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TV Notes 11/29/03

Saturday, November 29, 2003

WPXI's Gina Redmond bids farewell to viewers

WPXI TV's Gina Redmond signed off for the last time on Wednesday, saying she will miss the viewers but her young children come first.

At the end of the 11 p.m. news, David Johnson turned to his co-anchor and said, "Well, saying goodbye is never easy and tonight is no different. ... We're going to miss you. You did a great job."

Channel 11 announced last week that Nov. 26, the final day of the November sweeps rating period, would be Redmond's last day. She joined the station in May 2001.

"I'm going to miss you, and I'm going to miss all of you guys here at the station, but I'm really going to miss you guys at home because I really enjoyed spending my evenings with you," Redmond said. "But as much as I love my viewers and love you folks at home, I miss my kids, and so I'm going to stay at home with them and I think that's where I'm supposed to be."

Redmond, who is separated from her husband, has two children ages 4 and 6. She told the Post-Gazette last week, "They're my most important job, and I just need to focus on that."

Johnson told Redmond he understood about her family obligations, clasped her hand and offered her a hug. "Good luck with everything. You'll do great in the future, I'm sure." Until Redmond's replacement is named, anchors Newlin Archinal and Stacia Erdos and reporter Jodine Costanzo will fill in.

Redmond, who worked at WTAE-TV before moving to Dallas and later returning to Pittsburgh, and WPXI's news director have said her departure had nothing to do with an incident last year that earned her community service. She pleaded no contest to slapping a former WPXI producer.

(Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Lifting voices in song

WPXI's David Johnson, Peggy Finnegan and John Fedko will host the Channel 11 Carol Sing a week from today at 7 p.m. They will broadcast live from the Downtown Lazarus-Macy's store.

Among the groups or performers scheduled for the hourlong special: the All-Star High School Choir, a gospel ensemble and Pittsburgh native Mark Milovats.

WPXI will air the Carol Sing live at 7 p.m., and rebroadcast it at noon Dec. 21 and 1:05 a.m. Dec. 24. PCNC also will repeat it at 9 p.m. Dec. 24.

Today, of course, Channel 11 will televise the 23rd annual Celebrate the Season holiday parade from 9 to 11 a.m. with hosts Johnson and Finnegan. It will repeat on PCNC at 7 p.m. The parade will begin at Mellon Arena, travel down Fifth Avenue and end at Point State Park. Be prepared for street closings.

(B.V.)

Green acres

In an interview with TV Guide designed to publicize her show, "The Simple Life," Paris Hilton says she and co-star Nicole Richie were encouraged to play city slickers. "They were telling us to mess up on every job [because] it's good TV. We were trying to be funny."

"The Simple Life" charts the misadventures of Hilton and Richie as they live on a working farm in rural Arkansas for 30 days. Hilton is heir to the Hilton hotel fortune, while Richie is the daughter of singer Lionel Richie.

Hilton also claims that the public has the wrong idea about her because of that homemade sex video that has gotten much media attention. "I'm pretty shy. I'm sweet and a good person, and I love animals and I'm pretty funny. I'm basically the opposite of what people say about me," she tells the publication in its Dec. 6 edition.

(B.V.)

Late-night lobbying

U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt will appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Tuesday. Other guests that night will be actress Naomi Watts and singer Phil Collins. Gephardt follows in the footsteps of fellow presidential hopefuls the Rev. Al Sharpton, Howard Dean and Sen. John Kerry, all of whom appeared on the show in the past year.

(B.V.)

Will & Grace & Candice

Actress Candice Bergen, once a prime-time fixture with "Murphy Brown," will appear as herself on "Will & Grace" on Thursday. In the episode called "Strangers with Candice," Karen (Megan Mullally) takes Jack (Sean Hayes) out to celebrate his first month as a student nurse, only to cross paths with her nemesis -- Bergen. That sparks another round in their ongoing prank wars. NBC kindly reminds us that Karen had cited her friend "Candy Bergen" in past episodes. The show airs on NBC at 9 p.m.

(B.V.)

Channel surfing

Electronic Media reported earlier this week that San Diego police are investigating a report that a sexual assault occurred inside the "Real World" house on Nov. 14. Details about the claim were not immediately available, but the show's producers issued a statement saying they and the cast were cooperating with local authorities and that no cast or crew were suspected in the investigation. ... Hollywood Reporter says John Corbett will star in ABC's untitled hotel drama pilot that's set in a luxury hotel in the Bahamas. It revolves around interactions among guests and hotel staffers, and Corbett would play the manager. ... Fox has ordered seven more episodes of "Tru Calling."

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