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Leaving 'Return to Lonesome Dove'

Leaving ”Return to Lonesome Dove” — Anjelica Huston and Tommy Lee Jones decide not to sign on for the latest season of the CBS series

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Yon’t expect to see Anjelica Huston and Tommy Lee Jones riding tall in the saddle in CBS’ Return to Lonesome Dove — the two original players have decided not to sign on for the latest roundup, which may air during the 1993-94 TV season.

Huston, an Emmy nominee for her performance in the 1989 hit miniseries set in the Old West, told a recent gathering of TV critics that she had passed on the planned six-hour sequel because the script ”had none of the magic of the original,” which was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurtry. According to one insider, Jones also cited the script as the reason he was turning down the project.

What’s wrong with the story? For one thing, it is being penned not by the Texas novelist but by John Wilder (Centennial). Although Huston didn’t return calls, there might be a bigger issue at stake: Her character, strong-willed plainswoman Clara Allen, gets killed off in the sequel.

Jones’ character, taciturn ex-Texas Ranger captain Woodrow Call, does survive. But Jones has a hot movie career again, thanks to JFK and Under Siege; he’s currently filming the movie version of The Fugitive with Harrison Ford.

With Jones and Huston out, who’ll take over? Insiders say the producer’s casting wish list includes movie stars like James Caan and Gene Hackman for Woodrow and Glenn Close and Candice Bergen for Clara. A summer start date is planned.