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Doing Dallas

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Arkansas native Harry Thomason tells us that he and his wife Linda Bloodworth-Thomason are in production for a pilot for an HBO series, “12 Miles of Bad Road,” that could air next year on the cable channel.

Lily Tomlin will be the matriarch of a wealthy family in the Highland Park section of Dallas. (Some scenes will be shot there, but Pasadena will also stand in for the old-money neighborhood.)

A cast of more than a dozen will include Gary Cole, Mary Kay Place, Kim Dickens, Katherine LaNasa and Sean Bridgers.

We gather the comedy will concern politics as well as manners. Some lampooning of the wealthy Republicans who populate Dallas seems likely.

Thomason attended a charity event last week in Dallas with Tomlin. He reports that they shared a table with wildcatter T. Boone Pickens and Harold Simmons, the tycoon who, along with Pickens, underwrote the Swift Boat ad campaign and who’s underwriting attack ads against Democratic congressional candidates this year. Surely that evening produced some material.

Forget, hell

The Nation wrote an extensive article recently about possible leadership changes at the Moonie-controlled Washington Times. The local interest is that the long-time editor, reportedly heading toward retirement, is Wesley Pruden. He’s an arch-conservative, accused in the article of overseeing a racially insensitive operation, which wouldn’t be surprising since his father was a leading seg during the Little Rock school crisis in 1957. Pruden, you may recall, worked with another notorious seg of the era, Jim Johnson, on fanciful Clinton scandal stories during the Whitewater era.

One portion of the article reminded us of our own daily newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with its tributes to David O. Dodd and Robert E. Lee and its revisionism of the 1957 crisis:

“In 1993 Pruden gave an interview to the now-defunct neo-Confederate magazine Southern Partisan, which routinely published proslavery apologias and attacks on Abraham Lincoln. Pruden boasted, ‘Every year I make sure that we have a story in the paper about any observance of Robert E. Lee’s birthday.... And the fact that it falls around Martin Luther King’s birthday.’ ”

Real estate chatter

An announcement is coming from Park Plaza in November on a major new ground floor tenant. Gossip persists on the coming announcement of at least two, maybe three, new downtown building projects, including a hotel. No details yet.

Problems have developed on another downtown front. Developer Stephanie Smith, who hopes to redevelop the historic Donaghey Building for condos, says her construction financing depends on closing a deal to purchase the city’s parking deck across Seventh Street. That sale remains hung up, following questions raised several months ago by City Attorney Tom Carpenter. Sharon Priest of the Downtown Partnership, which manages the deck, has been reassuring Smith that the deal will be completed by January. Meanwhile, Smith’s costs rise.

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