Joe Toplyn and Ron Richards, former staff writers on “Late Night With David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show,” have been hired as senior writers for Fox Broadcasting Co.’s “The Chevy Chase Show.” The show is scheduled to premiere Sept. 7.

PBS has ordered two new series, “The People’s Century” and “Rock & Roll,” to be produced by the public TV service with WGBH in Boston. “Century” is a 26-part series looking at the 20th century, while “Rock & Roll” is a 10-hour project charting the influential musical genre.

The nation’s oldest theater chain, Loews Theaters, returns to Gotham June 1 after a six-year sojourn in New Jersey. Corporate HQ for the 891-screen circuit will be in the 711 Fifth Avenue building, The longtime Manhattan fixture left for Secaucus, N.J., on Sept. 28, 1987.

Jheryl Busby, CEO/president of Motown Records, has been named honorary chairman for “Celebrate the Soul of American Music,” a TV event that will benefit the Cities in School program, devoted to school dropout prevention. The TV show is co-sponsored by Sony Music Entertainment and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. The syndicated show is expected to air in June.

New World Intl. has cleared the half-hour soap opera “Paradise Beach” in a number of overseas territories, including the U.K., Spain, Germany and New Zealand. The joint venture of New World and Village Roadshow Pictures premieres on Australia’s Nine Network this month and in domestic syndication June 14. A total of 260 half-hours are being produced.

Playwright Beth Henley and actress Holly Hunter will reunite at the MET Theatre in July for the West Coast preem of Henley’s play “Control Freaks,” about the cost of lying. Hunter has previously starred in both the plays and film versions of Henley’s “The Miss Firecracker Contest” and “Crimes of the Heart.” She also starred in Henley’s “The Lucky spot” at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. “Control Freaks” opens July 16 and will mark the first time that Henley directs one of her own plays.

On June 11, Women in Film hosts the 17th annual Crystal Awards luncheon celebrating the 20th anniversary of the organization. Honorees include Michelle Pfeiffer and prexy of USA Networks Kay Koplovitz. Double Oscar-winning director and producer Barbara Kopple will receive the Dorothy Arzner Special Recognition for Directing award. Peg Yorkin, founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation, will receive the Women of Courage Award.

The 1993 National Kidney Foundation of New York/New Jersey fund-raising dinner will feature entertainment by Wendy Moten and RIFF. The June 10 dinner, to be held at the New York Hilton, will honor Terri Santisi, executive VP/general manager of EMI Records Group North America. Santisi will be feted as the organization’s “Woman of the Year”

Orion Pictures’ decision to hold the Stateside release of “RoboCop 3″ until fall did not deter pic’s opening in Japan, where its been No. 1 at the box office for three weeks straight. Director Fred Dekker’s sequel starring Robert Burke, Nancy Allen, Rip Torn and John Castle had grossed $ 4.3 million in Japan as of late last week.

Peter Faiman, director of “‘Crocodile’ Dundee” and “Dutch,” signed with just-formed Fox Circle Prods. to create and produce TV programming. Faiman, who also produced the Fox-animated movie “FernGully … The Last RainForest,” began his career at Australia’s Nine Network, where he worked with Fox Circle president David Evans.

Hungarian screenwriter/director Ildiko Enyedi has won the Hartley-Merrill Prize for Intl. Screenwriting for “Freischutz.” The author will receive her award, meant to encourage Eastern European and Russian writers, at the Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles June 24.

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