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N.Y. mayor pushes for end of strike

Bowing to pressure from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, striking Broadway musicians and producers began round-the-clock talks in Gracie Mansion, the mayor's residence, on Monday night.

Frank Macchiarola, St. Francis College president and former city schools chancellor, will mediate.

"We'll stay at the bargaining table night and day to get on with the show," said Pat Smith, a spokesman for the producers.

"We've been ready to lock ourselves in a room for a while," said union spokesman Shawn Sacks. "We're happy to stay in Gracie Mansion until there is a deal."

The League of American Theatres and Producers and members of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians have been at an impasse since Friday over the producers' bid to reduce minimum orchestra sizes. Eighteen musicals have been shuttered, costing $4.8-million in box office revenue over the weekend.

Restaurants, hotels, taxis and other businesses that depend on theatergoers lost more than $7-million last weekend, and losses could reach $50-million in a week if the strike goes unresolved, according to city tourism officials.

Plays and off-Broadway productions remain open, as is Cabaret, which operates under a separate contract with musicians.

Oprah wins lawsuit

A federal judge tossed out claims by the publisher of a German erotic magazine that Oprah Winfrey jeopardized his publication by launching one with a similar name.

Ronald Brockmeyer publishes O Magazine, while Winfrey publishes O, The Oprah Magazine. Brockmeyer's lawsuit contended that Winfrey's publication was increasingly referred to simply as O, and that this would ruin his marketing efforts. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages.

U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl rejected Brockmeyer's argument Friday, saying there was no evidence of any actual confusion between the publications.

O Magazine, with a print distribution of just over 100,000 worldwide, has been published on the Internet since 1995. Winfrey's magazine debuted in 2000 and has a circulation of 2.75-million.

Poll: Ohioans don't

care for Springer

Talk show host Jerry Springer, who has said he might run for the Senate, scored the highest unfavorable rating in the 14 years that the Ohio Poll has been taking the state's political pulse.

Springer, a Democrat and former Cincinnati mayor, drew an unfavorable response from 71 percent of those surveyed in the Ohio Poll. Thirteen percent had a favorable opinion, while 14 percent knew little about him and 2 percent had not heard of him.

Springer's unfavorable rating surpassed the 65 percent logged in 2000 by real estate magnate Donald Trump, poll director Eric Rademacher said Monday. The Ohio Poll began tracking such numbers in 1989.

The poll of 638 registered voters was conducted by telephone by the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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