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TV Notes: 4/12/03

Saturday, April 12, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Kelley on 'reality'

Monday's episode of ABC's "The Practice" featured writer David E. Kelley's treatise on "reality" TV shows. A deranged woman (Andie MacDowell) took the president of CBS (played by CBS president Les Moonves) hostage and demanded $4 million and a live, prime-time airing of his execution.

"She actually expects to get $4 million?" asked lawyer Jamie Stringer (Jessica Capshaw).

"ABC paid 6 for Michael Jackson," attorney Rebecca Washington (Lisa Gay Hamilton) replied.

"And they didn't even get to blow him up," added secretary Lucy (Marla Sokoloff).

One boo-boo: The smart, but crazy woman erred when she suggested the number of homes using television are higher at 8 p.m. than 9 p.m. The levels are generally higher in the 9 p.m. hour.

Before the denouement, the crazy woman spoke directly to the camera, no doubt conveying the thoughts of Kelley, who penned the episode.

"[These TV networks] have essentially been saying, 'If you want to act like an idiot, we'll put you on television.' ... Do you delight in seeing others demeaned so you can feel better? Do you keep coming to the trough to drink no matter what these people put in it?"

Local 'Stories'

A new series on digital cable network Discovery Health Channel kicks off Monday with an episode featuring a local couple.

Bob and Leslie Leise of McKees Rocks are featured in the first episode of "Adoption Stories" (11 a.m. Monday), which tells their story of attempts to start a family and their decision to adopt a 12-year-old girl and an infant, both from Colombia.

Easter programming

WPCB, Cornerstone TeleVision's Channel 40, will air several Easter-themed specials in the coming week.

Tomorrow at 5:30 p.m., "Dateline Jerusalem" uses modern newsgathering techniques to recount the story of Holy Week. "A Look at the Cross" (noon Friday) features local musicians. "Jesus: The Evidence" (2 p.m. April 20) puts Bible claims to a scientific test.

WQED pre-empts

WQED pre-empted the two-hour special "Peter and Paul and the Christian Revolution" Wednesday night and has now scheduled it to air in two parts at 8 p.m. May 14 and 21.

The station curtailed its March pledge drive when war broke out in Iraq last month, and plans to make up for it with a short April pledge period. That will disrupt broadcasts of the "Masterpiece Theatre" drama "The Jury." Part Two will air at 9 p.m. April 20 and parts three and four will air from 9 to 11 p.m. April 27.

"We continue to try very hard to come up with the best balance of programming that serves the community needs and our need for fund-raising," said station manager B.J. Leber.

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