CBS to present Landon's final film, live dramas this fall

July 26, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

LOS ANGELES 8 — LOS ANGELES -- Michael Landon's last movie, a reunion of the gang from "M*A*S*H" and Francis Ford Coppola directing live television dramas were among the major programming moves announced by CBS yesterday.

* "Us" is the two-hour movie pilot for a new series that Landon had been working on for CBS before his recent death. It will air during the fall premiere week of Sept. 16, Jeff Sagansky, the president of CBS Entertainment said yesterday at a press conference here.

In the film, Landon plays an innocent man convicted of murder, who is released from prison after 18 years. The man becomes a roving newspaper columnist traveling across the country.

"Michael told me before he died that he wanted the movie to be aired," Sagansky said.

* A "M*A*S*H" reunion will be part of what CBS has taken to calling a "classic weekend." A similar "classic weekend" last spring, which featured a reunion of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and clips from the "Ed Sullivan Show," was a ratings hit for the network.

All former cast members from "M*A*S*H" are expected to participate. This show will be teamed with another Ed Sullivan special and a reunion for veterans of two Bob Newhart shows, both the '70s series where he played a psychologist and the more recent one in which he was an innkeeper in Vermont. The specials will air in November.

* Starting in March, CBS will begin live dramatic telecasts, which Sagansky described as "similar to Playhouse 90," a series of plays staged live for television in the 1950s. Francis Ford Coppola will co-produce the series and direct the first play.

* In other announcements, Sagansky said that CBS was going to make a sequel to "Lonesome Dove" for the fall of 1992. All original cast members will return. Sagansky also said that Ed Asner has joined the cast of "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill."

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