Cybill revels in reality-based sitcom

GOOD MORNING: Cybill Shepherd, off to a flying start with a sensaysh bow in CBS’ reality-based (on her) “Cybill,” playing a twice-divorced mother of two, laughingly admits, “I haven’t gotten any hate mail”– from her ex-mates. They still visit her house — and their children, much as the series principals do. And her close(r) friend Peter Bogdanovich has been a regular visiting the set. He’s a fan of the show — and of Cybill, natch. “He’s a loving friend, very supportive, and a wonderful director. And I hope he’ll come on the show — and act.” Guestars so far include George Hamilton, who does “an obscene walk-on. I expose myself to him,” reports Shepherd, of a scene in which she’s to decide whether to do a nude scene for a film role. She does it — at least a body double does. Another upcoming guestar is Morgan Fairchild, who has a hefty cat fight with Shepherd. “People were laughing on the stage. Morgan was terrific, and (co-star) Christine Baranski is as brilliant an actor as anyone I’ve ever worked with.” Producer Jay Daniel, alumnus of “Roseanne,” says on this show, “There is a lot of social consciousness, as in ‘Roseanne.’ But we don’t want to make it a message show or a polemic. We can be as successful on a white-collar basis as on a blue (‘Roseanne’) — or a non-collar basis. We have a wonderful resource in Cybill. We actually had a commitment from three networks at one time.” Shepherd, celebrating her 25th year in the biz, and her third time around the star circle, admits she doesn’t anticipate the third time around in marriage. “I don’t think I’m cut out for it — being a wife. It could be hard for me.”

JUDY GARLAND’S EARLIEST film, a 1930 short, “Bubbles,” has been found by George Feltenstein, who is incorporating it into “Judy Garland — The Golden Years at MGM,” to go out on laserdisc next month, $129.98. It was to have been released last fall, but Feltenstein wanted it to be comprehensive and to take full advantage of the technology of laser. A video may emerge at year’s end, also a CD-ROM. Liza Minnelli has added important input, like advice for a new finale which will now be “Look for the Silver Lining” from “Till the Clouds Roll By” (1946). When Judy sang it, she was pregnant with Liza! Feltenstein says Liza’s ideas were appreciated –“To carry on the legacy is important.” Working with him on the disc for the past two years were Allan Fisch and John Fricke … Feltenstein is also working on special editions of UA films including Liza’s “New York, New York” (1977), to be re-released in a new package and synchronized with the release of Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “Casino”… Liza, recuping nicely from hip surgery, was further cheered by word from Harvey Weinstein. Two years ago, he asked what she wanted for her birthday. She said, “Chicago.” He’s now confirmed she will star in it. A co-star to be set … Grammy producer (25 years) Pierre Cossette, thrilled to receive a special Trustee Award from NARAS prez Mike Greene, said, “I feel a little like (vet Miami Dolphins coach) Don Shula. I’d like to thank my two starting quarterbacks, Walter Miller and Ken Ehrlich, and our tight end Tisha Fein!” The ever-busy Cossette now has a line of Will Rogers Western foods (chili, barbecue, etc.). Philip Browning heads Cossette’s cookery division … Gregory Peck was a surprised — and pleased — Grammy nominee for Dove Audio’s “The New Testament” (20 hours). He recorded it as an album several years ago with son Stephen P.

THE SNEAK PREVIEW of the Marlon Brando/Faye Dunaway/Johnny Depp “Don Juan De Marco” in Santa Monica Wednesday night brought cheers from the audience — who found it Brando’s best in many years. And New Line hopes to reteam Depp with Brando in “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” also with Andy Garcia … And an early showing of the Mel Gibson-directed-and-starring “Brave Heart” brought this comment: “It’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ time!” And another costume epic getting hefty enthusiasm in rough cut viewing is the Richard Gere starrer “First Knight.” Par’s asked him to star in “Primal Fear,” to be directed by “NYPD Blue’s” Gregory Hoblit, produced by Gary Lucchesi … This is no baloney: Lee Solters segues from praising the now-pickled Carnegie Deli to the legendary Nate N’ Al’s — the latter celebrating their 50th anni …”Victor, Victoria” is totally capitalized and goes into rehearsals March 5 with an out-of-town bow set for May 19 (location hasn’t been announced yet), Chi’s Shubert June 12, N.Y.’s Marquis preview Sept. 26, opening Oct. 15. Sets go into construction next week, and Rob Marshall joins the Blake Edwards-Tony Adams team as choreographer. Julie Andrews first wings here for the Jan. 19 “Commitment to Life” AIDS benefit and also sings “Cockeyed Optimist” (from her “Broadway” album) on PBS’ 100th anni tribute to Oscar Hammerstein.

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