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June 28, 1987|Lee Margulies

Meredith Baxter Birney and Michael Gross, who play the Keatons on "Family Ties," are starring in separate TV movies. Birney is working with her real-life husband, David Birney, in CBS' "The Long Journey Home," about a woman whose long-missing husband suddenly reappears just as she is about to marry someone else. Gross is playing husband to Raquel Welch in "Right to Die," an NBC movie about a woman with a fatal illness who wants to die rather than live off a machine.

With the cancellation of "The Colbys," ABC reports that two of its central characters will be returning to "Dynasty" next season. Jeff Colby and Fallon Carrington Colby (played, respectively, by John James and Emma Samms), will move back to the soap opera that launched them into their ill-fated spinoff. No word yet, though, on whether the producers will try to work in the flying-saucer trip that Fallon was about to take in the last "Colbys" episode.

Speaking of "Dynasty," the actress who originated the role of Fallon, Pamela Sue Martin, is starring in a TV movie for NBC called "Bay Coven." She plays the wife of Tim Matheson, living in a community with neighbors who may be witches. Co-starring are Barbara Billingsley, Jeff Conaway, Woody Harrelson, Susan Ruttan, James Sikking and Inga Swenson.

Dick Van Dyke has two TV appearances coming up in July. On July 15 he'll host "The AFI Comedy Special" on NBC, introducing sketches by new writers that feature such performers as John Larroquette, Telma Hopkins, Glynn Turman and Kaye Ballard. Two nights later, he turns up as a guest on "Airwolf," the series on cable's USA Network that stars his son, Barry Van Dyke.

Howard Fast's novel "April Morning" is being dramatized for CBS as a "Hallmark Hall of Fame." Set at the outset of the American Revolution, it will star Tommy Lee Jones,Chad Lowe, Robert Urich, Susan Blakely, Rip Torn and Meredith Salenger.

Another "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production for next season is "The Secret Garden," based on the famous children's book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Gennie James and Jadrien Steele will star as the young people at the center of the story; they'll be surrounded by Colin Firth, Sir Michael Hordern, Billie Whitelaw and Derek Jacobi.

Laurie Anderson will be the host of "Alive From Off Center" on public television this summer. The series returns for its third season July 13. It consists of 10 new half-hour programs featuring avant-garde dance, music, comedy and theater. Among those whose work will be spotlighted are comedian Eric Bogosian, choreographer Molissa Fenley, "new vaudevillian" Bill Irwin and puppeteers the Quay Brothers.

David Nelson is producing a documentary about his late brother, Rick, for the Disney Channel. "Rick Nelson: A Brother Remembers" will air this fall. It'll include family home movies, concert footage and interviews with Rick's friends and family. The Disney Channel also reports that it has acquired rights to 100 episodes of "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" that it says have not been seen on TV since their original broadcasts between 1952 and 1966.

Stories about Hollywood during the 1930s by F. Scott Fitzgerald, John O'Hara and Budd Schulberg will form the basis for a three-part miniseries on PBS' "Great Performances" next season. "Tales From the Hollywood Hills" will feature dramatizations of Fitzgerald's "The Pat Hobby Stories," O'Hara's "Natica Jackson" and Schulberg's "A Table at Ciro's." Among the actors who will appear are Christopher Lloyd, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hector Elizondo and Brian Kerwin.

Claude Akins, Bruce Weitz, Kiel Martin and Doris Roberts are featured in "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium," a new TV movie for NBC. Like the similarly titled 1969 film "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium," the movie revolves around a group of Americans on a Europe-in-a-week tour, but the story is different. Also in the cast are Peter Graves, Stephen Furst, Richard Moll, David Leisure, Kene Holliday, Anna Maria Horsford and Tracy Nelson.

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