WBFF offers double dose of 'Cheers'


It's the dawn of a new day in local television! OK, OK -- so really it is just a bunch of changes in the daytime and "local access" evening slots that go into effect on Monday. Here's a quick air check:

* WBFF-Channel 45 has bought up the latest syndication contract of "Cheers" and is launching the Boston barflies comedy (whose under-appreciated Kirstie Alley just nailed an Emmy for best comedy actress) with a cute flourish.

Two nightly episodes are scheduled back to back, from 7 to 8 p.m. And for the first week Orioles radio broadcaster Ken Levine, a former writer/producer of the NBC show, has chosen his favorite segments to air and will also provide some commentary.

For instance, he reveals on Monday that actress Julia Duffy ("Newhart," "Baby Talk"), who is seen in an episode as a former college friend of Diane (Shelly Long), was originally cast to be Diane.

On Sept. 9, "Cheers" cycles back to the beginning, with episode No. 1.

Channel 45's morning lineup also shifts Monday, beginning at 10 a.m., with a realigned run of rerun series: "Too Close for Comfort," "All In the Family, "Good Times" and "The Jeffersons." (Two previously seen shows, "Barney Miller" and "The Andy Griffith Show," thus leave the air.)

* In news news, WBAL-Channel 11's previously announced realignment of its evening newscasts, yielding a net reduction of 30 minutes, goes into effect on Monday.

The 5 to 6 p.m. broadcast is gone, with the station doing an hourlong newscast from 6 to 7. "The CBS Evening News," previously seen at 6:30, is bumped back to 7 o'clock. (Thus Dan Rather now goes head-to-head here with Peter Jennings of ABC on Channel 13, while Tom Brokaw is on his own at 6:30 on NBC/Channel 2.)

Replacing the 5 p.m. news on Channel 11 are reruns of "The Golden Girls" and "Who's the Boss?" respectively.

And in the morning, Channel 11 on Monday supplants "Geraldo" with reruns of "Designing Women" at 10 a.m. and the game show "Family Feud" (displaced from 7 p.m. by CBS news) at 10:30.

* Don't mourn for "Geraldo," however. The tabloid talk show hosted by Geraldo Rivera moves over to WMAR-Channel 2 on Monday, airing weekdays at 11 a.m.

And for 17 weeks at least, "The Montel Williams Show," which has been airing in the 11 a.m. slot, moves to 3 p.m. daily, bumping the NBC soap opera "Santa Barbara" off the air altogether.

Also on Channel 2, "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson" on Monday begins airing at 11:35 p.m. rather than 11:30, with the extra five minutes filled by an extension of the station's 11 p.m. newscast.

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