* Cheri Eichen, Phoef Sutton, and Bill Steinkellner guided Cheers through its highly rated, early-Kirstie Alley years. Now the troika of sitcom writer-producers has launched one of the fall season’s few new hits: Bob, starring Bob Newhart.
* James Ivory and Ismail Merchant made the critically acclaimed film Howards End for $8.3 million; six months into its planned year-long run it has earned more than $15 million. No wonder Disney came calling with a three-year production deal.
* Rick Rubin produced his first record in his NYU dorm room in 1984. This year, the head of Def American Recordings had a hand in three top 10 albums — by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Crowes, and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
* Tim Robbins was the toast of Cannes — not to mention Hollywood — this year with his performances in The Player and Bob Roberts (his writing-direc-ting feature debut). Next he’ll star in the Coen brothers’ The Hudsucker Proxy.
* Lucie Salhany, chairwoman of Twentieth Television, is now the highest-ranking woman at a Hollywood TV studio; her stable of hits includes Studs, A Current Affair, and The Simpsons.
* Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson got a big bounce from White Men Can’t Jump. Snipes has just wrapped Rising Sun with Sean Connery, while Harrelson was picked to costar with Robert Redford in ‘93’s Indecent Proposal. And they may team up again for a Jump sequel.
* Sharon Stone rocketed from a second-tier babe to a megastar with her killer performance in Basic Instinct, then passed on a quickie Instinct sequel to make yet another erotic thriller, Sliver — reportedly for a cool $2.5 million.
* Peter Tortorici was a New York City prosecutor in the 1970s; now, as Jeff Sagansky’s trusted deputy at CBS, the man who built the network’s dominant Monday-night lineup is duplicating that feat on a smaller scale each Friday night with a mixture of proven hits (Major Dad), retooled reliables (The Golden Palace), and quirky newcomers (Picket Fences).