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Television Reviews : An Afternoon Look at KHJ's 'Best of Teen Talk'

June 25, 1988|LYNNE HEFFLEY

A two-time Emmy Award-winning talk show, returning for an eighth season in the fall--you have heard of "Teen Talk"? Don't be surprised if you haven't. Now airing Saturdays at 6 a.m. on Channel 9 (and at 8 a.m. as well during the school year), KHJ-TV's "Teen Talk" lives in early morning obscurity.

If getting up at dawn is for the birds, today at a special 4 p.m. air time, take a look at an hour of highlights called "The Best of Teen Talk," and see what it's all about.

The subjects--drug use, AIDS, adoption and gay teen-agers--may sound like the usual talk show fodder, but the show's host, Joseph Feinstein, is light-years away from Donahue/Oprah/Geraldo.

Feinstein, a family counselor, a high school teacher and the force behind the show, is middle-aged, stocky and no clothes-horse. A deliberate speaker, intent on eliciting thoughtful conversation, Feinstein doggedly aims for as much clarity as possible in both his own and his young guests' responses.

The segments featured are about sex, dating, having AIDS, about being 13 years old, saying no to drugs, death and an adopted child's search for his natural parents.

Griffin O'Neal, son of actor Ryan O'Neal, talks of beating his own substance abuse problem and of his campaign to help others. Four young people who were on Feinstein's show about the concerns of 13-year-olds come back six years later to talk about their lives.

Shockingly, an 18-year-old who had talked on a 1985 show about a friend who died in a car accident, was himself killed a year later in the same way. Feinstein brought the boy's family on and guided them in a celebration of the boy's memory, not a tear-jerker.

At times, Feinstein is like an attorney leading the witnesses, but his program is straight-talking, relevant programming for teens.

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