TELEVISIONWalker to Leave Channel 2: Amid speculation...

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Walker to Leave Channel 2: Amid speculation that KCBS Channel 2 is about to lay out a fortune to steal anchor Ann Martin from KABC Channel 7, current KCBS anchor Bree Walker has announced that she is leaving the station and local news behind. Walker, who is on vacation this week and next, plans to quit the business when her contract--which reportedly pays her around $800,000 a year to anchor the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news--expires in September. She said she is forming her own TV production company to do reality-based programming, movies of the week and perhaps a daytime talk show. She also recently did a couple of small acting jobs in the movie “The Chase” and on the daytime soap “The Bold and the Beautiful.” KCBS, which has languished in last place in the news ratings throughout Walker’s 5 1/2-year tenure, has not formally announced the hiring of KABC’s Martin, who will become a free agent in about two weeks. KCBS executives were not available for comment Monday.


Wildmon Continues ‘Blue’ Campaign: The Rev. Donald E. Wildmon’s American Family Assn. apparently has no plans to give up its campaign against ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” which it targeted as “soft-core pornography” even before the show’s premiere. Ad Age magazine says the group will spend its entire $3-million annual media budget in the next few months on newspaper, radio and direct mail efforts to “dissuade” advertisers from backing the program next season. The show so far has more than stood up to Wildmon’s tactics, becoming the season’s top-rated new drama.



New Award Category: The Assn. of Independent Music Publishers, which last year was prompted by Whitney Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” to start an annual award for “best film song from another source,” has added a new category for its second annual AIMP Music Awards next month. In addition to the award for songs not eligible for Oscars, the group will pick a “best pop cover song,” a category no longer eligible for the Grammys. Nominees, announced Monday, are 10,000 Maniacs’ version of “Because the Night,” UB-40’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Ugly Kid Joe’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately” and Michael Bolton’s “To Love Somebody.” In the film song category, nominees are “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” seen in the films “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Wayne’s World 2"; “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” and “When I Fall in Love,” both from “Sleepless in Seattle”; “I Will Follow Him” from “Sister Act 2"; “That’s Life” from “A Bronx Tale”; and “Walk Like a Man” from “Heart and Souls.”


Van’s Fans: It was the kind of crowd you’d expect for Van Halen, not Van Cliburn. Nearly 2,000 people lined up outside a Mall of America music store in Minnesota over the weekend, clamoring for autographs and a chance to get their pictures taken with the classical pianist. The 59-year-old Cliburn seemed surprised at the fervor, telling the crowd: “I personally am very grateful that you still remember me.”


NEA Grants Announced: The National Endowment for the Arts today will announce $13.12 million in Challenge Grants to 50 arts groups in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Among those grants are $2.57 million to 11 California arts organizations, including $800,000 to the Center Theater Group’s Mark Taper Forum to support the new Latino Audience Development Program, which aims to develop and produce a new Latino play for the Taper’s main stage each year. Additional California grants include $400,000 to the San Jose Museum of Art, $250,000 each to Orange County’s Pacific Symphony Assn. and the San Diego Opera Assn., $150,000 to San Francisco’s Mexican Museum and $100,000 to Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts.


NEA, Part II: President Clinton has picked eight nominees for the National Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts’ advisory body. The appointees include MacArthur Fellow Trisha Brown, founder of New York’s Trisha Brown Dance Company; New York-based art dealer Ronald Feldman; Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, president of the Assn. of Performing Arts Presenters; and Georgetown University President Father Leo J. O’Donovan. Other appointees are Tufts University assistant drama professor Barbara Grossman; Philadelphia arts attorney Kenneth M. Jarin; New York State Council on the Arts member Judith O. Rubin; and Rachel Worby, West Virginia’s First Lady and conductor of the state’s Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.



Bob and Dolores Hope are establishing a Dinah Shore Scholarship Fund at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shore, who died Feb. 24 at age 76, served for nearly two decades as one of the university’s “Ambassadors of Good Will.” . . . ABC will air “The 1994 World Music Awards,” hosted by actor Patrick Swayze, on May 31. The two-hour program will be taped May 4 in Monte Carlo under the patronage of Monaco’s Prince Albert. . . . Actress Ricki Lake, 25, got married in Las Vegas over the weekend to artist Rob Sussman, 27, whose political illustrations have been published in the New York Times and Village Voice.