Here's some frightening news -- Roseanne Barr will be on Home Box Office on Jan. 5.
What's most scary about this is not that fact that she's doing an hour of her own special style of "uncensored" standup comedy. Or even the fact that she plans to sing several of her favorite songs.What's really frightening is that Barr and her husband, wanna-be comedian Tom Arnold, will spend a half hour after the taped standup special answering calls from HBO subscribers.
That's right - HBO subscribers will have the chance to ask the hefty duo anything they want.
At least, HBO subscribers in the East will have that chance. Those of us in the West will have to settle for tape-delay.
Darn. And I was so hoping to have the chance to ask Arnold where he got the idea that he has any talent. And ask Barr if she's noticed that her public relations problems began about the time she married that hanger-on.
ELLERBEE' BACK: Former newscaster Linda Ellerbee, who hasn't been seen on much lately except an episode of "Murphy Brown" and those coffee commercials, is returning to NBC.
She'll produce and appear in a weekly segment of the Peacock's new "Sunday Best," an hour-long "comedic look at the week seen through the eyes of television," which premieres Jan. 13 opposite CBS' "60 Minutes."
(Not many details are available on "Sunday Best" yet, but we do know it will include highlights of NBC programming from the previous week. Whoa - sounds like a winner.)
Ellerbee's segment will be broadcast live from New York (or, once again, live in the East), and will feature "a compilation of quirky news items, some funny by design, some by accident." She'll also chip in with a "This Week in TV History" segments, "a warm and humorous look back at television that has become a part of the national consciousness."
"WHEEL" ROLLS BACK TO NBC: "Wheel of Fortune," which premiered on NBC in 1975 and spent 14 years on that network, is returning to the Peacock's flock in January.
NBC canceled "Wheel" in June 1989 and the show has spent the last year and a half on CBS. It has not, however, been seen locally because KSL chose not to pick up the program.
But when "Wheel" returns to NBC on Jan. 14, chances are it will be seen on Ch. 2 at 9:30 a.m. (No final decision has been made yet, however.)
Vanna White, who recently once again displayed her lack of acting ability on "L.A. Law" - but, boy, does she look good turning those letters - will remain as hostess. And Bob Goen, who's been hosting the CBS version since July 1989, will also remain.
GERALDO'S WOES: It's tough being a talk show host sometimes. Just ask Geraldo Rivera.
Not only is he being sued for $28 million, but he's also being blamed for a bank robbery.
In the first case, an Albany, N.Y., man who admitted to being an obscene phone caller appeared on a segment of "Geraldo" titled "Telephone Terror." He claims that his identity was revealed on the show despite promises that it would not be.
Rivera apparently referred to him by name several times and disclosed the man's occupation, place of residence and indentified a psychologist who is treating him.
What? Geraldo didn't keep his promise?
In the other case, a 19-year-old Florida woman says that she and her boyfriend were inspired to rob a bank by an installment of "Geraldo."
According to United Press International, the woman told authorities she and her boyfriend were watching a Dec. 12 segment of the Geraldo show that featured bank robbers and embezzlers when her boyfriend remarked how easy it would be to pull off a heist.
So they used the woman's mother's car and tried it. Now she could face a lengthy federal prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
Ah, the power of television.
PBS STATIONS RECEIVE GRANTS: All three of our local PBS stations recently received community services grants for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Leading the list was KUED-Ch. 7, which received $700,012. KBYU-Ch. 11 was granted $583,732 and KULC-Ch. 9 got $319,360.
The CPB is a private, non-profit agency authorized by Congress.
NO STRIKE: Back in 1988, the television season was delayed for months because of a 22-week strike by the Writers Guild of America.
It would appear we won't have to worry about that again for a while.
The Guild recently approved a three-year extension of its current contract with TV and movie producers.