'thirtysomething' movie deal is unlikely, says ABC's Iger

July 23, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- As if the show's cancellation in May wasn't enough, there was more bad news yesterday for "thirtysomething" fans.

Contrary to previous announcements, ABC will not tie up loose ends from the series with one or more made-for-TV movies involving the characters, said Robert A. Iger, president of ABC Entertainment.

"We offered MGM [the makers of the show] a 'thirtysomething' movie deal," Iger said at a press conference here. "We offered two movies, maybe even more than that. But there now appear to be so many hurdles, I doubt that it will happen.

"And I think that's a shame. Although I don't think we left the viewer completely in midair, there was enough invested in those characters and that show that I think we owe it to the viewers to give them some sense of conclusion. But I don't think we're going to be able to do that. I'm sorry for that."

Iger said Ken Olin's recent announcement that he was reluctant to participate was only one of many problems that killed the deal. He declined to discuss the others.

Being president of ABC Entertainment apparently means having to say "I'm sorry" a lot lately, if yesterday's press conference is any indication.

Iger said he regretted having had to cancel "China Beach," the show that ended its run last night with a wise and moving finale that took Colleen McMurphy and Company to 1988 and the Vietnam Memorial.

Unlike "thirtysomething," though, Iger said last night's "China Beach" provided "closure and satisfaction -- a fitting way to end an incredible series."

Painting a grim future for network TV, Iger said that although the audience was enriched by shows like "thirtysomething" and "China Beach," "canceling them was just business."

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