NBC wants a `Homicide' movie finale

July 30, 1999|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

LOS ANGELES -- NBC says it wants to make a movie finale for "Homicide: Life on the Street" but is having problems lining up enough cast members, such as Andre Braugher, to make it worth doing.

"There are plans for a final movie of `Homicide,' but we haven't locked up enough of the cast to green-light it yet," Garth Ancier, the president of NBC Entertainment, said yesterday in an interview.

"Part of what's happening is that Tom [executive producer Tom Fontana] really feels that he does not want to do that movie unless he has enough of a cast back to do it, including Andre Braugher and people like that, who have played a role in the series over the past years. And I understand that. That's his prerogative.

"We just felt that for loyal `Homicide' fans, this movie would provide some closure that they didn't particularly get on the last episode," Ancier said, adding that he thinks the film is "still likely to happen."

The movie would be filmed in Baltimore. But Ancier also said that Fontana and partner Barry Levinson are creating a midseason replacement series for NBC this January that will be filmed "in another East Coast city -- not Baltimore or New York," the two cities in which Fontana has previously made shows. When "Homicide" was canceled in May, both Fontana and NBC indicated that the deal they had for a midseason replacement would bring another series to Baltimore.

During a press conference earlier in the day, Ancier and Scott Sassa, NBC's West Coast president, reiterated their "commitment to diversity" and joined CBS and ABC in saying they will meet with NAACP president Kweisi Mfume to discuss the lack of diversity in the fall schedule.

"We have contacted Mr. Mfume's office and look forward to talking to him or anyone who has a good agenda. But we haven't heard back from them," Sassa said.

When asked what he hoped to accomplish at the meeting, he said, "We don't know what will be accomplished, because we don't know what their agenda is."

Sassa announced a number of minority additions to series, including Michael Michele of "Homicide" joining the hit series "ER." Also, Jesse L. Martin, who played Ally McBeal's boyfriend on "Ally McBeal" last season, will take over the co-starring role in "Law & Order" for the departing Benjamin Bratt.

Pub Date: 7/30/99

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