TV producers go Euro

GOOD MORNING: “It’s the way of the future,” Shelley List and Jonathan Estrin told us from Luxembourg. They join the growing group of TV producers filming in Europe and being financed by Europeans. Their NBC mini of Danielle Steel’s “Jewels” is co-financed by Italy’s RCS. And the cast features a single American, Annette O’Toole, with co-stars being Britain’s Anthony Andrews, Germany’s Jurgen Prochnow and Italy’s Giuliano Gemma and Corinne Touzet. “We’re no longer looking at Europeans as a secondary TV market,” said the producing-writing duo. And their sentiments are echoed by fellow producers with whom we’ve spoken recently. F’rinstance, Michael Viner, shooting Sidney Sheldon’s four-hour “Sands of Time” mini in Yugoslavia, is financed by Jadan Studios there, plus Tribune Entertainment and WB-TV Intl. And Judith Krantz’s 65-seg nighttime soap, “Secrets,” is being exec produced by Steve Krantz in Milan and Monte Carlo with financing from RAI, France, Germany and New World. And he’s prepping a series of telepix “Thick as Thieves” with financing from France’s TF1 and Life Time, to film in France this fall. … (Talking “Secrets” above, Jaime Lynn Bauer joins the cast as David Birney’s sister-in-law, a woman with a healthy amount of affection for her brother-in-law). … We asked “Jewels’ ” Estrin and List howcum they were filming in Luxembourg and the answer was simple: “government incentives.” The government was happy to have the troupe there since they’ll be spending $14 million. They did, however, “sneak” into France for a couple of scenes in a chateau. They are doing the five-hour mini in 56 days–and O’Toole works in 55 of them as she ages from 22-64. … Estrin and List received unhappy news that their bigscreen “Delancey Street” (set in SanFran, not N.Y.) went into turnaround at TriStar but they’re determined it will be made. They’ll next write-exec produce “Amnesty International” for Lifetime cable with Nancy McKeon starring. The true story’s uncomplimentary to Morocco–so they’ll probably shoot in Spain or Israel , they say. … But here’s a switch on international filming: Paris-based Belbo Films is financing the 1873 western, “Silent Tongue” filming in Roswell, N.M. It’s written-directed by Sam Shepard with Richard Harris, Alan Bates, Dermot Mulroney , River Phoenix, Sheila Tousey and Jeri Arredondo. The pic came about when Bill Yahraus told Shepard’s story to Gene Rosow at a Passover seder at Gene’s house. He liked it, told Belbo partner Ludi Boeken and they got Canal Plus and Hachette Premiere to finance the American western. Mon Dieu!

LARRY TURMAN-DAVID FOSTER ARE READYING “Something Lingers”, an original thriller by Stephen Fischer to be directed by Jon Amiel for Laddie’s MGM (after getting the go-ahead from MGM VP Greg Foster, ahem). T-F is also readying Dennis O’Neill’s spec script “The River Wild” for Universal. Turman and Foster also have a project to film in London, set with Par’s Dan Rissne. It’s “When the Gangs Came to London,” Edgar Wallace’s yarn to be scripted-directed by Bill Bryden. … And T-F’s second company, Turman-Foster-Green (Em Green) is readying “A Litle Death” by Nicholas Bogner and Michael Holden with Stephen Hopkins to direct. They expect to set the studio this week. … Freddie Fields winged to Europe to finalize plans for his “Small Wonder,” no small movie–to be German-financed and filmed over there. … Buck Henry is adapting “To Die For,” for producer Laura Diskin and director Gus Van Zant at Columbia. … David Lawrence Groh optioned film rights to “The Man Who Made It Snow” by Robin Moore (“The French Connection”). It’s the story of Max Mermelstein, the only American–alive–admitted to the inner circle of the Colombia cocaine cartel. He’s the government’s No. 1 witness vs. the cartel and helped convict Noriega. Actor-producer Groh recently welcomed the arrival of son Spencer Arthur Groh. Justin Burnette, 12-year-old brother of “The Torkelsons’ ” 15-year-old star Olivia, has been signed to be John Ritter’s son in CBS’ “Capitol Hill” series from Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason.

LOUIS GOSSETT Jr. GETS HIS STAR on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday. Gossett’s “Aces: Iron Eagle III” (New Line Cinema) co-starring Rachel McLish bows June 12. McLish, U.S. Women’s Bodybuilding champ and Ms. Olympia in 1980 and 1982, did her own stunts–including a toe-to-toe with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. … The Dance Gallery Guild’s tribute to Ginger Rogers, postponed by the riots, will be held June 4 at the BevHilton with Sandy Duncan as host. Frances Dee and Ann Miller will be attending. They were in “Finishing School” and “Stage Door,” respectively, with Ginger. … Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, is a celeb conductor at the “Battle of Batons” at the 55th Anni Emerald Jubilee Concern Gala of the Jr. Philharmonic May 27 at the Scottish Rite Auditorium. … “Beauty and the Beast’s” Belle and Gaston, Paige O’Hara and Richard White, reunite in “The King and I” at the Hollywood Bowl July 10-11. O’Hara’s also Mary Jo Kopechne in Quest Intl’s. “Death at Chappaquiddick.” … Viacom locked Jennifer Tilly and Fisher Stevens to star in the offbeat Fox net series, David Beird’s “Sex and Politics at the End of the World.” Beird and Tilly teamed in bigscreen “Scorchers” in which she stars with Faye Dunaway and Emily Lloyd. … We have tomorrow off and we’ll be back here Wednesday.

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