Barry Levinson, Jodie Foster, and Macaulay Culkin made headlines this week

An idea so nice they thought of it twice: Network insiders are wondering who will blink first as CBS and NBC each begin 1992 with plans for a hard-edged new prime-time series called Homicide. The CBS drama, which may change its title to Heat, will follow a fictional urban homicide-detective division, and could show up later this season. NBC’s series, overseen by director Barry Levinson (Bugsy), is a dramatization of David Simon’s acclaimed 1991 book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, a nonfiction portrayal of Baltimore cops. It’s due next fall — around the time that video stores should be stocking copies of, yes, David Mamet’s 1991 feature, Homicide.

Here’s even more proof that zydeco music is downright tasty. Accordionist Stanley ”Buckwheat” Dural Jr., leader of the group Buckwheat Zydeco, has written the theme music for the PBS series Pierre Franey’s Cooking in America, which returns in April. On one show, Franey even takes a tour of Dural’s Louisiana ranch and samples crawfish étouffé made by Dural’s wife, Bernite.

Daniel Vigne’s 1982 French medieval saga, The Return of Martin Guerre, seems unlikely material for an American adaptation. Nonetheless, writer Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) has retooled the yarn, placing it at the end of the Civil War. Scheduled to film in March, Sommersby, as it’s called, will star Richard Gere and Jodie Foster as his wife; Jon Amiel (Tune in Tomorrow) directs. A late fall or early spring 1992-93 release is planned.

Can’t imagine why, but Hollywood’s heavy hitters have been looking East of late. Tom Selleck plays a swinger who signs with a Tokyo ball club in Mr. Baseball; director Frank Schepisi (The Russia House) recently finished filming. On a more serious note, Sean Connery is tentatively set to star in The Rising Sun as an L.A. cop investigating a murder in the offices of a Japanese-owned company. Based on the Michael Crichton novel, production begins in April with Philip Kaufman (Henry & June) adapting and directing.

To press-shy superstars like Robert De Niro or the pre-Bugsy Warren Beatty, being asked to keep tight-lipped might not sound like punishment. But to Macaulay Culkin, who ”loves to talk to the press,” according to his mother, Pat, it could be sheer torture. My Girl‘s pop child star has been forbidden to give interviews because ”he’s been a bad boy,” says Mom. ”He hasn’t been doing his homework.” Most recently Mac had to shut his trap during the taping of Bob Hope’s Christmas special in Nashville. Guess money can’t buy you freedom.

Written by: Mark Harris, Ron Givens, Leonard Klady, Frank Sanello