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TV Notes: 6/14/03

Saturday, June 14, 2003

O'Brien to CNN

As widely rumored earlier this week, CNN has hired announced Thursday the hiring of Soledad O'Brien, NBC's "Weekend Today" anchor, as co-anchor with Bill Hemmer of CNN's "American Morning." She'll start on CNN in July.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

Rogers honored

Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., had long ago invited Fred Rogers to be its commencement speaker tomorrow. After Rogers' death in February, the school opted not to find a replacement. The school's dean of students will read a tribute to Rogers and students will read excerpts from his writings.

Rogers' widow, Joanne, will accept an honorary degree the school had intended to confer upon Rogers.

(R.O.)

Dr. Paul wins award

KDKA medical reporter Dr. Paul Nemiroff won the American Heart Association's 2003 C. Everett Koop Media Award for a story he reported for KCBS in Los Angeles before moving to Pittsburgh.

Nemiroff won the top award among major market stations from the Western affiliates of the AHA for a story on a new technique for repairing holes in the hearts of children.

(R.O.)

WPGH disconnected

If WPGH's newscast Thursday night seemed slightly shorter and light on the national and international reports, there was a reason. Perhaps because of storms in the area, the station lost its transmission from News Central, Sinclair's centralized news operation in Hunt Valley, Md.

News manager Sharon Ritchey said engineers were investigating the problem and trying to fix it before last night's broadcast.

Since late May, Channel 53 has been offering a combination of local news generated in Pittsburgh with national and international news, plus weather forecasts, from News Central.

(Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer)

FX entertainment chief leaves, returns to NBC

FX network entertainment chief Kevin Reilly will return to NBC this summer to become second-in-command to Entertainment President Jeff Zucker.

Reilly will oversee the network's comedy and drama development for prime time and the in-house NBC Studios.

He's also likely to be considered Zucker's heir apparent as NBC entertainment chief. Zucker, the former "Today" executive producer now based in Los Angeles, has said he expects to move back East and is reportedly being groomed for a bigger role at the network.

Reilly's biggest coup since starting his FX job in 2000 was the highly regarded drama "The Shield," which won a Golden Globe for best drama series and an Emmy for star Michael Chiklis.

Reilly worked at NBC for six years ending in 1994, leaving as vice president for drama development. He led the production arm of Brillstein-Gray Entertainment, helping launch "The Sopranos" for the studio.

NBC faces a critical challenge in series development, particularly since popular comedies "Friends" and "Frasier" are entering their last seasons.

(Associated Press)

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