Friday, August 13, 1999

Conan's sidekick says good night




BY JOHN KIESESWETTER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Here's a bold “Year 2000” prediction: Sidekick Andy Richter will leave Late Night with Conan O'Brien early in the next Millennium.

        May, to be exact.

        Mr. Richter, 32, who has been with the show since its 1993 debut, announced Wednesday that he's leaving after May sweeps in the hopes of starring in a prime-time sitcom.

        “I sort of need to take this step for my own peace of mind and my own sense of self-worth,” Mr. Richter told The New York Times.

        “I absolutely know this is a risk. I'm getting as comfortable as I can with the notion of giving up a steady income.”

        The Grand Rapids, Mich., native was nominated with the Late Night writing team for an Emmy award for best writing in a comedy and variety series last month. He also was part of the 1996 nomination in the same category.

        Among his favorite routines on the show are his staring contests with Mr. O'Brien and silly “Year 2000” predictions.

        Mr. O'Brien says that Mr. Richter broached his desire to leave the show in March.

        “It's very tough on both a personal level and a professional level. He's such a talented guy. But I just want Andy to be happy,” Mr. O'Brien says.

        The announcement was made this week so Mr. Richter could pursue new ventures without stirring up the rumor mill — and to give Late Night a full season to find his replacement.

        NATIONAL NEWS: WLWT has won a national Associated Press Broadcasters Award for its coverage of the Auxier Gas Co. explosion last August. Channel 5 will receive the award Oct. 1 in Charlotte, N.C.

        WXIX-TV's 10 O'clock News is the highest-rated of all the 10 p.m. newscasts on Fox stations in the United States, according to May sweeps ratings. Channel 19's prime-time news averaged a 6.0 rating with adults ages 19-49.

        Also in the top 10 were Birmingham, Ala.; Greensboro-High Point-Salem, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; Detroit; Houston; San Francisco; West Palm Beach, Fla; and Cleveland.

        RADIO HIGHLIGHT: Proceed with Caution Theatre, the local radio mystery anthology series written and produced by Willie James Jones, premieres Third Voice in the Storm at 9:30 a.m. today on WAIF-FM (88.3). Mr. Jones, president of the Quality Theatrical Players, says the program is about a couple's long and strange drive home.

        VCR ALERT: Channel 9 again opens the vault this weekend for more classic TV celebrating the station's 50th birthday:

        • Episode No. 3 of the Cincinnati History Series, “Scramble Up the Hills 1870-1914),” narrated by Charles Kuralt (7:30 p.m. Saturday).

        • An Uncle Al Show specialcalled Your House, originally broadcast in 1975 (1 p.m. Sunday).

        • The 1969 premiere of the Nick Clooney Show with songs by Betty and Rosemary Clooney, his sisters, singer Len Mink and Jerry Conrad's band (5 p.m. Sunday).

        SUNDAY BEST: WCET-TV repeats the Bee Gees: One Night Only concert (9 p.m., Channel 48).

        Pop star Elton John goes One-on-One with David Frost Sunday (8-10 p.m., A&E).

        AROUND THE DIAL:Keep a sharp eye on Little Man Tate (7:15 p.m. today, The Movie Channel) for scenes shot by Jodie Foster in Over-the-Rhine and Miami University in 1990.

        Soprano Sarah Brightman, best known as Christine from Phantom of the Opera, takes her solo act on the road to South Africa for One Night in Eden, a new PBS fund-raising concert (9:05 p.m. on Channel 48; repeats at 10:35 p.m.).

       



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