Friday, April 19, 2002


Channel 19 expands across river

        The Tristate TV news wars have a new battleground: Northern Kentucky.

        WXIX-TV (Channel 19) will open a Northern Kentucky News Center at Newport on the Levee Wednesday, the day before May sweeps start.

        “We're going to go over and plant a flag, and try to make a name for ourselves,” says Pat Casey, Channel 19 news director.

        It's not a new idea. WLWT (Channel 5) had a Northern Kentucky bureau in Covington's old Quality Courts hotel (now the Radisson) in the late 1980s. Clyde Gray did nightly reports from there for the Jerry Springer-Norma Rashid anchor team, before he jumped to WCPO-TV (Channel 9). And both Cincinnati newspapers have staffed Northern Kentucky newsrooms for decades.

        Northern Kentucky makes up about 22 percent of the Cincinnati TV market, says Jon Lawhead, Channel 19 vice president and general manager. The population growth rate in Northern Kentucky has been nearly double the rate for the rest of the state, says Mr. Lawhead, citing a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce report.

        “Northern Kentucky has been under served for far too long by local television,” Mr. Lawhead says.

        Two crews will be assigned to Northern Kentucky, one each for the morning and 10 p.m. news, Mr. Casey says. The station will do Kentucky headlines from Newport during the 5-9 a.m. news, and at least one big story a day from there for the 10 p.m. news, Mr. Casey says.

    Former Taxi star Marilu Henner starts the parade of May sweeps guest stars — a week before sweeps start. Ms. Henner cruises into Providence (8 p.m. today, Channels 5, 22) on her motorcycle to have a fling with Syd's dad (Mike Farrell), after he treats her pet orangutan.
        Channel 19 also will beef up coverage of state news, with trips to Frankfort and will pick up stories from Fox affiliates in Louisville and Lexington, he says.

        The ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m. Wednesday has additional significance because Channel 19 is licensed to Newport.

        The Federal Communications Commission granted the allocation in 1953 for WNOP-TV (Channel 74) to the owner then of WNOP-AM (740). The station eventually signed on in 1968 as WXIX-TV (Channel 19).

        Life after "Ally': Fox Broadcasting will have huge holes to fill next fall, with the cancellation of Ally McBeal and The X-Files, and the continuing inability to launch a Thursday lineup.

        Producer David E. Kelley told the Ally cast Wednesday that the series will end May 20 (9 p.m., Channels 19, 45), after a year-long ratings struggle. Ally, set in a Boston law firm, ranks No. 60 for the season.

        Among the shows being developed for Fox's fall season is another lawyer show by Mr. Kelley, the former lawyer who wrote for L.A. Law before creating The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Public. He has created Girls Club, a drama about female attorneys sharing a San Francisco apartment.

        Fox also could move Boston Public, No. 40 this season, to 9 p.m. Monday to give Fox affiliates a bigger audience for their 10 p.m. newscasts.

        American Embassy, the anticipated replacement for Ally, failed to attract enough viewers in March and April. Embassy, ranked No. 104, was pulled by Fox before the two-hour finale could air April 8.

        Radio days: Radio stars from Archie Andrews, Fibber McGee & Molly and Ethel & Albert will attend the 16th annual Old Time Radio & Nostalgia Convention today and Saturday at the Sharonville Radisson Hotel.

        Peg Lynch and Bob Hastings (Ethel & Albert), Rosemary Rice and Hal Stone (Archie Andrews) and Tyler McVey (Fibber McGee & Molly) will participate in radio sitcom re-creations during the meet.

        Tristate residents are invited to audition for speaking roles on the re-creations at 4 p.m. today at the Radisson, 11320 Chester Road.

        Old radio program recordings, books, magazines, records, posters, videos and radio show collectibles will be available 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. today and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

        More "Bachelor': ABC has ordered a seventh episode of The Bachelor, the reality series with 25 young women competing for a chance to marry an eligible single guy.

        The new episode, The Bachelor: Women Tell All, will reunite the 23 women who didn't reach the final stage of the game. It will air at 8 p.m. Thursday, the first day of May sweeps,immediately before The Bachelor finale (9 p.m., Channels 9, 2).

        Contact John Kiesewetter by phone: 768-8519; e-mail:


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