Movie directors tackle TV |


Movie directors tackle TV

Movie directors tackle TV -- From Robert Zemeckis to Steven Spieleberg, big-time directors transition to the small screen

Remember a few seasons back, when a procession of film directors had a go at TV? All the trend produced was a handful of midseason series — David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, John Sayles’ Shannon’s Deal, George Lucas’ The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles — that started promisingly but crashed in their second seasons and one cartoon, Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton’s Family Dog, that still hasn’t seen the light of day. But this lackluster record hasn’t stopped other film auteurs, like Homicide’s Barry Levinson, from taking a stab at the tube. Coming soon to a TV set near you:

JOHNNY BAGO (CBS) teams Robert Zemeckis (Death Becomes Her) and Frank Marshall (Alive) for an action-comedy about a con man running from the mob in an RV.

THE ROBERT TOWNSEND VARIETY SHOW (Fox), produced by and starring the creator of Hollywood Shuffle, is a half hour of sketches, short films, and music.

SEA QUEST (NBC), debuting next fall, reunites Roy Scheider with Jaws director Steven Spielberg for 21st-century underwater adventures.

TRIBECA and C.C.P.D. (both Fox) are the work of actors-turned-directors. Tribeca, an anthology set in Manhattan, is produced by Robert De Niro, who is currently shooting his first film, A Bronx Tale, in a neighboring borough. The Cops spoof C.C.P.D. marks actor-writer-producer Dan Aykroyd’s return to TV after his disastrous 1991 film-directing debut, Nothing but Trouble.

WILD PALMS (ABC), a six-hour fantasy series from executive producer Oliver Stone, stars Jim Belushi as an L.A. TV exec experimenting with virtual reality.