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TV Notes: 4/14/03

Monday, April 14, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Fred Rogers memorial to be aired live May 3

Plans for a memorial service honoring the life's work of Fred Rogers will be announced today by Family Communications Inc., the company Rogers founded.

Scheduled for 2:30 p.m. May 3 at Heinz Hall, Downtown, the 90-minute service will be broadcast live on WQED-TV and WPXI-TV and will be simulcast on WQED-FM and on the Internet at www.wqed.org/fm under the "Listen Now" link.

The service will be led by the Rev. William Barker, a retired Presbyterian minister formerly of Pittsburgh, who appeared in an episode of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and operated some of the Platypus puppets. He was a close friend of Rogers.

Associate producer Hedda Sharapan said the service will include a performance by nationally acclaimed organist Alan Morrison, another friend of the Rogers family. Speakers will include clergy, colleagues and friends who have had a longtime association with Fred Rogers and his family.

As a way to honor Rogers' appreciation of family relationships and connections between "neighbors" and because the demand for tickets may be overwhelming, Sharapan suggested people may want to gather to watch the televised service with family or friends.

"Because this will be a memorial service, parents or youth group leaders may want to choose this more informal setting as an appropriate way to include children," Sharapan said.

Free tickets to the service for the public are available on a first-come, first-served basis in order of postmark. Seating is limited and no more than two tickets will be issued per request. All attendees must have a ticket to get in.

For ticket requests, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Family Communications., Inc., 4802 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Sharapan asked that people write "MEMORIAL TICKETS" on the outside of the envelope and specify one or two tickets. Please indicate if handicapped accessibility is required. All requests must be postmarked no later than April 23.

Rogers, host of PBS's "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," died Feb. 27 after a brief battle with stomach cancer.

Local on TV

Producers of CBS's "As the World Turns" will conduct live screen tests during "The Early Show" this week. University of Pittsburgh student Rob Feinberg will audition today. Feinberg was discovered by producers when the series filmed at Pitt last year.

Channel surfing

USA Network will premiere previously unaired episodes of CBS's canceled "Robbery Homicide Division" at midnight tonight and next Monday... Fox has renewed "Malcolm in the Middle" for the 2003-04 television season.

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