TODAY’S NEWS, TOMORROW’S TELEVISION : TNT looks at Vivian Leigh, Showtime signs Harry Hamlin, CBS gives Siskel and Ebert a thumbs up


Bob Newhart, Mary Frann, Tom Poston, Julia Duffy and Peter Scolari take their final bow May 21 in the series finale of “Newhart.” In the 184th and final episode, Dick Loudon staunchly refuses to sell the Stratford Inn to a Japanese investor. Everyone else in town clears out, and the inn’s weathered clapboards are soon being pelted with golf balls, as the structure becomes a hazard on the 14th fairway of the Tagadachiville Hotel and Country Club’s golf course.

“P.O.V.,” a critically acclaimed series of independent nonfiction films, returns to PBS on June 26 with 12 weeks of new programming. Films include “Through the Wire,” about three women held in a secret U.S. underground prison facility; “Metamorphosis: Man into Woman,” an intimate look at a man’s sex-reassignment surgery, and “On Ice,” with Timothy Leary, about people who freeze their bodies upon death in hopes that they will one day be re-animated.

“Only Yesterday,” a nightly newsmagazine anchored by former NBC News veteran John Palmer, has been given a production commitment by King World Productions for a September syndication debut. The show, which has been picked up locally by KABC, will look at news events through stories reconstructed by the people who lived them.



Lee Remick, Franco Nero, Julia Ormond and Mark Frankel have joined the cast of “Young Catherine,” a four-hour miniseries that stars Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Plummer and Maximilian Schell. The TNT miniseries, now filming in the Soviet Union to debut later this year, dramatizes the early years and rise to power of Catherine the Great--a German teen-ager who came to St. Petersburg as a bride-to-be and captured an empire.


Meg Tilly plays an architect who risks being jailed because she refuses to allow ex-husband Michael O’Keefe to visit their 5-year-old daughter in “In the Best Interest of the Child,” a CBS movie airing May 20. Tilly ultimately turns to an underground network that protects runaway parents and children. The movie co-stars Ed Begley Jr. as an attorney, Michele Greene and Marta Woodward.

Harry Hamlin is a detective plunged into a whirlpool of eroticism and manipulation when he investigates the death of Nicollette Sheridan’s husband at their isolated Hollywood Hills mansion in “Deceptions,” a two-hour movie premiering on Showtime in June. Hamlin’s passion stands in the way of his job and his duty-bound partner, Robert Davi.

Nancy Allen wakes up one morning and does not recognize husband Robin Thomas or her daughter in the Lifetime movie “Memories of Me,” set to debut in July. With the help of best friend Olivia Brown, Allen struggles to reconstruct her life, despite the efforts of Vanity, a mysterious woman intent on destroying Allen’s family.


Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, who have been critiquing feature films together for 14 years on their half-hour TV show, will host their first network special May 21 on CBS. The one-hour special will provide an entertaining look at the film industry, including a segment on actors-turned-directors, featuring an interview with Clint Eastwood.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ “42nd Annual Emmy Awards” will be telecast live on Sept. 16 from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium by the Fox Broadcasting Co. This year’s broadcast marks the first year of the second three-year agreement between the academy and Fox to telecast the prime-time TV awards show. Nominations will be announced Aug. 2.

Actor Vincent Price and “Night of the Living Dead” director George Romero have joined filmmakers Wes Craven, Clive Barker and Roger Corman on the board of directors for “The Horror Hall of Fame,” a two-hour syndicated special for October to honor the genre’s top creators and creations. In conjunction with the prime-time special, a traveling “Museum of the Macabre” exhibit, with costumes, props and artifacts, will visit shopping malls nationwide.

Jessica Lange will host and narrate the TNT special “Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond.” The hourlong retrospective will trace Leigh’s career triumphs, including her role as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind,” and the emotional problems that haunted her later years. Featured interviews include Sir John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Kim Hunter.


NBC’s “Today” has announced plans for a weeklong trip to Boston and New York City from May 14-18. The locations include Boston’s outdoor marketplace Faneuil Hall and New York’s Ellis Island and Central Park. The program’s visit to Mexico, scheduled for May 7-11, has been postponed because of difficulties in obtaining the services of the Mexican television networks, which will be busy covering the Pope’s visit to Mexico this week.


Shelley Duvall is developing three half-hour pilots for Nickelodeon called, “Stories From Growing Up.” The April 15 edition of TV Times incorrectly reported that Shelley Long was developing the programs.