Adages: Artists shamelessly sing for their supper at cable's big table

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Multi-Grammy winner Norah Jones sidled up to a baby grand at the Turner Broadcasting upfront presentation at Cipriani's in New York last week and belted out "I Love Your Drama," a tune she said was written just for the occasion, dedicated to TNT. "I love your drama, it drives me up the wall," she sang. "The way you laugh, the way you fall."

A reporter at Adages' table recorded the performance and whispered that he planned to sell the tape to a bootlegger. "You'll see the CD selling on the street tomorrow," he predicted. On stage, Norah, in jeans and black madras shirt, was very casual. She glibly told the audience: "They asked me to sing two more songs so I'll do that. " And she sang two more songs. A spokesman said TNT will use the tune-penned by tandem tunesmiths Tomandandy-for on-air promotions.

Meanwhile, Viacom's MTV Networks is throwing an upfront party for its entire brood of channels at Madison Square Garden on May 8. The family gathering is intended to prove a point, says a spokeswoman. And that is (surprise!) advertising on cable TV is bigger and better than broadcast. "On all ad-supported television we capture 10% of all 18-to-34 viewers," said the earnest mouthpiece. "Our reach is so huge, why wouldn't you consider it on par with broadcast? We have like the perfect stat!"

Lots of name entertainers will be on hand to help deliver this profound message. Adages has learned that Pam Anderson will do a skit based on the upcoming "Stripperella" cartoon series on Spike TV, formerly TNN. Funkmaster Flex also will shill for Spike. (No word yet on whether Spike Lee or Spike Jones will show up, or sue, for that matter.) Country crooner Martina McBride will appear for CMT. The star of "I Dream of Jeannie" and current spokesman for the Union Members Discount Network, Larry Hagman makes an appearance. Elton John will noodle on the piano and sing. Ozzy Osbourne is expected but not confirmed. Finally, the host of MTV's "Making the Band," Sean "P. Diddy" Combs will bless the audience with his Diddiness. Perhaps he will perform "I Love Your Mama," a rap written for the occasion, dedicated to MTV.

Them vs. `Us'

E! Entertainment Television admits today in an announcement that it is indeed developing a long-rumored show about the editors of a major celebrity magazine. According to an E! statement, "This enticing and fast-paced series will follow at a frenetic pace to keep up with these celebrity-saturated professionals as they strive to give hungry Hollywood-obsessed consumers their weekly fix." An E! spokeswoman still will not identify the magazine. "We are talking to several publications," she says. Now c'mon! How many options are out there? There's Time Inc.'s People and there's Wenner Media's Us Weekly. What else? Adages called that snarky new Radar just to check. "Eeee!" exclaimed a spokesman for the upstart. "Not us."

War and peace

The New York Women in Communications' annual Matrix Awards luncheon packed the house at the Waldorf-Astoria last week, and the dais was stacked as always with high-profile honorees and presenters, including Cosmo Editor Kate White, Conde Nast's Maurie Perl, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and prizewinning author Toni Morrison. Saturday Night Live writer/performer Tina Fey stole the show as mistress of ceremonies. She told Bloomberg that thanks to his tough anti-smoking laws, she no longer gets home after a long night out smelling of cigarettes. "Now I just reek of booze," she said. Fey got the biggest laughs at Monica Lewinsky's expense, saying Ms. Personality agreed to host reality show "Mr. Personality" so that she could have a new answer to those who ask her "What's the most degrading thing you've ever done?" Introducing New Yorker Editor and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Remnick, Fey told the crowd, "I first picked up a copy of The New Yorker in 1989." After a pause, she added, "I'm about halfway through it."

Contributing: Scott Donaton Contact Mr. Personality at rlinnett@crain.com

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