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Station Break

If you have a local news item, contact John Eggerton at 202-659-3852

KSHB-TV Ignores Dreams

Kansas City, Mo.—NBC and the producers of its drama American Dreams rented a theater Saturday, Jan. 3 to show the Nov. 30 episode, "The Long Goodbye," to diehard fans in the market. Notably absent from the festivities was NBC affiliate KSHB-TV, whose earlier preemption of the show for a movie prompted the screening.

Fans of the show reportedly complained to the station, prompting a story in The Kansas City Star. That story, in turn, spurred show creator and co-executive producer Jonathan Prince and NBC to make those fans a holiday present of the episode.

In addition to flying in the print of the show, NBC and Dick Clark Productions flew in Will Estes, who plays JJ, to meet and greet the 150-175 faithful fans who showed up.

American Dreams publicist Grace Niu called it a chance to show viewers that "we're not just concerned with the L.A. and New York markets."

It would also appear to have been a chance for E.W. Scripps' KSHB-TV to pick up some free goodwill, or at least some glitz for the late news. But it did not send a representative and declined NBC's invitation to send a news crew. In fact, NBC went to local oldies station KCMO-FM to promote and give away passes to the show.

Marty Frey, director, affiliate advertising and promotion, for NBC, says he contacted KSHB-TV initially and offered to send them a copy and help them set up the private showing. They were pleased, he said, but concluded that the station couldn't pull it off, given holiday staffing shortages.

As to why the station did not attend or cover the event, several calls to various station executives either were not returned or elicited a curt "no comment."

Now Knott's Not in D.C.

Washington—Rene Knott has been named sports director at KSDK(TV) St. Louis. Knott was lead sportscaster at WJLA-TV Washington until Jan. 5, when ABC commentator and WJLA-TV alumnus Tim Brant joined the station as sports director and lead anchor under a multiyear contract. Knott will join KSDK Jan. 19, with his first on-air duties hosting Sunday-evening show Sports Plus on Jan. 23. He replaces Mike Bush at the station, who since June has been doing sports chores on the weeknight 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Knott says he got the job after he was courted by executives at Gannett's WUSA-TV Washington and they suggested their company's St. Louis station.

Medical Emergency for Portland Anchor

Portland, Ore.—KATU(TV) morning and midday news co-anchor anchor Ken Ackerman is in a rehabilitation center after problems with surgery for a herniated disk, the station reports. What was to have been an outpatient procedure shortly before the Christmas holiday has become a lengthy hospital stay and a struggle to regain the full use of his limbs after he lost 70% of the strength in one leg and suffered nearly total paralysis of his right arm.

Ackerman is undergoing extensive physical therapy and has already improved to 50% use of his leg, according to the station Web site, He was released from the hospital last week and stopped by the station for a visit. No word on when he could return to work.