Station Break

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A Magers Hire

Los Angeles—Viacom's KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV Los Angeles duopoly has hired KARE-TV Minneapolis anchor Paul Magers to anchor early and late-evening newscasts on KCBS-TV. Magers, brother of popular WLS-TV Chicago anchor Ron Magers, has been, by all accounts, a huge impact player in Minneapolis TV. In one article there, Star Tribune TV columnist C.J.—not always complimentary toward local TV—called Magers an "anchor God" and said that "Magers has been the 800-pound gorilla of the market for most of his 20 years here." Harold Greene, who is among a handful of anchors with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, will move to other newscasts.

Magers's agent Mendes Napoli said it's Magers's intention to stay in Los Angeles and will not merely wait out his noncompete there and then head to Viacom's WCCO-TV Minneapolis, as some in the Twin Cities expect.

Airing on the Side of Caution

Atlanta—TV stations here last week chose not to show footage of a robbery suspect's being killed during an exchange of gunfire with police. WXIA-TV, WSB-TV, WAGA(TV) and WGCL(TV) all cut away during the confrontation with police to avoid showing the suspect's death, although the footage was enough to demonstrate that the suspect had begun the exchange. While there had been cut-ins during a chase and the confrontation, it was not shown live.

"The opinion of our news team was that this graphic violence was not something our community would want to see or need to see," said WXIA-TV General Manager Bob Walker.

Even from a distance, the scene was "disturbing," said WSB-TV News Director Jennifer Rigby. She said that, should police seek video during its shooting investigation, the station would hold to its rule of providing, and only under subpoena, what had been aired. "Our work product is still our work product," she said. "We don't want to be law enforcement's photographer. We don't want to start down that road."

Low-Power Seeks High-Powered Story

Hopkinsville, Ky.—WKAG-CA Nashville, Tenn., reporter Anna Prendergast joined U.S. troops from Fort Campbell, Ky., on their way to Iraq with the 101st Airborne. The station may be the smallest in the country to be traveling with troops in Iraq, notes Dan Ehrlich, a former BBC commentator who, at 62, calls himself "the oldest rookie news director in the country." Prendergast is traveling with the station's head of engineering, Josh Hicks.

End of Story?

Omaha, Neb.—Omaha's longest-running TV show may be cancelled for financial reasons. Fred Schnase, producer of Miss Jean's Story Time, the 47-year-old moral-driven KMTV(TV) kids show, plans to ask area individuals and companies for enough money to help bring the show to the 50-year mark.

Schnase runs the show with his wife, Mary Beth, who hosts. He also provides voices and has worked the puppets for 40 years. According to his mother, Norma Schnase, the original Miss Jean, the show provides non-denominational religious messages targeted at teaching lessons to children. "I would draw pictures and tell stories with a moral lesson," the former Sunday-school teacher said. "We have been backed by the Lutheran church, but we never taught doctrine." Norma Schnase said that, whereas she drew stick figures, her daughter-in-law, who took over the show following Norma Schnase's 1994 stroke, is a far better artist.

It Ain't Cricket

Cable ratings may not be what they once were for The Osbournes, but their indecipherable rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch at the Cubs game Aug. 18 boosted ratings on WGN-TV Chicago. Sharon Osbourne was in town with husband Ozzie to promote her new syndicated talker, which debuts in Chicago Sept. 15 on WGN-TV.

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