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Nov 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

San Francisco public television station KQED-TV plans to begin production this month on a new arts show that it promises will be different from traditional PBS arts fare. The show is “Spark” and the channel anticipates a March launch of the first of 26 half-hour episodes. Most public broadcasting local arts shows are calendar-style productions shot in a studio where a host interviews a local figure, such as a symphony conductor, said John Boland, KQED executive VP and chief content officer. “Spark” will be unhosted and shot in the field, and is designed to actively engage viewers in the arts with behind-the-scenes stories of artists and the artistic process, he said. “A lot of people find the arts off-putting or they are intimidated,” he said. “We believe by taking the mystery out of it and showing what art is and how it is created hopefully it’s educational and also entertaining.” If a story covers the symphony, for example, the reporter would spend time with the musicians, showing them during the rehearsal process and in their ordinary lives. “That makes the symphony less intimidating,” Mr. Boland said. “It’s more interesting when you know the people.” Since each episode will feature two different stories, the show will cover more than 50 artists or arts organizations in a season. The show will air Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. starting the third or fourth week of March. KQED will repurpose some content for use in the classroom. The show will also have a Web site that will rate the various online arts calendars for the Bay Area. The station plans to air a pilot in November or December of this year. KQED has raised more than $2 million to fund the series for three years.
`Phil’ lifts CBS station in Philly
America’s therapist, the Eye Network’s prime-time lineup and local news boosted the ratings for Philadelphia’s KYW-TV, a CBS owned-and-operated station, for October. The addition of “Dr. Phil” at 3 p.m. rocketed that time slot’s rating by 59 percent to a 4.6 rating. The early-morning newscast grew 17 percent over last year in the 5 a.m.-to-6 a.m. period and 27 percent from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. The 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts each grew 14 percent. The station was first in prime time, up 7 percent.
TW Cable plans Milwaukee news channel
Time Warner Cable plans to launch a 24-hour local news channel in Milwaukee in 2004, its first such channel in the Midwest. The company expects the operation, which will originate from Time Warner Cable’s system headquarters in Milwaukee, to employ more than 90 people. The Milwaukee system serves 425,000 customers. Time Warner Cable currently counts eight such 24-hour local news channels, including NY1 in New York and others along the East Coast. Time Warner Cable will launch its ninth local 24-hour channel next month in Houston.
Meteorologist Bolaris returning to WCBS
John Bolaris is coming home to WCBS-TV. He will return to the New York station Dec. 9 as the meteorologist for the 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. Mr. Bolaris worked for the station from 1987 to 1990. He most recently worked for NBC-owned WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. David Rogers, who has anchored the weather on those newscasts for WCBS, will move to mornings.
Gray adds 15 network affiliates
Gray Television completed its acquisition of Stations Holding Co., adding 15 network-affiliated stations to its mix. Markets include Wichita, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; and Colorado Springs, Colo. Gray expects to complete its acquisition of KOLO-TV in Reno, Nev., by the end of this year, brining its total to 29 stations serving 25 markets representing 5.3 percent of the U.S. TV universe. According to the company, its station group will include 23 stations ranked first in local news.
Board of Governors meetings scheduled
CBS, Fox and NBC will hold their Board of Governors meetings at the 40th annual National Association of Television Program Executives conference and exhibition in New Orleans Jan. 20 to 23. Fox is also considering holding an affiliate event during NATPE in conjunction with its Board of Governors meeting. In addition, major station group owner Post-Newsweek Stations has scheduled a group meeting for its stations during the confab. Among its stations planning to participate are WDIV-TV, Detroit; WPLG-TV, Miami; KSAT-TV, San Antonio; WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, Fla.; WKMG-TV, Orlando, Fla.; and WPRC-TV, Houston.