The Insider

updated 08/06/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/06/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CBS BEATS HBO FOR CHER

As fight fans know, the heavyweight bout in June between Mike Tyson and Henry Tillman at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas wasn't much of a rumble. Tyson knocked Tillman out in the first round, and that was the end of it.

However, at about that same time a much better fight—unscheduled and unpublicized—was being waged at the nearby Mirage Hotel. In one corner was Home Box Office. In the other corner, CBS. To the winner would go Cher.

The 44-year-old superstar was scheduled to perform some concerts that weekend at the Mirage Hotel as part of her summer tour. It had been announced that HBO would tape one of her shows for future airing. According to sources, the pay-cable channel did everything it needed to do to plan for the event—except get a signed contract.

When CBS found out that HBO's deal still hadn't been consummated on paper, the network's head of entertainment, Jeff Sagansky, whose publicly stated goal is to lure younger viewers to CBS, had his representatives swoop into Vegas in an eleventh-hour attempt to talk Cher's people out of HBO and into CBS.

A source close to the negotiations says it helped that CBS was offering $2 million for the rights to broadcast the show. The offer, our source says, "was considerably more" than HBO's, and soon HBO dropped to the canvas in much the same way Tillman did.

(HBO says it lost Cher not because of money, but because Mirage operator Steve Wynn had power over who could film Cher's concert at his hotel.)

Look for CBS to air its one-hour Cher at the Mirage special next season. Cher is no stranger to CBS, having had three variety shows there (including two with her ex Sonny Bono) in the 1970s.

COSTNER TURNS AUTHOR

Actor Kevin Costner has never been one to concern himself with merchandising tie-ins for his movies. But all that is changing now that he has become a hyphenate—actor-director-producer—for his next movie, Dances with Wolves.

Costner, who makes his directing debut with this movie, didn't just okay a book promoting the period drama, but went so far as to sit himself down and write a lengthy introduction for the tome.

Newmarket Press currently is readying a 192-page, soft-cover book on the making of Dances. Priced at $14.95 and timed to hit the stores in November when Orion Pictures releases the film, the book will also include behind-the-scenes photos taken during the $18 million production's four-month shoot, portions of screenwriter Michael Blake's screenplay and historical text and photos of 1860s Native Americans, who are central to the story line of the film.

According to the film's co-producer Jim Wilson, Costner's "imprint on the entire book is felt throughout."

GUESS WHO CAME TO DINNER

The old adage "the customer is always right" was tested to the max recently when celebrity-divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson arrived for dinner at Alzado's restaurant in Los Angeles.

The restaurant's maître d', actress Cathy Moriarty (whose career began, and peaked, with Raging Bull in 1980), agreed to seat Mitchelson even though he currently represents her estranged husband and former manager, Carmine D'Anna, in the couple's ongoing divorce case.

As to Mitchelson's meal, that too came off without a hitch even though in 1985 he represented Cynthia Alzado when she had split from the man who co-owns Alzado's, former Los Angeles Raider Lyle Alzado, who is now on the comeback trail.

"They were very gracious," says Mitchelson, but adds that Moriarty jokingly refused to say whether she was making any new movies for fear he'd claim her income.

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