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Barney now a Polygramosaurus

GOOD MORNING: “Barney: The Movie,” the bigscreen bow of the lovable dino, departs his lair at Warner Bros. with David Geffen and becomes the pet of Polygram’s planned pic expansion program of family films. I am assured that all was amicable between WB-Geffen and “Barney” creator Sheryl Leach. She and Dennis DeShazer will produce the pic for Polygram Filmed Entertainment with Lyric Studios, the Texas-based company of which the Lyons Group, producer of Barney programming, is an entertainment unit. The “Barney” movie has been in the works three years and Steve White’s screenplay is ready to go. They tell me the finances are set and the start is greenlit for May ’97 with a spring ’98 release. The pic will be live-action with special f/x, natch. In addition, cameo star appearances are expected for the feature by performers whose small fry are Barney fans. Among those skedded to appear are John Travolta, a big Barney buff himself — he is in contact with the Lyons group regularly. Also Demi Moore (fully clothed). Rosie O’Donnell is another expected cameo. And Arnold Schwarzenegger (unarmed!) who, with wife Maria Shriver, brought their kids to see Barney when the latter made an appearance at Universal Studios Hollywood. That’s where I had my first encounter with the big purple guy, introducing him to a crowd of kiddies whose numbers far surpassed that of any major (adult) premiere! Meanwhile, a “live” Barney musical stage show — a two-year U.S. tour (benefiting the Starbright Foundation chaired by Steven Spielberg) — heads out on the road in September, plays the U Amphi Nov. 6-10. Meanwhile, 60 new PBS “Barney” TV shows are also going before the cameras.

THE HORRIBLE, TRAGIC NEWS surrounding TWA Flight 800 recalls the last time a TWA flight was the target of a terrorist attack: the 1985 Flight 847 from Athens, skedded to Rome — but hijacked to Beirut and to Algiers and back to Beirut. The NBC-TV movie, “The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story,” received five Emmy nominations in 1988 and was exec produced by Jim Calio and David Hume Kennerly and produced by Jay Benson. Derickson is the flight attendant credited with saving lives with her quick thinking and heroic actions when two Hezbollah hijackers took over the plane (with a hidden gun) and killed an American Navy diver. Derickson worked with all but one of the Flight 800 crew, having flown with them when she was working with TWA. (She is still a flight attendant, but not for TWA). She reminds that her TWA flight also originated in Athens. Since her 1985 experience, Derickson’s worked with the FBI to try and devise plans to counter this kind of terrorism; however, she allows it’s easy to hide a (timed) explosive under the passenger seat where life jackets are stowed. Calio, who originally wrote the Derickson story for People magazine, is now readying another true story for the screen: “Resistance Lady,” about an American woman in WWII Paris who secretly escorted downed U.S. flyers out of occupied France. Calio’s production company on “Resistance” is funded by him and five Navy Vietnam vet buddies! … A unique aspect of this year’s Emmy nominees: in the category of variety, music and comedy program, Buz Kohan and daughter Jenji are up against each other; he’s nominated as one of the producers of “Sinatra: 80 Years My Way” and she as a producer of the “Tracy Takes On” special. Buz says, “I’m hoping for a tie.” Both Kohans also have other nominations separately, he for music, she for writing … ABC’s Ted Harbert and Jamie Tarses invited James Belushi and his Sacred Hearts Band to perform tonight at the House of Blues — for visiting TV crix. Belushi also stars in the “It’s Good to Be King” series for ABC.

SOME VITAL STATISTICS: The Koch clan claims two new arrivals. Billy and Kathy (Kashler) Koch welcomed twin boys Payton and Cooper July 16 at Cedars-Sinai. The happy first-time grandfather is Howard W. Koch Jr. and the proud great-grandparents are Howard W. Koch Sr. and wife Ruth. All of the Koch men are in showbiz — all except the new twin arrivals, that is. But the day is young! … Ginny and Bob Newhart joined grandparents ranks, thanks to daughter Jennifer and husband Joseph Bonjovi, who welcomed daughter Taylor B. July 14 in Marin County. Papa’s a Sony Music merchandising exec … Sorry to learn that Virginia Christine (widow of Fritz Feld), the lovable “Mrs. Olson” of Folger coffee commercials, died Wednesday at home in Brentwood of heart problems. She was 77. Services are skedded for 2 p.m. Sunday at Mount Sinai, Burbank … Andrew Shue and very expectant wife Jennifer (Hageney) were at Dan Tana’s, where diners included Gabriel Byrne and Elle Macpherson. Also there, Johnny Depp with Lou DiGiaimo, latter casting for “The Brave” which Depp directs, as well as stars. Also at Tana’s: Edie and Lew Wasserman with London visitors Eve (Foreman) and husband Michael Williams-Jones … At Madame Wu’s Jennifer Jones in the dinner party including architect Frank Gehry and Dr. Milton Wesler.