'Nanny' Authors: It's OK to See Film

'Nanny' Authors: It's OK to See Film | 'CBS Morning' to Change Producers? | Surprise News for Beatles Fans; 'Dallas' Disaster

'Nanny' Authors: It's OK to See Film

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Straus, authors of the book "The Nanny Diaries," say it’s OK to see the film based on their work.

As with all books that become public obsessions — think "Bridget Jones" or "Harry Potter" —sometimes fans become wary of the film adaptations. Remember when Anne Rice started denouncing film versions of her books? Yikes!

But that’s not the case with McLaughlin and Straus. They love the movie made by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Indeed, "Nanny Diaries" — which has nothing to do with "The Devil Wears Prada" — is a very trenchant satire. It also features tremendous performances from Laura Linney and Scarlett Johansson, with a terrific supporting cast composed of Paul Giamatti, Donna Murphy, Alicia Keys and Chris Evans.

So what then to do with all those rabid fans?

“It’s not a literal translation of the book. It’s a movie inspired by the book. We think people who know the book will come to theaters and have a good time,” Kraus told me Thursday. “And people who don’t know the book will just love it.”

One thing both authors want to make clear: Mrs. X, the very difficult and funny character played by Linney, is not based on Lisa Birnbach, author of "The Preppy Handbook." That story started making the rounds in New York a few months ago and has now taken on a life of its own.

“I was once Lisa’s research assistant,” Kraus tells me. “Her husband worked at Miramax. The story goes that when our manuscript came in, he said, 'This was our nanny.' But I was never their nanny, and Lisa is a great mom. I’ll do anything to correct that story in print!”

In fact, Kraus says, Mrs. X is based on an amalgam of characters. “That’s what makes our story so different from 'The Devil Wears Prada.' That was totally a roman a clef, and everyone knew who it was about. Mrs. X is fictional!”

Ironically, Kraus says that Johansson’s casting is a dream come true, too. It turns out that the women saw an early screening of "Lost in Translation" and asked if Scarlett would be interested in playing their nanny.

“We were told her dance card was full,” she says. “So when it turned out that she was playing the role, we were thrilled.”

Linney, by the way, who got raves Friday from most reviewers, wound up really surprising the authors.

“We’d see her come in in the morning, and she was so nice and gentle. And then she’d put on the costume, and all this rage would come out. We’d have to stay away from her!”

'CBS Morning' to Change Producers?

Get ready for a big change at CBS’ always-lagging "Morning Show." The program is so low-rated that people can’t remember its name — "Early Show"? "Morning Show"? "This Morning"?

The change, I am told, is that longtime former "Good Morning America" exec producer Shelley Ross is coming, and Steve Friedman, of long ago "Today" show fame, is leaving.

Ross ran "GMA" for many glorious years until finally losing control and command. By the time she left, there was an audible sigh of relief over at ABC. But times change, and CBS is in a tailspin over that morning program.

What makes all this a little odd is that Katie Couric, making inroads with the "CBS Evening News," is a longtime Friedman friend and supporter. If he leaves the show, Couric loses an ally.

At the same time, Ross faces an uphill battle at the program, many of the problems Friedman (no relation to this writer — we’ve never even met!) no doubt had. One of the show’s anchors is Julie Chen, married to CBS chief Les Moonves. She is considered sacrosanct and can’t be changed if the producer wanted to. (Not to say she should be changed!)

Then there’s Harry Smith, beloved and smart, but not “hot” in TV terms. So there you have it —quandary after quandary. But Shelley, I am told with certainty by sources, is on her way in. Get ready.

Surprise News for Beatles Fans; 'Dallas' Disaster

Big news for Beatles fans. Check out this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/7053:7047.

It’s the Amazon.com page for R&B legend Sam Moore. That’s where you’ll find an exclusive video tribute to Fifth Beatle Billy Preston, who would have turned 60 on Sept. 2.

The video is composed of some elements never before seen, contributed by Olivia Harrison and Apple Records as well as Eric Clapton. There are bits from “The Concert for Bangla Desh” and “Let It Be,” among other gems. They’re set to Preston and Moore performing “You Are So Beautiful,” Billy’s last recorded performance. ….

News that the great TV soap "Dallas" is being turned into a comedy by mallet-heavy director Betty Thomas with John Travolta as J.R. Ewing. May we say, please, don’t do this, producers. This is one of the worst ideas in the world, second only to pairing Ben Stiller with Tom Cruise in "Hardy Men."

Making fun of the Ewing family will not work for a new generation. "Dallas" was of its time. Leave it there. The only person who really understood the show was its guiding light, the late Leonard Katzman. Without him, any "Dallas" is a desecration. And does anyone really want to see a satire of the gas-guzzling '80s? The answer, friends, is no.