Kenny Rogers starred in a TV movie based on his song "The Gambler," and now Barry Manilow is following suit. He's set to make his acting debut in a film for CBS based on his song "Copacabana." He plays a pianist and composer who goes to work at the famed Copacabana nightclub and falls in love there with a singer (played by Annette O'Toole). Manilow will write 10 original songs for the movie.
Whatever happened to Gidget? You'll be able to find out in "Gidget's Summer Reunion," a syndicated TV movie that is due to air in June. Caryn Richman stars in the title role as an older Gidget--no longer a surfer girl but now married and the owner of her own travel agency. Dean Butler co-stars as her husband, Moondoggie. Also appearing in the film are Ben Murphy, Don Stroud, Vince Van Patten and William Schallert.
The "CBS Morning News" is in Europe this week and Dan Rather and "The CBS Evening News" will be hitting the road, too. The news program plans to originate from Japan during the week of Aug. 5, pegged to the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II. The programs will report on the state of relations between Japan and the United States, will return to the bombed cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and will examine Japan's economy, military power and culture.
Dick Van Dyke and Joan Van Ark will host the 18th edition of "Battle of the Network Stars," due to air on ABC May 23. The show is switching locales this year and will originate from Ixtapa, Mexico.
People: Excerpts from some of Tony Bennett's hit songs will be heard on Tuesday's episode of "Remington Steele" as Mr. Steele and Miss Holt visit San Francisco. . . . Jackie Gleason will host an hourlong special on NBC May 13 to introduce newly resurrected kinescope episodes of his classic comedy series "The Honeymooners". . . . Ann Sothern, who starred in the original movie "A Letter to Three Wives," will have a supporting role in the remake for NBC, playing the mother of Loni Anderson's character.