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'60 Minutes' producer resigns

Mary Murphy, senior broadcast producer at ''60 Minutes Wednesday" and one of the staffers asked to resign in the wake of the show's flawed story on President Bush's service record, announced yesterday that she has left the network.

In a brief statement, Murphy said: ''CBS News and I have reached an amicable resolution and I have resigned my position. . . . During my time at CBS News, I enjoyed wonderful working relationships with many talented and dedicated journalists. I wish my good colleagues well and I look forward to moving on in my career."

Last month, when the network released the results of an independent investigation examining what went wrong in the Sept. 8 ''60 Minutes Wednesday" story on Bush, network chairman Leslie Moonves announced that producer Mary Mapes had been fired and that Murphy, executive producer Josh Howard, and senior vice present for prime time Betsy West had been asked to resign. But until yesterday, none of the three had actually tendered a resignation. The New York Observer reported recently that they had hired attorneys to represent them.

A CBS official confirmed Murphy's resignation yesterday but declined further comment.

MARK JURKOWITZ

'Alien Siege' is a lost cause

LOS ANGELES -- Reasonably cool science-fiction visuals in ''Alien Siege" aren't enough to save the movie, given its ponderous script and lack of character development. The film airs tonight at 9 on the Sci Fi Channel.

In the familiar plot line, a loved one is captured by alien evildoers who will turn her into jelly if they're not stopped -- and she's just one of millions at risk from the aliens. Humanity's only hope is an underground movement that battles the aliens and tries to defeat the otherworldly menace.

This kind of framework is serviceable, but it only can take off if the characters are distinctively sketched and sympathetic. Additionally, plotting and scripting are lackluster.

In ''Alien Siege," the human-looking extraterrestrial race that's been observing Earth for decades has contracted a very nasty virus. And human blood seems to be the only antidote. The production, which outlines the crisis in a series of quick cuts, doesn't take the time to adequately set up the situation.

This is no ''Independence Day," with the humans fighting back heroically. The world's governments have caved under alien pressure and hold lotteries to pick the people who will be sacrificed as guinea pigs.

There's a fine potential here for character conflict and inner soul-searching. The alien race had been helping Earth and other worlds, but when this medical crisis pops up, the ETs start victimizing people with hardly a regretful look back.

Brad Johnson (''S.O.F.: Special Ops Force") and Carl Weathers (''In the Heat of the Night") star as men of action -- scientist Stephen Chase and General Skyler, respectively. They do reasonably good jobs, given the material.

Johnson's daughter, played by Erin Ross, is targeted as a lottery winner (or, in this case, loser) whose blood will be harvested by the aliens.

Weathers, reluctantly in charge of supplying humans to the extraterrestrials, teams up with Johnson, who has discovered some important tactical facts about the aliens.

If this were a '50s science-fiction film, one of the characters would look heavenward and ask about the alien menace, ''Do you think they'll be back?" Then a big question mark would form on the screen.

However, this production is unlikely to inspire a sequel.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Fans protest 'Trek' cancellation

LOS ANGELES -- ''Star Trek" fans from around the world gathered at the gates of Paramount Studios in Hollywood yesterday to protest the impending cancellation of the television series ''Star Trek: Enterprise."

Carrying signs reading ''It's Not Just a Show, It's a Responsibility" and ''18 Years of Loyalty and This Is the Thanks I Get?", more than 100 people massed at the gates of Paramount, where ''Enterprise" is produced, to show support for a franchise that has perhaps the most loyal fan base in the world.

The UPN network, which like Paramount is a unit of Viacom Inc., said this month it would end ''Enterprise" in May after four seasons on air. But the fans are not letting it go quietly. Paramount and UPN officials declined to comment.

REUTERS

Radio highlights

6 a.m. WUMB-FM (91.9) -- ''E-Town." Guests: Greg Brown, singer-songwriter; Mocean Worker, jazz-funk musician.

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