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TV Note: 'On Q' anniversary show focuses on Jason Kendall

Saturday, January 13, 2001

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

"On Q" will mark the start of its second season Monday with a glimpse into the life of Pirates catcher Jason Kendall.

The WQED show, which airs weeknights at 7:30 p.m. and repeats at 11:30 p.m., went to the Manhattan Beach, Calif., home of the highest-paid player in the franchise's history. The story is by Chris Fletcher, who spends most of his time editing and publishing Pittsburgh magazine.

"On Q" will celebrate its one-year anniversary Friday with a live party from 7 to 8 p.m. in Studio A. More than 150 people, including previous guests and performers, are expected to attend the bash. The show, with hosts Carol Lee Espy, Chris Moore and Stacy Smith, debuted on Monday, Jan. 17, 2000.

STANDUP AND BE COUNTED: Pittsburgh native Eddie Ifft will make his national standup comedy debut at 10:30 p.m. Monday on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend." Ifft has appeared in national commercials for ABC's college football and Nokia, along with the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week."

The former Fox Chapel resident, a political science graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, has been living and performing in New York, where he met a Comedy Central executive who offered him a spot on "Premium Blend," a showcase for up-and-comers.

Ifft will be back in Pittsburgh in April to perform at the Funny Bone at Station Square.

PRICE WAS RIGHT: Mark Daniels, a US Airways flight attendant from Wexford, is scheduled to show up on Tuesday's "The Price Is Right." And yes, he goes home a winner -- with $33,713 worth of prizes, including a camper, an organ, professional cooking range and enough cologne to perfume a couple of planeloads worth of passengers.

Daniels and some friends knew they would be in Los Angeles in late November and wrote for tickets in advance. Still, he had to arrive at 4:30 a.m., stand in line, go through a screening process and then return for another line.

He was among nine players plucked from the audience of 320.

"I was very nervous. I wasn't expecting them to call my name." But the Pittsburgher was invited to come on down and he, with a little audible audience guidance on the showcase guess, did just fine. "Price Is Right" airs at 11 a.m. weekdays on KDKA.

SCREEN GEMS: Gene G. Hong, a 24-year-old from Gibsonia, is a finalist in a national screenwriting contest that could provide high-profile passage to Hollywood. His screenplay is called "Forty Days."

The ultimate winner will be hired to direct the film, given a $1 million budget, and the chance to work with executive producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Miramax is promising a theatrical distribution, and HBO plans to chronicle the making of the movie in a 13-episode documentary series in early 2002.

Project Greenlight, a venture of Miramax Films & TV, HBO and LivePlanet, invited amateur writers 18 and older to submit original works to its Web site in the fall. An estimated 10,000 authors took it up on the offer and 39 -- seven teams and 23 single entrants -- emerged.

The final 30 screenplays were winnowed from 7,000. That pool was narrowed to 250, with three-minute videos solicited from the filmmakers and evaluated by Affleck, Damon, Chris Moore from LivePlanet, Miramax executives and Project Greenlight producers.

The top 30 will be reduced to 10 finalists who will be given filmmakers' kits -- including digital video cameras and computers with editing software -- so they can produce a short scene.

The top three will have personal interviews with the producers and the winning screenplay selected in mid-March.)

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