Bios, retros highlight new mini, spec lineup

Awards shows galore, biographies, retrospectives, animation and science-fiction, and memories of the assassination 30 years ago of President John F. Kennedy highlight network miniseries and specials in the coming TV season.

Between them, ABC, CBS, NBC, and the Fox network will air about 60 specials and nearly 20 miniseries as they fight for their share of the TV audience.

ABC Specials

“ABC’s 40th Anniversary Special”– A two-hour compilation of memorable moments from the network’s TV history, covering primetime series, miniseries and specials, as well as news and sports. Produced by John Moffitt and Pat Tourk Lee.

“The American Music Awards 20th Anniversary Special”– Six-year-old Janet Jackson and octogenarian Irving Berlin are among the musical artists featured in a two-hour retrospective of highlights from 20 years of awards shows. Kenny Rogers is among the hosts. Dick Clark is the producer.

“Barbara Walters Specials”– The co-host of “20/20” returns in a series of specials that Walters hopes will include conversations will all living First Ladies. Executive producer is Bill Geddie.

“The Billy Ray Cyrus Special”– The “Achy Breaky Heart” country-music phenom returns for his second special, for executive producer Bill Geddie.

“Edith Ann”– Lily Tomlin brings her little-girl character to two animated specials this season. Tomlin and Jane Wagner are the executive producers. The Klasky Csupo Production Co. does the animation.

“The 8th Annual American Comedy Awards”– Comedians and comic actors get their prizes in another special from producer/writer/director George Schlatter.

“A Flintstone Family Christmas”– A new half-hour seasonal special involving a bogus stone-age Santa Claus, from Hanna-Barbera Prods.

“The 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards”– Changes in awards rules allow animated programs to compete in the Best Comedy Series category. However, the most obvious candidate, “The Simpsons,” didn’t garner a nomination. This year’s Emmycast kicks off a new four-year ABC pact to air the awards and the network promises a streamlined show. Don Mischer is executive producer.

“Gettin’ Over”– Series of 30-minute specials from executive-producer Tony Danza (“Who’s the Boss”) exploring the problems of inner-city kids.

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation”–“Good Morning America” co-host Joan Lunden talks to the network’s series stars about their vacations and what’s in store for their shows. From Dick Clark Prods.

“The Joan Lunden Special”– Stepping into the Barbara Walters field, Lunden produces and hosts her own special. From New Life Entertainment.

“A Musical Christmas at Walt Disney World”– Favorite Disney music combined with traditional songs of the season, featuring still-to-be-named guests. From Walt Disney Television.

“The Neil Diamond Christmas Special”– The popular singer performs his own songs and seasonal favorites. Gary Smith is executive producer; Dwight Hemion directs.

“People Magazine 20th Anniversary Special”– A two-hour look at the most talked about events of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Av Westin is the executive producer for Telepictures Prods., a Time Warner company.

“President’s Night at Ford’s Theatre”– One-hour presentation of music and comedy with guests-of-honor President and Mrs. Clinton at the landmark Washington, D.C., theater. From Greengrass Prods. in association with Jeff Margolis Prods.

“The Prince and the Pauper”– World premiere of the first new Mickey Mouse cartoon in seven years. Mickey takes the dual title roles in the Twain story. Goofy, Pluto and Donald also show up in the one-hour special from Walt Disney Television.

“Reader’s Digest: On Television”– First-ever special drawing on the magazine’s format of drama, entertainment and information. The one-hour show, hosted by Hal Linden and Robin Young, from ABC/Kane Prods. in association with Reader’s Digest, airs Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. ET.

“The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation”– No word yet on whether Billy Crystal will return to host next year’s Oscars. Show airs Monday, March 21, 1994 .

ABC Miniseries

“Heaven and Hell”– North and South, Book III. John Jakes’ saga of two families — the Hazards from the North and the Mains from the South — continues through post-Civil War reconstruction and into the pioneer Indian territories. David Wolper and Mark Wolper are the executive producers of the “ABC Novel for Television,” from Wolper Prods. in association with Warner Bros. Television.

“JFK: Reckless Youth”– William Broyles (co-creator of “China Beach”) has adapted the recent Nigel Hamilton bestseller about Kennedy’s early years, detailing his youth, college period, involvements with women and his wartime heroics, concluding with his 1948 election to Congress. Judy Polone is the executive producer.

“Stephen King’s the Stand”– An eight-hour miniseries based on King’s novel about a post-apocalyptic world following the outbreak of a killer virus. Ensemble cast includes Jamey Sheridan, Ruby Dee, Gary Sinese, Rob Lowe, Laura San Giacomo, Molly Ringwald and Ray Walston. King and Richard Rubenstein are the executive producers; Mick Garris directs.

CBS Specials

“The 36th Annual Grammy Awards”– The three-hour recording awards presentation will air live from Radio City Music Hall in New York on March 1, 1994.

