The Insider

updated 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Talk about front-loading.
Late last month, basketball legend "Magic" Johnson taped the pilot for The Magic Hour, his syndicated talk show set to debut early next year, and if his all-star lineup is any indication, the late-night landscape may change dramatically. Mel Gibson, Laurence Fishburne and Tyra Banks were among his guests, as was Cher, who sang an a cappella version of the '70s pop hit "Love Is in the Air." Arsenio Hall, whose own talk show ended in 1994, turned up to wish his old friend well. And if that weren't enough, Bill Clinton happened to call Johnson the day of the taping to see if he could join him for a round of golf while the President was visiting Southern California. To top it all off, Johnson taped his show at a studio on the NBC lot in Burbank that just happens to be next door to Jay Leno's set. Unfortunately, the pilot will never air—it was simply a dry run to create a presentation tape that will hopefully entice TV stations to carry the show....

Will Smith doesn't talk about it publicly, but he considers director Spike Lee to be one of his main influences. So imagine his surprise when Lee, who apparently didn't know Smith was an admirer, recently called the Men in Black costar and asked to meet with him about doing a project together. If it happens, I'm assuming it would mean Lee directing Smith, but so far nobody's saying anything. But I do hear that a meeting has been scheduled this month....

There's been a lot of brainstorming lately at the William Morris Agency concerning the pop group Hanson and how to strike a possible movie deal for the three Hanson brothers—Isaac, 16, Taylor, 14, and Zac, 11—while they're hot. I'm told one idea that was proposed—a long shot at best—would have the boys star in a movie musical based on Fred MacMurray's 1960-72 TV series, My Three Sons....

It's no accident that the pantry on Air Force One in Harrison Ford's hit movie Air Force One is stocked with only one beer, Budweiser. According to one of the film's producers, Jon Shestack, a scene in an early draft of the script had Ford's character, the President of the United States, talking about beer and drinking it. Says Shestack: "A number of companies were vying for product placement and were ready to pay for it—Bud and Heineken among them." When the decision was made to drop the scene, Shestack says, "we accepted free beer from Budweiser, the more American brand, but no money changed hands." As for the real Air Force One, a rep at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland tells me that all brand-name beverages, including beer, "are rotated by the chef, who wants to be politically correct" and not offend any one supplier.

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