* Falling star: Shelley Long
* Career pinnacle: NBC’s Cheers made her an Emmy winner, but she walked away in 1987 hoping for Outrageous Fortune in the movies. Leaving the hit sitcom, she says, ”was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.” Which means Long never sat through her unfortunate string of bombs (like Troop Beverly Hills) or mawkish TV movies (Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase).
* Latest misstep: Inadvertently sending CBS’ schedule into disarray by contracting a viral flu that has left her unable to work on her latest series, Good Advice. The network has pulled the show off the air indefinitely.
* Perceived problem: Her skirmishes with Cheers costar Ted Danson have made Long grist for the rumor mill. In fact, the industry is abuzz that her current ”flu” is actually (a) a nervous breakdown, (b) a money battle with the network, (c) or an ego clash with costar Teri Garr. A TV insider denies these reports, saying Long ”looks terrible,” and that ”it was her idea to have Teri on the show.”
* Next move: Returning to the series—even if CBS isn’t sure when Good Advice will go back on.
* Advice: She should stop doing overly dramatic TV movies and capitalize, again, on the ”likability” that made her a star in the first place. She should also get well soon. Really soon.