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Tuned In: Jeannie, Jenny and judges among changes in daytime and late-night TV

Thursday, August 26, 1999

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

More court cases, the reincarnation of a game show classic and the departure of a little-watched soap from the Pittsburgh market highlight the non-primetime schedules this fall on local stations.

  Barbara Eden wil be up to her old tricks when "I Dream of Jeannie" joins the "Screen Gems" lineup.

Some time slots may change before these shows premiere as stations continue to jockey for the best strategic position, but here's a station-by-station look at what's new:

KDKA (Channel 2): Sally Jessy Raphael is out (moving to WPGH in the same time slot). A full hour of "Martha Stewart Living" is in weekdays at 10 a.m. (beginning Sept. 6).

"The Outer Limits" airs at 11:35 p.m. Saturday, with "Poltergeist: The Legacy" after midnight at 3:05 a.m. (Sept. 25).

"Peter Benchley's Amazon" will air after midnight Sunday at 1:05 a.m. (Sept. 26). After football season, the adventure series will also air at 7 p.m. Saturday. C. Thomas Howell stars as one of a handful of passengers who survive a plane crash in the Amazon and must work to find their way back to civilization. Carol Alt plays the sole survivor of the crew, a flight attendant.

WCWB (Channel 22): Pittsburgh's WB affiliate is expected to air weekday reruns of "The Wayans Bros." (10:30 a.m.), "In the House" (1 p.m.), "The Parent 'Hood" (1:30 p.m.) and "3rd Rock from the Sun" (6:30 p.m. starting Sept. 13).

A new half-hour newsmagazine based on The National Enquirer tabloid will air at midnight weeknights (Sept. 13).

The new syndicated drama "The Dream Team," about a group of elite intelligence agents led by Roger Moore, will air at 11 p.m. Saturday.

WNPA (Channel 19): "Queen Latifah," an Oprah-inspired talk show, will air at 9 a.m. (Sept. 20), with "Screen Gems" at 1:30 p.m. (Sept. 13).

"Screen Gems" will be made up of series from the library of Columbia TriStar Television, bringing Nick at Nite-type shows back to broadcast television. "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Bewitched" will air through April with "The Partridge Family" and "The Monkees" airing in May.

An hour of "Divorce Court" will air at 6 p.m. beginning Monday.

At 7 p.m. one of WNPA's highest-rated shows, "Judge Joe Brown," departs for WCWB (where it will air at 11 p.m.) to be replaced on WNPA by "Judge Mathis." Former WPGH weekend anchor Leslie Pallotta (now going by the name Leslie Merrill) will serve as the "Judge Mathis" court reporter (Sept. 20).

At 10 p.m. WNPA pairs reruns of "Married... With Children" (Sept. 20) and "Unhappily Ever After" (Sept. 13), followed by reruns of "Star Trek: Voyager" at 11 p.m. (Sept. 13). "Caroline in the City" reruns will air at 12:30 a.m. (Sept. 20).

Reruns of "The X-Files" move to WNPA at 7 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 11) preceded by reruns of "Profiler" at 6 p.m. (Sept. 18).

"Battledome," described as American Gladiators meets WWF, will air Saturday at 10 p.m. (Sept. 18).

"Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" moves to a new Saturday morning slot at 9 a.m. (Sept. 11), followed by the new show "BeastMaster" at 10 a.m. (Oct. 9). It's based on the movie starring Marc Singer, but Singer isn't in the series.

"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World," a cross between "Land of the Lost" and "Jurassic Park," will air late night Sunday at 12:30 a.m. (Sept. 19).

WPGH (Channel 53): If you've tuned to the Fox affiliate for more than a few minutes in the past month, you couldn't miss the promotional spots for reruns of "The Drew Carey Show." The Drew crew will be seen in two episodes weeknights from 7 to 8 p.m. (Sept. 13). "Seinfeld" is expected to move to 11 p.m. with "Frasier" reruns at midnight.

WPXI (Channel 11): "Later Today" arrives Sept. 7 at 9 a.m., bumping "The Montel Williams Show" to 10 a.m., which bumps "Jenny Jones" to WNPA at 11 a.m. "Real TV" also goes to WNPA at 12:30 p.m., replaced on Channel 11 by "Judge Mills Lane" (Sept. 13).

The biggest shakeup, at least for soap opera fans, is WPXI's decision to replace "Sunset Beach" with the psychology chat of "The Dr. Joy Browne Show" at 1 p.m. (Sept. 13).

WPXI program director Mark Barash says the sun has set on "Beach" and that it's been canceled by NBC. While "Beach" is expected to drown in its poor ratings, an NBC publicist said its fate won't be determined until October and will be available to NBC stations through January regardless.

"Richard Simmons' Dream Maker" airs at 2:05 a.m. weeknights (Sept. 20). Simmons will try to make the dreams of viewers and his live studio audience come true.

On the weekend Channel 11 adds an hour of animal shows at 5 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 6). "Relic Hunter" replaces the canceled "Highlander: The Raven" late night Sunday at 1:35 a.m. (Sept. 20). Tia Carrere stars as a female Indiana Jones.

"Early Today," a morning business show, will air at 4:30 a.m. weekdays (Sept. 7).

WTAE (Channel 4): Fans of "The View" will be happy to know it will be on a little earlier -- though not by much. Beginning Sept. 13 the show will air weeknights at 12:30 a.m.

Low-rated "Roseanne" gets bumped to 1:30 a.m. Its spot at 11 a.m. will be taken by a new King World program, "The Martin Short Show," a celebrity chat-fest (Sept. 13).

"Access Hollywood" will air at 2:30 a.m., except for two weeks in early September when it will air at 12:30 p.m. awaiting the premiere of "Family Feud" (Sept. 20). Comic Louie Anderson hosts this game show revival, but he promises not to kiss the contestants.

Channel 4 introduces a new home improvement show, "Ron Hazelton's House Calls," Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. (Sept. 18).

The new talent search show "Your Big Break" will air late night Saturday at 2 a.m. (Sept. 25).

"Siskel & Ebert" remains in place late-night Sunday at 1 a.m., but gets a new title, "Ebert & the Movies," due to Gene Siskel's passing, beginning Sept. 5.

READY SET? GO! WTAE's Mike Clark and Sally Wiggin are anchoring the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts from the newsroom set, a sure sign a new set is under construction in the station's studio.

Look for the new set -- and probably new music and graphics -- to debut next month.

SO MUCH FOR PRAISE: Last week I made a point of saluting local stations for identifying coverage of a mock school attack as a simulation with a graphic tag on screen.

Then I turned on the TV Sunday morning and WTAE had a report from Bob Mayo on a similar drill at Gateway High in Monroeville, but without a "simulation" disclaimer. Mayo makes it clear in his report that it's a simulation, but a viewer who flips to the channel and sees kids running from a local school with their hands behind their heads won't know that immediately. WTAE should have labeled it.

LAME PROMO: Teases for the 11 p.m. news can sometimes be misleading, but KDKA had a particularly poor one Monday night.

The station used video of Montel Williams saying, "I am really tired of having to hide this," followed by an announcer urging viewers to stay tuned for his "unexpected announcement tonight at 11."

Hmmm, does he have an addiction? Is he coming out of the closet? Few viewers could have guessed he's fighting multiple sclerosis. The promo was wide open to misinterpretation.

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

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