Baltimore feels the fX as cable shows spend a week around town


Baltimore is getting another chance to bask in a national spotlight, but it's a small one that many area residents will not be able to see.

The year-old cable television network fX is originating two of its daily programs, "Breakfast Time" and "Personal fX: The Collectibles Show," from Baltimore today through Thursday and from other Maryland locations on Friday. "Personal fX" offers residents a chance to have potential treasures evaluated in a live appraisal session Wednesday in Fells Point Plaza.

Two other shows, "The Pet Department" and "Sound fX," will also be produced in Baltimore Wednesday. The second show includes a "Summer Solstice Party" with local bands performing at the Dead Eye Saloon in South Baltimore.

But only about half of metropolitan-area cable subscribers will be able to see the programs, billed collectively as "fX in Baltimore -- LIVE!"

The cable service, launched a year ago by Fox Television, is carried in Maryland by United Cable Television of Baltimore in the city (Channel 3); TCI Cablevision (Channel 25) and Intermedia Cable (Channel 29) in Anne Arundel County; and Falcon Classic Cable (Channel 49) in Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot and Somerset counties on the Eastern Shore.

"We want to start to create a consumer demand for the network," says Eleo Hensleigh, fX creative director and senior vice president for marketing and promotion.

"We know that we are in about half of it [the Baltimore cable market] and hope to get a little bit of a teaser out there among prospective viewers," she explains.

Baltimore is the third U.S. television market to be visited by fX programs. Birmingham, Ala., and Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, were tapped earlier this spring, says Ms. Hensleigh. Hartford, Conn., is due a visit in July, and Knoxville, Tenn., is scheduled for September.

Nationally, according to the network, fX is available in 22 million homes. It combines original live programming and a mix of movies and series repeats. The original live shows are all set in a mock Manhattan apartment, with correspondents checking in from other locations.

Here is the week's schedule for "fX in Baltimore -- LIVE!":

* "Breakfast Time," 7 a.m.-9 a.m. daily.

The morning program launches the week today, with reports scheduled from the Living Classroom Foundation in Fells Point, including a sail on the Chesapeake Bay aboard the foundation's Lady Maryland schooner.

Other days and locations include: tomorrow, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, featuring poison dart frogs in the rain forest exhibit and a health examination of a dolphin; Wednesday, Concord Baptist Church at 5204 Liberty Heights Ave., with four local gospel choirs performing; Thursday, the World Trade Center, with reports focusing on the Maryland Port Administration; and Friday, the Eastport Crab Company in Annapolis.

* "Personal fX: The Collectibles Show," noon-1 p.m. daily.

Today the show includes reports from the Mount Vernon Light Bulb Museum at 717 Washington Place.

Other locations through the week include: Tomorrow, a home in Catonsville that has a large, private collection of John F. Kennedy memorabilia; Wednesday, Fells Point Plaza, with a public "Appraise-a-thon"; Thursday, a private Baltimore home with a collection of European and Asian artifacts; and Friday, the Fisherman's Inn in Grasonville on the Eastern Shore, where a large collection of oyster plates is on display.

* "The Pet Department," 3:30 p.m.-4 p.m. daily. Wednesday, host Suzanne Whang will visit the Downtown Dog grooming parlor at 2109 Pratt St.

* "Sound fX," 11 p.m.-midnight daily. Wednesday, the show originates from the Dead Eye Saloon at 2600 Insulator Drive.

Sponsored by rock radio station WRNR-FM (103.1), the "Summer Solstice Party" starts at 8 p.m.g and features the local bands Jimmie's Chicken Shack, Lupari, Love Riot and Bovox Clown.

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