NBC topics include Landon, Letterman

July 30, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

LOS ANGELES — There will be a second Michael Landon special on network television in September. And, yes, David Letterman really is mad about not getting Johnny Carson's job, but he won't be leaving NBC any time before April 1993.

Those were the major announcements yesterday from Warren Littlefield, president of NBC Entertainment, at a press conference here with television critics.

Last week, CBS said it would air the two-hour pilot movie of Landon's new series, "Us," during the new season's premiere week of Sept. 16. (Landon died this month without finishing any episodes of the series.)

NBC countered yesterday, saying it would air a two-hour "celebration" of Landon's life sometime during the week of Sept. 9. Littlefield said Michael Landon Jr. will be involved in the project.

On the Letterman front, Littlefield said that Carson's May announcement that he would leave "Tonight" next year caught NBC management by surprise and that they had to "scramble" to "solidify" Jay Leno as successor and to tell Letterman before the press did.

He said the "Late Night" host was indeed angry and that the matter could have been handled better. As to Letterman's threats to leave NBC, Littlefield said, "He has a contract through April 1993. He will be with us through that time and I hope he'll be with us long after that."

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