There's finally someone officially running the show over at KSTU-Ch. 13. And it's been a while since that's been the case.
Former station manager Milt Jouflas left Ch. 13 several months ago on a two-week vacation. He never returned, and there was never any sort of official announcement about what exactly had happened.While no one seemed to know - or wanted to talk about - what happened to Jouflas, there was also a rumor flying about who would replace him - and the rumor turned out to be fact: Bill Lincoln has been named vice president and general manager of the Fox-owned station.
Lincoln is no newcomer to KSTU. He's the former president of Farragut Communications, which at one time was Ch. 13's parent company. He oversaw the station's conversion from UHF (Ch. 20) to VHF (Ch. 20) and then KSTU's sale to Fox.
Since 1989, Lincoln has been the chief financial officer for Fox Television Stations Inc., overseeing the seven stations Fox owns (including KSTU) and the Fox Television Station Group's programming development.
His career includes stints as station manager of WDZL in Miami and with CBS - as director of planning and administration with Chicago's CBS-owned station, WBBM, and as director of long-range planning for the CBS Television Stations Division.
Welcome back to Utah, Bill.
QUIET RATE INCREASE: For perhaps the first time in local history, a cable rate increase isn't causing much of an outcry among subscribers.
Utah's biggest cable company, TCI, recently announced that as of February basic cable would increase $.85 a month to $17.80. Expanded basic (which includes ESPN, American Movie Classics, USA, TNT and PSN) would go up $1.05 per month to $1.45, so the total increase for basic and expanded basic is $1.90 to $19.25 a month.
Premium movie channels HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and The Movie Channel increase $.25 per month. (HBO will now be $12.70 and the other three $12.20 each.)
None of this is particularly surprising. After all, cable rates are always climbing, and TCI maintains the increase is necessary because of increased costs for programming and the company's continuing program to upgrade its equipment.
What is surprising is the lack of response from cable subscribers.
"We've had no calls coming in," said Mindy Jeffries, TCI's marketing director for Utah. "And maybe 10 letters have come into this office."
Jeffries appeared on two local radio stations to explain the rate increase and both times she left early because no one was calling in.
"We're gaining subscribers during a rate increase and that just doesn't happen," she said. "We think people are equating (the increase) more to the increase in the quality of programming. I think we've finally won the battle."
BROADWAY BOUND: Neil Simon fans are undoubtedly aware that he wrote a trilogy of semi-autobiographical plays, "Brighton Beach Memoirs," "Biloxi Blues" and "Broadway Bound."
And you also know that the first two, "Brighton" and "Biloxi," made it to the big screen as theatrical movies.
Well, the third won't be coming soon to a theater near you. Instead, "Broadway Bound" will be coming to a television in your home as an ABC movie sometime next season.
Not that the cast doesn't include some big-screen stars - Anne Bancroft and Hume Cronyn will be joined by Jerry Orbach, Michele Lee and Jonathan Silverman.
Silverman, you may recall, also played the lead in the movie version of "Brighton Beach Memoirs." (Mathew Broderick took over in "Biloxi Blues.")CBS CHANGES: There's good news and bad news out of the Big Eye.
The good news is that the insipid and unfunny Nell Carter sitcom, "You Take the Kids," is about to breathe its last.
The bad news is that the insipid, unfunny and tasteless sitcom "Uncle Buck" is returning to the schedule, replacing "Kids" on Saturdays at 7 p.m. on Jan. 26.
We're definitely not trading up here, folks.
ABC CHANGES: "Anything But Love," which was saved from cancellation last summer, has finally found a spot on ABC's schedule. It will return on Feb. 6 to fill the Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. time slot.
("Married People" will have completed its 18-episode run, but may return in the fall.)
And there will be a few changes on the Richard Lewis-Jamie Lee Curtis sitcom. Bruce Weitz (formerly of "Hill Street Blues") joins the cast as a gritty, grating columnist. And TV reviewer Brian Allquist (Joseph Maher) has been written out.
Also, John Ritter will appear on the first three episodes this season. He'll play a man Hannah (Curtis) finds very attractive, threatening to break up her relationship with Marty (Lewis).
But, never fear. Ritter is only staying for those three episodes and Lewis has already been talking about how the show will handle the sexual relationship between Marty and Hannah.
WHAT A WAY TO GO: "Anything But Love" offers a rather intriguing explanation for the departure of Brian Allquist.
As fans of the show know, Allquist used to be the theater critic, but was forced to become the television critic.
We'll be told that his absence is due to the fact that he went crazy in a store, smashing TVs with a baseball bat.
Interesting fate for a TV critic . . .