Deals Hey, hey, hey, Bill Cosby, 58, is back, but it’s CBS who’s got him. The comedian has announced that he’ll star in an as-yet-untitled fall ’96 sitcom based on the British series One Foot in the Grave. The deal ends Cosby’s 30-year affiliation with NBC but reunites him with Carsey-Werner, the powerhouse production team that fueled NBC’s rise to the top in the mid-’80s and was responsible for Cybill, Roseanne, and The Cosby Show. ”This is a giant step in the rebuilding of CBS,” said the network’s entertainment president, Les Moonves, who reportedly has pledged to keep the show on the air for two full seasons.
Exits Michael Schulhof, 53, president and CEO of the Sony Corp. of America and a driving force behind the company’s music and film divisions, abruptly resigned Dec. 5 ”to pursue new business interests.” Schulhof orchestrated Sony’s successful purchase of CBS Records in 1987 but stumbled after his $3.4 billion acquisition of Columbia TriStar in 1989. By spending a staggering $700 million to hire producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters to run the studio (including some $500 million to buy out their contract with Warner Bros.), he touched off a chain of events that eventually led to Sony’s writing off $2.7 billion in losses late last year. (Peters left the studio in 1991, and Guber resigned in 1994.) According to a Sony spokeswoman, some of Schulhof’s responsibilities will be taken over by Sony chairman Norio Ohga and by Sony president and COO Nobuyuki Idei, but she stresses that ”his positions remain open.”…Following the career path blazed by former NYPD Blue women Amy Brenneman (Heat) and Sherry Stringfield (ER), Gail O’Grady, 34, Blue‘s fetching receptionist Donna Abandando, announced she too will leave the male-dominated ABC series at the end of the season. O’Grady, who has earned two Emmy nominations for her work, will star in a yet-to-be-developed half-hour sitcom on Fox next fall.
Retiring NBC weatherman Willard Scott, 62, is taking a break from reporting storms and sunshine on Today. The exact terms of his self-described ”semiretirement,” scheduled to begin in January, have yet to be determined. Centenarians may want to start buttering up Scott’s sub, Al Roker.
Casting The newest word to describe rocker Courtney Love? Thespian. After completing a small role in the upcoming film Feeling Minnesota, Hole frontwoman Love, 31, has landed the coveted part of Althea Leasure Flynt, the late wife of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, in Columbia’s The People vs. Larry Flynt. ”She was a tornado,” co-screenwriter Larry Karaszewski says of Love’s screen test. Love beat out Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), among others, to play Mrs. Flynt, a former stripper who died of AIDS in 1987.
Splits Whoopi Goldberg, 40, filed for divorce from film-union organizer Lyle Trachtenberg Oct. 28 in Los Angeles, after little more than a year of marriage. Goldberg has reportedly been linked to Frank Langella, her costar in the upcoming Eddie. Her spokesman has no comment.