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Ann Devlin to take over 'NightTalk'

Thursday, October 23, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

A familiar face will turn up in a new place as the host of PCNC's "NightTalk" -- Ann Devlin.

Ann DevlinWill start as new host on Nov. 3. (Annie O'Neil, Post-Gazette)

The former host of "Pittsburgh's Talking" on WTAE-TV, a one-time radio host on WTAE-AM and co-host of WQEX's long-defunct "Cullen-Devlin," she'll become "NightTalk" host on Nov. 3.

"I'm honored to take over the tradition of this show, which is a proud one," Devlin said at a press conference on the "NightTalk" set yesterday morning.

The show's format -- mostly interviews with on-set guests -- won't change much.

"I like to interview people," Devlin said. "It's about the guests and what they have to say. The value I can bring is to ask the right questions."

She said she's most interested in getting "good guests" who give viewers a reason to tune in.

"Content matters," she said. "That is what makes a difference."

Devlin, now 46, has been off Pittsburgh TV since WQED's "UPMC HealthNews" was canceled in December 1999. In the interim, she conducted interviews with national figures for posting on the Internet ( and spent time raising her children. Devlin is married to Bill Flanagan, host of KDKA-TV's "The Sunday Business Page." They have two children, Mara, 10, and Will, 3.

Hired by PCNC part time, Devlin will host "NightTalk" 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday at her request so she can spend time with her family Friday night.

PCNC station manager Mark Barash said a rotating roster of hosts will take over "NightTalk" on Fridays for a forum discussion similar to the "Friday Night Free-For-All" that was a hallmark of the program under former host John McIntire.

"Ann Devlin is a lovely person, and I wish her well in the torture chamber that is PCNC," said McIntire, who left the cable station last week after turning down an offer to renew his contract at part-time status (he'd been full time at the station for seven years). "She once hooked me up with a producer in New York to talk about job possibilities. She was very sweet to me. Unfortunately, I can't think of a bad thing to say about her."

"NightTalk" will be a different kind of show with its new host. Where McIntire was doggedly liberal, Devlin said her politics are strictly moderate, which she acknowledged can be disturbing to people at the extreme ends of the political spectrum.

"I'm not as funny as John," said Devlin, who considers herself a McIntire fan. "I like to bring balance and I find myself politically to be middle of the road, with most of America."

Devlin said she puts herself into her questions, and she's not one to shirk from difficult questions about challenging issues.

"May I express my frustration from time to time? I like to think I have the license to do that."

Devlin, who began working in TV as a reporter for stations in her native Philadelphia and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., said she's a news junkie who has CNN on all day.

She intends to keep the phones open to take questions from "NightTalk" viewers, which she considers an opportunity to create a bridge between viewers and guests.

PCNC's Barash said "NightTalk" will retain the same set -- although Devlin said she might want to lose the desk and switch to chairs -- but the show's theme music will be "tweaked."

Rob Owen can be reached at or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to under TV Forum.

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