Bunch of Brady specs headed to TV

GOOD MORNING: It’s the “Brady Bunch” — in bunches. Just as Par/NBC are readying to air their latest “Brady,” “Growing Up Brady” on May 21, the Fox Network is busily taping one of its one-hour “mini-series,” “The Brady Bunch, The Final Years” and rushing to air it May 16! The Par pic is based on the book, “Growing Up Brady, I Was A Teenage Greg” by original cast member Barry Williams. The Fox pic is described as “focusing on interpersonal conflicts during the final days of the program. After a successful five-year run, the politics of filming the show had reached the breaking point for cast and crew. The show’s ratings had fallen and once-docile cast members were aggressively trying to break from their familiar roles. Soon, everyone began to wonder what life would be like after growing up as a Brady in millions of households across the country.” The Fox pic is a Rocket Science Laboratories Production. Those who have seen a script say it heavily features the battles between Robert Reed who played poppa Brady and the show’s granddaddy, creator and writer Sherwood Schwartz. As you might imagine, Par is not happy — but its legal department has not returned my queries about legal questions involved. So, stay tuned — to both “Bradys”! And oh yes, Fox has another “mini-movie” in the works, this one based on “Diff’rent Strokes” stars Dana Plato, Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges and their lives — after TV. It, too is produced by Rocket Science Laboratories.

WITH EASTER ONLY A WEEK AWAY, fade in to Easter Sunday, 1939. That’s the day Marian Anderson was nixed by the Daughters of the American Revolution from performing at D.C.’s Constitution Hall. Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes and others immediately righted that wrong by getting the site shifted to — the Lincoln Memorial where 75,000 showed to hear Anderson open the program with — “America the Beautiful”! That important moment in American history will be properly, rightfully chronicled for all to remember by UCLA’s Film and Archives Department headed by Tim Kittleson who coproduces a documentary of the day with LeVar Burton. Although the Anderson concert was heard on radio but only seen on newsreel clips, the full concert and the story behind it will be shown and told to countless millions in this docu. UCLA’s archives, the largest repository of film footage outside of the Library of Congress, has the full Hearst Movietone News coverage of the concert. UCLA asked LeVar to coproduce with them. And, of course he will. He is in the fifth year of a production deal at Par (his Eagle Nation Films), and in the 18th season of producing the “Reading Rainbow” series for PBS. It has won five Emmys and launches the season May 18 with “Shaman’s Apprentice,” filmed in the jungles of South America. Burton, who has directed more than 25 “Star Trek” segs (in which he also starred), is also readying a MOW with Whoopi Goldberg’s banner, One Ho, for Col-TriStar TV, “The Watsons go to Birmingham.” He will also direct and costar with Whoopi and Alfre Woodard. Burton’s directing credits also include “The Tiger Woods Story” for Showtime. And he is also developing five features, six other MOWs and three series. Burton’s busy.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 50 YEARS, after being lost in a studio fire, the Spencer Tracy starrer “The Power and the Glory,” written by Preston Sturges and directed by William K. Howard, will be screened at the British Film Institute’s NFI, May 5 . The pic, often called a precursor of “Citizen Kane,” has been reconstructed thanks to the love of movies by Bill Mechanic and Fred Chandler at 20th-Fox who supervised its resuscitation. Most lost pieces were found but a few scenes were re-shot — the hands of Sturges’ son Tom (he’s U. Music Publishing exec VP) doubled for those in the original pic — which were his dad’s! “The Power and the Glory” will re-debut in L.A. at UCLA’s Preservation Festival in July. And Michael Douglas still intends to film Sturges’ “Mr. Big From Littleville,” a script Sturges wrote — and intended to direct — in 1948.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO’S CALLED BACK to tape additional spots for the ABC “Earth Day” special airing on the 22nd. No additional footage with the president. … Pierce Brosnan winds Panama locations of “Tailor of Panama” April 21, wings here to host, with fiancee Keely Shaye Smith, the L.A. Earthday 2000 gala at the Coliseum. As part of this celebration, he’ll present an award to the people of Mexico for blocking construction of a salt refinery at the San Ignacio Lagoon, which would have destroyed the only breeding waters of the Pacific grey whale. Brosnan and Smith headed that campaign, which brought about the environmental victory. … Ford Motor Car Co. sponsors A&E’s May 20 (7-8 p.m.) “Heroes for the Planet” featuring special guests Charlotte Church and Haley Joel Osment. … At the Kennedy Center tonight, Tipper Gore catches Liza in “Minnelli on Minnelli.” And Thursday night, the Sean Connerys in the Center’s Eisenhower Theater Presidential box caught Judd Hirsch in “Art.” Micheline Connery also has an exhibit of her work at D.C’s Women’s Museum. … Meryl Marshall, CEO and chairman of the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences, and attorney Raymond Daniels are engaged to wed. … Sherry Lansing receives SHARE’s Shining Spirit Award at the May 13 Boomtown — the gals’ 47th bash, is at CBS Radford in Studio City. Joel Grey, Joely Fisher and David Brenner head the entertainment — but you know who’ll really star — the Sharettes.

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