Morton X’s out crix chat

Robert Morton, executive producer of ABC’s new sitcom “Over the Top,” canceled his appearance at ABC’s portion of the Television Critics Assn. press tour Tuesday because he felt he would take attention away from the show itself.

Morton until recently was romantically involved with ABC Entertainment president Jamie Tarses, who is expected to appear today in the most highly anticipated session of the month-long gathering.

“Robert made a conscious choice,” said Mitch Katlin, another executive producer on “Over the Top.” “The story should not be about all that other stuff. It should be about the show.”

Over the past couple of days, the press tour has taken on circus-like proportions as speculation over the future of Tarses reaches a fevered pitch. Tarses was not expected to attend ABC’s press tour party Tuesday night.

Pilot’s being reworked

As far as “Over the Top” is concerned, the pilot is being reworked and set in a new locale, which isn’t ending speculation that it may be pulled early if its doesn’t get a great number. Two contenders are already ru-mored to be vying for the slot: Carsey-Werner’s “Grace Under Fire,” which was ordered as a backup show, and Universal TV’s “Something So Right,” which NBC canceled and ABC is expected to announce today that it has snagged.

Separately, ABC has tapped Martin Mull, who played Leon on “Roseanne” to play the role of the school’s vice principal on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” which is entering its second season this fall.

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