Telepix, pilots give new spin to Dick Clark Prods.

Dick Clark Prods., principally a producer of network awards shows and specials, is continuing efforts to expand production in other areas with a broad slate of telefilms, pilots and modestly budgeted theatricals in the works.

Topping that list are a number of projects for NBC, including a planned movie to star Lloyd Bridges and Beau Bridges, playing father and son, in “My Father’s Son,” a movie about a small-town sheriff who starts to realize his father may be responsible for his mother’s death.

The younger Bridges, who will star in another DCP telefilm for NBC, “The Untold Story of Elvis and the Colonel,” set to air Jan. 10, will direct “Father’s Son” from a script by Ken Hixon.

Bill Graham–who directed Elvis Presley’s last feature, the 1969 release “Change of Habit”– did the same on the latest “Elvis” tale from DCP, which also produced the telefilm starring Kurt Russell. Company topper Dick Clark said the story has never been adequately told of how Col. Tom Parker, Presley’s influential manager, “turned the King of rock ‘n’ roll into a Vegas lounge act.” Clark and senior VP Neil Stearns are exec producers on all longform projects.

The company is also developing what it hopes will become a movie franchise for NBC, “Drifter,” a western concept featuring two as-yet unnamed country stars; and “Jealousy,” a story of obsessive love being scripted by Rena Down.

Two new series pilots

Having produced the variety series “Hot Country Nights,” Clark Prods. is working on two new series pilots: “Heartbeat,” a one-hour proposed anthology series for CBS that would dramatize country songs; and a one-hour ABC special/backdoor pilot spin-off of last season’s American Bandstand 40th anniversary special, mixing archival footage with new acts. The special will likely air this spring.

DCP is also doing its first movie for the USA Network, “Dangerous Desires,” about a former police woman who goes undercover in Palm Beach; and “Dark Family Secrets: The Dawna Kay Wells Story,” a fact-based CBS movie about a woman investigating her mother’s disappearance being written by Dena Kleiman, an investigative reporter for the New York Times.

Stearns added that Clark Prods. is developing a number of features, meant to be budgeted in the $ 7 million range, beginning with “Field Trip”–a light high school comedy that’s currently on the table at New Line. Also in the works is an erotic thriller being written by Lucian Truscott under the title “Glass Houses.”

Two recently acquired books will likely end up being pitched as features as well, beginning with “Woman Pilots of World War II,” picking up on the “A League of Their Own” theme, about women who flew non-combat planes during the war. Dan Gordon (“Passenger 57”) is attached as the writer. DCP also has rights to “Invasion of the B-Girls,” a portrait of B-movie sex symbols that could wind up as a feature or series spoof.

On the syndication front, Clark will produce a late-night music series, “Heartline,” patterned after song dedication radio shows. Grove TV Enterprises is the project’s distributor, with Bob Goen and Amina Fakir as hosts.

Corporate training films

Clark expanded its operations into corporate training and sales films about a year ago and says that business is booming in that area, but the company’s mainstay remains the awards-show and specials circuit, with such continuous franchises as “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (ABC), the Golden Globe Awards (TBS), American Music Awards (ABC), Academy of Country Music Awards (NBC) and Soap Opera Digest Awards (NBC) on its production plate.

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