Hollywood goes on high security alert

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As top film and TV stars prepared for Friday's telethon, Hollywood studios heightened security measures after learning of bomb threats from the FBI.

Extra guards were put in place -- some even armed -- entrances were locked down and license plates and identities were checked routinely at studios like 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Warner Bros.

"The FBI has informed us that in view of the recent
tragedies in New York and Washington [D.C.], they have received an unverified report threatening Hollywood film studios," said an internal electronic mail at
Paramount Studios.

"As a result, we are tightening and enhancing our security in cooperation with the FBI and local law enforcement. We intend to make our workplace secure and safe."

Motion Picture Association of America president Jack
Valenti was briefed by Attorney General John Ashcroft's office Thursday, and
Valenti then briefed studio heads of the potential terrorist activity.

Many of the studios had already beefed up security efforts in light of the World Trade Center/Pentagon bombings, but studio sources said those measures have been doubled and taken to levels "never seen before."

The major broadcast networks were not warned by the FBI
of potential threats, but that didn't stop all of them from raising security measures.

Spokespeople at all of the major networks said employees were notified of the studio threats.

At NBC, an internal e-mail said, "We have become aware that some of the major movie studios have announced increased security precautions as the result of a potential bomb threat. In investigating their actions, we have learned that the FBI notified specific film studios in California of uncorroborated information of potential threats of bomb attacks. NBC was not included in the FBI's notification. However, please be aware that the security measures we initiated last week are continuing."

As for the upcoming 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said, "As of now, we are going forward with our plans. Extra security measures are being taken to secure all of our guests." The Emmys were originally scheduled to take place Sept. 16, and they have been rescheduled for Oct. 7.

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