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"Grace Under Fire' joins sweeps

ABC is bringing back Brett Butler's comedy, Grace Under Fire, plugging it into the network's Tuesday night schedule and canceling Over the Top after only three episodes. Hiller and Diller, the struggling freshman sitcom starring Kevin Nealon and Richard Lewis, has also been sent on vacation for the rest of the November "sweeps" period, when ratings are used to set local advertising rates. Grace Under Fire will be seen at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays starting Nov. 25. The show was left off ABC's fall schedule but kept in production, ready to come out of ABC's bullpen to replace a failed series. Dan Aykroyd's series, Soul Man, shifts to 8:30 p.m. next Tuesday, taking the slot filled by Over the Top. Over the Top starred Tim Curry as a struggling actor who moves in on his ex-wife. ABC delayed its premiere this fall in the vain hope viewers would tune in after getting used to the Buchman baby on NBC's competing Mad About You. For the rest of this month, ABC will fill its 9:30 p.m. slot with two repeats of Spin City and one of Dharma and Greg. Reruns of Home Improvement will be 8 p.m. Tuesday and Nov. 18.

In other news . . .

For the first time since the sexual assault charges against him made headlines, sportscaster Marv Albert and his fiancee, Heather Faulkiner, talk with Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview, on ABC's 20/20 tonight at 10.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland is becoming a media mogul. She co-wrote a book, Capitol Offense, that is now being made into a CBS television movie and followed up with Capitol Venture, published this month. Judith Light will play fictional Sen. Norie Gorzack, who solves murders while learning the mysterious ways of politics. Dutton Signet published the book, co-written with Marylouise Oates, last year.

Time magazine fired Hunter S. Thompson nearly 40 years ago from his job as a copyboy. But he returned to the news magazine last week to personally edit an article. Thompson was accompanied by actor Johnny Depp and singer-actor Lyle Lovett. The story is Thompson's account of his experiences on the set of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the film version of his 1971 book, which will premiere in the spring and stars Depp in the Thompson role.