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Stars Will Get Small in the Big Picture

September 20, 1998|JON MATSUMOTO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Wesley Snipes and Richard Dreyfuss will help bring star power to the 1998-99 made-for-TV movie season, though in very different roles.

Snipes will again be working up a sweat in the action movie "Futuresport." Dreyfuss, meanwhile, exhibits brain over brawn in "Einstein," a biographical drama about the great scientist.

Other highlights will include "Mama Flora's Family," a four-hour movie from the memory of Alex Haley; "Rear Window," which finds Christopher Reeve playing the lead role made famous by James Stewart in the Alfred Hitchcock classic; and "American Tragedy," a dramatic look at the O.J. Simpson case that combines the respected talents of writer Norman Mailer and director Barry Levinson.

NBC will play a key role in bringing a literary flavor to the upcoming TV season. The peacock network will offer new movie adaptations of "Crime and Punishment," "Wuthering Heights" and "Alice in Wonderland."

Here's a rundown of some of the most interesting projects (many of which had not been given air dates at press time):

ACTION

"Futuresport": In this futuristic thriller, the fate of the world is determined by the outcome of a single game of Futuresport, a high-tech sport using Hover-boards and roller-blades. Wesley Snipes, Dean Cain and Vanessa L. Williams star. Oct. 1. ABC.

"The Long Ride for Justice": Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Travis Tritt star in a western in which a retired outlaw is gunned down and his old friends join his son to avenge his death. TBA. CBS.

"Roger Corman Presents Galactic Odyssey": When the earth is destroyed in the year 2020, a diverse group of civilians awaken aboard a spaceship headed for a new world. They soon discover that their mission is to repopulate the new planet. November. The Movie Channel.

BIOGRAPHY

"Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within": In 1985, a veteran CIA bureaucrat begins to sell information to the KGB to pay off debts. Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth Pena star. November. Showtime.

"Einstein": Richard Dreyfuss portrays the most famous scientist of the 20th century. This film looks at Einstein's life, including his days as a struggling student and his reluctant participation in the decision to build and use the first atomic bomb. TBA. NBC.

"Getty": Greed, power, love and betrayal are themes covered in this two-parter about the millionaire Jean Paul Getty and his family. TBA. NBC.

"Houdini": Johnathon Schaech and Stacy Edwards star in this film about the legendary escape artist. Dec. 6. TNT.

"The Jacqueline Susann Story": Michele Lee plays the author of the classic and then-controversial 1966 novel "Valley of the Dolls." Dec. 9. USA.

"Life of the Party: The Pamela Harriman Story": Based on the best-selling book by author Christopher Ogden, the film tells the eventful story of the former U.S. ambassador to France. Ann-Margret stars. Oct. 12. Lifetime.

"The Temptations": This four-hour movie tells the dramatic story of the beloved Motown vocal group. Nov. 1-2. NBC.

"Walter Winchell": Paul Mazursky directs this biopic about the revered and feared gossip columnist portrayed by Stanley Tucci. Nov. 21. HBO.

DRAMA

"About Sarah": The story of a family that undergoes an inspiring transformation when faced with a decision about caring for a member who is mentally retarded. Stars Kellie Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Marion Ross and Diane Baker. Oct. 4. CBS.

"American Tragedy": An exploration of the behind-the-scenes strategies in the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. The public and very private machinations of key players are revealed as individuals jockey for position. TBA. ABC.

"Beauty": A contemporary retelling of the story "Beauty and the Beast." A woman (Janine Turner) falls in love with a writer (Jamey Sheridan) whose appearance is marred by a disfiguring ailment. Oct. 25. CBS.

"Brothers": A drama about two brothers growing up in a close-knit Italian family in New York. Written by Nick Pileggi ("Casino," "GoodFellas"). Martin Scorsese and Barbara De Fina are executive producers. April. ABC.

"Cab to Canada": Maureen O'Hara plays a seventysomething woman who takes a spontaneous 3,000-mile cab trip to Canada. Along the way, she and the cab driver learn about each other and the things that make life worth living. Nov. 29. CBS.

"Crime and Punishment": The classic Russian novel about morality, ethics and consequences is brought to television. Oct. 11. NBC.

"Forever Love": Country music star Reba McEntire plays a woman who wakes from a 20-year-long coma to begin her life over again. Sept. 27. CBS.

"Legalese": A high-profile murder case throws two lawyers--one a seasoned pro and the other an idealistic rookie--into the media spotlight. Stars James Garner, Kathleen Turner and Gina Gershon. Oct. 4. TNT.

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