- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Perkins to leave ‘GMA’

ABC’s “Good Morning America” is in the market for a weathercaster, with Tony Perkins announcing that he will be leaving after seven years.

Mr. Perkins will be returning to WTTG-TV (Channel 5), the District’s Fox affiliate, where he worked before joining ABC News, to be the weather forecaster and do other stories beginning Jan. 3, Associated Press reports.

“This will allow me the chance to utilize all of my talents, such as they are, on a consistent basis,” he wrote in an e-mail sent yesterday to “GMA” staffers. “In addition, and most importantly, I will also be able to spend more time with my family,” said Mr. Perkins, whose career in broadcasting also has included a stint as an on-air personality at Washington’s top-rated radio station, WKYS-FM (93.9).

Mr. Perkins’ wife and son remained in Washington while he worked at “Good Morning America,” and he commuted each week to work in New York.

He will continue to work at “Good Morning America” through the November ratings “sweeps” and will leave Dec. 2.

Mr. Perkins’ departure comes amid “GMA’s” steady ratings gains relative to NBC’s “Today,” the No. 1 morning show. Two weeks ago, “Today” bested “GMA” by a scant 400,000 viewers, according to published reports.

‘Bus’ stops here

“Get on the Bus,” director Spike Lee’s account of the Million Man March of 1995 and one of his best films, airs tomorrow evening at 9 and will be shown throughout the weekend on the Silver Spring-based TV One (available to Comcast subscribers) as the Millions More March rolls into town for the 10th anniversary of the first gathering.

“Bus,” a captivating ensemble drama, captures the banter between a divergent group of black men who travel from Los Angeles to the District for the march. Passengers include an aspiring film student (Hill Harper of “Lackawanna Blues”); a reformed gang member who espouses black pride (Gabriel Casseus of “Their Eyes Were Watching God”); an arrogant and misogynisticactor (Emmy winner Andre Braugher of “Homicide: Life on the Street”); and a bickering homosexual couple (Isaiah Washington of “Grey’s Anatomy” and Harry J. Lennix of “Ray” and “Commander in Chief”). Also on board are the founder of a bubble-gum company (funnyman Bernie Mac), a delinquent son who’s tethered to his father because of a court order (Thomas Jefferson Byrd of “Ray” is the dad, De’Aundre Bonds is the son); and a biracial police officer (Roger Guenveur Smith of “K Street” ) who gets taunted by some of the passengers for his choice of work and light complexion.

The late Ossie Davis gives a touching performance as the jubilant yet tragic Jeremiah, the oldest passenger on the trip. Richard Belzer (“Law and Order: SVU”) and Charles S. Dutton (“Roc”) are the drivers responsible for getting the men to the District; one will see the journey through, but the other bails midway. Oh, and a soulful soundtrack featuring selections by James Brown and Curtis Mayfield keeps things moving.

TV book’s new look

TV Guide released its first issue in a full-color, larger format Tuesday, part of an overall revamp to keep the 52-year-old magazine relevant in an age of on-screen television guides.

The new issue features Ty Pennington of ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition” on its cover and places more emphasis on stories, columns and gossip than TV listings.

The magazine will maintain its weekly publication schedule, but its cover price will drop to $1.99 from $2.49 for the familiar digest-size format. Until the end of the year, though, the price will be reduced to 99 cents, AP reports.

Wing’ star fined

Stockard Channing has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge stemming from an incident last year on the Hollywood Freeway, according to AP.

Miss Channing, who won an Emmy for her role as first lady Abbey Bartlet on NBC’s “The West Wing,” was ordered to pay a $390 fine and take part in an alcohol education program after pleading no contest, says Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office. She also was placed on 36 months of probation, Mr. Mateljan said Tuesday.

The 61-year-old actress was arrested Dec. 14 after reportedly trying to drive around a roadblock set up so a tow truck could remove a disabled tractor-trailer.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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