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Morning Report

Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press.

January 24, 2002|Elaine Dutka

MOVIES

Sidney Poitier Selected

for Honorary Oscar

Sidney Poitier has been selected to receive an honorary Oscar by the governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

The academy said Wednesday that the statuette is intended to recognize not only Poitier's "extraordinary" performances and "unique presence on the screen" but also his representation of the motion picture industry with "dignity, style and intelligence."

In a career spanning half a century, Poitier has appeared in more than 40 films. He received a best actor Oscar nomination for 1958's "The Defiant Ones" and won in that category for 1963's "Lilies of the Field." He'll get his honorary Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony on March 24.

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TELEVISION

Adelphia to Reinstate C-SPAN to Full Time

Responding to criticism of its decision to reduce the amount of C-SPAN coverage on Southland cable systems, Adelphia Communications has decided to reinstate the programming full time. Because of a shortage of channels, the public-affairs outlet had recently shared a channel with a TV Guide listings service.

A call from the company's corporate headquarters Wednesday morning informed C-SPAN of the good news: In the 11 Southern California communities affected, round-the-clock programming would take effect by March 1--or sooner, if local authorities waive the federally mandated waiting period and give the go-ahead. Postcards will be sent to customers advising them of the change.

"Though the number of calls we got wasn't huge, people who watch are passionate, and we listened to what they were saying," said Lee Perron, Adelphia's regional vice president. "What we decided to do, for the most part, was to take an analog pay-per-view channel and migrate it to our digital platform--moving TV Guide to the channel vacated."

C-SPAN Chief Executive Brian Lamb commended Adelphia's action: "John Rigas and the Rigas family [owners of Adelphia] reacted exactly the way you'd want people to in this kind of situation--they got personally involved and made it right."

C-SPAN2 won't be on full time for an estimated three to nine months, however, when Adelphia has upgraded its cable systems.

In East L.A., Eagle Rock, West L.A., Sherman Oaks and the east San Fernando Valley, TV Guide will be dropped because there is no channel capacity for its signal. The company said customers may contact Adelphia to receive a free digital converter to access an advanced interactive version until TV Guide can be returned to analog.

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Chung Not Interested

in Doing Opinion Show

Connie Chung's new nightly show for CNN, due to premiere in the spring, will be a "news-driven" mix of live and taped programming, and, unlike her competition, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, won't be about opinion-making.

"That's not what I do," Chung said Wednesday at a press conference announcing that, with a year left on her contract, she's leaving ABC News for the all-news cable network.

Although few details of the program have been worked out, CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson said Chung's addition to a lineup that also includes former broadcast network anchors Paula Zahn and Aaron Brown cements a network strategy: putting in place "smart, respectable journalists" who also have "some sense of personality and excitement."

Elaine Dutka

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