20th reworking ‘Paula’

GOOD MORNING: The Paula Poundstone pilot at 20th Fox TV, “Paula,” slated to start taping Wednesday — didn’t. After 10 days of rehearsals on completed sets, the show now gets a new look and a new exec producer: Danny Jacobson, a creator of the marvelous “Mad About You” and 20th TV’s terrif “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.” He will rework “Paula” and replace Linda Moris and Vic Rauseo. Poundstone was set to play a TV reporter with two foster children, a (black) girl, Raven-Simone, and a (white) boy, Tim Redwine. Also appearing are Carol Kane — and the unsinkable Debbie Reynolds, as Poundstone’s mother. The series is skedded to restart over the weekend, so Reynolds had to cancel (sold-out) shows at her hotel in Vegas. When told of the stoppage and the restart, Reynolds said, “It’s like giving birth to a baby — and then having another one!” “Paula” is Reynolds’ second outing in a TV series; the first, “The Debbie Reynolds Show,” aired on NBC, ’69-’70. She noted, “I’m fascinated by the amount of money that goes into a TV show today! It’s a very fascinating world, this TV. And the 20th lot is fascinating today, with all the high-rise building going on.” She made three movies there — 35 years ago. As for the status of her Vegas hotel, Debbie is happy that Florida developer David Siegel bought the place. “And I didn’t have to marry him!” she added. They are enlarging the casino, restaurant and number of rooms. “I’m going to stay there another 10 years,” said Reynolds (66). “They wanted a 30-year contract, I said, ‘With whom!’ ”

FAYE DUNAWAY HEADS TO FRANCE for “Joan of Arc” for director Luc Besson after winding Miramax’s “The Yard” here. She returns to France (and Italy as well) next year to shoot “Master Class”. … “‘Monty Python’ Meets ‘Armageddon’ ” — that’s the way Peter Samuelson describes “Good Omens,” the next project of his banner (partnered with brother Marc). They’ve just wrapped “Arlington Road,” produced with Tom Gorai and starring Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack for Lakeshore and Polygram. “Titanic’s” Oscar-winning editor Conrad Buff is cutting this one, which claims as its spectacle a car-bus crash in D.C. (they closed down Pennsylvania Ave. for the sequence). Samuelson is also proud of “Wilde,” which he says got a standing ovation at the SanFran Film Fest. But most important to Peter is his continuing work on Starlight and Starbright — now helping 50,000 seriously ill children each month! June 22, Peter addresses the World Congress on Information Technology on the subject of entrepreneurial philanthropy. He follows Margaret Thatcher. … Emma Samms and her husband John Holloway welcomed a daughter, Beatrice H., in England March 30. Emma sold her script, “His Bodyguard,” to the USA net. … Friday, the cast of “NYPD Blue” guests on ABC’s “The View,” visiting in L.A. from N.Y. for a week’s shows. Tuesday night at the Mondrian’s SkyBar, “View” hosts Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Debbie Matenopoulos hosted 200-plus press agents, agents, managers, etc. to thank ’em for their support of their new daytimer. … I’ve been pitching for this for a long time and now it’s coming: On May 15, Aspen Mountain Air inaugurates commercial airline service from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Branson’s M. Graham Clark Airport. Tony Orlando makes the initial flight to Branson, where he’s in his fifth season in the state-of-the-art 2,250-seat theater he shares with Wayne Newton. Next month, Orlando celebrates the 25th anni of his hit, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree”. … Grand lady Gloria Stuart will be the Grand Marshall of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

JAMES BROWN WAS HAPPY-BIRTHDAY’D on his 65th, Tuesday night at the House of Blues by Goldie Hawn, daughter Kate and son Oliver. The Godfather of Soul invited ’em back to a big birthday bash May 14 at Universal. … Meanwhile, Tuesday at the China Club’s C2 restaurant, Rod Stewart was dining a few tables away from Boy George — who is a big fan of Stewart’s. So, Rod took down a (10-year-old) picture of himself from the Club wall, signed it, gave it to Boy George. Also dining there, Luther Vandross and Wynonna Judd . Ashley Judd celebrates her birthday there next week. … “Beauty and the Beast’s” Deborah Gibson, performs at the “NYC Salute To Israel at 50” in Bryant Park today with Mayor Giuliani hosting. … Rosemary Clooney receives the seventh Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Singers at the BevHilton Oct. 5. The formidable lineup includes Joe Williams, Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow. … Publicist Peter Levinson is completing “Trumpet Blues,” the bio of Harry James, for Oxford U. Press. … Lalo Schifrin, in London recording his fourth “Jazz Meets the Symphony” CD, segues to Buenos Aires to concert May 4. … Quincy Jones is recording his first big band jazz album in a long while for his Qwest label. … Robert Downey Sr. marries writer and music biz exec Rosemary Rogers May 8 in N.Y. … Meredith MacRae is in London attending a President’s Roundtable Confab of the Intl. Women’s Forum; she’s prez of the So. Cal. chapter.

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