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'Ed' moves to friendly Wednesday time slot

Saturday, November 11, 2000

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Smart move.

NBC will relocate its new comedy-drama "Ed" from the ultracompetitive 8 p.m. Sunday time slot to 8 p.m. Wednesday beginning Dec. 6. The optimistic nature of "Ed" should dovetail nicely with NBC's patriotic drama "The West Wing," which airs at 9 p.m. the same night. The move also spares "Ed" from competing against Fox's "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle," which appeals to a similar demographic. Airing opposite those shows' premieres this past Sunday, "Ed" dipped to its lowest ratings yet.

"Ed" will now face off against ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," but that show's once-stellar ratings are fading due to the entirely predictable effects of overexposure.

Beginning Dec. 4, "Titans" moves to 8 p.m. Monday to replace the departed "Daddio"/"Tucker" combination. NBC will fill the 9 p.m. hour (vacated by the canceled "Deadline") with "Dateline NBC."

Sunday's edition of "Dateline" slides up an hour to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 with "World's Most Amazing Videos" returning to the schedule to fill the 7 p.m. slot.

VQT ENDORSES "GIRLS": Viewers for Quality Television, the Virginia-based advocacy group that encourages networks to keep smart shows on the air, has released its new season opinion poll.

VQT members seem to have missed the charms of "Ed," but they are taken with The WB's winning "Gilmore Girls" (it's worth noting the majority of VQT members are women).

The low-rated "Girls" (8 p.m. Thursday) needs all the help it can get, so being named "best new drama" and "best written new series" is a good start.

VQT members named "Girls" star Lauren Graham "best actress in a new series" and her character, Lorelai Gilmore, was named "most interesting new character."

Andre Braugher was named "best actor in a new series" for his leading role in "Gideon's Crossing."

"Dark Angel" was considered the season's "biggest surprise." No new series was named "best new comedy."

BOO HISS: It's not bad enough that stations clutter the airwaves with promos for sweeps features during commercial breaks. This week I noticed WPXI is inserting sweeps spots during weather cut-ins.

During the "Today" show at 7:35 a.m. Thursday and Friday when Al Roker tossed to the local forecast, Pittsburgh viewers were instead force-fed a prerecorded promo for an upcoming sweeps feature. An abbreviated weather forecast from Julie Bologna followed, but it was horribly truncated.

Once again, local TV proves it will do almost anything for ratings. Greed rules.

MORE ELECTION NIGHT NOTES: Comedy Central's TV news spoof "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" went live for an hour Tuesday night with a few moments of hilarity (other times the hour seemed to lurch along, grasping for humor).

One reporter covering the Hillary Rodham Clinton victory said the senator-elect was "behind closed doors with her closest advisers, divorce lawyers mainly. She plans to serve two years before making a grab for the governorship of Illinois in 2002."

Stewart, unaccustomed to live TV, used the f-word twice when he thought his microphone was off. The profanity was edited out of "Daily Show" replays.

Other election tidbits:

YOU KNOW IT'S A SWEEPS MONTH WHEN: WTAE consumer reporter Wendy Bell was seen during an election night promo under a magnifying glass getting a facial. KDKA's Mary Robb Jackson walked down the street talking about hot flashes.

BARTLET FOR PRESIDENT: ABC's triumphant "2000 Vote" music and montage of images was clearly inspired by "The West Wing" opening credits. A commercial for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter also aped the "West Wing" ethos, showing advisers hurriedly cruising through the halls of the White House.

HEY, SHE'S ON THE OTHER CHANNEL: One of the most fun games to play on election night is "Spot the Reporter From a Competing Station." WTAE's Shawn Yancy could be seen in the background on WPXI during a report from the GOP's Pittsburgh headquarters.

WHY COURTESY TITLES STINK: WPXI's Amy Marcin-kiewicz referred to Melissa Hart as Mrs. Hart before quickly correcting herself with "Ms. Hart."

CBS SYNERGY: New KDKA news director Joe Coscia procured a live report from a reporter covering the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign for WRGB, the CBS affiliate in Albany, N.Y. That's where Coscia worked prior to KDKA.

You can reach Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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