TV Notes: Dennis Miller to join Fox News

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Comedian and Pittsburgh native Dennis Miller is joining Fox News Channel as a contributor to "Hannity & Colmes" this autumn, according to a network executive. Miller, who did a stint on "Hannity & Colmes" in 2003 and then had his own eponymous show on CNBC, will begin weighing in on news and politics beginning Sept. 13. He also will provide commentary on the FNC Web site.

Beginning in September Dennis Miller will be a regular contributor to Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes."
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Meanwhile, CNN has hired as a contributor Alina Fernandez, the exiled daughter of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and a critic of her father's policies. Fernandez, who left Cuba in 1993, is based in Miami.

(Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times)

Mohr, 'Last Comic' make up

Whatever hard feelings Jay Mohr had toward NBC and "Last Comic Standing" have apparently eased.

Mohr, who co-created the show and hosted its first three incarnations, will return to "Last Comic" in its season finale tomorrow night. He'll perform during the 90-minute show along with previous winners Dat Phan, John Heffron and Alonzo Bodden.

The finale will also reveal who of the three remaining comics -- Chris Porter, Josh Blue and Ty Barnett -- wins this year's "LCS" title, which includes a stand-up special on Bravo and a talent contract with NBC. One of the final three will be eliminated in the penultimate episode, which airs tonight.

Although he's still credited as an executive producer of "Last Comic Standing," Mohr hasn't been involved with the show this season. As recently as a few weeks ago, in fact, he told Zap2it he had "no interest" in the current season.

His falling-out with NBC came over the third edition of "Last Comic," which was rushed onto the network's fall 2004 schedule after "LCS 2" earned solid ratings that summer. The battle between contestants from seasons one and two fell flat in the more competitive environment of the fall season, and NBC canceled it a week before the winner was to be revealed.

The episode eventually aired on Comedy Central. NBC revived "Last Comic Standing" this summer, where it again has delivered decent ratings, often ranking in the top 10 among the network's target demographic of adults 18-49.


Kagan leaves CNN

CNN midmorning anchor Daryn Kagan is leaving the network after 12 years to start up her own online business.

Kagan, who anchors "CNN Live Today" weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon, will sign off Sept. 1. Her new Web site,, launches Nov. 13.

Her contract with the network was set to expire sometime later this year. In a memo sent out Thursday to CNN staffers, Kagan said the Web site will "be an inspirational, online community dedicated to the radical idea that the world is a good place."

She added: "Sounds different, I know. It is."

Her note credited the CNN executives who hired her 12 years ago but said nothing about her current bosses. Kagan did not return a message left Thursday on her cell phone.

In her memo, Kagan wrote: "I am so grateful for the experience and people I've worked with for 12 years. 12 years!? Who has a job anywhere for 12 years anymore, let alone in TV news!"

No word on her replacement, according to a CNN spokeswoman.

This year, Kagan's "CNN Live Today" has been averaging 442,000 viewers, an uptick from last year. In the same time slot, Fox News Channel's "Fox News Live" draws more than twice CNN's audience.

Kagan's personal life was in the news earlier this year when she broke off a relationship with conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

(John Maynard, The Washington Post)

TNT's 'Heartland' cast set

Treat Williams, last seen playing a doctor on The WB's "Everwood," will don a lab coat again to play the lead doctor in the TNT pilot "Heartland," written by Mt. Lebanon native David Hollander ("The Guardian").

The proposed series is set in the transplant surgery community, and Williams will play a transplant surgeon. Other actors in lead roles include Kari Matchett ("Invasion"), Danielle Nicolet ("Second Time Around") and Morena Baccarin ("Firefly").

"Heartland" is tentatively set in Pittsburgh, but that could change. Regardless, Hollander said Williams' character "is an insane Pittsburgh sports fan, if nothing else."

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV editor)

New KDKA weekend anchor

KDKA-TV is on the verge of signing Stephanie Watson of Fort Myers, Fla., TV station WBBH as its new weekend anchor.

Watson, currently a morning anchor at the Southwest Florida NBC affiliate, will start at KDKA next month, anchoring weekend newscasts at 6 and 11 p.m. and reporting three nights a week.

Watson, a Dallas native who grew up in Orange County, Calif., and graduated from the University of Southern California, will fill the spot vacated by Kristine Sorensen, who's now anchoring at 5 p.m. weekdays.



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