Inauguration gets H’w’d sitcom treatment

GOOD MORNING: Here are two plans for the televising of the inauguration of President Clinton. Yesterday, the mood was still euphoric at a meeting between Norman Lear and his “The Powers That Be” writers Rod Burton, Nancy Lee Myatt, Ron Burla and Graham Yost. Tuesday, election night, while watching the election returns in the booth, they also taped a portion of tomorrow’s hourlong “Powers” show in which the Clintons are depicted as the First Family–and Hillary Clinton is accidentally food-poisoned. (They used only impersonator Jim Morris’ voice to depict Clinton in tomorrow’s seg). Yesterday, the creative team was working on a show about the inaugural. How will it be treated? “With hilarity,” said Graham. Will Clinton be asked to guest? “I would consider he (Clinton) has far more important things to do,” Lear laughed. “And I’d say he’d first have a commitment to (the Thomasons’) ‘Hearts Afire,’ ” writer Myatt reminded. NBC was pleased with the outcome of the new batch of “Powers” shows and has already given the go-ahead orders for more scripts … Now for the second inaugural sitcom plan, this one will be on “Murphy Brown.” Exec producers Steven Peterman and Gary Dontzig, who gave us a hilarious inaugural outing with “Murphy” four year ago (how time flies when you’re a success!), are planning another for their show of Jan. 18, two days before the inauguration. But they also refer to Clinton on next Monday’s show. They admit, they shot the scene with different versions, giving CBS the “right one” Wednesday morning. And they admit they have several scripts prepared in which they can make references to the Clintons. “But,” they say, “we are not looking for it. However–we keep our eyes and ears tuned to the news for something that may lend to the show. But we don’t want the center of our show to be politix. For another reason–it (politix) is so volatile. To be honest, we don’t look for the kind of exposure we got with Vice President Quayle. We don’t need it any more. We’re delighted to be doing a show again. But–we’re sure, in time, (the new administration) will provide us with something.” Right, Murphy?

WHILE PAUL NEWMAN IS CUTTING DOWN on his racing activities, wife Joanne Woodward is taking flying lessons. Hold it, she’s no Amelia Earhart–Woodward is taking lessons to lose her fear of flying. It’ll help her visit Newman as he heads to North Carolina for a long spell locationing WB’s “The Hudsucker Proxy” for the Coen freres. Rehearsals start soon with Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh co-starring. Joanne and Paul will read the “Mr. and Mrs. Bridges” books (Evan Connell) for Dove Audio. CAA is repping Dove’s bigscreen movie “Morning Glory” for theatrical distribution. The pic already has a deal with CBS for airing a year after theatrical and six months post-cassette. “Glory,” starring Christopher Reeve and Deborah Raffin, is one of those rare, beautiful movies, with a feeling a la “A River Runs Through It,” which the public now seems to appreciate. Charles Jarrott and Raffin scripted, Michael Viner produced–and financed it–and Steven Stern directed … Viner also produces Sidney Sheldon’s “The Stars Shine Down” (Morrow) as an ABC mini …”Firestorm: A Catastrophe in Oakland” is now in front of ABC’s cameras as a two-hour, February sweeps show. Jill Clayburgh, Levar Burton and Michael Gross topline. Michael Tuckner directs for Marcy Gross-Ann Weston’s banner with Cannell Entertainment. More than 3,000 houses burned, 25 died in the Oct. 20, 1991, fire. “It’s like doing ‘Backdraft’ on a TV budget,” notes Weston … The wounds of the Jay Leno-Arsenio Hall feud are opened again in next week’s TV Guide yarn by Mary Murphy … Phil Donahue praises Helen Kushnick in their interview airing today in which he tells her, “I would trust you to handle my money. I would trust you with my kids, my grandchildren–.”

PARAMOUNT IS CLOSING IN on Gene Hackman to co-star with Tom Cruise in “The Firm”… Dodi Fayed’s talking to Andrew Lloyd Webber to tune his classic movie version of “Peter Pan”… It was CBSports time on Burt Reynolds’ “Evening Shade” set yesterday as guests Terry Bradshaw and Greg Gumbel also huddled with visiting interviewers Jim Hill and Pat O’Brian. Series star Reynolds, you recall , plays an ex-Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback on the show–he was a Florida State running back … Turner Entertainment Co. has ordered Skip E. Lowe to quit using his public access show’s opening, which includes the voice of Judy Garland from “The Wizard Of Oz” and “ghosted images” from “MGM: When the Lion Roars.” Skip E. sez he won’t comply. “I’m just a little public-access guy trying to make a living,” he pleads … The Alzheimer’s Assn. holds its first gala fundraiser Nov. 19 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, which will be transformed into N.Y.’s Sardi’s. The show includes Peter Gallagher, Dinah Shore, the McGuire Sisters. John Raitt, Karen Mason and Ken Page. Shelley Fabares will be toasted for her work for Alzheimer’s. Her mother was a victim. HBO receives an award for its docu “Losing It All.” John Forsythe narrated “Giving Care,” a PBS docu airing Nov. 15.

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