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NEW BEAUTY FOR `BEAST’ SERIES

SHARE NEW BEAUTY FOR `BEAST’ SERIES

"Beauty and the Beast" star Linda Hamilton will be replaced by actress Jo Anderson when the series returns later this season on CBS, inside sources say. Spokesmen for CBS, producers Witt-Thomas Productions, Hamilton and Anderson all declined comment, but a source at ICM, the agency that represents Anderson, confirmed the casting.

Anderson was a regular on NBC's short-lived dramatic series, "Dream Street," earlier this year, and has appeared in TV movies and a feature film, "Miles from Home."The actress won't take over Hamilton's character, Catherine Chandler, but will originate the part of Diana Bennett, the new female lead opposite Vincent the Beast (Ron Perlman).

She will debut with a new villain named Gabriel in an episode entitled "When Churchyards Yawn." - JEFF KAYE

-Ebb Tide for `Sea':

HOLLYWOOD - Moviegoers are leaving theaters humming the title song to Universal's hit thriller, "Sea of Love," and now the haunting ballad is about to be reissued - 30 years after it went to No. 2 on the charts.

The film, which has a New York detective (Al Pacino) trying to solve a string of murders linked to singles ads, uses the vintage tune as a key clue (a 45 rpm of "Sea" is found at the scene of each crime). Recorded in 1959 for Mercury Records, it was the only hit for Phil Phillips and the Twilights.

A Tom Waits version is used over the movie's end credits - included, producer Martin Bregman says, "because we thought we needed a new artist to sing it to get it on the radio."

Instead, PolyGram, which bought Mercury in 1977, will release the original Phillips single on the company's Polydor label in three weeks, followed by the sound-track album three weeks later.

Phillips, 68, who co-wrote the tune, now lives in Jennings, La., 32 miles west of his hometown of Lake Charles - where he cut the song. A former deejay and radio "time" salesman, Phillips (real name: John Phillip Baptiste) said he couldn't discuss the record, "because of a litigation." But he has seen the film, which he deemed "very good."

A PolyGram representative said that she hadn't heard about any legal proceedings related to the song. - PAT H. BROESKE

-Death, Taxes - Sequels:

HOLLYWOOD - "Rocky V" finally begins production for United Artists in early November, re-teaming director John Avildsen (from the very first "Rocky") with Sylvester Stallone. This one has Rocky playing mentor to a kid named Danny Durrock, a product of foster homes and a prison stint. When Danny (not yet cast) returns to his errant ways, it's up to you-know-who to set him straight.

But not in the ring, Stallone says. He said this one will wrap "with the biggest street fight since `The Quiet Man.' " It's due next May.

More sequels due in coming months: "Halloween V" (from Galaxy), "Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III" (New Line), "Back to the Future II" (Universal), "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (Warners), and "Two Jakes," the long-awaited sequel to "Chinatown" (Paramount).

Already talked-about for next summer's slate: "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure II" (Orion), "48 Hours II" (Paramount), "RoboCop II" (Orion), "Gremlins II" (Warners), "Exorcist III: 1990," "Back to the Future III" (Universal), and "The Young Guns II" (Fox).

Also planned: "Basket Case 2" (Shapiro-Glickenhaus), "Child's Play II" (Universal), "Good Morning Chicago" (Touchstone), "The Rescuers Down Under" (Disney), "Ernest Goes to Jail"(Disney), "Three Men and a Little Lady" (Touchstone), "The NeverEnding Story II" (Warners), and "Rock and Roll High School Forever" (Concorde).

And look at some titles just registered with the MPAA: "Naked Gun II" (Paramount), "Action Jackson II" (Warners), "Predator II: Body Count" (Fox), and "Die Hard II: The Taking of Los Angeles International" - an alternate title for "Die Harder" (Fox).

Meanwhile, talk persists about a possible "Batman II" and a follow-up to "9 1/2 Weeks." And "Godfather III" (Paramount) is casting.

And while "Highlander" grossed a mere $5.6 million domestically for Fox, it took in $100 million internationally. That's why director Russell Mulcahy and actor Christopher Lambert are reteaming for . . . "Highlander II." - PAT H. BROESKE

-Hiroshima's Horror:

HOLLYWOOD - How far will NBC go in depicting the atomic bomb's aftermath in its upcoming movie of the week, "Hiroshima"? Far enough to give "a generation of young people who really don't have that much awareness of the bombing" a clear impression of its horror, said executive producer Robert Greenwald.

"When you're dealing with difficult subjects like these, I think the arbiter and rule is honesty without exploitativeness," Greenwald said. "But, yes, we're going to be walking a very fine line."

Unconnected to the famous John Hersey book on the bombing, John McGreevey's script follows the lives of six people in or near the Japanese city before and after its destruction, which forced Japan's surrender in World War II. Shooting begins Dec. 1 on a hefty $5-$6 million budget.

Casting is under way and locations are being scouted, with Japan ruled out, primarily for financial and logistical reasons. "We've had tremendous cooperation from everyone in Japan," Greenwald said. "They feel this is a (preventive) message that needs to be repeated over and over."

"Hiroshima" will be sold to foreign markets, Greenwald added, and there is already "enormous interest" from both theatrical and television outlets in Japan. - STACY JENEL SMITH

-From `Cheers' to Tears:

HOLLYWOOD - Shelley Long - who departed TV's "Cheers" in 1987 - will return to the small screen as the star of a four-hour mini-series for ABC and New World TV, "When Rabbit Howls," about a woman beset with multiple personalities. Based on the autobiography of Truddi Chase, the mini-series will chronicle her illness and therapy following a childhood of being terrorized by a stepfather.

Two-time Emmy-winner Lamont Johnson will direct and co-produce with E. Jack Neuman, who scripts.

Planned for airing during next May's sweeps, the heavily dramatic role marks a departure for Long, who has had mixed success with a string of comedy features.

("Troop Beverly Hills," her last, grossed less than $15 million.)

"The thing to remember," said a representative for director Johnson, "is that years and years ago, when we thought of Sally Field, it was as `The Flying Nun.' We didn't take her seriously, until she did `Sybil.' " - PAT H. BROESKE

-THE MOVIE CHART:

Films now going into production:

AMAZON (Diane Silver-Villeafla). Shooting in Brazil and Finland. Kari Vaananen and Rae Dawn Chong star in this tale of a quest for gold that leads to disaster. The film, which is a metaphor for the destruction of the rain forests, also follows Chong as she travels from the United States to South America to teach its children about foreign lands. Executive producer Andre Lazare. Producer Diane Silver.

BULLSEYE! (21st Century). Shooting in Great Britain. Michael Caine, Roger Moore and Sally Kirkland star in this caper described simply as the world's greatest heist ... almost.