The cast of "The Sopranos" is less worried about getting whacked than getting new jobs once the series is over in June.
At last night's humungous premiere at Radio City Music Hall, followed by a party that swamped Rockefeller Center, that seemed to be the uppermost thought in the minds of everyone from actors to crew.
Nevertheless, James Gandolfini, whose work has been so stellar as Tony Soprano, told me he's taking a year off after the show wraps. The final episode is still being worked on.
"At least a year," he joked with me.
Gandolfini's running joke is that while he has been on the show, every movie he made has been so bad that it has wrecked the career of the star he "supported" in each film — think Ben Affleck.
In the next couple of weeks, he opens with John Travolta in a film that's being dumped, essentially. It's called "Lonely Hearts" and, well, fugeddaboutit.
"That's right," Gandolfini laughed when we recalled the old joke.
But it's also possible that he was so successful with the TV series, he may have to wait for success in films, I offered.
"I hope you're right," he said. "But I'm still taking the time off."
Lorraine Bracco laughed heartily about the future.
"They love you when you're on top. But wait 'til you're on the bottom," she cried.
Bracco's had a long enough career to know this isn't the end, but it may take a while to get over "The Sopranos." Most of her family, except her ailing mom, came to the premiere: her dad, two daughters, sister and brother-in-law, actor Aidan Quinn.
There were plenty of other Sopranos, dead and alive, all at Rockefeller Center, including Edie Falco, who left the party early to make a morning shoot for the show; Vince Curatola, who does such a magnificent job as Johnny Sack, head of the New York mob; Michael Imperioli, who plays Christopher; Drea de Matteo, whose Adrianna is still being discussed; Jamie-Lynn Sigler; Robert Iler; Dominic Chianese; Steve Schirippa; Aida Turturro; Steve Buscemi; and "Little" Steven Van Zandt, aka Silvio.
Curatola, by the way, doesn't have to worry about future work. He's just made an independent movie called "Frame of Mind" with "Law & Order" star Chris Noth. And he still sings occasionally with the rock group Chicago.
Buscemi, of course, is always busy. And Van Zandt is putting together a TV pilot for his "Underground Garage" station that he does on Sirius Satellite Radio — that is, when he's not playing in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Imperioli told me he's making movies in Portugal and Iceland.
So what happens in the remaining episodes? You can read my review of Episodes 1 and 2 from my column last week. As for beyond that, this much seems clear: Christopher is headed back into drug use and a possible showdown with Tony.
I don't think Chianese's Uncle Junior will live to Episode 9. But my prediction of a power fight within the New York mob seems unfounded. I'm told that may just be a typical "Sopranos" loose end.
The American Live Earth concert on July 7 remains in limbo. Months ago, I was told that the organizers wanted to do a show either on the Mall in Washington, D.C., or at Shea Stadium in New York City. More recently, I was told Philadelphia was the desired venue.
Now, it looks like Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma wants to stop the Washington concert, according to TheHill.com. He doesn't believe in climate change.
All I can say, Sen. Inhofe, is that the climate has changed, indeed. As Bob Dylan once said: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."
CBS Radio has picked a new guy to run its disastrous mess. Dan Mason is supposed to be a veteran who loves music. If you are reading this, Mr. Mason, restore New York's WNEW-FM to classic rock with real DJs. Bring back WCBS-FM, the city's oldies station that was usurped by machines called Jack.
Radio is dying because of these formats. It's an embarrassment.