Tuned In: Eleanor Schano returning to WTAE 50 years after debut

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Just in time for WTAE's 50th anniversary, Pittsburgh broadcaster Eleanor Schano will return to Channel 4's airwaves next month in "Live Well/Live Long With Eleanor Schano."

Created and owned by Schano and veteran Pittsburgh writer/producer Gina Catanzarite, "Live Well" will air as a series of 90-second mini-programs that will be anchored in the first commercial block of Thursday's noon news starting Sept. 4.

Schano most recently hosted "LifeQuest" (formerly "AgeWise"), which aired on WQEX/WQED from 1991-2007. WQED canceled it last year.

"I'm reinventing myself again," Schano said.

While "LifeQuest" was aimed at an older crowd, Schano said "Live Well" is designed to have broader appeal.

"This is not an over-50 kind of thing," she said. "Everyone wants to live well and live long."

Catanzarite said the plan is to eventually have sponsors for "Live Well" spots to air Monday through Friday with each day geared to a different topic. The 24 initial "Live Well" programs will air Thursdays with a focus on health and wellness. Shop 'n Save is the sponsor, and "Live Well" has taped segments in its stores.

"For the last 17 years at WQED, I was on a studio-based show and never had enough money to go out and do field pieces," Schano said. "These will all be field-based. This is going back to my reporting days."

Catanzarite and Schano continue to seek sponsors for segments on financial and legal issues, travel and entertainment, wellness and exercise and home and garden that are targeted to air Monday through Wednesday and Friday.

"We're having conversations with a lot of people who could fulfill these different themes that we think would serve viewers and give the best breadth and depth in content," Catanzarite said.

Schano said the sponsorships won't be intrusive.

"They are partnering with us with the understanding that we go in there and do what we want," she said. "We're not standing there saying, 'Tomatoes this week are three for a dollar and full of lycopene.' "

In addition to airing during WTAE's noon news, the segments will also stream online at ThePittsburghChannel.com and on WTAE's digital sub-channel that's devoted to weather and traffic.

Schano said she initially approached WTAE about doing a half-hour series, but the available time slots were not attractive. Slotting 90-second spots at the same place in the noon news was a better option, she said.

"There's so much information everywhere you look about what you should do, but nobody shows you how to do it," Schano said of other tip-driven programs. "We took a bunch of kids to the grocery store and let them go wild with a grocery cart. They were pulling out all this junk food and sugary treats. Then I come in with [nutritionist] Leslie Bonci and we do a shopping cart makeover with the same kids. It's showing how [to eat healthy], not telling them what to do."

Schano began working at WTAE in 1958, the year the station began broadcasting, and later moved on to WPXI. She worked in Channel 4's news department, offered weather forecasts and hosted assorted programs. Schano was interviewed this week for a WTAE 50th anniversary special that's slated to air at 8 p.m. Aug. 28.

"When I got there they could have called the newsroom the men's room. There was not a woman in sight," she said. "And the news was 15 minutes."

The news business has certainly changed in the past 50 years, but some familiar faces, including Schano's, remain Pittsburgh constants.

'Speedy Delivery' online

In April the documentary "Speedy Delivery," about "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" regular Mr. McFeely (David Newell), had its local premiere. Now director Paul Germain, a graduate of Lafayette College and Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz School, has gotten the film into the Feel Good Film Festival, where it's in contention for the No. 1 spot.

Viewers can watch "Speedy Delivery" online and vote for it at myfest.indieflix.com/feelgood. Voting ends Aug. 21, and the winning entry will receive $1,000 and will be shown at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.

"Speedy Delivery" is currently being formatted for a future airing on PBS TV stations, including Pittsburgh's WQED.

Channel surfing

A new season of MTV's "The Hills" begins airing at 10 p.m. Monday. ... Former KDKA-TV meteorologist Valerie Abati is now freelance forecasting evenings at Dayton, Ohio, stations WKEF and WRGT, according to John Kiesewetter at Cincinnati.com. ... 2002 Plum High School grad Steven Fabian Lisowki, who's going by Steven Fabian for TV, has landed a gig as a New York-based reporter for Channel One, the in-school news channel. Past TV One reporters include Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling. ... 2006 Plum Senior High School graduate Emily Graham has been named ABC News campus bureau chief at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., where she is a student.


This week's TV Q&A responds to questions about "The Riches," "House" actor salaries and WTAE news in HD. Read it online at post-gazette.com/tv in the lower right.

Tuned In Podcast

In this week's podcast, entertainment editor Sharon Eberson and I are joined by Post-Gazette staff writer L.A. Johnson to discuss the only show on the tube these days: The Olympics. Listen or subscribe at post-gazette.com/podcast.

Contact TV editor Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1112. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv .


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