Broadcast news: TV big shots meet here

Call it the battle of the syndicated stars.

Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Joan Rivers, Geraldo Rivera, Dennis Miller, Sally Jessy Raphael, Maury Povich and Pat Sajak are all expected to drop by Baltimore this week during a broadcasting conference that began yesterday at the Baltimore Convention Center.


Ms. Rivers, Mr. Rivera and Mr. Miller will be here tonight for a private party at the Inner Harbor Rusty Scupper sponsored by Tribune Entertainment, the producer and syndicator of their shows. Mr. Rivera, ever the self-promoter, will arrive on a boat bearing the logo of his new fall show, "Now It Can Be Told." He's planning to dock near the restaurant around 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday evening, Ms. Winfrey and Mr. King will receive industry achievement awards at the Mechanic Theatre. Earlier that day, Ms. Winfrey will tape an episode of her talk show from the Convention Center. The topic will be "America's Favorite Commercials." No more tickets are available, and no air date has been set.


The other celebrities will be on hand for various workshops, according to Paul Nichols, a spokesman for the convention.

Sponsored by the Broadcast Promotion and Marketing Executives and the Broadcast Designers' Association, the four-day conference and exposition will draw nearly 3,000 promotion, marketing and design professionals from TV, radio and cable.

"You have meeting in Baltimore the real decision-makers who decide how to lure viewers to shows this fall," said Mr. Nichols.

Although considered a "relatively small convention," there is definite prestige in having industry leaders -- including executives from Columbia, Disney and Warner Bros. -- visit Charm City, said Kristy Sexton, communications manager for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association.

She added, "On the heels of the Presbyterians, what more could we ask for?"