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Tartikoff, NBC talk new projects

GOOD MORNING: NBC’s Warren Littlefield and Don Ohlmeyer dined Brandon Tartikoff at Morton’s, then breakfast’d him at the Four Seasons (we’ve got to eat, too!). Was it just to renew old acquaintances? Sure — but also to talk the “Op Center” series being readied by Brandon with partners Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik. And maybe the Quincy Jones-Tartikoff “Bigtime TV” series, which is now going out nationally from its New Orleans start. Before returning to New Orleans, Tartikoff showed up at another watering hole, the bar on the “Cheers” set, where he guested on the final-filmed seg along with Jay Sandrich and Bob Broder (who packaged the series). After the final show was lensed last Wednesday (for early airing pre-grand finale), a very last scene for the very last show (taped two weeks ago for May 20 airing) was secretly (?) filmed. And the company partied last Thursday night at DC-3 … Meanwhile “Bob” Newhart’s back in his old Monday time slot tonight, reuniting Newhart with Tom Poston, Bill Daly and Steve Lawrence … Billy Friedkin signed with ICM. He set Mary McDonnell to co-star with Nick Nolte in his “Blue Chips” for Par. “Passion Fish” nominee McDonnell first hies to the Kahala on Oahu to p.a. “Passion” at the Hawaiian Intl. Film Fest. Friedkin and wife Sherry Lansing dined with Hilly Elkins and Sandy Love at Matteo’s and set Lou Gossett for a one-day cameo as the minister in “Blue Chips.” Gossett wings in from his “Lonesome Dove” location May 28 for the role. The busy Gossett’s currently in Africa with Sean Connery on “A Good Man in Africa”… Producers Ned and Nancy Graham Tanen left director Michael Ritchie and the “Cops and Robbersons” set here to red-eye to Baltimore where their “Guarding Tess” is being directed by Hugh Wilson. Coincidentally (?) the Tanens’ two TriStar movies are skedded to be released the same day — Dec. 17!

“NBC FELT HE SHOULD HAVE AN EVENT,” said Linda Hope, exec producer of the web’s three-hour May 14 spec-tribute to Bob Hope on his 90th birthday (actual date May 29). Thus, Don Mischer has been inked to produce and also direct the spec. “I think Don will bring the ‘big event’ feeling to this show,” said Linda. Mischer produced Hope’s 80th birthday show as well — from the Kennedy Center. Buz Kohan has also joined writers Gene and Linda Perret and Martha Bolton. Linda adds there will be at least one star for each of her dad’s 90 years. “And we’re going to try to surprise him.” There’ll be segs from B’way, radio, TV, movies and a section just on monologues. “He has been a voice of history. And he’s been a part of life to so many people.” I’ve known Bob since I was in the mailroom at Par through reunions with him in the Pacific during WWII … All the presidents are paged to appear on the show … Hope will get his (fourth) star on the Walk of Fame May 13. This is the first time he will have appeared for one of his stars’ unveiling … The Blockbuster Video buyers of Spelling Entertainment stock plus board members convened in Aaron’s offices in the Wilshire Courtyard last week to learn of his many plans. He films a third pilot this week, NBC’s “Winnetka Road.” This one’s set in Chicago … It was reunion time at Nicky Blair’s for this group of alumni from the “Viva Hollywood” awards last year at the Villa D’Este in Lake Como: Janet Leigh with husband Bob Brandt, Rod and Carol Taylor, and showbiz attorney Jeffrey Berkowitz, who had attended with Samantha Eggar. Tony Curtis stopped by their table at Blair’s to introduce new wife Lisa to ex-wife Janet Leigh. And at a nearby table at Nicky’s, Richard Harris with his ex-wife Ann Turkel. Harris next films “Morocco” in that site … Ruth Brown sings the national anthem publicly for the first time at Tuesday’s Dodgers’ home opener at Dodger Stadium … Vin Scully receives the Richstone Center for Child Abuse “Caritas — Love of People Award” June 8 at the BevHilton.

MIKE MYERS AND JON LOVITZ are now being paged to team at Fox in “Kick the Can” and at Columbia in “Tucson”… Sam Elliott segues from his current NBC Joseph Wambaugh “Fugitive Nights” to Cinergi’s “Tombstone” with Kurt Russell … Olivia D’Abo bicycles between daytime filming “Clean Slate” for MGM and evenings at the Mark Taper in “Scenes From an Execution”… Clive Revill, seen this month on TNT’s “Sea Wolf” in the role originated by Barry Fitzgerald, next played Zamyotov in “Crime and Punishment” and then donned frock as the crazed fire marshal for Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”… Steve Allen spent Easter Sunday at Century City’s Brentano’s p.a.’ing his fourth murder mystery, “The Murder Game” (Zebra) in which the lead characters are amateur detectives — Steve Allen and his alter ego, Jayne Meadows … Bulgaria gets first foreign rights to Jack Valenti’s novel, “Protect & Defend”… Frank Wells is general chairman of the 1993 Eisenhower Leadership Prize Dinner honoring Colin L. Powell June 17 at the D.C. Hilton where John Chancellor m.c.’s … Johnny Mathis’ album , “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”– songs by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman — hits the stalls May 6, and this fall Columbia releases a boxed set of more than 100 tunes chronicling Mathis’ career — coinciding with his first Carnegie Hall concert Oct. 7, 8, 9.

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