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TV Note: 'South Park's' Kenny really dead this time

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Oh, my gosh! They killed Kenny. For good this time.

Kenny, whose death in each episode of "South Park" has been a running gag since the show began in 1997, is gone for good, says creator Matt Stone.

He died unceremoniously at the end of last season, the Dec. 5 episode.

"I think a lot of people probably haven't noticed," says Stone during a telephone interview. "I couldn't care less. I am so sick of that character."

After almost 80 episodes in which he has been crushed by rocks, eaten by rats and run over by a bulldozer, Kenny died of a terminal muscular disease, Comedy Central officials say.

"It was the one episode where [all the characters] cared [he was dying] for once," says Stone. "After that, we said, 'Why doesn't he just stay dead?' And it was like, 'OK, let's just do that.' It was that easy of a decision."

Another nail in his coffin: "We got sick of figuring out ways to kill him," Stone says. "It was funny the first 38 or 40 times we did it. Then it turned into 'OK, how can we kill him now?' "

The fact his death has gone unnoticed is not unusual for "South Park" (10 p.m. Wednesdays, Comedy Central), whose recent episodes are drawing some of its best ratings ever.

Kenny's death each week was often overlooked, and he would return in the next episode none the worse for wear. When a new season of episodes began airing a month ago, Kenny did not come back. He was written out of the opening credits and replaced by another character, named Butters.

Kenny, one of the original four boys of the "South Park" cast, was not one of Stone's favorites, though Stone provided the mumblings for the parka-wearing character.

"He was always kind of a prop anyway," Stone says. "He couldn't say anything, so it is really hard to develop a character who could never really talk."

Despite fans online saying the character will probably return, Stone says don't count on it.

(Terry Morrow, Scripps Howard News Service)

'Nightline' renewed

After failing to lure David Letterman, ABC's owners have reached an agreement with "Nightline" host Ted Koppel to keep the news show in its late-night time slot for at least two more years.

The two-decade-old news program was threatened by ABC's strong bid for Letterman. His talk show would have supplanted "Nightline" in the 11:35 p.m. time slot, but Letterman chose to stay at CBS.

Disney president Robert Iger issued a statement promising to "renew and reaffirm our support for 'Nightline,' one of the network's signature programs."

A month of private talks produced an agreement in which Koppel said that "it's possible to say 'Nightline' is even stronger than it was before."

(David Bauder, Associated Press)

Pittsburgh media awards

The Pittsburgh Radio and Television Club will honor the following for outstanding achievement in broadcasting:

Sally Wiggin of WTAE-TV (TV award)

John Cigna of KDKA-AM (radio award)

Richard Wolk of RJW Media, Inc. (advertising/allied services award)

The Art Stein Memorial Award for Exemplary Service to the organization will be given to Marsha Gavula of Stern Advertising. The Thomas J. MacWilliams Lifetime Achievement Award will go to the late Rege Cordic, KDKA-AM morning show host in the '50s and '60s.

The club will present the awards at a dinner Friday at Le Mont restaurant.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

'X-Files' moves off FX

Reruns of "The X-Files" will migrate from FX to Sci Fi Channel and TNT in October. Sci Fi will air reruns in prime time; TNT gets them for other day parts.

Sci Fi has also acquired "Roswell" reruns for sometime in 2003.

(R.O.)

Local connection

Frank Freeman, who grew up near Herminie, Westmoreland County, will be interviewed on Fox News Channel's "War Stories" (8 p.m. Sunday). Freeman was interviewed about his service in World War II, where he was a ball turret gunner on a B-17 bomber.

(R.O.)

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