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Life readied Heche for latest role

LOS ANGELES -- Anne Heche says growing up in an abusive family gave her a special appreciation for the issues surrounding her role as a drug-addicted mother who neglects her children in the Lifetime movie "Gracie's Choice."

"One of the things I've learned," Heche says, "is my story is one of millions . . . children who are neglected, abused, treated badly."

In her 2001 autobiography, "Call Me Crazy," Heche revealed that she'd been molested as a child by her father, a secretly gay strict Baptist who died of AIDS in 1983.

She says she knows firsthand that children have difficulty talking about the abuses they endure, often because they think nobody will believe them. A movie like this, she says, "adds to the pool of consciousness . . . the hope that we can change the cycle of abuse."

For its part, the Lifetime network will provide hot-line information during "Gracie's Choice," which airs Monday (8 p.m. on the cable channel), about abuse-prevention groups such as Childhelp USA and From Darkness to Light.

Kristen Bell plays the title character, teenager Gracie Thompson, who fights her mother, Rowena Larson (Heche), for the right to adopt her three younger brothers and give them a stable home.

Executive producer Robert M. Sertner says a "delicate balance" was needed to portray Rowena -- "a woman who you know should not have her children, yet a woman who you understand and relate to."

He says Heche was "brilliant" at pinning down that complexity, and thoroughly professional. "In this business," he says, "people get thrown into spotlights that aren't necessarily the correct color, and you get preconceived notions about people that aren't always accurate."

Heche, 34, of course, grabbed the spotlight with her very public relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, her mental breakdown following the split, and her confessions of craziness -- which she blamed on her abuse -- in her autobiography.

But the actress has also earned plaudits for her work. She won a daytime Emmy for twin parts in the soap opera "Another World" and was honored by the National Board of Review for her role as a White House aide in the political satire "Wag the Dog."

She's also settled down with a husband, movie cameraman Coleman Laffoon, and their 2-year-old son, Homer.

Does she ever regret any choices she made, or worry she's revealed too much about herself?

"My choice was to say it or die, really," she says. "My goal was family. Now I have the most incredible family. I have what I set out to accomplish.

"Other people have different priorities. I was constantly being told to make different choices because of my career and it just never computed because my career was never my first choice. . . . My goals were to find love and find family."

Grushow leaves as Fox honcho

Sandy Grushow announced yesterday he's leaving as chairman of the Fox Television Entertainment Group, a job he's held since November 1999. Grushow will launch Phase Two, a Twentieth Century Fox-based production company.

"This was a very complicated decision for me to make," Grushow says. "I've accomplished more than I ever thought possible as a buyer and seller of TV shows, but as I contemplated my future over the holidays, I concluded that it was in my best interest to exercise the `production' option negotiated as part of my current contract rather than entering into another long-term executive agreement with the company."

Grushow's contract was set to expire this summer.

One of the important architects at Fox, Grushow came to the network in 1988 as senior vice president of advertising and promotion. In that role he helped build Fox's brand identity with such hit shows as "The Simpsons," "In Living Color," and "Beverly Hills 90210." Rising up the corporate ladder, he helped the network expand from five to seven nights a week and helped oversee successes such as "The X-Files," "Melrose Place," and "Party of Five."

"I've spent almost my entire career at Fox," Grushow says. "Needless to say, it's been an extraordinary two decades."

"Sandy has been a close and valued colleague for almost 20 years and he will be missed," says Fox Group Chairman and CEO Peter Chernin.

KNIGHT RIDDER

Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on "Globe at Home" and "Around the Globe" today on NECN:

* 12:30 p.m.: "Globe at Home"

* 4 p.m.: "Around the Globe"

* 6:30 p.m.: "New England Business Day"

* 8 p.m.: "NewsNight"

Schedule is subject to change.

Talk of the dial

9 a.m. WBIX-AM (1060) -- "On The Money." Guest: Tobin Smith, editor, Changewave.com.

11 a.m. WBNW-AM (1120) -- "Hire Frequencies" with Dave Abrams. Guests: Bill Coleman, senior vice president, compensation, Salary.com; Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, futurists; Dan King, Career Planning and Management.

2 p.m. WSRO-AM (650) -- "The Frankie Boyer Show." Guests: Judy Singer, weight loss expert; Dr. David Buckholz, "Heal Your Headaches."

Other radio highlights

8 a.m. WGBH-FM (89.7) -- "Classics in the Morning." Milhaud's Suite Francaise; Haydn's Symphony No. 88; Bach's Trio Sonata No. 2 in C, BWV 526; Dukas's La Peri; Zemlinsky's String Quartet No. 2; Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.

9 a.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3; Bach's Keyboard Concerto No. 2; Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 10.

9 a.m. WUMB-FM (91.9) -- "Live Interview." Guest: Marc Herman.

7 p.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Haydn's "London" Symphony; Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6; Beethoven's Symphony No. 3.

7 p.m. WGBH-FM (89.7) -- "Jazz with Eric in the Evening." Tuesday Night Special. Jazz Profiles: Claude "Fiddler" Williams.

9 p.m. WUMB-FM (91.9) -- "World Cafe" with David Dye. Guest: Kris Delmhorst.

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