outfitted with an electronic ankle monitor.

Good behavior? He was in jail for less than a day!

Did the police expect him to shiv someone before breakfast?

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.


Email: gensleh@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5678

On Twitter: @DNTattle

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