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ON ORWELLIAN SURVEILLANCE AND BUFFY'S FRIDGE.

Byline: David Kronke TV Writer

PASADENA - DON'T WASTE your time and money flying banners over the Studio City ``Big Brother'' house.

Executive producer Arnold Shapiro told TV critics on Monday that the houseguests of ``Big Brother 3'' have volunteered, lemming-like, to enter the house if any plane toting a banner enters their airspace. ``So if anyone wants to spend $600 for their 15 seconds of fame, no one will see it.''

Shapiro showed an almost touching selective memory regarding his show, which places 12 contestants in a house filled with cameras and watches them bicker, chatter and floss their teeth.

In Shapiro's world, last year's ``Brother,'' which didn't draw huge audiences, was a critical and ratings smash. Moreover, people want to be on the show because it's so much fun, he said, not because they're Hollywood wanna-be's.

As long as they don't draw knives on one another, as a houseguest did last year. ``We don't feel we did an inadequate security check last year,'' Shapiro said. This year, he promised, the background checks were just as thorough - so maybe the houseguests better start worrying.

Shapiro added that ``we reserve the right to decide how much alcohol goes into the house.'' Since Miller Beer is a sponsor, expect a healthy amount, though Shapiro opined, ``No one enjoys seeing a truly drunk person and that doesn't benefit anyone.''

``UPN Stars Party'' sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it was an inspired move to do it on the ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' set.

In case you were wondering, Buffy's reading includes ``Under Fire: Oliver North,'' ``The Little World of Stanton Delaplane'' and, perhaps unsurprisingly, ``Damien: Omen II.'' Her freezer contains tater tots and lots of Ben and Jerry's, which might explain the Mylanta and Alka Seltzer in her bathroom.

Series creator Joss Whedon spoke to the press for nearly three hours. This season, the show's seventh, the tone will be lighter than last year. Whedon revealed that Sunnydale High School will reopen, where Buffy will be ``involved.'' ``I was sad when she graduated,'' Whedon said. ``I thought, 'There's more pain I want to talk about! I haven't complained enough yet!' '' Many faces from the past will return, he added.

``Buffy'' is one of three shows Whedon is working on this season, along with ``Angel'' and his new Fox sci-fi series, ``Firefly.'' Why do three shows simultaneously? ``Because I am an idiot,'' he said.

BIG BROTHER 3 PRESS CONFERENCE

What: Event reminding TV critics it's back.

Who: Arnold Shapiro, the show's executive producer.

Entertainment value: One star

Informational value: Two stars

UPN STARS PARTY

What: Press reception on the stages of ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' promoting UPN's 2002-03 season.

Entertainment value: Three stars

Informational value: Three stars
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Title Annotation:Review; U
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 16, 2002
Words:454
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