Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Waterston Is Candidate for `Law and Order'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Waterston Is Candidate for `Law and Order'

Article excerpt

NBC has been negotiating with Sam Waterston ("I'll Fly Away") since November to replace Michael Moriarty on "Law and Order," Waterston's agent said last week. That means Moriarty apparently was right when he said the network was trying to force him off the show.

NBC remained noncommittal, however. "We are currently evaluating the situation," said spokeswoman Pat Schultz.

Moriarty has clashed with executive producer Dick Wolf and with fellow cast members. His outspoken views about attempts to censor TV violence may have been part of the problem, but his abrasive personality couldn't have helped.

"Law and Order" fans won't like this, but I think the change to Waterston would be a plus for the show, which could use some more warmth.

Heartbreak (and Hartbreak) at CBS. The network has sent "Hearts Afire" and "Harts of the West" onto hiatus, and my guess is that neither will be back. "Hearts Afire" could be sharply satirical (last week's running commentary on the Bobbitt case, in which everyone kept saying the "p" word, to Scout leader Hartmann's horror, was hilarious) but it could also be stomach-turningly sappy. "Harts of the West" also had problems of tone: Was it a comedy, a drama, a Western, family fare or what? "Dr. Quinn" fans didn't stick around to find out.

"Tom" will replace "Hearts" on March 2; "The Road Home" will fill the "Harts" spot beginning March 5. "Tom" stars Tom Arnold as a beefy, lovable guy who's forced to live in a trailer with his five kids after their dream house burns down. "Road" stars Karen Allen, Terrence Knox, Ed Flanders and Frances Sternhagen. The drama, about a family that moves to Tidewater country to help the ailing family shrimp business, is from Bruce Paltrow and John Tinker ("St. Elsewhere").

Remember the speculation that "Homicide" would be canceled? Well, the new speculation is that it will be renewed. The Jan. 27 show, the fourth and last program to air Thursdays at 9, got a 19 share, the same as the week before. But by crunching the numbers, the network figured that the show actually got half a million or so more viewers for the final episode. Verne Gay of Newsday reported that executive producers Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana would get the good word Monday in Burbank. …

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