GOOD MORNING: “It’s hard to walk away from the easy money and I know I’ve had a wonderful ride, but,” says Bree Walker, KCBS-TV’s nighttime anchor, “my goal is NOT to anchor the local news.” Thus, when her pact is up in September (or earlier?), she’s departing to produce reality-based programs with partner Sharlene Martin. “I know it’s taking a big risk at this time,” she admits, “but I’ve been a risk taker all my life.” Further, Walker feels the importance of spending more time with her children, Andrea, 5, and son Aaron, 2, both of whom have the same congenital deformity as Bree. She sez she misses being with them. Further, son Aaron has been undergoing multiple surgeries on his hands and feet and will continue to have more of them for “a solid year and a half.” He just got a thumb on his left hand. “Those kinds of surgeries weren’t available to me, ” she reminds. Also, Bree’s husband, NBC-HBO sports commentator Jim Lampley, is away from home most weekends on his job, the only time she currently is at home. “I’ve worked nights for 20 years. I was such a career-driven person I never thought I’d ever want to leave — but after Aaron was born ….” Walker made the decision to depart the night shift a year and a half ago –“And I offered to take a pay cut (from a reported $ 800,000 annually) — to get a one-year window on a five-year deal. I’m going to exercise it (the window) now. Jim (Lampley) has promised to support me”– she laughed –“he is a terrific father and a wonderful husband.”… As for rumors that Ann Martin is coming to Channel 2, Martin’s pact expires in mid-April.
THE CLINTONS ARRIVED in Southern California Sunday and are staying at the Hotel Bel Coronado owned by Larry Lawrence, newly appointed ambassador to Switzerland. Malibu was abuzz with rumors (since denied) that the President and First Lady were going to be staying at the Steven Spielbergs’ home in Broad Beach during the L.A. visit … Cher is returning to the big screen in Chazz Palminteri’s “Faithful” for Tribeca/Savoy, directed by Paul Mazursky, who also will play the psycho-therapist in the dark comedy in which Chazz is a contract killer. They shoot this summer in N.Y. … Whatta lineup for the second World Music Awards from Monte Carlo, taping May 4, airing on ABC May 31. Patrick Swayze hosts and dances with wife Lisa Niemi. Whitney Houston’s the multiple winner and she’ll also perform. The Princess Grace Foundation of Monaco benefits from tix sales. Other winner-performers: Gloria Estefan, Kenny G, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel — and Placido Domingo. And presenters include Prince Albert, Ringo Starr, Claudia Schiffer, David Copperfield, Bobby Brown. Exec producers are Gary Pudney, John Martinotti and Melissa Corken, with Lou Horvitz directing the two-hour show. Pudney, Bob Jaffe and Hearst Entertainment are readying two projects at NBC: “Fantasies of the Stars,” benefiting the Starlight Foundation, and “The World’s Greatest Magic,” a two-hour annual show to bow/tape at Caesars.
TODAY’S HEADLINES ARE TOMORROW’S MOVIES: Par’s “Losing Isaiah,” about an abandoned-adopted crack baby whose mother, clean after three years, seeks to reclaim him, is finding many real-life counterparts in Chicago’s South Side, reports Howard W. Koch Jr., who’s producing there with Naomi Foner. She also scripted and her husband, Steven Gyllenhaal, directs. Koch sez they met up with one former drug-addicted mother of five who tried to reclaim her brood. The movie, starring Jessica Lange and Halle Berry as the maternal principals, also features Samuel L. Jackson and his wife La Tanya Richardson — as opposing attorneys in the custody battle. Plus David Strathairn, Cuba Gooding Jr., Daisy Egan, Joie Lee. And 4-year-old newcomer Mark John Jeffries, of the Bronx, discovered after a wide search for the lost-and-found kid in question … Koch next tunes in Jim Ladd’s autobiog “Radio Waves” at Par. Howard’s son, video producer Bill K., marries exercise trainer Kathy Khaeller May 29 … Never underestimate Howard Stern’s power — in N.Y. Box office for “Jackie Mason: Politically Incorrect” doubled following Mason’s radio appearance with Stern. Jackie bows Tuesday at the John Golden with an SRO audience … Agent Craig Wyckoff and wife Mary named their March 5-born son Michael Everett … Rosemarie and Bob Stack’s beautiful daughter Elizabeth makes her singing debut Tuesday at Tatou … Deborah Moore, Roger’s daughter, has the romantic lead opposite Bryan Brown in “The Wanderer” shooting in Munich and Madrid for producer Steve Lanning … Jayne Meadows plays Tom Arnold’s mother-in-law in the current seg of “Tom.”