February 17, 1985|LEE MARGULIES

Peter Strauss and Sam Neill will have the lead roles in "Kane & Abel," a six-hour CBS miniseries from the novel by Jeffrey Archer. It's about two men, born on the same day but in dramatically different circumstances, who rise to power in Boston and carry on a vendetta against one another.

Cheryl Ladd and Sam Elliott are paired in "A Death in California," a bizarre murder story being filmed as a four-hour drama for ABC. The story, based on an actual case, involves Elliott killing Ladd's boyfriend, then convincing her that she must protect him if she wants to live. Alexis Smith will be seen as Ladd's mother.

Pilot projects: Suzanne Somers, formerly of "Three's Company," is making a comedy pilot for ABC called "Goodbye, Charlie," in which she'll play a man who died and was reincarnated as a woman. . . . Robert Urich, the former star of "Vega$," is starring as a detective in "Spenser: For Hire," another ABC pilot.

Milton Berle plays a retired Broadway producer in an upcoming episode of "Fame." In the same episode, Erica Gimble returns in the role of Coco. She had been with the show before this season but then left to pursue other career options.

Lindsay Wagner, who starred in the short-lived "Jessie" on ABC this season, is making a movie for CBS. It's called "The Other Lover" and features her as a married publishing executive who falls in love with a writer and tries to juggle both the men in her life. Also in the cast are Jack Scalia, Millie Perkins, Max Gail, John Bennett Perry and Sharon Doherty.

People: Dennis Weaver will appear in an upcoming episode of "Magnum, P.I." on CBS, playing a country music singer. In a flashback, Weaver's character will be played by one of his sons, Rusty. And they weren't the only Weavers on the set. Another son, Rick, is one of the producers of "Magnum." . . . Jose Ferrer will be seen on a forthcoming episode of "Newhart," playing the wealthy father of Stephanie (Julia Duffy).

Pam Dawber and Robert Klein team up as a married couple in "This Wife for Hire," a comedy TV movie that ABC plans to air later this season. Dawber plays a housewife who decides to make a business out of her homemaking skills, much to the consternation of her husband. Also in the cast are Ann Jillian, Laraine Newman, Tim Kazurinsky, Dick Gautier, Sal Viscuso and Sam J. Jones.

Bob Hope's comedy special Feb. 24 on NBC will feature the comedian in parodies of "The A-Team," "Dynasty" and "Cheers." His guests for the program will include George Burns, Lee Majors, Donna Mills, Morgan Fairchild and Elvira.

Paul Dooley stars in "The Day the Senior Class Got Married," a drama for young people that CBS will broadcast March 5. He plays a consumer economics teacher who pairs off his high school students in make-believe marriages to give them a better understanding of how money has an impact on romance.

Michael Beck, Beatrice Straight and Paul Sorvino have the leading roles in "Chiller," a TV movie for CBS about a man (Beck) who is frozen in cryogenic suspension for 10 years. When he is brought back to life, it seems he is not quite the same person he was before.

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