Fulmer to Guest Star on Columbo<$> TV Movie 

Alabama investigation pays off with prime time role

Alabama investigation pays off with prime time role

Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer’s amateur gumshoe routine with the Alabama football program has landed him a role alongside Peter Falk in a Columbo TV movie that will begin filming next month in Los Angeles.

Court documents from a federal lawsuit in Memphis recently revealed that Fulmer, in full shamus mode, gathered information in a meeting with a recruiting analyst and secretly taped part of the conversation. In addition, the documents show that Fulmer then dropped a dime on Alabama by calling an NCAA investigator to discuss alleged cheating in the Crimson Tide’s football program.

“Pretty much all he needs is a fedora and a bottle of cheap whiskey in the bottom drawer of his desk,” Columbo casting director Susan Millhouse jokes about her decision to ask Fulmer to audition for the Columbo movie.

“Seriously, Phil was not on our radar before the whole amateur sleuthing thing with the NCAA,” the casting director says. “But we watched some tapes of his TV show and decided he fit this character like a glove.”

Fulmer’s character, Tom Bob Charles, is described in press materials as a “Tennessee detective and good old boy who teams with Lt. Columbo to solve a murder in the world of big-time college football.” Sources who have seen a draft of the script say that Columbo is called in on the case following the death of an assistant coach on the eve of a national championship game.

“Not only do we think Phil will be a natural in front of the camera, but he helped us polish the script and give it more of an air of realism,” a source at ABC, which broadcasts the Columbo TV movies, says.

Peter Falk, the Emmy winner who has played the raincoat-wearing, perpetually underestimated detective off and on since the mid-1970s, says he is looking forward to working with the Tennessee coach.

“He has already showed he knows how to conduct an investigation,” Falk said in a statement. “Columbo could learn something from him.”

A source at WJSU, the ABC affiliate in Birmingham, says the station will not air the movie if Fulmer has a role.

“Around here, we think he’s a dick, but not in the detective sense.”

(The Fabricator is satire. Don’t believe everything you read.)

“Around here, we think he’s a dick, but not in the detective sense.”

(The Fabricator is satire. Don’t believe everything you read.)

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