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TV Notes: CBS may pick up show set here

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

CBS won't announce its fall schedule until this afternoon, but the network is expected to pick up the Pittsburgh-set drama "The Guardian."

The pilot for the series was filmed in Toronto, with one day of shooting in the 'Burgh last month. The series will likely film in Los Angeles, but cast and crew are expected to return to Pittsburgh to film scenes a few times each season, similar to the way "ER" does in Chicago.

Set in Pittsburgh, "The Guardian" stars thirtysomething Australian actor Simon Baker as a high-priced lawyer who gets caught with drugs. To keep from being disbarred, he agrees to work for a child advocacy office. Other cast members include Dabney Coleman as Baker's father and Alan Rosenberg ("Civil Wars") as Baker's boss.

The series is set in Pittsburgh because executive producer David Hollander, a Mt. Lebanon native, wanted his hometown featured. His brother, Scott Hollander, is executive director of Legal Aid for Children in Pittsburgh and served as technical consultant on the show's pilot episode.

BURKE MOVES ON: Tom Burke, fired as news director from WPGH in January after he went on a radio show to defend his station's reputation without permission from management, has landed a job as news director at KGPE, the CBS affiliate in Fresno, Calif.

Burke said he was initially bothered by the drop in market rank from Pittsburgh (No. 20) to Fresno (No. 54), but he's gotten over it.

"I did have a hang-up about that because career-wise it looks the way it looks, but I got over that," Burke said. "There are quality-of-life issues, and my family is excited about going to California."

He said his wife, former WPXI reporter Allison Ash, is from the West Coast, and it was his goal to get a job either out West or on the East Coast (Burke is from Massachusetts).

Burke said KGPE is the No. 3 station in the ratings in Fresno, but he's excited to be going to a station with multiple newscasts and the opportunity for improvement.

"There's a lot that can be done," he said. "It's not the people that are No. 3, just the ratings."

COMO REMEMBERED: To commemorate the life of Canonsburg native Perry Como, this weekend WQED will air an episode of Lawrence Welk's program (7 p.m. Saturday) that features Como's songs.

Como isn't featured in the Welk show, but his songs are, including "Hot Diggity," "It's Impossible," "Papa Loves Mambo" and "Don't Let Stars Get in Your Eyes."

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