Wedding bells likely for O’Connor, Nicholas

GOOD MORNING: Carroll O’Connor to wed Denise Nicholas at season’s end of “In the Heat of the Night”? “He’s discussed it with me,” said Nicholas, here on the midseason break (until September) of production in Georgia. She’s completed 13 segs and also writes two of ’em. One’s about the hangings in Mississippi jails. Nicholas is also writing a dramatic series of her own, “Delilah’s Dream,” an 1850s-set saga in SanFran … The O’Connors will spend the summer at their Malibu home. They return with their expanded family — son Hugh and wife Angela welcomed son Sean on the location … When Bill Cosby taped his stint with Roseanne Arnold, Burt Reynolds and Howie Mandel on ABC’s “Class Clowns” urging kids to stay in school, Cos also taped added material for future use. It’ll turn up in a half-hour video produced by Ernie Chambers and A.D. Oppenheim, “Bill Cosby, A Day at Central High — Unfinished Business.” They plan to sell it to an advertiser to distrib as a premium with their product. And the proceeds go to Central High’s scholarship fund in Cosby’s name. Education is close to the heart of Cosby, who did not receive his high school diploma until later years. And he went on to get his master’s and Ph.D. (in education) … Monday, Chambers and Gary Nardino tape an extensive pilot-test for Lorimar-WB-NBC of 6-year-old Brittany Smith. She’s described by Nardino as “the closest one I’ve ever seen to Shirley Temple!”… Chambers is also prepping a talkshow pilot at Fox for Clifton Davis … Peter Yates set Ellen Burstyn to join Peter Falk in Interscope’s “Roommates,” shooting in Pittsburgh … And Dick Benjamin set Malcolm McDowell to join Melanie Griffith and Ed Harris in Par’s “Milk Money” filming in Cincy — and Pittsburgh … Eric Roberts is picking up night shoots on Showtime’s “Love, Cheat and Steal,” started in January — and rained out. Roberts was committed to go on to “The Last Mafia Marriage” and South Africa’s “Free Fall.” In Roberts’ steamy scenes with Madchen Amick in the picked-up “Love,” she will only be able to film close-ups — she’s now in her seventh month of pregnancy.

IN CASE YOU WONDERED — Johnny Carson was asked by his former “Tonight” show topper Fred de Cordova to be one of the “legends” in de Cordova’s upcoming “Legend to Legend” NBC spec benefiting AIDS charities and taping at the U Amphi Oct. 26. “I wouldn’t think of any show about ‘legends’ without Johnny,” said Fred. But Carson asked for a rain check — until next year. De Cordova, now exec consultant to the Jay Leno show (he’s there every day), says, “There won’t be another Carson,” but adds, “Jay has built a definite following.” Of the upcoming competition, he observes, “I think there’s room on the late show for Jays and Daves”… De Cordova, in addition to the Leno show and the “Legend” spec, is also prepping a caper telepic for NBC — and has no thought of retiring … Ricardo Montalban, who underwent back surgery two weeks ago, is progressing well in rehab … Irving Lazar is being checked for pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai … I spoke with Greer Garson in Dallas Presbyterian hospital to congratulate her on her CBE. She thanked Hollywood friends for their congrats — and good wishes … Charles Aidikoff is recuping at home after eye surgery at the Jules Stein Eye Institute … Cliff Robertson is flying high — he set two Nevada state distance glider records. And he’s been set by Steve Krantz to star in the two-part “Dazzle” by Judith Krantz … Kim Cattrall stars in her first TV series, CBS’ “Angel Falls,” with Brian Kerwin as her husband … Jeremy Jackson (12), who plays David Hasselhoff’s son Hobie on “Baywatch,” won the celeb Bud Surf Tour at Malibu, beating out adult opponents … Danny Arnold stepped in for Kevin Dobson , unable to host his own celeb golf tourney at Ojai when Dobson couldn’t get back from Nashville locations. The tourney benefited the John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John’s.

YOU NEVER KNOW who you’ll meet waiting for takeout at Wolfgang Puck’s Granita in Malibu. This night it was Jack Lemmon, who just completed work on TNT’s “A Life in the Theater” with Matthew Broderick, and which, says Jack, may be headed for the bigscreen first. It has several festival invites. Lemmon is as high on this project as he was on “Glengarry Glen Ross”– and says young Broderick is terrif … Lyle Lovett has signed with ICM — for acting jobs, that is …”Scotty,” Bill McGlynn, who has greeted Universal employees and guests with a great big smile for 33 years, has retired. You know where he’s headed for a long vacation … Eva Gabor and Merv Griffin, Joe Pesci, Jerry Van Dyke, Bobby Troup, Harvey Korman, Grant Tinker, Ray Anthony, etc., ringsided at the Moonlight Tango Cafe Tuesday night to hear Jack Sheldon and his 22-piece big band. During intermission, Korman, Van Dyke and Bob Ridgeley went on stage to further delight the sold-out house … Today Jerry Van Dyke and Toms Poston and Mathers are on hand at the Stage Deli as “Tom & Jerry”; they get on the menu with their own sandwich (peanut butter and jelly). “Tom & Jerry: The Movie” bows this week, in case you wondered.

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