NBC movie has a made-for-TV execution

TURNED ON IN L.A. -- Spring Preview

January 10, 1994|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- Are you ready for a made-for-TV movie about a made-for-TV execution?

NBC is going to help bring some controversy to the February sweeps with "Witness to the Execution," a TV movie starring Sean Young and Tim Daly.

The film is about a TV executive (played by Young) who comes up with the idea of televising the execution of a man (played by Daly) as a blockbuster pay-per-view event.

The film ends by showing viewers Daly's execution.

"Witness to the Execution" has already been denounced by one U.S. senator for being gratuitously violent, but it turns out he hasn't seen it.

NBC screened the film for critics here this weekend, and the final scene is nothing to get excited about.

As for its politics on capital punishment, one of its producers, Richard Pierson, proudly said, "We were very careful to straddle both sides of the fence."

Let's hear it for network fence straddling.

Less Garth Brooks

And, now, this update from the celebrity weight-loss desk: Garth Brooks is looking slimmer. A lot slimmer.

In fact, Brooks finishes a close second to David Letterman as the baby-boomer celebrity guy making the best effort to stay out of loose-fitting Dockers.

Brooks, plugging his next NBC special, to air sometime this spring, ,5p6,10l said he lost 50 pounds.

He did it in part because of the TV special, which was taped at Texas Stadium and features such effects as Brooks flying over the audience during one song.

"Well, I do have to be honest, it feels a lot better to fly across Texas Stadium at 190 pounds than 240 pounds. I mean, just simply the law of physics there," Brooks said.

As to why he plans to keep the weight off, Brooks says, "I feel much better. All my life, athletics have played a big part in my life, and it's surprisingly funny to me how feeling much better physically allows my emotions and my mental things to seem to run a lot quicker, too."

'Against the Grain'

It's official. "Against the Grain," the NBC drama about a small-town high school football coach in Texas, has been canceled.

NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer said the show was one of his favorites of the new season. He said the pilot was so touching that it "brought tears" to his eyes.

Do I need to tell you that he said canceling it was one of the hardest things he ever had to do?

Lawyers for the '90s

For every little death on the TV beat, there's a birth. Think of it as a kind of video pantheism, if you will.

NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield announced a new fall series for Melissa Gilbert and Cicely Tyson.

No title yet, but Melissa plays a lawyer who joins Cicely's firm -- one dedicated to helping people -- instead of joining her father's firm, which is dedicated to serving corporate America.

It sounds sooo '90s, doesn't it?

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