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SPELLING IT OUT: When you’re talking about megaproducer Aaron (Dynasty, Hotel, Love Boat) Spelling, you better choose your words carefully. So reports actor Jay Acovone, who’ll be co-starring this fall with Jack Scalia in Spelling’s Hollywood Beat. When a man from the casting department called and told him he’d won the role, Acovone says, “I told him how happy I was to get the pilot.” There was a less-than-pregnant pause. “Aaron Spelling doesn’t make pilots,” the voice at the other end sniffed. “He makes series.”

‘TIL LOW RATINGS DO US PART: The success of Miami Vice, according to co-star Philip Michael Thomas, owes less to MTV-style flash than Ozzie & Harriet-style fidelity. “This is like a marriage,” he told the Toronto Star. “You’ve gotta love it when it’s down and messy, and you’ve gotta love it when all the goodies come in too.”

MARY, THE PLAYBOY CHANNEL’S CALLING: The press conference to announce Mary Tyler Moore’s new CBS sitcom was getting pretty boring. And maybe the star—who’s had two lackluster TV variety shows since The Mary Tyler Moore Show went off the air in 1977—was becoming a wee bit antsy. All of which may explain why Mary, when asked what the show was about, flashed her patented grin and cheerily responded, “It’s a musical about this hooker.”

WE’LL TAKE ROBERT YOUNG AND JANE WYATT: Shelving plans to continue on their separate ways, comedians Cheech and Chong are back together and about to release an album, Get Out of My Room (and Leave Me Alone). Fans of the cannabis-sated comics are relieved by the reunion. “It’s like your mom and dad,” is how Tommy Chong sees it. “You don’t want them to break up.”

A JALAPEÑO FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: A simmering controversy has developed in the House of Representatives between legislators from Texas and New Mexico. The Texas lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that will designate chili as the nation’s official food. That’s okay with the folks from New Mexico, who have submitted a similar bill of their own. But they argue that the dish should be spelled “chile,” as it is in their home state, and that it should be made with beans as well as meat and pepper—and that idea makes tempers boil in the Lone Star State. The dispute has become so heated that the two factions are holding rival chili, or chile, dinners, hoping to win colleagues over to their pot of view. “Next to tax reform and deficit reduction,” joked a spokesman for Rep. Jake Pickle (D-Texas), “it’s probably the single most importance piece of legislation facing Congress.”

A PERFECT PAIR: How come Boy George and heiress Cornelia Guest have become so chummy? Because their first encounter, Cornelia told London’s Daily Mirror, was a true meeting of the minds. “George said, ‘Oh, you’re that bitchy debutante.’ And I said, ‘You’re that bitchy drag queen.’ Since then we’ve been great friends.”

LESS FILLING, BUT LOOKS GREAT: Not only does Bubba Smith have a new exercise video out (Bubba Until It Hurts), but he’s just filled the den of his L.A. home with plaques and trophies from his football days. The decorating choice might surprise Bubba’s buddies, who know that the Police Academy 2 co-star has always resisted displaying his brass. “This is the first time I’ve ever had any trophies around me,” admits the Lite beer pitchman. “The only reason they are here is because I didn’t feel like buying any pictures to put on the wall.”