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Tuned In: 'Night Talk' host enjoys review error, proves point

Saturday, June 26, 1999

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

No good review goes unpunished.

Thursday in this space I gave John McIntire's "Night Talk" (9 p.m. weeknights, PCNC) a pretty positive review. I pointed out how entertaining he makes political talk and how I enjoy seeing WPXI anchor David Johnson in a looser environment.

Then I made a mistake: In an effort to illustrate how much looser Johnson can be on "Night Talk," I used a quote where he called Rue McClanahan's "Golden Girls" character "the slutty one." Turns out McIntire said that during a rapid-fire exchange, not Johnson. Mea culpa.

Too late.

Thursday night on PCNC McIntire and Johnson hilariously rubbed the error in my face on the air, tsk-tsking me the way I criticize local newscasts. Good for them. Turnabout is fair play. The exchange between TV critic and TV reporter is oftentimes a game, and McIntire and Johnson showed how fun it can be when played with a deft touch. Touchè.

Of course I regret misattributing the quote (I didn't tape the show as I do some newscasts), but the bit performed by Johnson and McIntire almost made the flub worth it.

Plus, during their on-air rebuttal Johnson said, "Now that I think of it, she is the slutty one," proving my original point that he can have more fun on PCNC.

Long live John McIntire's "Night Talk." Long live David Johnson's PCNC alter ego.

NEVER MIND: In Thursday's column I also praised UPN's Canadian import "Power Play" and urged viewers to tune in Monday at 9 p.m. Alas, UPN pulled the show from its schedule after only two episodes due to abysmally low ratings.

> ADELPHIA CHANGES: Some Adelphia Cable subscribers will soon have the option of getting more channels as system upgrades allow access to more digital technology.

This week several analog channels were added to the cable value package (expanded basic) in Peters, Finleyville and Union Township with no rate increase. New channels include MSNBC on Channel 62, TV Food Network on Channel 63, Animal Planet on 64, The Learning Channel on 65, Sci-Fi Channel on 67, Country Music Television on Channel 69, TV Land on Channel 70 and HGTV on Channel 74.

Subscribers in Peters, Finleyville, Union, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair will have access to new digital tiers beginning early next month.

Those who want the new digital service will have to upgrade to a new box along with those who have never had digital. The digital box costs $3.25 per month; the remote is 25 cents per month.

Three digital options exist. The cost of one digital package is $6.95 per month; to get all three digital packages, the cost is $10.95 per month (you can't just buy two).

Option 1 includes Golf Channel, Speedvision, ESPNews, CNNSI, Fox Sports World, Outdoor Life, Outdoor Channel, Bloomberg, Health Network and ZDTV.

Option 2 includes Romance Classics, Encore feeds from the East and West Coasts and several genre-specific Encore Channels, including Love Stories, Westerns, Mystery, True, Action and WAM!

Option 3 offers Discovery Kids, Discovery Science, Discovery Civilizations, Discovery Health, Discovery People, Discovery Wings, Game Show Network, BBC America, Goodlife, The Weather Channel Weatherscan, Trinity and Inspiration.

Additional premium channels, which cost extra, will also be available through digital, including More Cinemax, Thriller Cinemax, Action Cinemax, Showtime 2, Showtime 3, Showtime Extreme, The Movie Channel 2 and a bushel of Starz! channels.

It's expected the digital tiers will be added to other Adelphia systems later this year.

Some of these new digital channels will be listed in the cable conversion chart of the Post-Gazette's TV Week magazine beginning tomorrow. Call Adelphia at 800-892-7300.

Rob Owen can be reached at (412) 263-2582 or rowen@post-gazette.com.

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