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TV PEOPLE

The Closer is finished. That's right, Tom Selleck's return to primetime television seems to have turned into a washout, even with its move from one production camp to another in search of that perfect creative formula. Selleck isn't overly upset about the show's apparent demise _ it hasn't been officially canceled but the network decided not to make the season's final three scheduled episodes! _ but he isn't overly happy either. The show, which found Selleck playing the role of an advertising agency executive who had a way with words, arrived as a mid-season replacement and had been heavily promoted by the network, but without much luck.

Geraldo Rivera has decided to use the final installment of his Geraldo syndicated series to celebrate someone he really considers worthy _ himself. Rivera has hosted the current incarnation of his syndicated series for 11 years now, but with his new NBC contract and MSNBC show, he has decided to take a sentimental journey down memory lane as he looks back on more than 2,000 installments of Geraldo plus a bonus look at his entire career. The show, set to tape May 7 and air the next day, will look back at Rivera's career since his start as an upstart reporter in New York. It will feature a supper-club set with patrons to include his family as well as current and former staff members. "A small portion of the special will be scripted," says Geraldo executive producer Adrian Wheeler, "but 80 percent of it will be from the heart."

Those anxiously awaiting the return of Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper to primetime are going to have to wait a little longer. Nothing is official yet, but insiders say network executives are more than a little unhappy with the script that's been turned in for the project. The network has asked one of its high-priced scribes to take a second try at setting the tone, but it reportedly also is thinking about asking a different writer to tackle the project with hopes of getting better results. The network already has ordered 13 episodes of the series, which will feature the two popular actresses of the 1970s reprising their respective roles as Mary Richards and Rhoda Morganstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but at this point it seems likely the series will be held back from the fall schedule and used as a mid-season replacement.

ABC's $1.25-million man Tim Allen is saying that he intends to leave the show after next season. In fact, insiders say that both Allen and his co-star, Patricia Richardson, have told their producers over at Disney that the 1998-'99 season will be their last. While the show is still near the top of the ratings heap _ it is lingering around the No. 10 spot _ it no longer garners the kind of attention and ratings that turned it into a mega-hit of the early 1990s. At this point, the stars seem intent on exiting the series before the rest of its fan base exits itself.

Josh Brolin has been cast in a leading role in MGM's Mod Squad. The film, also starring Claire Danes, Giovanni Ribisi, Dennis Farina and Omar Epps, is a '90s version of the '70s television series in which three 20-year-olds are hired as a special unit of the LAPD to infiltrate the club scene.

Andy Lauer, who plays Charlie on NBC's Caroline in the City, has been added to the cast of Walt Disney Pictures' I'll Be Home for Christmas. In the comedy from director Arlene Sanford (A Very Brady Sequel), Lauer plays Nolan Briggs, a down-on-his-luck drifter who befriends Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) after offering him a ride.

_ Times wires

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