An Inauspicious Beginning: She was a self-described "domestic goddess" on television, but Roseanne's stage debut this week as the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz" didn't wow the critics, perhaps because most seemed to wish they'd worn ear plugs. The Associated Press' Michael Kuchwara said her Madison Square Garden role "can best be described as a high-decibel, one-note performance done in the key of loud," while Daily Variety's Greg Evans wrote: "Stiff and humorless, she does a standard-issue green-faced witch with no more finesse than could be seen at any community theater Halloween pageant. . . . Mostly she just yells a lot." Kinder was the New York Times' Peter Marks, who, while dismissing the entire production as "boneheaded and downright tacky," said "at least Roseanne is in there trying." But Marks still called her performance "wearying," "strident" and "mechanical." Newsday's Aileen Jacobson, however, took a campy liking to Rosie's witch, calling her "serious about her duties, and, for collectors of golden pop-culture moments, often a hoot." Jacobson did note, however that the sitcom queen's "signature style [is] not a style that works well on stage."
Anchors Away: Two weeks after his co-anchor, Carol Marin, left over the hiring of talk-show host Jerry Springer as a news commentator, Chicago anchor Ron Magers has also resigned from NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV. Magers, whose last broadcast will be Wednesday, said in a radio interview that he hoped to find work with a different Chicago outlet. Beset by controversy, Springer resigned after doing only two commentaries for the station.
New KCOP Anchor: Tawny Little is getting a new co-anchor on KCOP-TV Channel 13's 10 p.m. newscast. Alan Frio, an Emmy-winning anchor and reporter at Sacramento's KXTV-TV who is also a former "Hard Copy" anchor, will join the newscast in mid-June. He replaces Bob Jimenez, whose contract is expiring.
Doubling Up: The Fox Kids Network will begin a new summer programming schedule on May 26, including a two-episode block of the educational-informational series "Bobby's World," which will air on KTTV-TV Channel 11 from 2 to 3 p.m. The series, with Howie Mandel as the voice of young Bobby, airs in "open-caption" format, which provides on-screen text to encourage word association and reading skills. The rest of the new Fox kids lineup will consist of "The Adventures of Batman & Robin" (3 p.m.), "Spider-Man" (3:30 p.m.), "Big Bad Beetleborgs" (4 p.m.), "Power Rangers Turbo" (4:30 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays) and "Power Rangers Classics" (4:30 p.m. Fridays).
CNN Power Shifts: In a reorganization of the CNN News Group, Ed Turner, the longtime vice president for news gathering, has been named editor-at-large for the network, while Eason Jordan, currently in charge of international news gathering, will add domestic news-gathering responsibilities. Vice President Bob Furnad will manage the network's special events unit, and Gail Evans, now in charge of bookings and programming, will add responsibility for the network's Washington-based talk shows. Meanwhile, CNN has hired John King, chief political correspondent for the Associated Press, as White House correspondent. He starts the job June 2, joining Wolf Blitzer and Eileen O'Connor on the network's White House beat.
Trouble for the Giffords: Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford released a statement late Thursday asking for privacy as they recover from a "painful" experience: the revelation of photographs--to be published by the Globe tabloid this weekend--allegedly showing the football Hall of Famer embracing another woman in a New York hotel room. The Giffords did not deny the authenticity of the photos, which were taken from a videotape, but said, "We will get through this together." Gifford made no mention of the matter during Friday's "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee." The Giffords were married in 1986 and have two children.
Comic Readings: Comedians including Jeff Foxworthy, Rita Rudner, Laraine Newman and Kim Wayans are scheduled to take part in "Every Comic Tells a Story," a summer-long storytelling festival for kids that gets under way June 3. The festival, which continues every Tuesday night at 7 through July 29, takes place at Every Picture Tells a Story, an art gallery and bookstore at 7525 Beverly Blvd. Readings will range from classic stories like "Winnie-the-Pooh" to contemporary offerings such as "Dogzilla."
Universal Studios will add sets from Steven Spielberg's "The Lost World" to the park's back lot tram tour on Friday, the day the "Jurassic Park" sequel opens in theaters. . . . The official Web site for the 1997 Lollapalooza concert tour, http://www.lollapalooza.com launches today at noon with an online chat by festival headliners James. Also scheduled to chat on the site today are other tour acts including members of Skeleton Key, Radish, Failure and Old 97's. . . . MGM Television is in talks with "Designing Women" and "Dave's World" co-star Meshach Taylor to host a daytime talk show for 1998. The show would be based at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. . . . Because of a scheduling conflict, the Federal Communications Commission has postponed its first hearing on the TV industry's new ratings system from June 4 to June 20.