Dipping deeper into its vaults, CBS has come up with two more reunion specials for next season.

The cast of “Dallas” will reunite at the show’s Southfork Ranch to reminisce about the seminal prime-time soap in one, while the stars of “One Day at a Time” will also look back at their time on the network.

Reunion specials have been reliable ratings magnets for CBS in recent years. A “Carol Burnett Show” reunion in 2001 drew close to 30 million viewers, surprising just about everyone in the TV business and paving the way for a spate of similar shows.

Last week, two such shows – another “Carol Burnett” special and “The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited” – delivered 13.6 million and 14.6 million viewers, respectively, to CBS. Both were in the Nielsen Top 20 for the week.

A “Dallas” reunion seems like a natural. The series, which ran from 1978-91, was the No. 1 or No. 2 show on television for five straight seasons in the “80s, and the 1980 episode in which viewers learned who shot villain J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) – it was his mistress, Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby) – is one of the most-watched programs of all time.

The special will bring Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal and other cast members back to Southfork, where some of the series was filmed. The cast will tour the ranch, eat some Texas barbecue and watch some of the home movies Hagman shot on set.

“One Day at a Time” doesn’t immediately come to mind as a classic sitcom, but it was a Top 20 hit for pretty much its entire nine-season run. Stars Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips and Pat Harrington will come together to look back at the show, aided by a heavy dose of clips.

‘Elvis’ miniseries shakes up network

The King is coming back to life. Again.

CBS is working on a four-hour miniseries based on the life of Elvis Presley for next season. “Elvis” will tell the story of the King of Rock “n’ Roll’s rise to fame and his impact on the music world and popular culture, the network says.

The project will be produced with the cooperation of the Presley estate, which enables the producers to use the master recordings of Elvis songs for the movie. That’s a first for a TV project about the legendary singer.

“Elvis,” scheduled for sometime next season, joins a long line of TV projects based on Presley’s life, although the 1979 ABC movie “Elvis,” which starred Kurt Russell, remains the gold standard for Presley biopics.

The King has also been played by Don Johnson (“Elvis and the Beauty Queen,” NBC, 1981), Dale Midkiff (“Elvis and Me,” 1988, ABC) and Michael St. Gerard (ABC’s 1990 miniseries “Elvis”), among others. Casting for the new miniseries hasn’t begun.

Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari (“Six Feet Under”) are executive producing the miniseries with Howard Braunstein and Michael Jaffe (“10.5,” “The Rosa Parks Story”).

-Zap2it.com

Among CBS’ other movie projects for the 2004-05 season are “The Dead Will Tell,” a supernatural thriller starring Anne Heche and based on psychic James Van Praagh’s readings; “The Culpepper Cattle Company” with Tom Selleck; “Perfect Strangers,” a romantic comedy starring Rob Lowe; and the previously announced “Suburban Madness,” “Back When We Were Grownups” and “Riding the Bus with My Sister.”



FOX MAY BOOK SECOND SEASON OF “ARRESTED’

The richly praised but ratings-poor comedy “Arrested Development” looks like it might get another chance to find an audience.

Fox is poised to pick up the critically acclaimed show for a second season, along with fellow bubble show “Tru Calling,” the Hollywood trade papers report. The network will reveal its schedule for next season on Thursday.

Although the series drew only about 6.2 million viewers a week in its freshman season, “Arrested Development” has fans in high places at the network, as well as near-unanimous support from TV critics. “Tru Calling” was also a marginal performer, drawing an average of 4.5 million viewers opposite “Friends” and “Survivor” on Thursdays.

New dramas “House,” “Jonny Zero” and “The Inside,” along with the comedy “Related by Family,” are expected to find homes on Fox’s schedule sometime next season, the trades report. Six shows are already set for June premieres as the network moves to a year-round schedule.

Meanwhile, CBS will likely announce five new series – two comedies and three dramas – Wednesday at its upfront presentation. “Center of the Universe,” starring John Goodman, and the untitled Jason Alexander project, based on “Pardon the Interruption” host Tony Kornheiser’s life, are the comedies. The previously announced “CSI: New York,” coming-of-age story “Clubhouse” and the Rob Lowe vehicle “Dr. Vegas” are the leading drama contenders.

CBS has drama spots to fill at 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday and Friday nights. “The Guardian” is also vulnerable and may be replaced by one of the new shows.

The fate of four-year-old sitcom “Yes, Dear,” remains up in the air; speculation has “Center of the Universe” taking its place on Monday nights. The network is also reportedly looking at launching some new unscripted projects next season.



(c) 2004, Zap2it.com.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-05-19-04 1636EDT



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