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TV/Radio Notes: WBZZ morning lineup changes as John leaves

Saturday, February 22, 2003

It's official -- John Cline has left the WBZZ-FM (93.7) morning show. But he hasn't left the building.

Starting Wednesday, Cline joins sister station WZPT-FM (100.7), better known as STAR 100.7, as part of the J.R. Randall/Kate Harris morning team.

Cline had been missing in action on the WBZZ morning show for several weeks. His contract was up for renewal, and negotiations for the move to WZPT were under way. He has been on WBZZ for the past 10 years.

The show's JohnDaveBubbaShelley ID has been altered in the past few days: It now reads "Dave, Bubba, Shelley, Aimee and Brian" -- an upward move for morning show regulars Aimee Angil and "Giant Brian" Carothers.

Keith Clark, vice president programming for Infinity Radio Pittsburgh, said the company had wanted to add another familiar name to the WZPT morning show for some time. "We wanted someone with a successful Pittsburgh track record. If both stations were not owned by the same company, STAR 100.7 would be yelling, 'Look who we stole from WBZZ.' "

Cline said it was a natural evolution for listeners who grew up listening to WBZZ and who are now shifting to the '80s/'90s and current hits mix on WZPT.

(Adrian McCoy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer)

Local director

Marita Grabiak, a former Ambridge resident, directs next week's episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." She'll also direct another "Buffy" before the end of the season and an episode of ABC's "Miracles" that's scheduled to air March 3.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

Bye-bye 'Andy'

Fox has reneged on plans to bring "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" back to prime time in March. No word on if or when it will return. Chances are Fox will burn it off in the summer.


Channel surfing

Kevin Williamson, creator of The WB's "Dawson's Creek," will return to co-write May's series finale ... USA Today reports Charles Grodin has left "60 Minutes II" as commentator and has a sitcom in development with the network ... Cartoon Network will air 11 new episodes of "Whatever Happened to Robot Jones," created by 1992 Upper St. Clair High School grad Greg Miller, beginning in September.


'Bachelorette' explains

No, Trista isn't pregnant. No, she never went joy-riding with Charlie.

Dispelling false rumors was on the agenda Thursday when "Bachelorette" Babe Trista Rehn and her man, Ryan Sutter, took questions from reporters as part of a publicity blitz.

The night before, on the finale of ABC's dating-game series "The Bachelorette," Trista had surprised most oddsmakers by choosing Ryan, a poetry-writing firefighter from Vail, Colo., over the more dashing finalist Charlie Maher, a financier from Los Angeles, where Trista also lives.

"There was an unspoken chemistry that Ryan and I had that told me he was the one," Trista explained. "We complement each other very nicely."

Of course, they've been complementing each other mostly over the phone since shooting on the series wrapped about three months ago. Maintaining suspense for the audience was a paramount concern.

Even so, "I like to think of my relationship as being a relationship, and not just a relationship on television, even though that's how you guys see it," Trista told reporters.

"The Bachelorette" premiered Jan. 8 with Ryan and 24 other suitors vying for roses from Trista, a 30-year-old physical therapist and former Miami Heat cheerleader. Although it scored healthy ratings, the series suffered in comparison to Fox's similar "Joe Millionaire," which premiered the same week and concluded Monday by drawing an enormous 34.6 million viewers.

The two-hour "Bachelorette" finale attracted 20.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen, against strong competition including 90 minutes of "American Idol" on Fox that averaged 18 million viewers.

That didn't keep Ryan from marveling at the phenomenon "The Bachelorette" became. "I didn't expect it to be quite so big," the 27-year-old said. His explanation for the show's success: "Real people with real feelings and real emotions."

"The Bachelorette" was a spin-off of ABC's "The Bachelor," on which Trista was the runner-up a year ago.

Asked their plans, the lovebirds were vague. Where will they live? "It's all up in the air," said Trista.

But they were much more definitive when asked whether Ryan would continue writing her love poems.

Trista: "He better!"

Ryan: "Of course!"

(Frazier Moore, Associated Press)

Country 'Idol'

A dozen aspiring country music stars have been chosen for a new reality television show in which the contestants live together while they compete for a recording contract.

"Nashville Star," a country music version of "American Idol" with elements of "Big Brother," premieres at 9 p.m. March 8 on cable's USA Network.

Finalists were selected from more than 8,000 who competed in 48 talent contests nationwide and five semifinal regional rounds.

Nancy O'Dell of "Access Hollywood" is the show's host. The judges are recording artist Charlie Robison, country music journalist Robert K. Oermann and Sony Music marketing consultant Tracy Gershon.

The winner will receive a recording contract with Sony Music Nashville, with a disc to be produced by country singer Clint Black.

Much of the show will be filmed in a Nashville house where all 12 finalists will live during the contest.

The finalists range in age from 19 to 41. Many are singers and songwriters, but others work as a teacher, a cowboy, a farmer and an emergency dispatch operator.


Arnett heads to 'Explorer'

Former CNN correspondent Peter Arnett, who reported on the 1991 Persian Gulf War for that network, will contribute to MSNBC's coverage of the United States' looming war with Iraq under a deal with "National Geographic Explorer."

Arnett has signed an exclusive agreement to serve as correspondent for "Explorer," which airs on MSNBC. He is based in Baghdad, from which he recently reported his second "Explorer" program.

Under the new deal, Arnett also will broadcast live and taped updates from Iraq to air on MSNBC.

Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize reporting in Vietnam for The Associated Press, left CNN after 18 years in the wake of the "Tailwind" scandal. He was the correspondent for the June 1998 report that the U.S. military had used nerve gas in Laos, which was later retracted.


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