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Wally George Is Syndicated

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Is America ready for Wally George--again? Ready or not, the controversial talk show host whose raucous “Hot Seat” show originates from KDOC-TV in Anaheim has signed a deal with a South Dakota syndicator that will bring him into 30 million households across the country by mid-March.

George’s one-hour show, which was syndicated briefly in the early 1980s, will be seen on 75 stations and a small number of cable systems fed by Hagen Marketing and Communications of Custer, S.D.

Ron Hagen, the company’s president, said “Hot Seat” will probably be offered late on a weeknight. “Hot Seat” now airs on Saturday nights on KDOC and is carried on 350 cable systems in Southern California, George said.

Neither George nor Hagen is concerned with parallels to Morton Downey Jr., who rose and fell precipitously as a talk show host.

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“He was a failure because he was trying to impersonate me,” George said of Downey. “He was very mean-spirited. . . . Mine is not a hard-core, right-wing show. We do a lot of entertainment material as well.

(Downey) took himself very seriously. I have fun with it. . . . We have kept this very loyal following over the years.”

But Hagen was cautious about the prospects for the joint venture, which will run for at least a year.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “I don’t think Wally is a household word in the United States. I don’t think this is going to be an overnight success.”


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