SHORT TAKES : Bellows Moves, ‘USA Today on TV’ Gets Tom Kirby in Executive Chair

<i> From Times staff and wire service reports</i>

In the second major management change at the syndicated program in the last five months, “USA Today on TV” got a new executive producer Thursday.

Tom Kirby, who has been president and general manager of Gannett-owned KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, will start work Monday out at the Rosslyn, Va., headquarters.

Jim Bellows, who stepped in as managing editor last fall, replacing Steve Friedman as executive producer when the widely publicized but overproduced week night show faltered and almost died in the ratings, will return to New York, where he will continue to serve as a consultant to the program.

Bellows succeeded in turning the program around, eventually reducing the number of anchors from four to two and establishing a more conventional format that has slowly rebuilt viewership at most of the 150 stations still on the client list. In February, the program had a national Nielsen rating of 6, up 11% from November.


Grant Tinker, president of GTG Entertainment, Thursday praised Bellows as a “brilliant editor who came to ‘USA Today on TV’ at a critical time in its first year. He has completed the task of reshaping the show and giving it new direction. As we’ve always planned, Jim will now return to his home in New York and will continue to serve as a valued consultant to our show.”