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Turner gets easy acting gig

GOOD MORNING: Ted Turner stepped in front of the cameras again Thursday, this time for an appearance in HBO’s “Arli$$” for exec producer, creator and star Robert Wuhl. This time, Turner’s playing himself, unlike his first thespian endeavor, in “Gettysburg.” “I kept getting my lines wrong in that one,” admitted Turner, who this time out was flawless; he was allowed, of course, to ad lib a bit, inimitably. When he completed the scene, shot at Shutters in Santa Monica for director (also exec producer of the series) Mike Tollin, Turner asked, “Do I get paid for this?” “Sure,” said Wuhl, “$540, scale, just like everyone else.” “For an hour’s work,” exclaimed Turner, “that’s more than a psychiatrist gets. When do we get into overtime?” In the seg, the finale of the season (the initial airs Saturday night), Turner is pitched an offer by sports agent Wuhl that he can’t refuse — or can he? When not in front of the cameras, Turner was asked by Wuhl whether Jane Fonda Turner would return to acting. Turner allowed, “It’s her call — it could happen.” However, Ted T. has no further ambition to be in Wuhl’s sports-themed comedy — although he’d like to see his Atlanta Braves in more segs. (Pitcher Tom Glavine is in the opening montage each seg.) This season, a squadron of sports stars parades before the “Arli$$” cameras. Among ’em, Pete Rose was directed Wednesday by Peter Baldwin in a seg. Rose comments about a character, “If I was a betting man — I’d say he’d do well.” Ten segs of “Arli$$” have now been completed and HBO has ordered scripts for six more of the adult-themed sports show, “all based on true stories,” insists Wuhl. And real people — like Ted Turner?

WB’S “BATMAN” BLITZ fires on all fronts: The latest prize is the most popular of all games, “Monopoly.” Parker Bros. bowed the game in 1935, has sold over 60 million sets, and has now permitted a “Batman & Robin Collector’s Edition of Monopoly.” It’s only the second time a knockoff version of the game has been permitted — the first was for “Star Wars” in March. Parker Bros. says they can’t keep them on the shelves. They sell out at $29.99, the same price set for the “Batman” version — which, however, will be sold only in the WB stores, they say. (P.S. the price for a conventional Monopoly game is $11.99). … An all-Americana showbiz program is being produced by Harry Thomason for the June 21 Denver summit headed by President Clinton and including leaders from Canada, Japan, Italy, England, France and Russia. There will be musical performances including those by rock ‘n’ rollers, Native Americans, Dixie, etc. It’s wondered whether some artists may continue to boycott Colorado because of the state’s 1992 antigay amendment — although it has since been declared unconstitutional (last year) in a victory for gay (and all) rights. The Supreme Court also barred the passage of new anti-discrimination laws. … While 20th has its “Titanic” studio and giant tank in Rosarito Beach, Robert Halmi says he’s also built one, his in Melbourne, for “Moby Dick,” starring Patrick Stewart, with an appearance by Gregory Peck, in August. What future aquatic artistry will fill Halmi’s deep Down Under? A suggested addition to his remarkable remakes — “Mutiny on the Bounty” … Debbie Reynolds is off to Salt Lake City for a grandmother role in “Zack and Reba” for Itasca Pictures. She claims she’ll play a combination “Ruth Gordon and Marjorie Main.” “I love getting into characters,” said Reynolds. She asked that friends of Lillian Burns send letters of cheer to her c/o Reynolds’ North Hollywood studio. Burns was drama coach to then-youngsters like Reynolds, Janet Leigh, etc., during the proverbial halcyon days of Louis B. Mayer’s reign.

THE UNMISTAKABLE VOICE of Robert Stack will be heard as the narrator of Disney’s daytime, animated, celeb-voiced “Hercules” series. … “Bunny, Bunny,” Alan Zweibel’s play-tribute to Gilda Radner, is headed for the Canon with Alan Tudyk, who starred in its N.Y. bow. He’s inked with Brillstein-Grey. … The cast of “The Roxbury Boys,” Par’s feature version of the “Saturday Night Live” characters played by Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell, will be expanded with the addition of Molly Shannon, another “SNL” regular. … CBS has ordered another story idea for a “Waltons” reunion following the success of its first re-gathering…. John Larroquette goes the heavy route as a killer in a “Defenders” seg for Showtime. … It’s a sellout of tickets to view the first five shows of HBO’s “Mr. Show,” taping at the Hollywood Center. The comedy, starring Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, tapes five shows in 15 days Warren Littlefield delivers the commencement address at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and TV June 14 when 228 students receive degrees and pour into the world of showbiz. … Also on Saturday, director Arthur Allan Seidelman, the DGA’s rep at all TV ratings confabs, is commencement speaker at UC Santa Barbara. His topic: “Responsibility of Freedom.”

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