It's a new day for those old 'Squares'; TV: Tom Bergeron, host of the new 'Hollywood Squares,' just loves his job with the tic-tac-toe show; Radio and Television


A job that involves working only 32 days a year, where the only thing you really need to do is act as a sort of traffic cop for a bunch of celebrities just aching to be funny Tom Bergeron is convinced he's got the best job on the planet.

That job is host of the new "Hollywood Squares," a show that forces contestants to decide whether celebrities really know what they're talking about or are just, you know, acting. Executive producer Whoopi Goldberg, who doubles as the center square, has managed to attract all sorts of her pals to appear on the show, everyone from Sharon Stone to Robin Williams, Jennifer Love Hewitt to Danny Glover.

"Apart from the fun of working for these people, there's no denying this schedule was sent from heaven," says Bergeron, who was in town Monday visiting WBAL, Channel 11, where the show airs weeknights at 7: 30 p.m.

Taping six shows a day means they get a year's worth of shows taped in no time, leaving Bergeron plenty of time to spend with his wife and children in Connecticut.

Getting the talent has not proven a problem, says Bergeron, "not with Whoopi there in the center. Initially, her good buddies were hanging back, making sure it looked good. Once it became clear that it could be fun and it couldn't hurt you, they started coming on."

A former disc jockey who was the youngest record spinner ever hired by his hometown radio station, WHAV in Haverill, Mass., Bergeron spent years as a popular radio and TV personality in Boston before making his mark nationally, most notably as the host of "Breakfast Time," a morning program that began on cable's FX, then moved to Fox. He also worked as a fill-in anchor on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Now he's the '90s reincarnation of Peter Marshall, whose job as host of the old "Hollywood Squares" had him playing second banana to Charley Weaver, Paul Lynde, Rose Marie and whoever else was recruited to fill in the show's nine-square tic-tac-toe board. Today, Bergeron plays the same role to people like Goldberg, Caroline Rhea, Martin Mull (his personal favorite) and others.

"It's a real party mix of celebrities," Bergeron says. "And the best thing is, you don't have to sit through the boring parts of interviews."

'Two Women of Peace'

Maryland Public Television yesterday announced that it will produce a live discussion between Lea Rabin and Jehan Sadat, the widows of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

The program, "Two Women of Peace," will be broadcast from the University of Maryland in College Park on April 29th. It will be produced in partnership with the Brody Public Policy Forum of UM's School of Public Affairs. The program will include an audience that will have the chance to question the two women.

Sadat is a senior associate at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at UM. Rabin, a resident of Tel Aviv, is an adviser to the Yitzhak Rabin Center there.

In other programming news, MPT said it would launch 13 new episodes of "Marcia Adams: More Cooking From Quilt Country," beginning April 3.

Skating into matrimony

And speaking of lovebirds those romantic folks at WLIF-FM (101.9) will be staging their third annual "Valentine's Day Wedding On Ice" at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Inner Harbor's Rash Field ice rink. There's a new wrinkle this year: You have to get married on skates; no walking across the ice on rubber mats as in previous years.

Couples who really want to go through with all this will be married in a legally binding, non-denominational ceremony, with WLIF providing music, flowers and atmosphere. The proceedings will be broadcast live, with "Nite Lite" host Fran Lane behind the mike. Married couples can renew their vows.

The best part: Everything's free; the only thing you need is a valid Baltimore marriage license.

Classical music for lovers

Lovebirds looking to set the mood early Sunday morning (it's Valentine's Day, for those of you who haven't ordered the roses yet) may want to tune to WBJC-FM (91.5), where from 7 a.m. to noon, Dyana Neal's planned selections include Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet: Fantasy Overture," Johann Christoph Bach's "Meine Freundin, du bist schon," Prokofiev's "Love for Three Oranges Suite," Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto" and Jeremiah Clarke's "Suite de Clairque," a piece of music that may bring wedding memories to mind.

CBS beats 'The '60s'

NBC's incessantly hyped (and irritatingly simplistic) "The '60s" proved a hit in the ratings, but it wasn't enough to earn the Peacock Network the Sunday night viewers' crown.

While the miniseries' opening night drew a 15.1 rating (percentage of the nation's 99.4 million TV homes) and 23 share (percentage of sets in use), with an average 23.6 million viewers, CBS had the most viewers for the night, thanks to strong performances from "60 Minutes" and "Touched By an Angel."

According to Nielsen, CBS averaged a 13.5 rating/21 share Sunday night, with 18,960,000 viewers. NBC averaged an 11.0/17, with 17,480,000 viewers. Fox, which aired the first of a two-part "X-Files," averaged 8.5/13, with 13,610,000 viewers. And ABC, with the NFL pro-bowl, averaged a 7.3/11, with 10,660,000 viewers.

"The '60s" averaged 14,136,000 viewers among 18- to 49-year-old viewers -- the biggest such turnout this season for any movie on any network.

Sun wire services contributed to this article.

TV's top shows

Here are last week's top TV shows, according to A. C. Nielsen Co. figures:


1 ER NBC 20.3

2 Frasier NBC 17.0

3 Friends NBC 16.9

4 Sunday Night Movie:

The 60'S, Part I NBC 15.1

5 60 Minutes CBS 14.8

6 Touched by an Angel CBS 14.7

7 Veronica's Closet NBC 14.1

8 Jesse NBC 13.5

9 Dateline NBC-Monday ABC 13.0

10 Sunday Movie:

Night Ride Home CBS 12.3

11 Everybody Loves

Raymond CBS 12.2

12 The X-Files Fox 11.5

13 Dharma & Greg ABC 11.0

14 Dateline Tuesday NBC 10.6

15 Home Improvement ABC 10.5

15 (tie) Becker CBS 10.5

17 World's Shocking Moments 2 Fox 10.4

18 Just Shoot Me NBC 9.9

19 Drew Carey Show ABC 9.8

20 Providence NBC 9.7

20 (tie) Tuesday Movie: Family Blessings CBS 9.7

The rating is the percentage of homes equipped with a TV in use.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

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