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TV news for August 24, 1990

TV news for August 24, 1990 — ”Designing Women,” ”Star Trek,” and ”Cheers” made news this week

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Delta Dawn
After weeks of fussing and feuding, things appear to have calmed down at CBS’ Designing Women — at least for now. Early this month, actress Delta Burke released a statement accusing the show’s executive producers, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and husband Harry Thomason, of ”abusive behavior.” The Thomasons fired back, saying that most of Burke’s statement was ”a complete untruth” and following up with a 12-page fax release full of coworkers’ testimonials to the couple’s sensitivity and professionalism. But on Aug. 13, Burke arrived for the season’s first day of taping and ”not a shot was fired,” according to co-executive producer Pam Norris. ”It’s pretty much blown over. Everybody showed up for work and it was business as usual.”

Canada, The Final Frontier
A tiny Canadian town about 90 miles southeast of Calgary has come up with a new way to live long and prosper: It’s turning itself into a Star Trek theme park. Over the next several months, Vulcan, Alberta (pop. 1,400), will try to revive its failing farm economy by becoming a facsimile of Mr. Spock’s home planet. ”Whenever we tell people we’re from Vulcan, they always snigger and ask us why our ears aren’t pointed,” explains Greg Deitz, cochairman of the ”Star Trek for the Town of Vulcan Committee.” ”We decided this would be a good way to help boost the local economy. We like to think of this as rural diversification.” Vulcan’s plans include a Star Trek museum, annual Star Trek conventions, and a giant statue of the starship Enterprise on the highway to lure passersby. Already merchants are donning Star Trek uniforms and pointed ears during special town events like hockey games, carnivals, and business conventions. ”Everybody’s getting into the spirit,” Deitz says. ”Spock would be proud.”

See-Through Lace
Marisa Paré — a.k.a. Lace — is hanging up her red-white-and-blue spandex uniform and leaving her spot on American Gladiators, the syndicated game show in which contestants compete for cash prizes by wrestling with the show’s team of professional ”athletes.” Lace has been one of the program’s most popular players, but after two years of busting chops, she’s ready for a change. ”I enjoyed doing the show,” she says, ”but now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.” First on Lace’s list of grander projects: a nude feature in next month’s Playboy. ”It’s a very prestigious thing to do,” she says. ”There’s nothing embarrassing about it at all. Kim Basinger and LaToya Jackson did them.” Lace also will try out as a sportscaster on ESPN this fall and star in her first feature film, Boardlords, due out next spring. ”It’s a typical nerd-falls-in-love-with-bully’s-girlfriend sort of movie,” she says. ”I play a villain, which is perfect for me.”

The Sun Always Rises
A war over weather censorship has broken out in Boston: The city’s restaurateurs are urging local TV forecasters not to predict rain on weekends in their five-day forecasts. ”We want them to keep the bad news to themselves,” says Thomas Larsen, owner of the Pillar House Restaurant in suburban Newton and chairman of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Weather Forecasting Task Force. ”They get all dramatic about some storm that’s supposed to be coming, warning people to stay home, but half the time there isn’t any storm. Local restaurants lose millions of dollars every year because of these guys and their wrong forecasts.” The restaurateurs have organized a letter-writing campaign, sending a deluge of complaints to TV newsrooms. So far the weathermen haven’t budged: ”I can sympathize with their problem,” Harvey Leonard, a forecaster with WHDH-TV in Boston, told Entertainment Weekly, ”but we have to tell it like it is. The weather is the weather. We can’t cater to special-interest groups.”

Al Rosen, 1910-1990
He seldom spoke more than a few words per episode, but Al Rosen almost always got the last laugh. As the grumpy old barfly on NBC’s Cheers, Rosen would sit at the bar in his crumpled suit and hat, nurse a beer, and zing well-timed wisecracks — “Pretty weeny!” — in his unmistakable gravelly voice. Rosen, 80, died on Aug. 2, after seven years on the show. “We could always count on him to button a scene,” says Cheers co-executive producer Cheri Eichen. “He had the best batting average on TV — every time he opened his mouth, he’d get a laugh. We’ll miss him a lot.”

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