Monday, September 6, 2004
Barbara Walters stepping down from '20/20'
New York City -- Barbara Walters says she is departing the ABC news magazine show "20/20" after 25 years because she wants to "leave at the top" and avoid being forced out.
"Newsmagazines in general are somewhat in jeopardy, I think," Walters told The New York Times for Sunday's editions. "I didn't want anyone to say, she was forced out, she had to leave."
Walters, 74, said that when she first became an evening news anchor, coanchor Harry Reasoner did not want to work with a woman and wouldn't talk to her off the air. Soon, she said, she was getting "the sympathy vote."
"One day I got a telegram from a man I did not know. It said, 'Don't let the bastards get you down.' And it was signed John Wayne," she said.
Walters says she plans to stay in television, continuing her interview specials and appearances on "The View." ABC News appointed Elizabeth Vargas to replace her on "20/20."
Garrison Keillor brings show home
Falcon Heights, Minn. -- Garrison Keillor brought his radio show "A Prairie Home Companion" to the Minnesota State Fair for the first time in 18 years over the weekend.
Saturday's show included references to State Fair hallmarks, such as busts sculpted out of butter. It drew more than 11,000 people to the fair's grandstand.
Keillor said he suspected that the many Minnesota exiles listening to on the radio "will be able to imagine themselves at the fair."
About 4.1 million people listen to the show aired weekly on National Public Radio.
Red Skelton widow donates memorabilia
Vincennes, Ind. -- The widow of comedian Red Skelton donated more than 200 boxes of memorabilia, including costumes and Emmy awards, to a university in Skelton's home town.
Vincennes University also bought the home where Skelton was born in 1913, which could be used as part of an effort to build a museum in his honor, said Phillip Summers, former university president. Skelton died in 1997.
Skelton began entertaining TV audiences in 1951 with characters such as Clem Kadiddlehopper, Freddie the Freeloader and the Mean Widdle Kid.
Fat's out of the fire
San Francisco -- A federal appeals court cleared former baseball star Steve Garvey of wrongdoing for hawking weight-loss products on TV that makers claimed would work even if users eat fatty foods.
A judge in 2002 had cleared Garvey of wrongdoing in a false advertising lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission, saying Garvey did not lie or know of any misrepresentations during the infomercials.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week on an appeal from the FTC.
"I love this," the court quotes Garvey as saying in one of the spots. "So, you can enjoy all these delicious foods like fried chicken, pizza, cheeseburgers, even butter and sour cream and stop worrying about weight."