William Devane, about to conclude nine years on the CBS primetime soap “Knots Landing,” has inked a deal to star in and possibly produce a new series for ABC.Devane has received a 13-episode commitment from the network that would allow the actorto scan series already in development as a star vehicle for next fall, or to develop and produce his own project for midseason or fall 1994. Devane also will have the opportunity to appear in, produce and possibly direct telefilms for the network, though that element of the relationship isn’t exclusive. He appeared last fall in ABC’s telefilm “Obsessed” and said the new deal has “been in the works for a while.” Though CBS didn’t officially announce until last week that this would be the final season for “Knots,” Devane, who joined the show in 1983, said he would have left after the current year in any event. “It was getting tired,” he said, adding that it was difficult to support such a show under current network economic constraints. Several top-line “Knots” cast members reportedly had to take substantial pay cuts for the current season, which will conclude with a two-hour finale in May. Devane wouldn’t rule out a project with “Knots” supplier Lorimar TV but said nothing is in the works. Devane has been active as a director both on stage and with “Knots” and intends to make that an element of future productions. He added that he’d be interested in doing a comedy series after his lengthy association with dramatic fare. ABC did wed the star of one former CBS-Lorimar serial, “Dallas’ ” Patrick Duffy, with its current sitcom “Step by Step.” Devane’s movie and TV credits include “The Missiles of October,””Marathon Man” and the NBC mini “From Here to Eternity.”
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