Friday, July 14, 2000

'Freaks' too pricey for cable

        PASADENA, Calif. — There's good news and bad news for fans of Freaks and Geeks, the touching coming-of-age drama canceled in May by NBC.

        Fox Family Channel will showcase all 18 episodes, including three not broadcast by NBC last season — but not make any more. The $1-million-plus price tag per episode is too steep, as it was for My So-Called Life on MTV and Action on FX.

        “We would be unable, as a cable network, to produce a one-hour show of the quality of this hour financially,” said Rob Sorcher, Fox Family Channel executive vice president, to the Television Critics Association's summer press tour here.

        “When NBC makes a show, it's a big fat number. We would have to figure out another way to do it,” he said.

        The cable channel will air two episodes (8-10 p.m.) on Tuesday, in chronological order, starting Aug. 29.

        Judd Apatow, series creator and executive producer, does not expect to make any new episodes of the show, which was bounced around NBC's Saturday and Monday schedules.

        “We've always assumed that we would be a one-season show, just based on the way things were going over there (at NBC),” Mr. Apatow said. “So we designed the show like it was an 18-hour miniseries, and we really feel like we have closure in the work and the way we told the stories. And now . . . we want to get it out there so people can see it.”

        Actually, millions of people did watch Freaks and Geeks, but not enough for NBC.

        “Twice as many people watched Freaks and Geeks as watched 95 percent of the WB lineup,” Mr. Apatow said. “A lot of their shows get 2.3s and 2.5s (ratings) on the WB, and we were getting about a 6 rating most nights.”

        Wayne's world: Wayne Godwin, former WCET-TV general manager, says hello to his friends in the Tristate. PBS' new executive vice president for member services attended the TV critics press tour this week.

        Mr. Godwin was hired by new PBS President Pat Mitchell in May, three months after he co-chaired the selection committee that recommended hiring Ms. Mitchell, a former Turner Broadcasting executive.

        Lion's roar: A University of Kansas study this spring revealed that PBS' new Between the Lions show (weekdays at 4:30 p.m. on Channel 48, 3 p.m. on Channel 16), which debuted in April, has helped prepare kindergarten students to read.

        Kanas City children shown 17 episodes over a four-week period had “significantly improved reading skills,” says John F. Wilson, PBS senior vice president.

        On a test that measures children's knowledge of word sounds, kids who were tested before and after watching Between the Lions saw their scores rise by 64 percent — compared with only 25 percent gains for similar children who did not watch the show.

        “Kids who watch the most television tend to become the poorest readers. And therein lies the genius of WGBH-TV's Between the Lions. Why not teach kids to read while they're watching television?” he says.


Truck jumps barrier; wreck blocks I-275
$6.5M trade of buildings sought
Museum Center hoping to expand
Church hopes school helps neighborhood rise
$2.6M raised for new arts campus
Education chief calls Parham model school
Reading as they never did before
Stadium changes set for Aug. 1
Lab report frees murder suspect
Report: Life is good for U.S. kids
Tristate statistics compared to the U.S.
Accused child molester takes his life in Minn.
Armed robbers invade Newport home
Break-ins may be linked to serial rapist
No suspects, no leads in killing
Put games at tracks, Ohio told
Withrow may owe fix-up to alumni
Allowance can pay dividends
- KIESEWETTER: 'Freaks' too pricey for cable
Pig Parade: Jiggin' Piggy
Ukrainians find their dream home
Who should be cast away?
Assault suspect out on bond
Butler Co. tent jail unfurled again
Butler seeks plan to lure tech firms
Charge lessened in beating, death
Chief wants to reach out
City unit expects to take hit in golf fees during air show
Court gives kids access to new world
Dayton's oldest hospital closing
Facility for teens won't be at site
Fliers faze few in village
Kentucky museum shows firearms as works of art
Lawyer disputes 'harassing' calls
Lebanon earns praise in survey
Neglected teen sent to prison
Parents of school shooter dismissed as defendants
Park to be named for couple
State holds off on monument
Swimming meet tests new pool
Toyota warehouse could boost economy
Tristate A.M. Report
Unpopular park road approved