Mario Puzo’s novel “The Fortunate Pilgrim” is...


Mario Puzo’s novel “The Fortunate Pilgrim” is being made into a four-hour movie for NBC, with Sophia Loren in the key role of an Italian immigrant struggling “to achieve the American dream.” The two-part drama also will star Hal Holbrook, Edward James Olmos and Anthony Zerbe.

The long courtship is over: Popeye and Olive Oyl will appear as a married couple in CBS’ new Saturday-morning cartoon series “Popeye and Son.” Popeye’s adversary Bluto also will have a wife and son. Another twist: Popeye’s son hates spinach!

Martin Mull will kick off a new series on Home Box Office, “HBO Comedy Hour.” Each hourlong edition will offer “an unrestricted creative forum to today’s comedy superstars,” according to the program service. “Martin Mull Live! From North Ridgeville, Ohio” will have its first showing Aug. 15; subsequent shows will star George Carlin, Robin Williams, Martin Short, Whoopi Goldberg, Howie Mandel and Joe Piscopo.


Keith Carradine and Mare Winningham will portray a blind husband and wife in “Eye on the Sparrow,” a TV movie that’s being produced for NBC. Based on a real-life story, the plot tells of the couple’s efforts to adopt a child.

Ronny Cox, who can be seen in movie theaters this summer in both “RoboCop” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” is joining the cast of NBC’s “St. Elsewhere.” He’ll play the doctor who takes charge of St. Eligius Hospital under its new ownership. Ed Flanders, who plays Dr. Donald Westphall, will be absent for much of the season at his request. At present, he’s only certain of appearing in the first three episodes.

Ed Begley Jr. of “St. Elsewhere” will host “New Vaudevillians Too,” a Disney Channel special that is a sequel to one last year that spotlighted new variety acts. Among the performers who will appear in the Sept. 8 program are ventriloquist David Strassman, juggler Phillip Wellford, comic sleight-of-hand artist John Carney and marioneteer Phillip Huber.

Also coming to the Disney Channel next month: “College Bowl,” the quiz show featuring student-teams from major universities. Dick Cavett will host the series of 15 broadcasts, starting Sept. 13 and continuing through Dec. 20. Among the 16 universities to be competing is UC Irvine.

Richard Dawson and Florence Henderson will co-host the 1987 Mrs. America Pageant, which KTTV Channel 11 plans to broadcast Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. Gladys Knight & the Pips will provide the musical entertainment.

The pressures and problems confronting the contemporary family form the backdrop of “Home Fires,” an original movie for the Showtime cable channel. It will be shown in two parts on Aug. 16 and 17. The film stars Guy Boyd, Amy Steel, Max Perlich, Juliette Lewis and Whitby Hertford. Psychologist Lee Salk served as a consultant to the producers.