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Channel 45 makes swap at anchor


Starting the week of June 11, Channel 45 will reassign its sports anchors for its "News at 10," moving Bruce Cunningham to the Sunday-Thursday shift with Steve Davis moving to the weekends.

WBFF news director Joe DeFeo said yesterday the move was being made for "a lot of different reasons," but was not necessarily a punishment for Davis.

"I told Steve I don't look at this as a demotion. We're just reassigning our talent around as we deem necessary," said DeFeo.

DeFeo said Davis, whose nightly sportscasts tend toward the wacky side, will spend more time doing live reports at Orioles games when the team is at home. Cunningham and Davis will continue to work on the Sunday "Sports Unlimited" program.

Cunningham has been with Channel 45 since it launched its 10 p.m. newscast in 1991, but was passed over for the weeknight role when Max Morgan left for Dallas two years ago. Davis joined the station June 20 from Portland, Ore.

The Admiral and the Worm

Few players in any sport provoke such a range of conflicting emotions as San Antonio's Dennis Rodman.

For instance, Spurs center David Robinson, the NBA's Most Valuable Player, recently told ESPN's Roy Firestone that he loves Rodman "like a brother" because of his great passion for life and the game. In the next sentence, however, Robinson called the recalcitrant forward an "obstacle" to the team's progress to a championship.

"He is an obstacle in the sense that we want to bring him into the 'circle.' Dennis vows never to change. What we have to get him to understand is that we are not trying to change him. We want him to be a part of what our team is doing," said Robinson.

The Spurs, who had the league's best regular-season record this season, face elimination from the playoffs tonight (9, Channel 11) in Game 6 of the Western Conference title series against the Houston Rockets at the Summit.

Which "Worm" will turn up?

Ratings roundup

Thanks to a West Coast trip with start times way past the bedtimes of many fans, Orioles ratings took a dip last week, according to numbers furnished by Channel 2's Peter Leimbach, this week's sole and official "On the Air" ratings provider.

The highest rated of the four games that aired last week on Channel 54 was Saturday's 6.9/16 against Seattle. That's well below the usual double-digit number the team posts, but competitive with the late-night talk shows the games were up against on weeknights.

Meanwhile, the NBA playoffs did nicely again for Channel 11, rising from a 5.4/17 on Saturday for the Orlando-Indiana game to a 9.4/23 for Sunday's Houston-San Antonio contest. Monday afternoon's Magic-Pacers game did an impressive 7.0/19 against the competition's usual weekday talk-show fare.

Even Tuesday's Rockets-Spurs prime-time game, which drew a not-so-great 8.8/15, was up from the 6.4/10 that a Rockets-Jazz game did in 1994 during the same time slot.

Finally, a fond farewell to Leimbach and Channel 13's Andre "Dr. Dre" DeVerneil, who both will be leaving their stations this month for new adventures.

Spelling it out

Today's 68th National Spelling Bee (ESPN2, 1 p.m.) from Washington may not be your idea of gripping athletic competition, but it is good, clean fun, and how many of us have any of that these days?

Host Suzy Kolber will be joined by analyst (yes, analyst) Katie Kerwin to cover the competition among 247 students age 15 and under from around the country looking for the word that prevents the embarrassment of nervousness.

By the way, that word is spelled A-N-T-I-P-E-R-S-P-I-R-A-N-T.

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