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A 'Knots' reunion

Constance McCashin as Laura Avery in ''Knots Landing.'' Constance McCashin as Laura Avery in ''Knots Landing.'' (Everett collection)
By Mark Shanahan & Paysha Rhone
March 19, 2009
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Since departing "Knots Landing" over two decades ago, Constance McCashin has rarely looked back. She's consistently said no to reunions, even when begged by producers of the '80s primetime soap. "I just didn't want to do it. It's kind of like 'Jurassic Park 6.' Who needs it?" quips McCashin, who lives in Newton with her husband, "George of the Jungle" director Sam Weisman. So when we heard that the "Knots Landing" gang is being honored next month at the TV Land Awards in LA, we assumed McCashin would again be MIA. (So did fans of the show, one of whom posted this comment on a "Knots" message board: "It will be interesting to see if the ever-absent Constance McCashin is there. I wouldn't hold my breath.") Well, she will be. McCashin, who works as a psychotherapist at Brandeis these days, tells us she's flying out for the April 19 taping, joining castmates Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark, Kevin Dobson, William Devane, and Donna Mills. McCashin says she's always been grateful to "Knots" creator David Jacobs for casting her as Laura Avery. "It changed my life," she says. But she also admits it ended badly eight years later, in 1987. "I was very hurt the way I was let go for financial reasons," she says. "I wish they'd handled my demise better. . . . It was a big fat brain tumor. Sam says I was an homage to chemotherapy. Everyone with cancer should look so good." McCashin will make the trip west with Weisman and their 26-year-old son, Daniel, who was just 11 weeks old when he joined the "Knots" cast. "It was brilliant casting," McCashin says. "He played my son."

'Revolution' will be aired

Honorary Bostonian Craig Ferguson's Comedy Central special - filmed at the Wilbur Theatre - will air Sunday. If the promos for "A Wee Bit of Revolution" are any indication, it looks like the Scot-turned-citizen is in fine form. Ferguson (inset), who's also emceed our Fourth of July Pops concert, told us last fall he filmed here because Boston fit with his special's theme. "People also say the audiences in Boston are surly and half in the bag, so I felt like I'd be among family," he said. Eddie Murphy's brother, Charlie (forever in our hearts for his Rick James tales on the late, great "Chappelle's Show"), also plans to tape a show at the Wilbur, on April 25.

Remembering time spent with 'Friends'

"Friends" creator Marta Kauffman insists she had no idea the sitcom would be such an enormous hit. The Brandeis grad, who'll return to her alma mater March 30, says her goal for the show was simple. "David [ Crane] and I just tried to do a show we'd watch," she told us yesterday. "We knew we liked it, but we had no idea if the audience, the network, or anyone else would like." They all did, of course, and Kauffman's credits now include one of the most lucrative sitcoms in television history. Asked if that's a burdensome distinction, she said no. "It's not quite the same as an actor who gets typecast," said Kauffman, who remains close with a few members of the "Friends" cast. "I don't have to prove anything to anybody. As a writer, the piece proves itself." Her latest project is the distinctly un-funny documentary, "Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh," which Kauffman executive produced. (She'll screen the doc at Brandeis and answer questions afterward.) Like a lot of us, Kauffman doesn't think much of most scripted television these days, and hates reality TV, calling it "insanely cruel." What does she watch? "Dramas. 'House,' 'Life,' 'ER,' and 'Big Love," she said. "I don't watch too many comedies."

Drawing crowds

McGreevy's, the Boylston Street bar owned by Ken Casey and Pete Nash, was the place to be before and after Casey and the Dropkick Murphys' string of shows at the House of Blues. Bosstone Dicky Barrett, Councilor John Tobin, and filmmaker Kris Meyer all stopped by the baseball-themed bar. For the finale, on St. Patrick's night, UFC president Dana White was in with UFC fighters Rashad Evans, Nate Diaz, and Diego Sanchez, boxer "Irish" Micky Ward, and former Celtic Scot Pollard.

Kerry meets with former ambassador

Former Tanzania ambassador Charles Stith met with John Kerry in D.C. this week to brief the Senate foreign relations committee chairman on his recent meetings in eight African nations. Stith, now a faculty member at Boston University, met with heads of state and dignitaries in Cape Verde, Mauritius, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, and Tanzania. On his agenda: the impact of the economic crisis on Africa and the role the United States should play there.

Gym name works for Emerson grad

Emerson College alum Bobbi Brown had a big day back on campus yesterday. The makeup artist and cosmetics queen met with students while signing copies of her new book, "Makeup Manual." Later, Brown and her husband, Steven Plofker, were feted for their considerable financial contributions to the college, which include a recent $1 million gift. As a measure of the school's appreciation, Emerson president Jacqueline Liebergott has announced that the college gym has a new name: The Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym. "I'm a major fitness fanatic," said Brown, who has three boys, ages 18, 16, and 10. "A year ago, when I walked into the gym and heard Kanye West blaring and saw all those people working out, it just made sense to me."

Bruins history lesson

Wanna party with the Bruins? The entire roster, plus alumni, coaches, and management, will hang at the Hard Rock Cafe Tuesday to celebrate the launch of the team's new DVD, "The Original Six: History of the Boston Bruins." The tape chronicles 85 years of the team's ups, downs, and dramas, from its rivalry with Montreal to the triumphs of Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque. Tickets are a bit pricey - $225 for VIP treatment and player schmoozing, $100 for general admission - but the event's also a fund-raiser for the Bruins Foundation and the Ellis Memorial & Eldredge House, which provides social services for needy families. NESN commentators and former Bruins Gord Kluzak and Andy Brickley will emcee the event.

Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.

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