Sound the trumpets!

Beat the drums!KTVX is bringing Nightline back to Utah to air at 11:35 p.m. Mondays-Fridays beginning April 10!

KTVX officials made the announcement Tuesday, ending a multi-year late-night news drought on Ch. 4 during which station management opted for syndicated fare instead of the acclaimed ABC news and information program. For at least the past three years KTVX has been the largest ABC affiliate to not carry the program.

In fairness, it should be noted that the decision to not carry "Nightline" has not been KTVX's alone. ABC officials have been reluctant to allow Ch. 4 to air the program later than 11 o'clock, while KTVX has resisted network demands to carry the show right after their 10 o'clock news.

The impasse has left local viewers to only wonder at the information Ted Koppel was dispensing night after night to the rest of the nation, such as:

- last year's five-part series of episodes that originated live from Israel that was called "bold, historic, extraordinary" by The Los Angeles Times;

- exclusive interviews with the likes of Kurt Waldheim, Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Yassir Arafat, Jim and Tammy Bakker, Nancy Reagan and anyone else who was making news at the time;

- special installments devoted to "Town Meetings" on the key issues of the day, including AIDS and the economy;

- programs that are news events in themselves, such as the first-ever appearance together by South African President P.W. Botha and Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu, and former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger's first live television interview;

- a regular staff of contributors that includes media analyst Jeff Greenfield and Washington correspondent Judd Rose;

- Koppel himself, who has been almost uniformly hailed by critics as "the best interviewer on television."

But enough of what we've missed. This new compromise between KTVX and ABC means we can look forward to all that and more in the future, as "Nightline" continues to function as "the best piece of daily television journalism around" (The New York Times) and "the most important and most valuable program in broadcast journalism" (The Baltimore Sun).

Only now "Nightline" will be doing it in Utah, too.


- THE "CHEERS" RUMORS are wrong. It's not true that this will be the last year for Sam, Norm, Carla and the rest of the gang at the Boston watering hole. NBC has already announced that "Cheers" will be back for its eighth season next fall.

Nor is it true that when they come back, Diane Chambers will be returning with them. A spokesperson for actress Shelley Long denies that she will come crawling back to the TV series that turned her into a star, insisting that Long is enjoying her pursuit of a movie career. And to underscore that point, NBC will be introducing Joan Severence (who "Wiseguy" fans will remember as Mel Profit's creepy sister) as Rebecca's sister and Sam's new love interest in an episode later this season. Severence will continue in the role through the rest of this season and into next season.

See? You can't believe everything you read while waiting in line at the supermarket.

- ABC had the top two programs in last week's Nielsen ratings - "Roseanne" and the conclusion of "The Women of Brewster Place." But that still wasn't enough to keep NBC from winning its 40th straight week in the Nielsens, which ties CBS's 25-year-old record for consecutive weekly network wins.

Any thoughts NBC has of setting a new record this week, however, are tempered by the realization that the network just barely beat ABC last week. And ABC will have tonight's Academy Awards telecast and a Barbara Walters special - two traditional ratings winners - in its corner. And "Roseanne."

The record is definitely not going to be a gimme.

For the record, the top 10 programs last week were: 1. Roseanne (ABC); 2. The Women of Brewster Place, part 2 (ABC); 3. The Cosby Show (NBC); 4. Who's The Boss? (ABC); 5. The Wonder Years (ABC); 6. The Golden Girls (NBC); 7. Day By Day (NBC); 8. Cheers (NBC); 9. Empty Nest (CBS); and 10. L.A. Law (NBC).