Reiser ‘Mad’ for series finale

GOOD MORNING: They may be showing a wet print of the final seg of NBC’s “Mad About You” on May 24, sez Paul Reiser. He says the one-hour show “is very ambitious — an unconventional structure — it has more than two times a half hour show!” After seven seasons, he promises the show closer will not disappoint the fans — “It’s very satisfying,” he says. Reiser, who created this show with Danny Jacobson and also cowrote and co-produced, says he’s not finished with TV — although he says he’d not again star in a sitcom. “I just don’t want to have to show up every day.” He has a deal with TriStar to produce a sitcom and is “looking for writers.” Meanwhile, he’s writing a feature in which he’d star for Rob Reiner for whom he just costarred in “The Story of Us.” The bigscreen’er, he says, will be an all-star comedy about a boy and his father. “I’ve been writing it for years,” admits Reiser. He is now particularly pleased to start a new challenge — he’s been elected to serve on UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture Board of Visitors. He was invited to join the Bruins by the music department’s Walter Ponce — who was Reiser’s teacher at Binghamton College where Paul majored in piano and composition … Carroll O’Connor who has played his grandfatherly role three times on “Mad About You” with Carol Burnett, asked me, “Why doesn’t a smart producer do a series with Carol and me? I’d do a series with her anytime.” Meanwhile, O’Connor’s off to Chi next week to costar in MGM’s “Return to Me” as the father of Minnie Driver — who gets a heart transplant. The pic’s directed/written by Bonnie Hunt … Carol Burnett, who returns to B’way in “Putting it Together,” will team with Julie Andrews on the Tonys, June 6. Kevin Spacey and Jason Robards will also duo on the show from the Gershwin stage … Rip Taylor says he’s found the perfect way to diet — a seven-month tour as Pseudolus in the National Equity Company production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”: he lost 40 pounds … Leslie Nielsen will tour the U.S. for three months as “Clarence Darrow.” He follows next year in England before bringing it to B’way. Don Gregory produces.

FROM THE RED HOT BARD to the hot rodders of So. Cal. “Shakespeare in Love’s” Oscar-winning producer and writer Mark Norman has written “The Age of Speed” — a comedy drama about the birth of “cool” and its post-WWII creation: hot rodding in 1946. Norman also intends to direct (he’s reined stage and TV projects) and his ICM agent Dave Wirtshafter is now taking out “Age of Speed” to studios … Steve Guttenberg has asked Renee Roland to produce his “Dream Date” feature. Guttenberg will direct and star. Roland who just wound post production on “Ride,” is now winding production on “The Story Tellers,” financed by Liane Davila and Jonnie Mae Lindsell (who also scripted) . Phil Goldfine of Seagal/Nasso will distrib “Story Tellers” foreign. The pic stars Michael Worth, John Bloom, Brad Dourif, Tippi Hedren, Craig Wasson, Zach Galligan and Mitzi Kapture. James Hickox directs. He will next direct “Crocodile” for Trimark and will also write/direct “The Ice Scream Man” for CEO Films. This is a busy, young group … Meanwhile Elizabeth Gaylynn Baker, at 62, a former script supervisor and unit production manager on 11 feature films, has launched her directing career with “When Buffalo Roam,” which won the Best Social Documentary Short Subject award at the N.Y. Intl. Film and Video fest … Grammy-winning (“The Lion King” cast album) composer Mark Mancina and Jill Meyer were married May 9 at Lake Arrowhead … Personal manager Debbie Benedict and thesp Lane Smith will wed in September. Smith (“From the Earth to the Moon”) costars in Showtime’s May 29th “Inherit The Wind” starring Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott.

SHOWBIZ RESPONDS: Lloyd Martin, vice president of sales of Todd AO, is taking in a family of 8 from the first group of 32 refugees arriving in Los Angeles from Kosovo. They arrived in L.A. with the help of the Jewish Federation … Best-selling author Iris Rainer Dart (“When I Fall in Love,” “Beaches”) was commencement speaker at Carnegie Mellon U. in Pittsburgh. It was called Carnegie Tech when she attended — and where she also met Stephen Schwartz with whom she is collaborating on a B’way musical for Bette Midler … At CalArts commencement Friday, artist Ed Ruscha receives an honorary degree from Pres. Steven D. Lavine. Ruscha recently completed a 23-foot mural entitled “Picture Without Words” for the Getty Center’s Harold Williams Auditorium … Suzanne de Passe received Prototypes’ Remarkable Woman of the Year Award and Northern Trust Bank’s Corporation of the Year award Wednesday at the BevHilton. Smokey Robinson was gala chairman. Prototypes serves 10,000 women along with their children who are at high risk … Marlee Matlin and Anthony Edwards m.c. the Very Special Arts international Soul and Arts fest May 28-June 2 in Downtown L.A. sites. Very Special Arts (VSA) promotes the creative powers in people with disabilities … Don Bondi, recipient of the Heritage Award, is retiring as “dean of dance” at L.A. County High School for the Arts.