Diller dabbles in expansion plans

GOOD MORNING: “The categories go on endlessly,” beamed Barry Diller on the phone from his new QVC offices in Philly (West Chester, Pa.). By this time next year, Barry will probably be beaming all his activities on screen via the company’s many video outlets. “It is absolutely fascinating,” said Diller, who will also office in N.Y. and L.A. for the company, which currently has more than 4,500 employees–and rapidly expanding. He has a $ 25 million investment, you recall. Yes, he has considerable plans for entertainment in the new company’s airing future. “And news services, too,” he added. “People ask me, ‘Why would you be interested in selling jewelry? This is a business of transactions and the home shopping industry is just one at the earliest stage of development. The entire picture is just at the early stage of development and the future is huge–huge, I tell you, a huge opening of possibilities.” There’s no one with more enthusiasm for the future as Diller. “It’s healthy to make changes,” he noted of his new adventure. I recalled to him that Dore Schary, in 1953, when he was still head of MGM, told me his vision of the day when “you’ll sit in your living room, flash on a screen and be able to do your shopping, banking, watch movies and sporting events–any transaction you need.” The day has dawned–ask a delighted Barry Diller.

THERE’S NO BIZNESS IN SHOW BIZNESS–that hasn’t starred Joan Collins. The perennial beauty, now in L.A. briefly, heads to European spas to tape an infomercial for BioFlora, a total skincare line with five all-natural products. The blurbs start airing next month. Meanwhile, Collins has taken an option on Judith Gould’s “Forever” to film for her banner and will also star, in a dual role, in “Decadence” with Steven Berkoff, to feature-film in Germany. Collins next heads to Acapulco to complete her third novel, “Hell Hath No Fury…” for Random House. “Acapulco is the only place I can write,” she says. “There are too many distractions here.” Collins arrived here from Birmingham, England, where she cheered ex-husband Tony Newley, a hit in “Scrooge,” tuned by Leslie Bricusse. Collins said Newley’s enjoying a “renaissance.” She is here with beau Robin Hurlstone. No marriage, she says, “Who needs marriage?” She’s saddened by the Charles-Diana, et al., royal breakups and partially blames their lack of privacy. Collins continues her own legal suit vs. the Globe “for photos taken of me in my bedroom. Everyone’s entitled to some privacy–in your bedroom or telephone, at least.” Welcome back, Joan … There’s a new design on “Designing Women,” The Bloodworth/Thomason Mozark Prods.-Columbia TV-CBS series now boasts David Steinberg (who directed several segs) as co-exec producer (with Doug Jackson and Tommy Thompson). And Emily Levine joins the team. Norma Safford Vela , who was exec producer with Linda and Harry T., is no longer with the show. She’s working on “George” (Foreman) for ABC and two CBS shows in development. The “Women” and Mesach Taylor are heading out on the road to promote the series. And Linda promises some big guns for the second half of the season–subjects including Vietnam … Susan (Mrs. Burt) Lancaster asks us to please tell all that European press reports of Burt’s condition are erroneous. “He’s doing much better,” she says “and is getting out much more. I’m delighted he’s making progress.” All of us join Susan in wishing Burt a complete recovery from his stroke. He has always been one of the stalwarts of the industry–and the community.

THE DEATH OF RUDOLF NUREYEV saddened all of the world. From the Kahala in Oahu, Jeffrey Kruger, who produced Nureyev’s last, 36-city European tour in ’92, told me, “Despite his illness and damaged feet, he gave his all. And while crix claimed he gave ‘less than perfectionist performances,’ he gave 104% and received standing ovations everywhere. He cared for and loved his audiences. He was a consummate professional. He will be sorely missed.” Kruger said, “I learned he had AIDS 4 1/2 months ago and spoke to him in Paris (by phone) seven weeks ago. He could not speak very much and the nurse took the phone away”… Yesterday afternoon at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel where Charlie Rose taped his inaugural PBShows, TV crix had a chance to see/hear Roseanne Arnold and Tom Arnold “live” as the duo discussed, separately, Roseanne’s rebuttals to personal criticism of “Roseanne.” Tuesday p.m., at the hotel, Rose was birthday-partied with guests on hand including Sherry Lansing and Billy Friedkin … On “L.A. Law” tonight, Hugh O’Brian reunions with Peggy McKay, who plays his wife–she was his girlfriend in two TV’ers in years past. And “Law” regular John Spencer co-starred with O’Brian in 1970 on B’way in “Decision”… Chevy Chase m.c.’s the N.Y. Friars Man of the Year tribute to Neil Simon, April 25 at the Waldorf-Astoria. David Tebet is dinner chairman–for the 15th year. Jack L. Green is the Friars’ Dean. The dais will include Steve Martin, Ted Danson, Richard Dreyfuss, Martin Short, Red Buttons, Clint Holmes, Sid Caesar, etc. … The rain washes out the Walk of Fame ceremonies today for Anna Lee. It’s now reskedded for Monday–weather permitting, natch.

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