Designing Women will lose one of its men this summer when Julia Sugarbaker's beau, Reese Watson (Hal Holbrook), dies during the series' hiatus. The character is being killed in order to throw Julia into the world of dating and to free Holbrook to star in a new show, Arkansas, in which he'll play a judge. That CBS series, which will come from the Designing Women production team, may appear in the 1990-91 season.
When 35-year-old fugitive Ren Men was arrested in Fresno, Calif., March 12, he became the 101st person captured as a result of tips from viewers of Fox's bad-guy bulletin, America's Most Wanted. Men was a particularly lurid catch: He had been indicted under the White Slave Traffic Act. Of the 130 others profiled on the two-year-old show, 52 were captured without the show's help, and 78 are at large.
If it worked for one ex-Angel, why not for another? After Farrah Fawcett's ratings blockbuster Small Sacrifices, it looked as if her former cast-mate Jaclyn Smith might turn up in another TV movie about infanticide. Smith considered playing a doctor in an NBC TV movie based on the 1988 book Deadly Medicine: The Chilling Story of a Pediatric Nurse Who Murdered Scores of Her Infant Patients, then passed up the film for personal reasons. Steve Krantz Productions is looking for another actress to star as the pediatrician who first suspected foul play.
The opening theme to Valerie Bertinelli's new CBS comedy, Sydney, may sound familiar to fans of Van Halen it's ''Finish What Ya Started,'' from the band's album OU812, provided to the series by Bertinelli's husband, Eddie Van Halen. What viewers won't find is a credit for the musician. Sydney's associate producer, Todd Stevens, explains, ''It's Val's show, and Ed is a very modest guy. He wants Val to be the star.''
It hasn't been canceled yet, but if the Fox comedy Open House manages to return next fall, there may not be anybody on the set to deliver the lines. Chris Lemmon, who played Richard on the series, left earlier this season and immediately stepped into a role in Knots Landing; Alison LaPlaca, who plays Linda, has been signed to play the Elizabeth Perkins role in a fall CBS series based on the movie Big; and Mary Page Keller (Laura) is playing a lawyer in an NBC pilot called Revealing Evidence. A Fox spokeswoman says the network won't decide the show's fate until seeing its ratings during the May sweeps.
Look Who's Talking
Viewers of Live With Regis and Kathie Lee have something to look forward to in the coming months: endless on-air discussions of diaper rash, baby food, teething pains, and crying jags. That's right, daytime TV's longest cliff- hanger ended March 22 when Kathie Lee Gifford had an 8-pound, 15-ounce boy, Cody Newton. Less than eight hours later, Gifford was back on the air (by phone) with Regis.
When his skit-comedy series In Living Color begins its run on Fox April 15, Keenen Ivory Wayans may acquire a reputation as the bravest impressionist alive. His portrayal of a giggly, befuddled Mike Tyson in a Love Connection parody is likely to have the boxer running for cover or gunning for revenge. ''It was pretty scary to look in the mirror and realize that you could look like that,'' Wayans says of his prosthetically aided performance. ''If Mike sees me, I'm going to say it was someone else.'' Next on Wayans' hit list: Arsenio Hall and Driving Miss Daisy.
Simpsons fans, get ready for more TV animation next season. CBS plans a revival of The Pink Panther, blending the cartoon character with live-action. And ABC, which will air Saturday cartoons built around Roseanne Barr and New Kids on the Block, has ordered a pilot for Danger Team, a prime-time detective show with Kathleen Beller and a clay-animation supporting cast.