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Apr 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Robert Blake arrested

Actor Robert Blake, best known for playing the tough-guy title role in the 1970s cop-show “Baretta,” has been arrested in Los Angeles and will be charged with the murder of his wife nearly one year ago.

Los Angeles and national television broadcast live helicopter footage of the arrest, which took place late Thursday afternoon. The aerial TV coverage showed Mr. Blake as he was taken into custody and escorted in handcuffs from the suburban home of his sister by police authorities, who put him into a white sedan. Later, in scenes reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson white Bronco “slow speed chase,” news helicopters tracked the sedan as it made its way along L.A. freeways to Parker Center, the police headquarters downtown, where Mr. Blake was held. Mr. Blake’s bodyguard was also arrested.

Mr. Blake’s wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was shot and killed May 4, 2001 in the parking lot of a local restaurant where the couple had gone for dinner. The actor’s representatives and others have suggested that she was involved in various criminal activities and was killed by another man from her past. Mr. Blake has denied involvement in his wife’s murder.

‘Ally’ canceled: Fox has canceled “Ally McBeal,” the quirky series about a female Boston lawyer (Calista Flockhart) whose love life and fantasies divided viewers and critics.

The end came just days after the series, which had seen its once formidable ratings slide over the past two seasons and had been on a six-week hiatus, returned with a highly touted two-hour episode featuring guest stars Matthew Perry and Christina Ricci. The two-hour special got a thumbs down from the Nielsen jury, approaching a series-low in adults 18 to 49 (3.8 rating/10 share) for an original episode, according to Nielsen Media Research national data.

Over the past five years, prolific producer David E. Kelley (“The Practice,” “Boston Public”) wrote almost every episode of the series and will pen the series finale to air in the coming May sweeps. Mr. Kelley also has a new drama in development for next season, “Girls Club,” about three female lawyers sharing a loft in San Francisco, which could be a candidate for the Monday 9 p.m (ET) vacancy to be left by “Ally’s” departure. A Fox spokesman said it was “far too early to speculate” on what scheduling moves Fox will announce at its May 16 upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.

At its height, “Ally” was a cultural phenomenon, engendering sometimes passionate debate among its supporters and detractors, who either loved or loathed the Dancing Baby and the other fantasy sequences, who either sympathized with or sneered at Ally’s lovelorn sensitivities and who made Ally the character (and Calista the actress) the center of a debate about feminism and the new professional woman.

ATAS to honor Hearn, Noyes: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ board of governors has voted to bestow the L.A. Area Governors Award to Los Angeles Lakers broadcasting legend Chick Hearn and news veteran Pete Noyes.

The prestigious Emmy Award, which honors a lifetime of broadcasting achievement in the Los Angeles market, will be presented at the L.A. Area Emmy Awards on June 29 at the academy’s Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, Calif.

Mr. Hearn, an Emmy-winning broadcaster, has been the voice of the Los Angeles Lakers for more than 40 years, recently returning to the courtside microphone after heart bypass and hip surgeries. Starting on Nov. 21, 1965, he began a streak of consecutive Lakers broadcasts without missing a game for the next 36 years, ending last December with an incredible 3,339 games in a row. In addition to his role as the voice of the Lakers on KCAL-TV in Los Angeles and Fox Sports West telecasts, he has broadcast an assortment of sporting events on radio and television including NCAA and NFL football, PGA Golf Tournaments, the first Ali-Frazier fight, the Rose Bowl and the WNBA Sparks. He is the recipient of a long list of honors, including the American Sportscasters Hall of Fame.

Mr. Noyes is a behind-the-scenes legend in Los Angeles television news, where he has been a major force for more than four decades. He has held editorial management positions at many of the major stations and has directed the coverage of some of the city’s biggest stories. Like Mr. Hearn, Mr. Noyes continues to work in the Los Angeles market, most recently as assignment manager at Fox-owned KCOP-TV.

It is also well known in L.A. news circles that Noyes served as the model for the title character of “Lou Grant.” He has been called the father of investigative journalism in local television.

Hitchcock named GM at WTHN-TV: Jon Hitchcock will be the new general manager at LIN Television-owned ABC affiliate WTNH-TV, Hartford, Conn., from station manager. Hank Yaggi announced his resignation after 34 years in the industry to pursue other interests.

Norman named GM, executive VP for VH1: Christina Norman has been named executive VP and general manager of VH1.

Ms. Norman moves up from her position as senior VP, marketing and on-air promotion, MTV, where she had been responsible for the on- and off-air marketing, branding and positioning of MTV, MTV2 and MTV.com.

Ms. Norman’s move to VH1, which has struggled in the ratings, from MTV follows by exactly one month the announcement that John Sykes, the former president of VH1 and CMT, would become chairman and CEO of Infinity Radio, a division of Viacom, and that Judy McGrath, who had been MTV Group president, would become president of MTV Networks Music Group.

Ms. Norman will be based in New York and will report to Ms. McGrath.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications