Ever since Mackenzie Phillips' suspension from One Day at a Time in September—because of hypoadrenia, an adrenalin deficiency that left her thin and tired—the show's writers have been hard put to explain the absence of her character, Julie Horvath. "The plot was getting so contrived that changes had to be made," says Barbara Brogliatti, VP for Embassy Productions, which produces the CBS series. So on the Jan. 8 episode, Phillips' TV hubby, Max (Michael Lembeck), will get a letter from Julie saying she's leaving him and their infant daughter. "It still leaves the door open for her to return," says Brogliatti. "But we don't expect her back in the near future." Mackenzie, 24, who was fired from the sitcom in 1980 and returned the next year after treatment for narcotics addiction, has done only three episodes this season. "When she tells us she's ready to work, a judgment will be made at that time about her condition," says Brogliatti. "So far, she hasn't called."

If the battle over Scarface's X-rating (which was finally changed to an R) seemed bloody, wait till you see the movie, which opens in mid-December. Al Pacino stars as a Cuban refugee named Tony Montana who's involved in international drug trafficking. Before the final Bonnie and Clyde-like ambush, there are at least a dozen grisly murders. The most gruesome, seen at a sneak preview in Boston but later cut, occurred when Tony and a pal were double-crossed during a coke pickup in a motel. The pair were tied up in the shower, and Tony's buddy got sliced by a bad dude with a chain saw. Though the sawing was never shown, there was a shot of the blood-spattered bathroom with a severed arm hanging from the shower rod. But you'll just have to get through Christmas without that bit of entertainment.

Those fitness-minded folks at Simon & Schuster, who have fattened their piggy banks with celebrity shape-up books by the likes of Jane Fonda and Victoria Principal, are at it again. The latest addition, due out next fall, is a pictorial karate-exercise treatise by Stefanie Powers and Judith Quine, chairman of the Professional Karate Assn., called Stefanie Powers PKA Super Life Program. No word on how much Stefanie will get for the book. Regardless, ABC's Hart to Hart star is sitting pretty with a $225,000 one-year contract renewal of her cosmetic ads for TV and print. Also on S&S's list for next spring is a biography of the Rolling Stones by Philip Norman, the British journalist who wrote the highly acclaimed Beatles bio Shout! Norman says the book will include new details about Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' 1967 drug bust, as well as the 1969 drug overdose of Jagger's ex-love, Marianne Faithfull. While doctors were attempting to revive her, Marianne dreamed she was walking through clouds and ran into Brian Jones, the Stones' guitarist who drowned in 1969. They talked and walked together until he finally said, "I've got to go on from here alone." Then he disappeared, and she awoke. Norman contends Jones was a latent psychopath who couldn't cope with life. We'll see what Mick has to say in his autobiography, due next fall.

CBS's Quarterback Princess, to air Dec. 3, is based on the true story of Tami Maida of Philomath, Oreg., the first girl to play high school football. Helen (Bill: On His Own) Hunt, 20, who plays Tami, got a ribbing from her macho teammates when it came time to suit up. "I had to wear knee pads as breast protectors," Helen says. Even with all that stuffing, she notes, "No one wanted to tackle me—the guys were kind of shy at first. But they soon got over that." Despite her own frequent passes, Helen reports, there was no illegal use of hands.