“The 48th Annual Tony Awards”– Broadway’s best from the 1993-94 season will be saluted live from New York in June 1994.

“The 16th Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts”– Yearly program honoring distinguished performers will be telecast in late December.

“The 27th Annual Country Music Association Awards”– Three-hour awards ceremony hosted by country singer Vince Gill will originate live from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

“The 20th Annual People’s Choice Awards”– The fans’ picks airs from Los Angeles, presaging the Oscar show.

“1994 Essence Awards”– The show recognizes contributions by African-Americans in the fields of music, film, TV, politics, education and sports.

“The Dick Van Dyke Show Retrospective”– Nostalgic look at the classic 1961- 66 sitcom starring Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam and Carl Reiner.

“The Taxi Retrospective”– Classic highlights from the 1978-83 sitcom starring Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Jeff Conaway, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman.

“The Museum of Television & Radio Broadcasting Show”– A tentative title for a 90-minute special featuring great interviews, major events and memorable moments from the history of broadcasting.

“The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show IV”– Working title for another selection of top-named acts from the old Sullivan series.

“David Copperfield”– Highlights from 15 years of specials from the popular illusionist.

“John F. Kennedy Special”– Tied to the 30th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, the special features Kennedy in privately recorded conversations, home movies and personal letters.

“Five Hundred Nations”– A history of North American Indians Nthrough the early 1900s, hosted by executive producer Kevin Costner.

“The Human Family”– One-hour simulcast on CBS, ABC and NBC, exploring human feelings, with segments directed by movie directors Hector Babenco, Jonathan Demme, Anieska Holland, Mira Nair and Martin Scorcese.

“A Day in the Life of Country Music”– Twenty-four hours in the lives of several country-music stars, including Clint Black, Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, and Wynonna Judd.

CBS Miniseries

“Return to Lonesome Dove”– A TV sequel to the hit 1989 miniseries, not to be confused with author Larry McMurtry’s own book sequel, “Streets of Laredo.” McMurtry was a consultant on this six-hour show, although Robert Duvall is gone, since his character, Gus, is dead; and Jon Voight takes over from Tommy Lee Jones as Gus’ partner, Woodrow, who returns to Montana to continue his dream of building a ranching empire. Louis Gossett Jr., Barbara Hershey, Rick Schroder and William Petersen co-star. Executive producers are Robert Halmi Jr., Suzanne dePasse and John Wilder, who also wrote the script. Mike Robe directs.

NBC Specials

“The Jackson Family Honors”– Members of the singing Jackson family gather to honor individuals known for their charitable work. Proceeds from the special, to be taped in December in Atlantic City, will go to charity. Jermaine Jackson and Gary Smith are the executive producers.

“Mariah Carey”– One-hour special featuring the popular Grammy Award-winning singer in concert and at home.

“Saturday Night Live Prime Time Specials”– Sketches and satire from the SNL cast. Lorne Michaels is the executive producer.

“The Miss America Pageant”– Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford host the 40 th telecast of the 73-year-old event live from Atlantic City. Leonard Horn is the executive producer.

“There She Was — Miss America”– One-hour special tracking the later lives of former Miss America winners.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”– More rock legends will be inducted from among those acts with influential recordings made at least 25 years ago. Lorne Michaels is the executive producer.

“The 1st Annual Comedy Hall of Fame”– New hall honors top comedians and comic actors, featuring star tributes, live performances and nostalgic clips. From George Schlatter Prods.

“29th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards”– The west coast Academy salutes the top performers in country. Dick Clark and Al Schwartz are the executive producers.

“10th Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards”– Fans vote on everything from the outstanding villain to the hottest male and female stars of the daytime and primetime soaps. Dick Clark is the executive producer.

“1st Annual Apollo Theater Hall of Fame”– Bill Cosby and Diana Ross co-host the first hall-of-famers from among the country’s greatest black performers. Inductees include Ella Fitzgerald, Redd Foxx, James Brown, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke, the Ink Spots, Bill (Bojangles) Robinson and Harold Nicholas.

“A Word From Our Sponsor II”– Funny, unusual and award-winning commercials from around the world. Executive producer is Brad Lachman.

“Legend to Legend”– Back-slapping show featuring stars honoring stars will feature, among others, Jimmy Stewart and Gregory Peck, Reba McEntire and Willie Nelson, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard and Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. Fred de Cordova is the executive producer.

“Bob Hope Specials”– Contract disputes forgotten, the legendary comedian continues his 55-year association with NBC with three new hour-long specials.

“The Mystery of the Sphinx”– Charlton Heston hosts an examination of the mysteries of the Great Sphinx of Gaza, based on the work of Egyptologist John Anthony West. MichaelGerber is the executive producer.

