Dennis Miller getting HBO late show


January 17, 1994|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

Dennis Miller is returning to latenight.

HBO yesterday announced that Miller will be host of a weekly, Friday-night show starting in April.

The show, which will be carried live at midnight on Fridays, will feature Miller offering "a sardonic recap of the week," according to HBO.

Miller was host of a nightly, syndicated show, which was canceled last year due to low ratings.

"Dennis Miller is extraordinarily brilliant," HBO Chairman Michael Fuchs said yesterday, in making the announcement.

"Whatever happened to him on commercial television -- which in terms of what happened to others since was not so bad -- he is an HBO kind of artist."

Miller described the show as him "taking phone calls from America . . . and venting ideas and feelings . . . in a pre-Howard-Bealeian rant."

Only you could put it that way, Dennis, babe.

More Power Rangers

There's good news for parents who are getting a little tired of seeing the same "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" episodes run over and over.

Fox has ordered 40 new episodes, and 20 of them will start airing next month, according to Margaret Loesch, president of the Fox Children's Network.

Loesch also announced that an animated version of "Where On Earth Is Carmen San Diego" will join the Fox Kids' Network Feb. 5. It will air at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays.

The animated "Carmen San Diego" is based on the computer game and PBS live-action show of the same name. It teaches geography along with being entertaining.

Such educational aspirations are new for Fox, which specializes in Power Rangers, X-Men, cartoons and big ratings.

" 'Carmen San Diego' was a very challenging show for us. We threw out the first three scripts," Loesch said.

"The first came in, and it had no educational value. The second script came in, and it was all educational, and no entertainment value.

"Then, the third script came in, and it had the educational but it was wrong.

"We said to the writers, 'Look, you have to listen to the advisers. You can't just make up countries on a show that is supposed to be teaching geography.' "

Mia Farrow, Sonny Bono, Joe Bonanno.

No, it's not the latest tabloid love triangle.

They are the focus of three major film projects in the works at Fox Television.

"Mia: Child of Hollywood," is an unauthorized, four-hour miniseries about the life of Mia Farrow, according to Gary Hoffman, the new senior vice president of made-for-TV movies and miniseries at Fox.

"Actually, it will cover her life from the age of 8. And I can tell you that even if she wasn't involved with Woody Allen, her life would still make a spectacular miniseries. But it will include her life with Woody," Hoffman said.

Hoffman said Fox is still planning to do a movie on the life of Sonny Bono, but that he has some reservations about continuing the Bonanno project started by the previous head of movies at Fox.

"Frankly, when I heard about the Bonanno project, I said, "My God, are we going to have Bill Bonanno executive producing,'"' Hoffman said, referring to the fact that Fox was negotiating rights to the story with the New York crime family.

"I can assure you that, if we go ahead with the project . . . the script control and content will not be under the control of the family."

See, and you thought these made-for-TV guys didn't have any standards.

Magic interviews

Look for Magic Johnson to make his debut in February as Fox's answer to Barbara Walters.

No date has been set, but sometime during the sweeps month Johnson will show up as host of a prime-time interview special. His guests will include Garth Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg and Shaquille O'Neal.

"Magic loved the interview format and felt that someone like himself, who lived through the pressure and fame and paid the price of celebrity, had an advantage in interviewing high-profile guests," Fox Entertainment President Sandy Grushow said.

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