Thursday, November 15, 2001

Putin grants NPR exclusive interview

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It's a historic day for talk radio. Russian President Vladimir Putin ducks the Washington press corps by granting his only U.S. interview to the National Public Radio audience at 7:30 p.m. today.

        Mr. Putin will speak directly to the American public on a special call-in show to be broadcast locally by WNKU-FM (89.7) and WVXU-FM (91.7). Oxford's WMUB-FM (88.5) will join the show at 8 p.m., after the weekly HawkTalk sports show.

        Robert Siegel of NPR's All Things Considered will host the program. It is the only interview Mr. Putin has granted during his visit to the United States.

        Following this interview, Neal Conan of NPR's Talk of the Nation will join listeners, foreign affairs experts and NPR reporters to continue the discussion about Mr. Putin's meetings this week with President Bush and their impact on U.S. foreign policy.

        An audio file of the program will be permanently available on the Internet 15 minutes after the broadcast ends at

        Focus on safety: Kathy Lehr hosts a special call-in Focus program on WCET-TV today (7:30-9 p.m., Channel 48) about how prepared Tristate communities are for a bioterrorism attack.

        Public safety officials from Cincinnati, the Red Cross, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, University of Cincinnati and Hamilton, Kenton, Warren, Campbell and Clermont counties will participate in the program.

        "Rangers' canceled: Weekday broadcasts of the Power Rangers and Digimon have been canceled effective Dec. 31. Fox is pulling the plug on its two-hour “Fox Kids” afternoon block, and giving the time back to affiliates. Power Rangers and Digimon will continue to air as part of the 8 a.m.-noon Saturday Fox Kids programming.

        News mag canceled: ABC has canceled America '01, the 8 p.m. Friday news magazine, after only two broadcasts. The program, launched Nov. 2, focused on changes in the nation since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

        America's Funniest Home Videos will fill the hole starting Nov. 23. But WCPO-TV (Channel 9) will pre-empt AFHV that night to air another Hour in our HomeTown, a package of Joe Webb's local HomeTown features that were canceled in June.

        More renewals: Despite lousy ratings, CBS has renewed Ellen DeGeneres' Ellen Show for the season. Ellen ranked No. 77 in last week's Nielsen ratings, tied for third at 8 p.m. Friday with Fox's Dark Angel. They were beaten by NBC's Providence (No. 30) and America 'O1 (No. 74).

        UPN has renewed Special Unit 2 (9 p.m. Wednesday, Channel 25) for a full season.

        WB has ordered a full season of Off Centre (9 p.m. Sundays, Channels 64), and canceled Bill Bellamy's Men, Women & Dogs (8:30 p.m. Sundays).

        Crowley update: Actor Kevin Crowley, who was in town last week helping his father's successful campaign for a Cincinnati City Council seat, says he's changed his Hollywood career strategy.

        After roles on CBS' The Boys Are Back and NBC's short-lived Daddio — it was canceled after four telecasts a year ago — he has started looking for work behind the camera, as a sitcom writer.

        “I have several friends who are show runners,” says Mr. Crowley, who turns 42 this month.

        Things are “syrupy slow” in Los Angeles, with networks cutting budgets after Sept. 11 and their obsession with young, fresh faces.

        “It's a brutal time to be an actor over 23,” he says. “Still, I have hopes that this pilot season will bring something” for next fall's TV season.

        Mr. Crowley, raised in Mount Adams and Fort Mitchell, joined Chicago's famed Second City comedy troupe in 1985. He has appeared in The Fugitive, Hoffa, Backdraft, Can't Hurry Love, The Drew Carey Show, Major League and Major League II.

        60 Minutes cuts: 60 Minutes, TV's longest-running and top-rated news magazine, no longer is immune from CBS budget cuts.

        Two production staffers will lose their jobs “as part of restructuring related to the expense of covering the war on terrorism,” the Associated Press reports.

        One of the two may be transferred to another CBS News program. Sandy Genelius, CBS News vice president for communications, played down the downsizing. “This is a little bit of tinkering,” she told the wire service.

        Last Rock: WSTR-TV will broadcast the never seen before “alternate” series ending filmed by NBC for the two-part 3rd Rock from the Sun (5:30 p.m. today and Friday, Channel 64). French Stewart will introduce the show and explain why the network opted to end the six-year series a different way last May.

       Contact John Kiesewetter by phone: 768-8519; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:


'Survivor' still thrives here
Blackwell makes case for Borgman
KNIPPENBERG: Knip's Eye View
'Blast' will march into your heart
Dancing with . . . astrophysics?
Estonian composer has eclectic influences
The Early Word
Top 10s
- Putin grants NPR exclusive interview
Get to it