Thomas Magnum and Jessica Fletcher team up in an unusual two-part story involving two CBS series, "Magnum, P.I." and "Murder, She Wrote." Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) turns up in Hawaii in the Nov. 19 episode of "Magnum" as a competitor to Magnum (Tom Selleck), then must clear him of murder charges in the Nov. 23 installment of "Murder, She Wrote."
Trevor Howard, Arthur Hill, Ron Leibman and Patrick Cassidy have joined Loretta Young in the cast of "Christmas Eve," a TV movie that NBC will telecast this winter. It's about a woman's struggle to bring her family together for one last Christmas. Leibman plays the detective she hires to track everyone down.
CBS has set Nov. 18 as the telecast date for "Penalty Phase," a TV movie in which Peter Strauss plays a judge up for reelection. The story centers on a trial in which Strauss is forced to make a decision that could let a convicted murderer go free and jeopardize the judge's career.
Soleil Moon Frye, the former star of "Punky Brewster," is making a TV film for ABC's "Disney Sunday Movie." In "You Ruined My Life" she plays an 11-year-old girl who doesn't take to school. Her uncle (Allen Garfield), who runs a Las Vegas gambling casino, hires a math teacher (Paul Reiser) to tutor her.
Amy Grant, the gospel singer who also has proven successful on the pop charts, will star in a musical special for NBC during the holiday season. The show will be filmed in Montana and will feature appearances by Dennis Weaver, Art Garfunkel and Ed Begley Jr.
"Fresno," CBS' six-hour spoof on family sagas such as "Dynasty" and "Dallas," is set to begin Nov. 16. It opens with a two-hour installment that Sunday, then continues with one-hour episodes over the following four nights. The stars are Carol Burnett, Dabney Coleman, Teri Garr, Charles Grodin and Gregory Harrison.
NBC's news magazine "1986" this week joins the ranks of prime-time programs that are captioned for the hearing impaired. The captioning process allows viewers who have purchased special decoding machines to see the program with subtitles. NBC is sharing the cost of having "1986" captioned with the Pew Memorial Trust.
David Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of "Glengarry Glen Ross," "American Buffalo" and "Sexual Perversity in Chicago," has written a script for NBC's "Hill Street Blues." The show, to be telecast later this season, features a role for his wife, Lindsay Crouse, reprising her character of Officer McBride.
KCET Channel 28 has taped a two-hour special paying tribute to composer Henry Mancini, which will be broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Service next spring. "Mancini and Friends" will feature appearances by Julie Andrews, Dudley Moore, Quincy Jones, Andy Williams and James Galway, among others.
The "CBS Schoolbreak Special," which already has a show on tap this season dealing with nuclear disarmament, now is tackling another controversial issue: homosexuality. In production for future airing is "What If I'm Gay?," described by the network as "a sensitive drama about a teen-ager's struggle to come to terms with his confusion over his sexual orientation." Richard J. Paul stars as the boy in question, with Ed Marinaro portraying his school counselor.