‘Life’ character goes from HIV to AIDS

GOOD MORNING: The HIV-positive “Jesse McKenna” character portrayed by Chad Lowe in WB-ABC’s “Life Goes On” series will now progress into an AIDS patient. Series exec producer Michael Braverman says the show is being assisted/encouraged by AIDS Project L.A. and the Center for Population Options in its portrayal. Further, Rod Garcia volunteers his own HIV experience. And Braverman says Garcia also appeared in an AIDS hospice seg in which those with AIDS were invited (via APLA) to participate. And at last week’s three-hour writers’ session, Dr. Wayne Grody of UCLA joined the TV company, including Lowe, to help in creating the sad realism. Garcia, by the way, has been symptom-free for three years, reveals Braverman, and it’s planned that Chad’s character survives this season–“and hopefully the next and the next,” added the producer. “We don’t want to violate the trust of our audiences and that of those with AIDS. But, we’re not an issue show–we’re a family show. And our audience keep asking for today’s realism.” As for Lowe, he told me his manager Tim Wood died of AIDS. “It seemed like destiny when I was asked to play this role. I wanted something to channel all my energy to do something (to help fight AIDS).” Lowe’s TV character contracts HIV through an unprotected heterosexual experience. Last week, he taped a seg in which he comes close to making love with his “Life Goes On” girlfriend Becca (Kellie Martin). But, he pulls away and breaks into tears. “I was late for a dinner date with my (real) girlfriend,” Lowe told me. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to do this in honor of my friend–and everyone else (who has been stricken). So many people stop me on the street and say they want to share their appreciation of the way our show is handling the subject.” Life goes on.

MY CREED IS to make $ 10 look like $ 10 million,” said Mike Myers, who completed writing (solo) “Wayne’s World II.””I hope Paramount likes it.” He said he’s anxious to start the feature and is also planning to write a bigscreen version based on the “Sprockets” seg of “Saturday Night Live.” He returns to “SNL” this week and stays with the show “as long as they’ll have me.” He’s written five possible skits for himself–and which ones air depends on laughs he gets at today’s script reading. “We’re very democratic,” he said. Myers says his favorite character is “Linda Richman,” based on his girlfriend Robin Ruzan’s mom. P.S.: He and Robin plan a June wedding. The Toronto-born Myers says he generally doesn’t do political stuff, “because I feel I’m a guest in your wonderful country.” Myers just wound co-starring with Nancy Travis in TriStar’s “I Married an Axe Murderer,” during his seven-week absence from “SNL” and says he’d like a straight acting role in a movie with–Al Pacino … Mike Farrell, back from the U.N-led showbiz information-gathering delegation to Somalia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a past investigator of civil rights violations in South and Central America, will be honored by the ACLU of Northern California with the Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award, Sunday at the St. Francis Hotel in SanFran. Previous recipients include Rosa Parks and Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan and William O. Douglas. Nice company for thesp Farrell … Francis Coppola is off to Japan where a giant reception is planned for him and his “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”… David Paymer, Billy Crystal’s older brother in “Mr. Saturday Night,” reunites with his “City Slickers” director Ron Underwood in Universal’s “Heart and Souls” with Robert Downey Jr. and Charles Grodin … Michael Jeter bicycles from “Evening Shade” to I.R.S. Media’s bigscreen “Bank Robber.” And “Picket Fences’ ” David Kelley has written a guestint for him in the Tom Skerritt-starring series … Robert Goulet takes a two-week break from his King Arthur role touring in “Camelot” to star in Fox TV’s spoof “Based on an Untrue Story,” with Morgan Fairchild as his wife.

VITAL STATISTICS: David Leisure (“Empty Nest”) and wife Kelly are divorcing … Roxanne Hart and husband Philip Casnoff welcomed their second son, Macklin McKee C., Nov. 29 … Glynis Barber and Michael Brandon, who met during the making of “Dempsey and Makepeace,” welcomed son Alexander, Nov. 21 … In N.Y., press agent Michelle Oaklan and husband John McFaul welcomed their first, son Colin John McF., at Tisch Hospital at NYU. … George Burns will be 97 Jan. 20 and he’ll be partied in advance during his Jan.15-17 stand at Caesars in Vegas … Happy 75th birthday to Henry Aldrich–Ezra Stone, that is … The Actors Studio here celebrates its 45th anni with a party at the Greek Connection on La Cienega Dec. 14. Ernie Martin and Sandra Sexton host … Community service: Sony Pictures Entertainment employees pitch in to help spruce up neighbor Mar Vista Family’s Center this Saturday … Carol Connors suffered three broken ribs and three cracked vertebrae when she was thrown from an Arabian stallion in Boca Raton, where she was judging semifinals of “Star Search” for which she co-wrote the theme’s lyrics … Gary Owens turns serious documaker–he optioned Francis Kroll Ring’s book “Against the Current” based on F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood.

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