Peeking in on the ongoing strike by film and television writers we find:
- The Writers Guild is suing the three television networks and several major Hollywood studios, including Disney, Universal and Columbia, for interfering with union efforts to sign independent agreements with producers. The networks all publicly promised they would not accept programming that resulted from such independent contracts, a decision a guild spokesman said is "sad and lacks compassion." A spokesman for the producers says the lawsuit "diverts attention from the real issue, which is resolving the strike."- NBC indicates the new "Magical World of Disney" Sunday night series is going to have to be postponed
indefinitely because of the strike. Instead, network Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff says NBC will revive ABC's "The Hardy Boys" series, using old scripts and new stars gleaned from "a nationwide search to find the two teen-aged male leads who will recreate the title roles of Frank and Joe Hardy." I guess that means Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy are too old. Finally.
- ABC has ordered 13 episodes of "Mission: Impossible" for the fall, using old scripts but an entirely new cast of characters. The show is "a genuine evergreen among television series," said ABC programmer Brandon Stoddard, who added that he feels the series can bring "originality and vitality to our fall program schedule as we strive to overcome the uncertainties resulting from the Writers Guild strike."
Only in Hollywood are rehashed reruns considered "original" and "vital."
- CBS plans to battle the dearth of new material with "The Cavanaughs" and "First Impressions," two mid-season fill-ins that will be moved up to the starting line-up. CBS programmer Kim LeMasters says his network will also fill time with made-for-TV movies, miniseries, news specials and sports.
Would you believe Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night Football?
- Fox Broadcasting announced that it has had to put development plans for "City Court," its new "21 Jump Street" spin-off, on hold. FBC had planned to use the season opener for "21 Jump Street" as a launching pad for the new series, but now it doesn't look like that's going to be possible.
Of course, right now it doesn't look like much of anything is going to be possible in Hollywood this season.
***TWO NATIONAL GATHERINGS were featured at either end of last week's prime time television ratings, released Tuesday by the A.C. Nielsen Co. ABC's coverage of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game finished the week in first place, while a CBS preview of the Democratic National Convention finished dead last. (Perhaps if Dan Rather learned to spit and scratch properly . . . )
In between the ABC and CBS programs were a whole bunch of NBC shows - including eight of the top ten and 12 of the top 20 - which led to peacock network to first place in the weekly ratings averages. As usual.
The top 10 programs for the week were: 1. All-Star Baseball Game (ABC); 2. The Cosby Show (NBC); 3. Golden Girls (NBC); 4. A Different World (NBC); 5. Night Court (NBC); 6. Hunter (NBC); 7. Cheers (NBC); 8. 60 Minutes (CBS); and 9. Amen (NBC) and Monday Night Movie: The Abduction of Kari Swenson (NBC).
The second 10 consisted of: 11. All Star Baseball Pre-Game Show (ABC); 12. L.A. Law (NBC); 13. Murder, She Wrote (CBS); 14. Unsolved Mysteries (NBC); 15. Sunday Night Movie: Out of Time (NBC); 16. ALF (NBC) and 20/20 (ABC); 18. Growing Pains (ABC); 19. Friday Movie: Dirty Harry (CBS); and 20. Tuesday Movie: Kids Don't Tell (CBS) and Head of the Class (ABC).
The week's big losers (not counting Fox and the National League) were: 66. Simon & Simon (CBS) and Supercarrier (ABC); 68. Frank's Place (CBS); 69. 48 Hours: Le Mans Auto Race (CBS); and 71. Democratic Convention Preview (CBS).