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TV PEOPLE

Home Improvement star Tim Allen has checked himself into a substance abuse rehabilitation center as part of his sentence for a drunk driving conviction. The popular comedian was stopped in his Ferrari last summer for driving 70 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone on a road not far from his newly purchased home in the Bloomfield township outside of Detroit, and he flunked a sobriety test at the time. Allen, who had substance abuse problems earlier in his life, pleaded guilty to charges later in the year and apologized to the judge and his fans for having made an "inexcusable lapse in judgment." The court ordered him to pay a fine and restricted his driving to work-related needs for 90 days, and he was also order to attend six counseling sessions and put on probation for a year. The comedian, who already has wrapped production of his series for this season, still faces legal troubles over an alleged incident in suburban Los Angeles in which a 72-year-old man claims he was hit by a negligent Allen _ again behind the wheel of a Ferrari! No word on that case yet.

ABC's high-profile comedy reteaming of Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper may not be ready until midseason next year. Sources say the 20th Century Fox TV show is going through a behind-the-scenes shakeup, with ABC wanting to find new writers to boost executive producer Jeff Lowell's pilot. Lowell is apparently resistant to change on the project, which focuses on life 20 years later for Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern, the characters Moore and Harper played in the 1970s hit The Mary Tyler Moore Show. So far, Moore is said to be happy with Lowell's script.

Conan O'Brien is looking for some new digs. No, not for his late-night TV show, but for himself and his bed. It seems the host of the late night NBC talker was squeezed out of the downtown Manhattan co-op he has called home for the past two years, and now he's having something of a time finding a place to rest his weary head when he finally gets home from work. Although he pulls in $2-million a year for his gig, he admits that he has been surprised by and complained about the high prices he has encountered as he searches NYC's Upper West Side. Those with an adequate rental might want to check in with O'Brien at NBC _ as long as it's not too expensive.

Simon Rex may have a new gig. The former MTV veejay's pornographic past cost him one acting job, but his talent wasn't lost on Warner Bros., which has given him a role in WB network pilot Katie Joplan. Rex was cast in Touchstone TV pilot Zoe Bean, but when studio execs learned of his appearance in a porn movie several years back, they dropped him.

Debbie Reynolds has been signed to play Paula Poundstone's mother in the Fox comedy Paula in development for fall. Paula focuses on a foster mother who works as a TV reporter. Reynolds, nominated for a Golden Globe last year for her role opposite Albert Brooks in Mother, made guest appearances on ABC's Roseanne in 1988 and NBC's Wings in 1990. She made her series debut in 1969 playing a sports columnist's wife on NBC sitcom The Debbie Reynolds Show, which lasted a year. She joins Carol Kane and Raven-Symone in the Paula cast.

Kirk Cameron will star in You Lucky Dog, one of five original TV movies planned for the Disney Channel between June and December. The story involves a dog psychic who inherits a fortune from a dog owner on the condition that he move into the deceased's mansion with the animal.

_ Times wires

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