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Friday, March 25, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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TV-Media Beat

Geraldo Bald? Now There's A Good Reason To Tune In

Now you have a reason to live: On Monday, Geraldo Rivera will host his show bald to prove that he, too, can relate to the topic of the day: hair loss. But before you wonder what Montel thinks, relax. It's only a skull cap.

Reason No. 2 to live: Rivera will present a live, in-studio hair transplant, in which a surgeon will peel a strip of skin from the bottom of a women's head, cut it into individual hair bulbs and sew it onto the top of her head.

Set those VCRs, and let's move on.

He's back: Next Friday, Tony Ventrella returns to TV for the 5, 6:30 and 11 p.m. sportscasts on KIRO, after sitting out nine months on a "no-compete" clause. In June, Ventrella left KING-TV to start his business in motivational speaking, Positive Energy Productions (PEP).

"He'll be interesting! He'll be provocative! He'll be wild!" said KIRO news director Bill Lord, who sounds as though he's been following Ventrella's tips on motivational speaking.

"He'll be everything you expect him to be! Our ratings will shoot through the stratosphere!"

Ventrella's move is part of KIRO's efforts to improve its ratings by rebuilding the lineup; in June, Joyce Taylor, formerly of KING, will join the station.

Since Ventrella left KING, he's done some work on KIRO-AM-FM but has focused on talking in schools, writing a children's book, doing workshops and giving speeches. He also does weekday morning spots on country station KMPS-FM.

"When you're in a high-profile job, you can use your influence in a positive way, you can get kids involved," said Ventrella, 49. He plans to continue his business and says that KIRO has been supportive of him through on-air spots.

New news: "Health Talk," a weekly series of practical information, begins next month. KCTS's Robin Minietta produces and hosts the show with Dr. Paul Brown of the University of Washington School of Medicine. The first show, which airs April 4 at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 9, will be on depression and Prozac, health-care reform and low-fat cookies. The show plans to cover physical, mental and alternative-health issues; upcoming topics include acupuncture, biotechnology, arthritis, chronic pain and balding.

After KCTS aired programs on breast cancer and menopause, the response was "overwhelming," said Minietta. "We had really tapped into an area where public TV could fill a niche," she said.

"We can provide a medical context that hit-and-miss reporting can't always. It's meant to be information anyone can use in making sense of health issues."

Specials on child abuse: "Breaking the Cycle: How Do We Stop Child Abuse?," a four-hour series by National Public Radio, will air on KUOW (94.9 FM) and KPLU (88.5 FM) next month. The series, hosted by Susan Stamberg and Alex Chadwick, will spotlight innovative efforts to stop child abuse and neglect, of which 3 million cases were reported nationwide in 1992.

The four hour-long specials will focus on cultural differences that affect abuse, religion's role in prevention, how children can avoid abuse and how parents can prevent abuse.

The specials will broadcast on KUOW April 5-8 at 7 p.m. They will air on KPLU April 4-7 at 7 p.m.

In addition to KUOW, Chadwick will moderate a live call-in program on prevention, April 10 at 2 p.m.

Frasier joins FBI: Kelsey Grammer as J. Edgar Hoover? It's no lie. Hear for yourself on KUOW (94.9 FM) next Friday as "Frasier" performs in "J. Edgar! A Musical Fantasia!," a musical comedy by Harry Shearer and Tom Leopold.

The program, recorded before a live audience for the "L.A. Theatre Works" series, also stars "Roseanne's" John Goodman as longtime assistant Clyde Tolson.

Shearer, who also performs, is best known for his work on "This is Spinal Tap" and as the voice of Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner and neighbor Flanders on "The Simpsons."

Also starring are Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson), Christopher Guest and Michael McKean (both of "Spinal Tap"). The program airs at 7 p.m.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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