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SeinFest fails to get NYC permit

City Seinfeld lovers will have to find another place to watch the show's one-hour finale: The Parks Department on Wednesday denied Fujifilm a permit to host SeinFest in a Manhattan park.

Police Commissioner Howard Safir and Parks Commissioner Henry Stern said they feared the May 14 party would draw a larger crowd than Bryant Park could hold. An estimated 12,000 people were expected at the park near the main New York Public Library.

"Twelve thousand would be too much, and it would probably have drawn many more," Safir said. "It was a public safety concern for me."

But Dan Sieger, a spokesman for the Bryant Park Restoration Corp., said 12,000 people safely watched Casablanca in the park a few summers ago.

But Stern feared as many as 35,000 people would have shown up because Fujifilm was heavily promoting the event.

"Fuji announced they were giving away 5,000 disposable cameras to further enlarge the crowd," Stern said. "And there would be contests, like soup-eating, Seinfeld imitators, stuff like that."

In a news release promoting the free party, Fujifilm said six 50-inch TVs would be placed on the park's lawn and one 15-by-20-foot screen would be placed on the park's terrace.

Fujifilm said it was disappointed the event was canceled.

"As one of the advertisers on the final episode of Seinfeld, Fujifilm had hoped to be able to help New Yorkers bid farewell to one of America's most beloved television shows," the company said in a statement.

Fujifilm did not immediately comment on whether it was trying to find another location.

Asked if there was another possible location for the celebration, Stern said Central Park's North Meadow, a frequent site for concerts, was available.

But he said any sponsor wishing to hold an event there would have to apply for a permit, pay its own production costs and make a donation to defray the city's costs.

Networks trot out stars

NEW YORK _ Prime-time newsmagazines on ABC, CBS and NBC each will have interviews during the next two weeks with departing stars of comedies doing farewell shows on their networks.

While the networks argued that their interviews are newsworthy, critics said Thursday they blur the line between news and entertainment and raise the question of whether networks are using news shows as promotional forums.

CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace profiles Murphy Brown star Candice Bergen on Sunday night. Her sitcom airs its final episode on CBS May 18.

Next week, Diane Sawyer of ABC's PrimeTime Live will interview Ellen DeGeneres, who is angry that ABC canceled her show. The final Ellen airs on May 13. And Katie Couric interviews Jerry Seinfeld on Dateline NBC on May 12, two nights before NBC airs the final two-hour Seinfeld.

All of the interviews and final shows air during a "sweeps" period, when television ratings are monitored closely to set advertising rates.

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