Items from a reporter's notebook


August 08, 1991|By Michael Hill

Los Angeles -- Just in case you actually believed everything you read or heard that came out of the recent television press tour to promote the fall schedule, consider what one top television executive said casually to a few reporters:

"You know, especially if you have any journalistic background, when you're asked a question in a press conference, it's very difficult to resist telling the truth. But somehow we manage."

Here are some other tidbits from a reporter's notebook:


A network news producer told the story of being in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war, stuck in a press facility with a bunch of high-priced correspondents who essentially had nothing to do.

The network offered more reporters and he turned it down in no uncertain terms. Then he was asked if he was worried about the Scud missile attacks.

"No," he replied. "As long as they're not ego-seeking missiles we're safe."


Comedian Sam Kinison began his career in the spotlight as an evangelical charismatic preacher in the Independent Assemblies of God Church.

"The differences between the ministry and being a performer, I guess, would be the hours," said Kinison, who will be in Fox's "Charlie Hoover" this fall.

"That ministry was like a 24-hour thing, and you had to really believe it and be into it. This is only like several hours a day. Then you can go home and be different.

"It definitely brought me out of myself," Kinison said of his church work. "I kind of look back on the ministry part of my life as the Peace Corps.

"It was something I did for several years; I felt really good about it at the time; I was very sincere. I basically, as they say in comedy, got too hip for the room. I began to expand my beliefs, would say 'I don't think Jesus is coming back.' They went, 'Oh, boo, you suck!' They didn't like that much, so we moved on."

In "Charlie Hoover," Kinison plays a 12-inch tall id-like creature, the part of the straight arrow title character's psychological makeup that urges Hoover to loosen up and have a good time. Tim Matheson plays Charlie Hoover.


It seemed as if every time you turned around Susan Harris was up on the dais, answering questions as the creator of a new series. She's already got "The Golden Girls" and "Empty Nest" on the air and has "Nurses" joining the aforementioned on NBC's Saturday night schedule and "Good and Evil" on ABC in the fall.

"She creates and abandons series," is the way one studio executive explained Harris'

relationship with her shows.

Which might explain why Les and Glen Charles, the creators of "Cheers," have been lying so low for the last few years. That's not the way they work.

They appeared at the press tour this year because the company they've set up is behind "Flesh 'n Blood," a new series that will be on NBC this fall.

"It's possible" that they could get really involved in another series, Glen said. "We don't have anything in mind at the present time, but if an idea struck us, sure.

"But it's an onerous task to create and produce and work in the trenches every day. And I'm not sure how many of those you can do in a lifetime.

"I think behind every successful television show there is a certain amount of luck, I don't care how good it is. There's luck in scheduling, there's luck in casting, there's luck in the time slot, the season you go on, any number of things. We had a lot of very fortuitous circumstances around 'Cheers.' I'm not quite sure all of that could ever accumulate again. I don't think we want to test it."

"Flesh 'n Blood," which is set in Baltimore, is about a good old boy who shows up on the doorstep of an ambitious state's attorney, saying that he's the woman's long-lost brother.

David Keith, a die-hard University of Tennessee football fan, plays the redneck out of water.

"I'll be on the redeye every Friday night when we finish shooting the show so I can make it back for the Tennessee football game on Saturday," Keith said. "And then I'll be back on Sunday ready to go to work on Monday."

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