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December 22, 1985|LEE MARGULIES

Academy Award-winner James Stewart will make a guest appearance in an episode of "Remington Steele" that NBC plans to broadcast in February. Stewart, himself a retired Air Force general, will portray a retired Air Force general whose unusual behavior--including gambling away a fortune under an assumed name--brings him under investigation by the Steele agency.

Michael Ontkean, Jane Kaczmarek and Billy Dee Williams are starring in "The Right of the People," a TV movie for ABC that involves the sensitive issue of gun control. Ontkean plays an attorney who, in the wake of having his wife and daughter gunned down during a robbery, begins crusading for a law that would permit anyone to carry a gun.

Poor old Charlie Brown. In a new "Peanuts" special set to air on CBS Jan. 1, the little round-headed fellow's Christmas vacation is marred by an overwhelming assignment: He has to read, then write a book report on Tolstoy's "War and Peace." Good grief!

John Ritter and Alfre Woodard are starring in "Unnatural Causes," a TV movie for NBC about Agent Orange. Woodard portrays Maude DeVictor, a counselor at the Veterans Administration who worked to win a landmark court decision on behalf of Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to the deadly chemical. Ritter plays a Vietnam veteran who helps her.

Stevie Wonder will host a two-hour special for NBC to commemorate the late Martin Luther King. The program will air Jan. 20, the first official national holiday honoring the civil-rights leader. Joining Wonder will be other entertainers, athletes, politicians and astronauts.

And speaking of celebrations, the 60th anniversary of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House will be the subject of a two-hour broadcast on CBS. It's set to air Jan. 14, with a long list of celebrities that includes Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, the Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, Loretta Lynn and Minnie Pearl. . . . Three days later, CBS will broadcast a special saluting George Burns on his 90th birthday. Among those participating will be Ann-Margret, Walter Matthau, Billy Crystal, John Denver and Diahann Carroll.

Briefly noted: The episode of "Amazing Stories" that is due to air on NBC Dec. 29 was directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Beau Bridges, Sondra Locke and Harvey Keitel. . . . Phylicia Ayers-Allen of "The Cosby Show" and Pat Sajak of "Wheel of Fortune" will team up to host NBC's coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena Jan. 1. . . . The night before, Barbara Eden and Joe Garagiola will provide commentary for NBC's coverage of the King Orange Jamboree Parade in Miami.

Michael Knight is getting married. And it turns out that the hero of NBC's "Knight Rider" has similar taste in women to the actor who plays him. Catherine Hickland, the real-life wife of star David Hasselhoff, will play the woman whom Knight marries in the Jan. 3 episode.

In what sounds like an updated version of the 1957 film "The Wrong Man," Tim Matheson is starring in a TV movie for CBS about a man who is mistakenly arrested for a series of crimes because he looks like the real culprit. Co-starring in "Blind Justice," which CBS says is based on a real case, are Mimi Kuzyk as Matheson's wife and Lisa Eichhorn as one of his attorneys.

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