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TV Notes: 12/22/01

Saturday, December 22, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Name game

NBC's upcoming Julia Louis-Dreyfus series has an official title: "Watching Ellie."

Not a show of support

Looks like Fox is losing interest in its new comedy series "Undeclared." Executive producer Judd Apatow e-mailed critics to say Fox has scaled back its order of original episodes.

Earlier this fall Fox ordered nine more episodes, but Apatow said the network has cut the order to four.

Variety reports it wasn't just "Undeclared" that saw a reduction in its episode order. "Titus" and "Grounded for Life" saw their production orders cut by two episodes for each series.

'The Job' returns

ABC's cop comedy "The Job" returns to the prime-time schedule Jan. 16, airing at 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays followed by the returning newsmagazine "Downtown" at 10 p.m.

On Fridays "Once and Again" will move to 9 p.m. with "20/20" returning to the 10 p.m. time slot.

Wilson date change

Nancy Wilson will now be promoting her Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Jazz release of "A Nancy Wilson Christmas" on CBS's "The Early Show" (7 a.m., KDKA) on Monday, not Tuesday as originally scheduled.

WQED saga continues

Comments to the Federal Communications Commission for or against the WQED petition to de-reserve and sell sister station WQEX to Diane Sutter's Shooting Star Broadcasting for $20 million were filed this week with few new arguments from either party.

Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting and the Alliance for Progressive Action continue to argue that WQEX, as an educational/noncommercial station, should not be converted to a commercial license, which would allow WQED to sell the station to Sutter. The CIPB argues such a move is not in the public interest, and that WQED doesn't deserve the $20 million windfall.

WQED argues selling WQEX is the only way to save public broadcasting in Pittsburgh by alleviating debt and strengthening the financial stance of Channel 13. In its petition, WQED says if the FCC does not grant the de-reservation, Channel 16 will continue to simulcast Channel 13.

The CIPB seeks to have the sale of WQEX, if granted, opened to third party applications beyond Sutter. WQED says it will withdraw its request for de-reservation if the FCC grants such a move.

Sutter's deal to buy WQEX, pending approval of the de-reservation by the FCC, expires at the end of this month.

"Our plan at this point is to extend the agreement as is," Sutter said this week. "That's our intention."

KDKA kids special

KDKA-TV's annual "For Kids' Sake Special" airs tomorrow at 1 p.m.

In this half-hour program, the children of Channel 2 anchors and reporters will report feature stories of interest to them and their peers.

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