Hot Hollywood projects that got off to a great start — then stalled

By A.J. Jacobs
Updated October 21, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Hype: Now you see it, now you don’t. In notoriously fickle Hollywood, deals, plans, and projects are announced with the lung power of a thousand publicists, only to disappear more mysteriously than Doug Henning’s career. Where are all of these projects now? Entertainment Weekly takes a look:

THE BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD MOVIE, MTV’s proposed feature-film debut of its pubescent Überidiots. *Status: After months of talks, Geffen Pictures and MTV are apparently close to a deal, but nothing’s been inked. According to an insider, the companies are butting heads over the format: Geffen wants the metalheads to be real actors, while creator Mike Judge wants them to remain cartoons. * Prognosis: Cool.

THE NANCY KERRIGAN MOVIE, ABC’s biopic of the not-quite-gold-medal-winning Olympic skater. * Status: After the Kerrigan-Tonya Harding debacle, nearly 40 producers clamored for the rights to Kerrigan’s story. Producer Steve Tisch won with a bid near seven figures. But then, says Tisch, ”the ice melted.” NBC aired its dramatized version of the skating wars to dismal ratings; Kerrigan’s rude comments at Disney World lowered her high profile; and her shilling schedule delayed meetings with the screenwriter. * Prognosis: As likely as a quadruple axel.

FREE AS A BIRD, the closest thing we’ll ever get to a Beatles reunion. * Status: In February the remaining Beatles recorded this unreleased 1977 John Lennon tune — with John himself singing lead vocals (his voice culled from a demo tape donated by Yoko Ono). The song — and an accompanying video — will reportedly be released along with a Beatles-approved 10-part documentary. But when? The BBC and Apple Records have no comment, but one inside source says the documentary is in the tinkering phase and could be ready by Christmas ’95. Then again, it’s been in the works since 1977. * Prognosis: A long and winding road ahead.

THE PEACH PIT RESTARAUNT CHAIN, diners modeled on the Beverly Hills, 90210 watering hole. * Status: Joe E. Tata (who plays 90210‘s diner co-owner Nat) planned to open the first restaurant in a swank Los Angeles mall in January. New York and Las Vegas eateries were to follow. The delay? The actor says he’s been jumping through legal hoops for the licensing. ”I now understand why people hate attorneys,” he says. Tata now predicts the first burger will be served in the beginning of 1995. *Prognosis: Peachy.

THE EDUCATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK, a cable channel for kids headed by convicted junk-bond king Michael Milken with help from never-convicted pop king Michael Jackson. * Status: In 1993 the two Michaels announced their plans for EEN at an L.A. convention. Since then, Jackson has had some, well, problems with kids. ”He dropped out,” says the network’s vice president, Lorraine Spurge. ”But we’d be delighted if he’d drop back in.” Jackson — who declined to comment — apparently scared off some investors with his legal trouble. But Milken’s team says the project is forging ahead, although now it may simply be a production company. And it’s no longer just for kids. * Prognosis: It’s bad.