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Fedko, Romero, Savini to host spooky specials

Thursday, October 17, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Sometimes it's downright scary, the number of ties to Pittsburgh that abound in the national media. As we near Oct. 31, that seems appropriate.

Several Halloween programs will air nationally in the coming weeks with local connections. But the most noteworthy may be an original production airing regionally.

"Haunted History: A Toast to Tri-State Ghosts," premieres at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 on WPXI and also airs at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 on PCNC, Johnstown's WJAC and Steubenville's WTOV.

WPXI local programming producer Susan Brozek said "Haunted History" is a follow-up to 1996's "Ghosts of Pittsburgh," a special she still gets requests for from viewers.

"Now we're trying to top ourselves," she said.

John Fedko hosts stories of hauntings from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, making the special airable on all three regional Cox-owned stations.

Reporters from WTOV and WJAC will join WPXI's Newlin Archinal, Kevin Benson, Jodine Costanzo, David Johnson and PCNC's John McIntire in telling the ghost stories, which do not rely on re-enactments.

A haunted house in Washington County, cursed bridges in Wheeling, haunted battlefields in Gettysburg and the former penitentiary in Moundsville, W. Va., will be featured. Pittsburgh psychic Mr. Charles will take viewers to the supposedly haunted Larry's Roadhouse on Route 51.

On cable, Pittsburgher George Romero will host a 36-hour Halloween "scare-a-thon" on Starz Encore's Mystery Channel beginning at 6 p.m. Oct. 30. Romero's introductions to the horror movies that will air -- including "Day of the Dead," "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" -- were taped last week at Allegheny Cemetery.

Special effects master Tom Savini will host Independent Film Channel's "Indie Screams International," which airs from Oct. 25 to Oct. 31. Savini's introductions to movies such as "The Company of Wolves" and "Jack's Back" were recorded last month at his TerrorMania attraction in Monessen.

Miner movie air date

ABC's movie about the rescued Quecreek miners, which is completing production on a flooded mine set in Los Angeles, will air at 9 p.m. Nov. 24.

The film's working title is "The Pennsylvania Miners' Story." Plans for an accompanying one-hour documentary have been scuttled.

'Guardian' tidbits

There were a few items from last week's filming of "The Guardian" in Pittsburgh that didn't fit in Saturday's story.

Series creator David Hollander said guest star Farrah Fawcett, who appeared in two early episodes this season, will be back for at least two more, probably in December and February. Hollander also confirmed that the unnamed restaurant where Fawcett's character works was intended to be an Eat 'N Park.

Charles Malik Whitfield, who plays James Mooney on "The Guardian," is a Steelers fan and personal friend of Jerome Bettis.

Series regular Raphael Sbarge takes piano lessons from Pittsburgh native Margie Balter, who lives in Los Angeles.

WB renews, cancels

Finally, The WB pulled the plug on perpetually low-rated, gross-out fest "Off Centre," although the Thursday night sitcom will air through November.

Even better, WB gave low-rated, enjoyable sitcom "Do Over" (8:30 tonight) a vote of confidence, renewing it, as well as "Family Affair," "What I Like About You" and "Greetings From Tucson," for the remainder of the season.

The WB will also give "Do Over" a try in its Friday comedy block, airing at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25.

More 'Blue'

ABC, clinging to the few series that remain even marginally successful, has renewed long-in-the-tooth "NYPD Blue" for an 11th season that will begin in September 2003.

'Grubbs' rubbed out

Fox's "The Grubbs," a comedy starring Randy Quaid and Carol Kane as parents to a family of underachievers in a depressed Western Pennsylvania town, was set to premiere Nov. 3. But the critically panned show has been pulled from the network's schedule.

A Fox spokeswoman said reruns of "Malcolm in the Middle" will air in its place. No decision has been made as to when or if "The Grubbs" will ever air.

Stork watch

KDKA anchor Jennifer Antkowiak gave birth to a girl, Grace Marlene, on Oct. 8. Grace weighed in at 7 lbs, 14 oz., and joins big brothers Michael, Alexander and Nicholas.

During Antkowiak's maternity leave, morning anchor Susan Barnett will work a split shift, returning to the station to anchor the 5 p.m. newscast. Anchor Ken Rice will go it alone at 10 p.m. on WNPA.

'Dead Zone' speaker

Lloyd Segan, an executive producer on USA's "The Dead Zone," will return to his alma mater to participate in a panel discussion.

Segan, a 1980 graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, will take questions from students and the general public in a session titled "The Liberal Arts Journey" at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Carr Hall auditorium. For details, call 814-332-2348.

You can reach Rob Owen at 412-263-2582 orrowen@post-gazette.com . Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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