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TV Notes: WPXI to add anchor; where is Avedesian?

Tuesday, June 15, 1999

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

After more than a year without a co-anchor team on the weekend, WPXI's Jodine Costanzo won't be alone at the anchor desk much longer. The station has hired a weekend co-anchor/weekday reporter. Keith Jones will join the station in mid-July.

Jones now is morning anchor at WTVG, the ABC affiliate in Toledo.

Channel 11 news director Jennifer Rigby said it's taken a while, but she always wanted to return to a two-anchor weekend team.

"Finding someone who meshes with your news team, who has good camaraderie with Jodine and who's a very good reporter all comes into play," Rigby said.

Rigby is still looking for a morning and noon weathercaster to replace C.S. Keys, whose contract was not renewed after he was charged with simple assault in a fight with a girlfriend. Rigby hopes to have the new weathercaster in place within six weeks.

There's also a reporter spot still open after the mysterious departure of Caroline Avedesian earlier this year.

"She's no longer employed here," Rigby said before searching for a memo that directed her how to respond to questions about Avedesian. "By reason of her contract, she is not currently permitted to work elsewhere in television."

That means there's some sort of non-compete clause that's keeping Avedesian off the air. Calls to Avedesian and her lawyer were not returned.

AND THE WINNER MAY BE ... David E. Kelley and his shows and HBO's mob drama "The Sopranos" lead the nominations for the 1999 Television Critics Association Awards.

Best drama nominees include "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Law & Order," "NYPD Blue," "The Practice" and "The Sopranos."

Both "The Practice" and "The Sopranos" are nominated in the program of the year category along with "Sports Night," "NYPD Blue," "The Farmer's Wife" (a PBS documentary mini-series) and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

"Raymond" also was a comedy nominee along with "Ally McBeal," "Friends," "Sports Night" and "Will & Grace."

The two second bananas on "Will & Grace," Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally, are nominated in the individual achievement in a comedy category with Calista Flockhart, Kelsey Grammer, Ray Romano and "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening.

Nominees for individual achievement in a drama include "Sopranos" creator David Chase, Dennis Franz, James Gandolfini, Camryn Manheim, Dylan McDermott, David E. Kelley. Kelley also is up for the career achievement award with fellow nominees Dick Clark, "60 Minutes" guru Don Hewitt, Normal Lear, Aaron Spelling and Barbara Walters.

ABC's cancellation of "Cupid" was heartbreaking to many fans of the comedic drama, but the show lives in the memory of critics and has been nominated for best new program. Other nominees include "Felicity," "Sports Night," "The Sopranos," "Will & Grace" and "It's Like, You Know ..."

NBC's "Alice in Wonderland," A&E's "Horatio Hornblower," CBS's "Joan of Arc," HBO's "Shot Through the Heart" and PBS's "The Farmer's Wife" compete for best movie/mini-series.

"The Farmer's Wife" also is nominated for best news/information program. Other nominees include PBS's "The American Experience," CNN's "The Cold War," ABC's "The Century" and that old stalwart, "60 Minutes."

Children's show nominees include "Arthur," "Bear in the Big Blue House," "Blue's Clues," "Teletubbies" and "Wishbone."

Awards will be given out next month in Pasadena, Calif., during the television critics press tour.

STILL MORE CABLE CHANGES: The Military Channel has leased access on several area TCI systems. In the City of Pittsburgh it can be found on TCI channels 5a and 2 (the community bulletin board has moved to Channel 1a). Because it is a leased channel, the addition of the Military Channel has no impact on cable rates, a TCI spokesman said.

The Military Channel also leases space on low-power station WNEU, which is carried by some Adelphia cable systems, but not TCI.

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