“Christmas in Washington”– Decade-long tradition continues with the President and the First Lady attending a seasonal music celebration in the capital. George Stevens Jr. is the executive producer; Gary Smith produces; Dwight Hemion directs.

“David Copperfield’s Christmas”– This time it is the Dickens classic in animated form, with the voices of Julian Lennon, Howie Mandel, Kelly Le Brock andrea Martin, Sheena Easton, Joseph Marcell and Michael York. Two-hour special features original music by Al Kasha with production by Astral Film Enterprises.

“Jeremy Creek”– Hanna-Barbera animated special in which grandpa Dick Van Dyke tells a lighthearted story about the meaning of Christmas.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas”– Animated special based on a story by the late Romeo Muller, who created “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,””Frosty the Snowman,” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” From Muller Stratford Prods. Ltd. and Pacific Animation.

NBC Miniseries

“Danielle Steel’s Message from Nam”– Four-hour miniseries about a Southern beauty who becomes a successful Vietnam War correspondent, starring Jenny Robertson, Bill Dee Williams, Esther Rolle and Rue McClanahan. Douglas S. Cramer is the executive producer; Suzanne Clauser wrote the script; Paul Wendkos directs.

“Final Justice”– Fact-based drama about a mother (Patty Duke) determined to track down her Marine son’s murderer. Martin Sheen and Alexandra Powers co-star. Leonard Hill, Joel Fields and Ron Gilbert are the executive producers. Mike Switzer directs Dennis Turner’s script.

“Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Husbands”– Adaptation of Collins’ bestselling 1986 novel about three friends in Hollywood. Collins wrote the script and is the executive producer.

“The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Ted Kennedy”– Four-hour drama detailing the youngest Kennedy brother’s relationship with his father, Joseph Kennedy, based on the controversial book by Joe McGinniss. John Gay wrote the script; Susan Baerwald is the executive producer.

“The Rabbit Chronicles”– John Updike’s series of novels about basketball player Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom, are adapted as a six-hour miniseries. Andrea Baynes and Judith Paige Mitchell are the executive producers.

“Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Remember”– Donna Mills stars as a prize-winning journalist who discovers that the fiance she believed had committed suicide may still be alive. Robert Bradford is the executive producer. John Herzfeld directs from a script by Mart Crowley and producers Jonathan Estrin and Shelley List.

“Trade Winds”– The six-hour miniseries, which began August 27, continues in one-hour segments Fridays at 10 p.m. ET starting September 3. The Caribbean love story features Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Anita Morris and John Beck. Douglas S. Cramer is the executive producer.

“The Secrets of Lake Success”– Sexy saga of a big-business family debuts with two hours on Friday, Oct. 1, at 9 p.m. ET and continues in two-hour form on Oct. 8 and 15 at 9 p.m. ET. Stars include Valerie Perrine, Brian Keith and Samantha Eggar. Douglas S. Cramer and David Stenn are the executive producers.

Fox Specials

“Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation”– One-hour animated special featuring characters from Spielberg’s “Tiny Toons Adventures” Fox series. Airs Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

“Hardwood Dreams”– One-hour documentary tracking the lives of players on a Los Angeles high school basketball team as they defend their state title and dream of playing in the bigtime.

“Baseball Relief”– An all-star charity eventbenefiting “Comic Relief,” set to air during the World Series in October. Bob Zmuda is the executive producer.

“The 1993 Billboard Music Awards”– Fourth annual show honors top-selling recording artists around the world. Live broadcast from Los Angeles airs Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and features current acts. Sam Holdsworth and Jeff Pollack are the executive producers.

“Rolling Stone Magazine’s Year in Review: Rolling Stone ’93”– Set for December, the one-hour special features the magazine’s take on the events of the year in music, trends, news and pop culture. Joel Gallin is the executive producer.

“It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special”– A twist on the perennial Jimmy Stewart movie featuring Steven Spielberg’s “Tiny Toons” animated characters. From Warner Bros. Animation.

Fox Miniseries

“And the Beat Goes On: The Sonny & Cher Story”– Sonny Bono’s recent autobiography serves as the basis for this look at the careers of the famous duo. Bono and Boris Malden are executive producers for MCA Television Ent. in association with Fox West Pictures Inc.

“The Invaders”– Update of the ’60s TV series about an alien invasion of earth. From Fox West Pictures and Laurel Ent.

“The Bonanno Family Saga”– Saga about Sicilian immigrants in the United States. Bob Rehme, Mace Neufeld and Bill Bonanno are the executive producers.

“The Black Whip”– A local amusement park becomes a battle ground as a group of teenagers discovers aliens have landed in their midst. Frank Konigberg and Larry Sanitsky are the executive producers.

“The Richard Pryor Story”– Biography of the great standup comedian. Henry Schleiff and Ellen Krass are executive producers.

“White Dwarf”– Science fiction from Francis Ford Coppola and Bruce Palmer involving life on another planet.

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