The folks at Bonneville Producers Group sure put their money where their mouth is.
BPG's parent company, Bonneville International (which is also the parent of KSL), has long been concerned about the lack of family fare for television viewers. So BPG went out and made a movie of its own, "City Boy," that is exactly the sort of thing Bonneville was looking for - a really good made-for-TV movie that the whole family can sit down and watch together.("City Boy" airs tonight at 8 p.m. on Ch. 7 as part of PBS' "Wonderworks" series.)
Based on Gene Stratton Porter's book "Freckles," this is the story of a teenage orphan who goes looking for his natural father and ends up finding himself.
Nick (Christian Campbell) is a young man with a crippled hand who has lived most of his life in an orphanage. Given a clue about who his father might be, this boy who has only known life in Chicago heads for Vancouver, Canada, to try and locate this man.
Along the way, he's out of money and out of work, so a crusty lumberman (James Brolin) takes him under his wing and gives him a job: guarding a pristine forest wilderness called the Limberlost, an area slated to be the next to fall to the lumberman's ax.
The out-of-place "City Boy" comes to respect - even love - the Limberlost. And he's also falling in love with the niece (Sarah Chalke) of an early environmentalist.
(You may recognize Chalke, who's gone on to play the older daughter on "Roseanne.")
Nick, wonderfully played by young Christian Campbell, grows up and grows wise in the process.
It's a very good movie, particularly when you consider that it was the first undertaking of its kind for BPG. (The company was also in on the production of the very good CBS TV movie "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris," but not to this extent.) The quality of "City Boy" rivals that of many Hallmark Hall of Fame productions.
It's also a great show to sit down and watch with the kids. Yes, there are values there - but it's not preachy.
And it's not only charming but highly entertaining.
BPG has released "City Boy" on video, but tonight you can just set the ol' VCR and make a copy of your own.
MUJIBUR AND SIRAJUL: If you're a fan of the "Late Show with David Letterman," you already know who these two are.
If not, it will take some explaining.
Mujibur Rahman and Sirajul Islam are a pair of Bangladesh-born salesman who work at a store just down the street from Letterman's Ed Sullivan Theater digs. Dave first encountered them on a "Meet the Neighbors" segment soon after the "Late Show" premiered, and they've appeared with some regularity in comedy segments since then.
(They helped decorate the Christmas tree; they got haircuts with Don Rickles; Dave bought them new suits; etc.)
Beginning tonight (11:05 p.m., Ch. 5), the "Late Show" will feature "Coast to Coast with Mujibur and Sirajul," a series of spots in which the immigrant pair will report live via satellite from various sites around the country, beginning with Niagara Falls.
Yes, it sounds goofy.
But it's highly entertaining goofiness.
(And Mujibur's and Sirajul's regular job is safe - their boss is going along with the whole deal. And why not? The store has gotten millions of dollars worth of advertising for free.)
PROMOTIONAL VALUE: Now that Pierce Brosnan has finally been cast as James Bond in an upcoming movie, the network that kept him from gaining the role back in 1986 is trying to exploit his fame.
You may recall that NBC canceled Brosnan's television series "Remington Steele" just in time for him to accept the role of Bond in the "The Living Daylights." But then NBC, seeing how much publicity Brosnan was getting - and still having him under contract - decided to hold him to that contract and make some "Steele" TV movies.
Thus, Brosnan was out and Timothy Dalton was in as Bond.
Now that Brosnan is finally back in, cable's A&E is going to run "Remington Steele" reruns beginning in October. And A&E is co-owned by none other than NBC.
FLYING NUN RETURNS TO TV: Oscar winner Sally Field, whose movie career isn't doing much these days, returns to television for the six-hour miniseries "A Woman of Independent Means."
Field, who became a star as TV's "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun" - and became a Serious Actress with her Emmy-winning role in the TV movie "Sybil" - hasn't had a whole lot to to in theatrical films of late. Even in last year's big hit "Mrs. Doubtfire," her role was almost incidental.
So it's back to TV in this miniseries, which is based on on Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey's best-seller and will be seen sometime during the 1994-95 season. Field will also be one of the mini's executive producers.
According to NBC, "the saga follows Bess Steed Garner (Field) as she grows from a young girl into a woman of independent means, having inherited a sizable fortune from her mother that gives her a freedom few women of her time could imagine. Strong-minded and independent, Bess follows her heart and often flies in the face of conventional morality."