OPRAH SPEC TO EXAMINE TV NEWS FOR HEARST

Oprah Winfrey has made a decision.

The queen of talk has agreed to host a one-hour news special that will be carried exclusively over the Hearst Broadcasting Group’s six TV stations, which also carry her No. 1 talkshow.

The program, “America’s Top Story, Hosted by Oprah Winfrey,” will be in a “town hall meeting” format that examines the impact and nature of TV news. Live audiences from the six Hearst station markets will participate in the special, as will a panel that includes ABC News reporters Chris Wallace and Carole Simpson, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell and child development doctor T Berry Brazelton, who host “What Every Baby Knows” on cable web Lifetime.

The special will air only on the six Hearst stations: ABC affiliates WCVB Boston, KMBC Kansas City, WISN Milwaukee WTAE Pittsburgh and WDTN Dayton, Ohio, plus NBC affiliate WBAL Baltimore. The Hearst station group reaches almost 7% of the country.

While the Winfrey special may not be rolled out nationally, it could find a home on Lifetime, which is jointly owned by Hearst and Capital Cities/ABC

Meanwhile, the industry still is waiting for Winfrey to decides whether she will renew her contract with syndication giant King World for another year of talk after the 1995-96 season. Winfrey is to let King World know of her plans no later than Oct. 6.

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