"We haven't shot anything yet because we don't have our two leads," Nardino said. Both are cops, but one's a former hippie and the other thinks he's Dirty Harry. "The highlight of the day," Nardino said, "was when an actor thought he could do the Timothy Leary character by standing on his head in a corner and reading."
SEARCH FOR 'MARQUEE' VALUE' ON 'MATLOCK'
At the Culver City offices of "Matlock," a lawyer series starring Andy Griffith (new for NBC), exec producer Fred Silverman was looking for a big-name actress to play the lead role in the next episode to be filmed, titled "The Stripper." The problem: trying to find "somebody who looks great and has some marquee value and who's willing to do episodic TV. We're talking about people like a Morgan Fairchild."
On MGM Sound Stage 26, meanwhile, Griffith was playing courtroom scenes with TV veteran Dick Van Dyke, guesting as a judge who murders a young girl and then presides at the trial of the man wrongfully accused.
IT'S BACK TO THE PAST FOR 'FAMILY TIES'
To exec producer Gary David Goldberg "Family Ties" (returning to NBC) seemed to be in a time warp Monday. The day was minus Michael J. Fox, who was completing back-to-back movies during the hiatus--but he spoke with the cast from his New York filming. Also missing: Tracy Pollan, not returning as Ellen. A new regular, Brian Bonsall, age 4, will play baby Andrew, age 3. He met the cast for the first time. "Andrew will be speaking this season, hopefully delivering jokes," cracked Goldberg.
"It's always strange to work without a regular cast member, especially on this episode. We have two '60s flashbacks where Steven and Elyse (the Keatons) go back to college and try to convince an editor to publish their radical magazine."
When Meredith Baxter-Birney returned from the set where her character attempts to convince the reluctant editor, she was buttoning her blouse. "She definitely eased the tension," said Goldberg--who added that that piece of business definitely will not be seen on television."
SERIOUS TIMES IN 'FRESNO'
On Stage 12 at CBS/MTM Studio Center at about 3 p.m. Monday, "Fresno" first assistant director Ed Milkovitch turned to the cast and said, as he does every day, "Remember, this is not funny."
The six-hour miniseries spoof (due on CBS over five still-undetermined evenings in November) chronicles the lives, loves and businesses of rival raisin dynasties, and, said creator/exec producer Barry Kemp, "This is a very important, serious story. Raisins are a serious food. I'm tired of people making jokes about it."
Besides, "Fresno" was shooting a courtroom sequence Monday that happens near the end of the miniseries. Everybody was involved--including family matriarch Charlotte Kensington (Carol Burnett), her scheming son Cane Kensington (Charles Grodin), his lascivious wife Talon Kensington (Teri Garr), rival raisin baron Tyler Cane (Dabney Coleman) and the handsome, shirtless Torch (Gregory Harrison)--but Kemp absolutely refused to reveal who's where in the courtroom. All he would divulge was that they were shooting in the courtroom set usually used by "Hill Street Blues" but repainted and refurnished.
'ONE LIFE TO LIVE'? MAKE THAT TWO LIVES
FROM NEW YORK--"Guess what, guys--we're switching your roles."
That's how producer Paul Rauch broke the news to Mark Philpot, playing good guy Dan Wolek, and Joshua Cox, playing bad guy Jamie Sanders on "One Life to Live" (ABC), that he'd erred in their original casting. (It was the second day of work on the soap for both actors.)
The result of the switch: "Oh, both actors were in a state of shock. They'd already learned their lines for the day--and they'd been cast a month earlier, so they'd been getting into their characterizations."
RETURN TO BASICS ON 'SIMON AND SIMON'
Rick and A. J. (Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney) were breaking into the office of a competing private eye during Monday's shooting at Universal of "Simon and Simon" (returning to CBS). The typically unorthodox investigative procedure comes after the heroes find their business thinning out and suspect dirty dealing by the new guys in town. "We're trying to go back to what made the show successful: their relationship, the guys struggling more for cases," said exec producer John Stephens. "We've given up car chases and busting into warehouses."
DOG DAYS AT 'THE NEW LEAVE IT TO BEAVER'
Wally (Tony Dow) is down and out in Mayfield. Sick for two weeks with the flu, Dow backed up production at Universal Studios of "The New Leave It to Beaver" (returning to WTBS). Another studio regular, executive producer Brian Levant's dog Theta, also was struck down by illness.
"Well, the situation is better than last February, when all the kids got strep throat (and one episode was done five weeks behind schedule)," Levant said.
RISQUE BUSINESS FOR 'THE GOLDEN GIRLS'