Home Box Office has given the go-ahead for production of two returning limited series and one new one.
"The Hitchhiker," an adult-oriented "Twilight Zone"-style series of half-hour episodes, is once again in production in Vancouver. Thirteen new episodes will be produced for airing beginning early next year.
"1st & Ten--The Championships" is in production with four episodes following the fictional California Bulls football team to the playoffs. In addition, the creative team behind a previous Bulls series, "Training Camp: The Bulls Are Back," will produce a new series called "Glory Years," a six-episode comedy about three old friends following their 20th high school reunion.
HERE'S GLORIA: You loved her as a substitute host on NBC's "Today" show--and next year you may have the chance to see Gloria Steinem on her own series. "The Gloria Steinem Show" has been set for production by PBL Productions, an Australian TV and film company for a fall, 1987 premiere.
The daily talk format tentatively will feature interviews, "investigative reports, satire and comedy," according to PBL. Through an arrangement between PBL and Ms. Magazine, which Steinem co-founded, the production company has access to material in the magazine that could be developed as film and television projects.
MORE COMEDY: NBC's Television Stations Division next season will follow the lead of local independent KTLA by offering original series week nights at 7:30.
"Out of This World" and "Marblehead Manor" are the first two sitcoms purchased for the network-owned stations here (KNBC Channel 4) and in New York, Washington, Chicago and Cleveland.
KTLA this season is pioneering the use of a different first-run comedy each night of the week in the pre-prime-time slot.
"Out of This World" will star Donna Pescow ("Angie") as a woman whose alien husband has been recalled to his own planet. "Marblehead Manor," as yet uncast, centers around the zany staff of a large estate.
NEW DIRECTION: Film producer Roger Corman is turning to television for two of his next projects. "Space Project" and a second untitled series both are in development for NBC's 1987-88 season.
"Space Project" is about an American spaceman who comes across an Earth-like civilization on the other side of the galaxy. The second potential series is a contemporary action-adventure.
Corman, best-known as producer or director of B-movies such as "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Pit and the Pendulum," is executive producer of both projects.
RATHER RETURNS: CBS News anchorman Dan Rather was back on the job Monday after a bizarre assault by two men in New York.
Showing no physical evidence of his ordeal, Rather, 54, mentioned the attack at the end of "The CBS Evening News" Monday, thanking viewers for their good wishes. He said he felt fine except for "a little stiffness and bruises," adding that the identities and motives of his assailants remain unknown.
Rather required hospital treatment after being chased, beaten and kicked late Saturday night as he walked along Park Avenue near his home on Manhattan's Upper East Side. One of the assailants was reported to have asked Rather, "Kenneth, what's the frequency?"
Rather is said to have replied, "I think you have the wrong guy," before being punched and then kicked as he tried to flee into a building.