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TAKING a look at the headlines:
Adelphia to Announce Sports Network: It will be a happy new year for many area sports fans.

John Rigas, president and chief executive officer of Adelphia Cable, is expected to announce at a press conference Tuesday that Adelphia will launch its new regional sports network on New Year's Eve.

To be called the Empire Sports Network, the network will carry programming from 7 to 11 each evening. It will initially be carried by all area Adelphia systems and TCI of Buffalo.

The network will continue carrying the Paul Maguire "Sportsline" show, Sabres hockey, a variety of basketball coaches' shows and the syndicated NHL highlights show, "Powerstick Hockey Week."

Among other network programs: Warren Miller's skiing shows, a college hockey highlight show, and "Rink Side Hockey," which is the American Hockey League's version of "Powerstick."

At 7 p.m. Jan. 21, Empire will premiere "The Danny Gare Show," a weekly hockey magazine program with WGR Radio sports director Pete Weber.

Empire also will carry some Syracuse University and local college basketball games, Cornell University hockey games and games featuring the Niagara Falls Thunder of the Ontario Hockey League. It will carry the Thunder's Feb. 4 game with Oshawa -- which features likely No. 1 NHL pick Eric Lindros -- live off Canadian cable's TSN.

Adelphia is planning to sack Bills General Manager Bill Polian's show at the end of the regular season, even though the Bills will be in the playoffs.

"We're undecided on whether we're going to bring it back next year," said Rich Bradley, who is in charge of the regional network.

With Maguire as host, the show often has turned into a love-in. Adelphia also stretched the show's credibility by inviting members of the media who weren't exactly household words in Buffalo to question Polian.

The show hit its most amateurish moments before "Monday Night Football" games featuring the Bills when Polian answered questions via a telephone hookup that included no video.

In other words, it was more radio than TV.

Meltzer to Run WGR-AM: Jim Meltzer, who has been running Price Communications' WWKB-AM and WKSE-FM, will become vice president and general manager of rival WGR-AM and FM. Bill Cloutier, WGR's general sales manager, said Meltzer gave his 30 days' notice to Price on Friday and will assume his new duties toward the end of January.

Recently, Meltzer had attempted to put together a group to buy KB and Kiss from Price, which has had financial problems.

Good Morning and Late Night for Beuth: Phil Beuth, former general manager of Channel 7, has been promoted by Capital Cities/ABC. Beuth, who has been responsible for ABC's top-rated "Good Morning America," is assuming added responsibilities for late-night entertainment programs.

He is being given the near-impossible job of putting some life into Rick Dees' midnight show, "Into the Night."

NBC's Schedule Blossoms: NBC, which remains No. 1 in prime time despite suffering serious audience declines, will make wholesale changes in January. It is adding three series, "Blossom," "Dark Shadows" and "Sunday Best"; returning the terrific summer series "Seinfeld," and moving "Night Court," "Dear John" and "Wings" to new time slots.

"Night Court" moves to 9 p.m. Wednesday and will be followed at 9:30 by "Seinfeld," the intelligent comedy that incorporates part of comedian Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up act.

"Wings" moves to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the prize time slot after "Cheers" that becomes vacant with the cancellation of "Grand."

"Blossom," (8:30 p.m. Monday), which stars Mayim Bialik of "Beaches" fame, is a comedy about a witty teen-ager who lives with her two older brothers and divorced father.

"Dark Shadows" (9 p.m. Friday) reprises the gothic horror series, with Ben Cross ("Chariots of Fire") as the lead.

"Sunday Best" is NBC's attempt to solve its worst problem -- 7 p.m. Sunday. It is described as a topical and comedic magazine show that will have mostly original material, as well as clips of NBC programs.

After all these moves, only three of its nine new fall shows will remain on NBC's schedule: "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Law & Order" and "The Fanelli Boys."

Channel 2 Gets "Married": WGRZ-TV, which has done horribly in the access time periods that NBC doesn't program for its affiliates, reportedly has signed to carry reruns of the popular Fox network program "Married . . . With Children." Channel 2 will begin airing "Married" next fall.

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