Despite all the talk about network TV’s obsession with younger viewers, several veteran actors are showing up on development rosters for next season, including a pilot to star Faye Dunaway and projects for Peter O’Toole, Carol Burnett and James Garner.
Dunaway, who has appeared in longform television but never a series, is involved in a Lorimar TV-CBS pilot called “For Love or Money,” about a snooty upper-class woman who marries a blue-collar guy — discussed in some quarters as a sort of Elizabeth Taylor-Larry Fortensky type story.
Andrew Nichols and Darrell Vickers, former writers for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” are developing the project, one of more than a dozen series aspirants reportedly under the auspices of Lorimar.
The Garner project also comes to CBS from Lorimar. Currently titled “The Shrink,” the concept has been described as “Dear John” meets “Barney Miller,” with Garner playing a police psychiatrist. Barbara Corday and Richard Matheson would exec produce the show, marking the former “Maverick” and “Rockford Files” star’s possible return to series after the short-lived NBC effort “Man of the People,” which aired during the 1991-92 season.
Burnett, another casualty of the ’91-92 campaign with her revival “The Carol Burnett Show,” is involved in a half-hour comedy for CBS, “Reel Life,” being developed through Brillstein/Grey Prods. Burnett inked a deal to develop and possibly star in series for the web roughly a year ago, a few months after the parties mutually agreed to scrap her variety show.
NBC, meanwhile, has a deal with O’Toole and Lorimar on an unspecified sitcom featuring the actor, who, like Dunaway, has appeared in a telefilm but never a series. No script has been connected with O’Toole yet, sources say, so the vehicle may be a long shot logistically for next fall but could be a midseason contender.
Other confirmed projects for next season featuring vet performers who haven’t previously starred in a series include a Gene Wilder pilot (still in discussions at NBC Prods.) and the Amblin Entertainment-Universal NBC series “SeaQuest,” which will star Roy Scheider, both for NBC.
Former “Hill Street Blues” star Daniel J. Travanti has also been signed for the Stephen J. Cannell Prods. ABC pilot “Missing Persons”– a show developed for consideration last spring getting a second shot at life this season.
Other holdovers from the ’92-93 development term still in circulation include the ABC pilot “Philadelphia Heat” (a Reeves Entertainment series, now with the involvement of producer Tom Fontana) and “50-Minute Man,” a Lorimar hour about an atypical private eye that made the rounds last year at Fox Broadcasting Co. and has now reportedly landed at NBC.
In an odd twist, another NBC pilot developed last year, “Cafe American,” has apparently switched studios — moving from Twentieth TV to Lorimar along with its exec producer, Peter Noah (“Anything but Love”). The concept deals with an American woman working in an American-style cafe/bar in Paris.
The webs are in the thick of the development season and will announce their schedules for the 1993-94 TV term in May.