- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Court TV Networks have opened a Washington bureau, planting its flag in the capital of the American judicial system, and tonight will celebrate with a reception in its North Capitol Street offices.

“For a network like Court TV, our mission is to provide a window on the American system of justice … and to have that first bureau in the nation’s capital makes that window just a little bit bigger,” said Henry S. Schleiff, chairman and chief executive officer of the New York-based network that can be seen in about 86 million U.S. homes, compared with 36 million eight years ago.

“We fulfilled a huge gap in the marketplace because people like real reality, not a choreographed game or dance contest,” Mr. Schleiff said.

A live trial can be like a soap opera highlighted by a beginning, middle and end; interesting characters; and high stakes, including life and death, he said.

The D.C. bureau opened in March with Savannah Guthrie as lead correspondent. She joined senior editor Fred Graham, who is overseeing the network’s editorial board and covers key news events.

About a dozen staff members work locally. The bureau’s growth will determined by events on Capitol Hill, in federal court or the Supreme Court, Mr. Schleiff said.

“It represents a great step forward for transparency when we can have … instant communication and coverage of proceedings in Washington,” he said. “The dirty little secret here at Court TV, and you can print this, is that all our anchors and reporters are anxious to get to [Washington]. It’s the capital in all respects of what we do.”

New lineup

Clear Channel Radio’s WTEM-AM (SportsTalk 980) this week debuted its new lineup after the departure of Tony Kornheiser and the pending exit of ESPN programming.

ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show remains in the 6 to 9 a.m. slot until “The First Team on Fox” syndicated morning show hosted by Steve Czaban takes over in July. From 9 a.m. until noon, the “Sports Reporters,” hosted by Mr. Czaban and Andy Pollin, replaced much of Mr. Kornheiser’s four-hour slot.

Former Washington Redskins player Brian Mitchell hosts his own show until 3 p.m., and is followed by “The John Thompson Show,” which doubled in length and now airs until 7 p.m.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting recently acquired ESPN programming rights.

Bennett Zier, Red Zebra’s chief executive, last month told us that all programming decisions and a start date for Redskins Radio would be announced by early May, but he did not return repeated calls for comment yesterday.

Mr. Snyder purchased three local Spanish-language stations — WBPS-FM (94.3), WBZS-FM (92.7) and WKDL-AM (730) — to air Redskins’ games, which had been carried on CBS Radio’s WJFK-FM (106.7) since 1995.

NPR quiz show here

“Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me,” the radio news quiz program from National Public Radio that draws 2 million listeners per week, will record a live show at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

American University’s WAMU-FM (88.5) is sponsoring the event, and tickets are still available at the box office and via Ticketmaster.

The show airs Saturday at 11 a.m. on WAMU, and tomorrow’s program will be broadcast nationwide this weekend.

• Channel Surfing runs Wednesdays. Call 202/636-3173 or e-mail dcat@washingtontimes.com.

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