Rivera likely to re-up at NBC; Kricfalusi back with ‘Yogi’ spec

NEW YORK — Geraldo Rivera today is expected to announce plans to stay at NBC in a new multiyear deal. Rivera, host of CNBC’s “Rivera Live,” last week had accepted an offer from News Corp. to anchor news and primetime shows for Fox News Channel and specials for Fox Broad-casting. But contractually he was obligated to allow NBC to match the Fox offer by Dec. 31, when his current pact expires.

Unclear is what will constitute that “match,” although NBC is said to have “substantially improved” an earlier proposal. Rivera’s known to have pined for broader exposure on the broadcast network, only to be rebuffed by NBC News prexy Andy Lack. But NBC president Bob Wright, eager to retain CNBC’s top-rated show, was keen to give in to demands, which could include a presence on “Dateline” or “Today.” His reps also had approached CBS several weeks ago about a similar all-around news gig. Rivera is likely to continue hosting his Tribune Entertainment syndicated talkshow, taping in San Francisco this week. His agent, Jim Griffin, at William Morris Agency, declined to comment, as did NBC and Fox.

— Gary Levin

It’s finally official: John Kricfalusi, the quirky creator of Nickelodeon’s “The Ren & Stimpy Show” who had a falling out with that network early in the show’s run, will be back on the air with his first post-“R&S” project: an offbeat Cartoon Network special featuring the Hanna-Barbera charac-ters Yogi Bear, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith.

There had been reports that the notoriously uncontrollable Kricfalusi was up to his old tricks and had gone so far in warping Yogi et. al. that his creation was unairable.

Not true, said Cartoon Network programming chief Mike Lazzo of the Kricfalusi-produced half-hour that’s skedded to air sometime in the latter half of 1998.

“We really didn’t have to reign in John all that much,” Lazzo insisted. “Occasionally we’d tell him, ‘Lose this one, lose that one.’ ”

One that Kricfalusi had to lose: Ranger Smith pokes his head into a creek and sees a couple of fish “making out” on the rocks, Lazzo recalled. “We just had John uncouple the fish, and everything was fine.”

— Ray Richmond

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