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BAXTER-BIRNEY KILLED `FAMILY' REUNION MOVIE

Did you see Meredith Baxter-Birney in "Burning Bridges" on Sunday night? Were you wondering how the wonderful woman who played Michael J. Fox's mom on "Family Ties" could play such a character?

What makes you think Baxter-Birney is so wonderful?There were lots of rumors that she was jealous of Fox's success on "Ties." She even threatened to quit the show at one point.

And, apparently, she single-handedly shot down a reunion movie for the "Family" series that ran from 1976-80. That show starred Sada Thompson, the late James Broderick, Kristy McNichol and Gary Frank.

"We had a wonderful script all set to go," said Frank in a phone interview. The family would reunite for the remarriage of Kate (Thompson).

"We all agreed to do it," Frank said. "The network was excited about doing it, too. Then Meredith decided she wasn't happy with the script. Her part wasn't funny enough."

The script was rewritten with Baxter-Birney in mind, but again she wasn't happy.

"She read the second draft and nixed it because her part wasn't big enough," Frank said. "That was the end of it. It was a shame for the rest of us."

It's also a shame Baxter-Birney takes herself so seriously. People who think they're big stars often stop being big stars.

- TONIGHT ON THE TUBE: Three more shows are bidding the season farewell: Two of them will be back in the fall, while the fate of the third is uncertain.

Who's the Boss (7 p.m., Ch. 4) is ending the year with still another examination of the relationship between Tony and Angela. (Why don't they just get married and spare us this umpteenth version of the same plot?)

In the Heat of the Night (8 p.m., Ch. 2) concludes a two-parter, the season and a murder investigation.

Shannon's Deal (9 p.m., Ch. 2) ends its limited run on a special night (pre-empting "Midnight Caller" with Ralph Waite playing Shannon's father. (This show has been critically praised, but the ratings are rather iffy.)

Elsewhere, Karen battle Dad on The Wonder Years (7:30 p.m., Ch. 4); Roseanne (8 p.m., Ch. 4) wants to be a writer but is suffering from writer's block; Eddie Murphy stars in Beverly Hills Cop II (8 p.m., Ch. 5), which is more remake than sequel to its predecessor; Kevin Costner stars in No Way Out (8 p.m., Ch. 13); and Mattie encounters plenty of problems as the restaurant opens on Brewster Place (8:30 p.m., Ch. 4).

- LOOKING TOWARD WEDNESDAY: That carrot-chomping bunny celebrates his 50th on Happy Birthday, Bugs (7 p.m., Ch. 5); the KSL news team takes in in-depth look at the controversial Salt Lake County Jail in City Behind Bars (8 p.m., Ch. 5); there's another first-run movie about James Bond-creator Ian Fleming (not the one that was on TNT a while back), Goldeneye (8 p.m., Ch. 14); Brewster Place (8:30 p.m., Ch. 4) moves into its regular time slot; and an hour-long Designing Women (9 p.m., Ch. 5) airs the series best scenes from its first four seasons.