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Today's News, Tomorrow's Television

April 08, 1990


In "American Dreamer," an NBC comedy series scheduled for the 1990-91 season, Robert Urich stars as an award-winning broadcast journalist who gives up his career and moves to a small Wisconsin town with his children to write a human-interest newspaper column drawn from the perspective of his past and present life. Carol Kane, Jeffrey Tambor and Johnny Galecki also star. Susan Seeger and "Family Ties" creator Gary David Goldberg are the executive producers.

NBC has renewed five popular sophomore series-"Empty Nest," "Unsolved Mysteries," "Quantum Leap," "Midnight Caller" and "In the Heat of the Night"--for the 1990-91 season. A sixth sophomore series, "Dear John," was renewed earlier this season.

Terrence McNally, George C. Wolfe and Arthur Kopit are the first playwrights to be signed to "NBC Theater," a new series of original theatrical productions for television. The series is being launched by NBC Productions and the Manheim Co. for telecast in 1991. Emmy Award-winning producer Michael Manheim ("Roe vs. Wade") conceived the series and will be executive producer.


Susan Lucci, the queen of daytime television for 20 years on "All My Children," will star in the ABC movie "The Bride Wore Black." The two-hour drama, scheduled for telecast during the 1990-91 season, is about a woman's desperate search for the people who abruptly ended her marital dream when they gunned down her husband on the couple's wedding day.

Among the NBC movies in development for the 1990-91 television season are: "The Babe Ruth Story," starring John Goodman as the baseball legend; "Babies," a lighthearted drama featuring Lindsay Wagner, Dinah Manoff and Marcy Walker as three women caught up in the baby craze, and "The Odd Couple," in which Jack Klugman and Tony Randall reprise their Emmy Award-winning roles from the TV series.

Among the ABC movies in development for the 1990-91 season are: "Call Me Anna," starring Patty Duke in the film version of her best-selling autobiography about Duke's turbulent life as a child star and her later triumph over mental illness; "Our Sons," an original story written by William Hanley, about two women with gay sons, one of whom is dying of AIDS, and "Garwood," based on the life of U.S. Marine Bobby Garwood, the last American POW to return from Vietnam after 13 years in prison.


George Strait, Tammy Wynette, Alabama and the Judds are set to host the 25th annual "Academy of Country Music Awards" from the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. The awards ceremony, which will be broadcast April 25 on NBC, honors the best in country music.

The Nintendo World Championships, a 30-city megatour that culminates in early December at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, will be televised nationally for the first time. The final event will feature 90 regional Nintendo wizards vying for the world championship honors and prizes in a futuristic traveling arena that spans three football fields. The TV carrier to broadcast the events has not announced.


Dr. Peter Salgo and world-class swimmer Diana Nyad have been named co-anchors of "America's Vital Signs," a health and lifestyle news program on CNBC, the Consumer News and Business Channel. The co-anchors will begin their duties on the nightly news show on April 30.


Bob Neal, analyst Mick Luckhurst and four announcers to be named later will deliver live, English-language broadcasts of the 1990 World Cup soccer tournament on TNT. The cable channel's tournament coverage will feature 24 matches and run from June 8 to July 8. This is the first World Cup appearance by a U.S. team in 40 years. The United States' first match against Czechoslovakia will be Sunday, June 10 at 11 a.m.

Non-Showtime subscribers can order the live, April 28 bout on Showtime between Thomas (Hit Man) Hearns and Michael (The Silk) Olajide as if it were a pay-per-view event.

The pay TV network is utilizing pay-per-view strategy to turn impulse buyers into Showtime subscribers. The suggested retail price for the event is each participating system's standard monthly Showtime subscription fee.

Veteran racing announcer Dave Despain will host the live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 500-mile NASCAR/ Winston Cup stock car race at Pocono, Pa., on June 17 for SET Pay Per View. Despain will be joined by guest commentators Pat Patterson and Dick Berggren. During the event, viewers can call in with questions for the drivers and crew chiefs.


The children's cable channel Nickelodeon has launched "Total Trash Out," a program to educate and encourage elementary school children to recycle trash. Local cable affiliates issue receipts for recycled trash to participating schools. The school with the most receipts wins the local "Total Trash Out" contest and prizes are awarded.


Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso have reportedly agreed to return to their former roles of Bo and Hope Brady on NBC's daytime serial "Days of Our Lives." Reckell, who has been signed to a long-term contract, will make his first appearance April 18. Alfonso will return for a limited assignment beginning May 1.

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