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The Buzz

Today's News, Tomorrows Television

April 01, 1990

SERIES

Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who has played Theo Huxtable since "The Cosby Show" began six years ago, will make his series television directorial debut with the episode "Vanessa Stands Up." He has already directed several major music videos. The "Cosby" episode is scheduled to air April 19 on NBC.

MCA TV has has agreed to an unprecedented 72-episode commitment to "Harry and the Hendersons," a series based on the 1987 Steven Spielberg-produced film. The show will be produced by Spielberg's Amblin Television in association with Universal Television and Fox Television stations. KTTV in Los Angeles has agreed to a three-year run of the show, scheduled to debut January, 1991.

The Kushner-Locke Co. has acquired the rights to develop a TV show based on Reader's Digest magazine. The proposed show would be produced in coordination with the magazine's editors, using a format that includes interviews, preproduced segments and on-location reports. Reader's Digest is published in 39 editions and 15 languages, with a circulation of more than 16 million in the United States.

MINISERIES

The NBC miniseries "People Like Us," starring Connie Sellecca, Ben Gazzara and Eva Marie Saint, is scheduled to air in May. The four-hour drama, adapted from Dominick Dunne's best-seller and set in a glittery New York, is about a journalist obsessed with avenging his daughter's murder. Co-stars include Jean Simmons, Dennis Farina, Teri Polo, Beatrice Straight, Paul Williams and Gary Frank.

"Midnight Caller" star Gary Cole has agreed to star as Gen. Custer in "Son of the Morning Star," an ABC miniseries about the bloody plains Indians wars and the flamboyant cavalry officer who rode to destiny at the disastrous Battle of the Little Big Horn. The four-hour miniseries, based on the acclaimed best-seller by Evan S. Connell, will air during the 1990-91 season.

MOVIES

Vanessa Williams, Tim Reid and Alan Rachins join Raymond Burr in "Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer," an NBC movie about a former law student of Perry Mason who is charged with the murder of his wife, a pop star. The movie recently completed production in Denver and will air on NBC in the spring. Kene Holliday, Nia Peeples, Alice Ghostley, Barbara Hale and William R. Moses co-star.

Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters start out as doctor and a terminally ill patient and wind up best friends in the ABC movie "The Last Best Year of My Life." The movie is now filming for the 1990-91 season.

In the romantic comedy "I'll Take Romance," Linda Evans has been cast to play a happily engaged TV reporter who spearheads a competition to find the most romantic man in San Francisco. Of course, she is bowled over by the dashing stranger in the process. The two-hour ABC movie will air during the 1990-91 season. Additional casting will be announced later.

The cast of the recent revival of Tennessee Williams' scandalous play "Orpheus Descending," starring Vanessa Redgrave and Kevin Anderson, are reprising their roles for a TNT movie now shooting in Jacksonville, Fla. "Orpheus Descending," set in the Deep South in 1948, is about a shopkeeper who welcomes a free-spirited young drifter into her house when her husband is hospitalized.

SPECIALS

The Fine Young Cannibals and Taylor Dayne are the pop artists featured in "The Hard Rock Cafe Presents Save the Planet." The late-night CBS special, hosted by Katey Sagal (Peg Bundy on "Married . . . With Children") and comedian Bob (Bobcat) Goldthwait, airs April 20, two day's before Earth Day.

"Learning in America: The Learning Years," a two-hour prime-time special now under way for PBS, will explore elementary education in America by examining a variety of schools with records of outstanding achievement. The special, scheduled for broadcast in September, will explore issues such as cooperative learning, the role of parenting, alternative grading systems and increased school autonomy.

Kathleen Turner will narrate "Myrna Loy: So Nice to Come Home to," a special that traces the rise of the star from her simple beginnings in the chorus line to her eventual apotheosis as America's ideal wife and mother. The TNT retrospective, which debuts June 11, was written, produced and directed by film critic Richard Schickel, who produced the TNT special "Gary Cooper: American Life, Amerrcan Legend."

NEWS

David Browning has been appointed executive producer of NBC News' weekly prime-time series featuring Jane Pauley. Browning will produce five prime-time specials with Pauley to be presented during the summer, in preparation for the series's weekly premiere.

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