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Women And War

October 18, 1987|John M. Wilson

William Broyles, the Wunderkind journalist who started Texas Monthly in his 20s and was editor of Newsweek at 37, has jumped into TV as co-creator of "China Beach," a "MASH"-like ABC pilot set in Vietnam. Although the network declined comment, both Broyles and John Sacret Young--who's exec producing and writing the script--say their project is being considered for airing in the coveted spot directly after the Super Bowl.

"This isn't (another) combat show," said Broyles, who served in Vietnam in 1969-70 with the Marines. "It uses the tools of comedy as well as drama to get at the pain and truth of Vietnam.

"The main characters are women who went to help, to save lives, not to kill. These women are heroes, and they've really been neglected."

Now being cast, with Ron Holcomb to direct, "Beach" is an ensemble show in the tradition of "Hill Street Blues." It revolves around three women--a nurse, a Red Cross volunteer and a rock singer--at an R&R beach resort and medevac hospital not far from battle.

Calling "China Beach" a "Club Med amidst war," Broyles said he hopes the darkly comic approach will "free Vietnam from the clutches of realism" that has marked the recent deluge of Vietnam drama.

As part of the deluge, CBS' fighting "Tour of Duty" most recently was ranked 45th of 65 shows.

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